Hello to you all! It's been a long time since I started surfing this forum but never really decided to be a part of it because I am Spanish and I thought I wouldn't be able to contribute anything... but then I thought, whatever, Alfas are Alfas everywhere, so here goes my presentation.
It all basically began before I was born. My father, back in the year 1986, before he even got married to my mom, he was looking to buy a new car. Shortly before deciding for a Ford Orion, he happened to walk by the showroom of a new Alfa Romeo dealer, who just got into the Spanish market, I think. When he saw, for the same price as the Ford Orion, an Afa Romeo 33 1.300 86 CV, he didn't think it through twice and bought it.
My father is now 57 years old and has had lots of cars by now, but he says he still doesn't remember anyone being as fun and as enjoyable as the 33. He always tells how the car responded as quickly as he stepped on the accelerator; or how he proved that those Golf MkII GTI (which back then were the 33s' direct competitors) did NOT run as fast as his 33. He always narrates his experiences nostalgically, and I really envy being able to enjoy those sensations.
With time, he realized that the reputation of the car grew horribly. He heard rumors and met lots of people that said that the car had gone terribly bad for them, all of them about improper engine tuning (it is said that, here in Spain, 33s were never properly treated, and that's why they managed to get such bad reputation). My father was aware that such "common" things could happen to him any day, but, eleven years later, the car kept working exactly like the first day.
When the car drove for about 300.000 kms (approximately 186411 miles), and after falling in love with the new 146, he thought it was best to change the car and keep some very good memories of it, rather than having it breaking on him and being exactly the opposite, so he got the 146 1.6TS (which, by the way, did NOT run as fast as the 33 either). This last car came with a problem on the gearbox that caused it to break when he drove for barely 150.000 kms (93206 miles), so with the arrival of my new little brother, he bought an Opel (Vauxhall) Zafira, and that was the end of his "Alfism". He always says that he got two factory defective Alfas: A 146 that broke down, and a 33 that didn't
Shortly after selling the 33 to the Alfa dealer, he still saw it more than once driving around, which means that the dealer sold it to someone who kept on using it. By investigating a lot, I found out that after selling the 33, it was stolen, and when they found it more than a year later, it was sold again to another owner only to terminate it a couple of weeks later. I suppose the car was in horrible condition after retrieving, and the owner at that time sold it to someone who didn't know it had been stolen.
I am a 23 year old guy, and if I'm not fonder of the Alfa Romeo brand, it's because I don't know much Alfa history or mechanics. When I turned 18 (2008), I bought a grey '97 Alfa Romeo 156 1.9 JTD with hardly 130.000 kms (80.000 miles) for 2500€ (around 2100£). The reason for its good price is because its outer appearance was bad and very scratched up, apart from having the dampers really bad, just like the disk brakes, the tires, the gear selector, the thermostat, and lots of other stuff that would surely give me problems in the future. Its previous owner told me everything, but I just couldn't let it go. The car was in bad condition, but since I was a rookie at driving because I just got my license, it would surely end up worse because of me. So I bought it thinking it wouldn't last more than a year.
I treated the car horribly in what it should have been its "short life". I drove insanely and had several crashes. One on the trunk, another one hit me on the side, another one hit me with a tow bar, and finally another one on the trunk one day that the car felt like climbing a tree (handbrake went loose). After the year I thought the car would last, it was really bad outside, but most importantly, WORKING.
When the cops pulled me over and warned me to fix the car, or else they would terminate it, I had to decide whether to keep it, or get rid of it. After all it went through (and thank god you don't know details), I decided to keep it for good time's sake. I fixed it all on from the outside, painted it red, changed thermostat, restored gear selector, changed the whole suspension, cleaned the inlet and exhaust circuit, changed head gaskets and air manifolds, and I think that's it. Basically, I did all the maintenance the car was asking for.
And, finally, the result:
As of today, it has 285.000kms (177000 miles) and I only had to change the alternator. It didn't ask for anything else, I think it's really fun to drive and fuel consumption is minimal. This car will remain in my possession as long as I can maintain it. I have tried lots of other cars after this one, and believe me, I wouldn't change it for anyone (well, perhaps another Alfa). This is the current state of the car.
Three years ago, however, I bought an Alfa Romeo 33 Mk3 Q.V. (yes, a true Green Cloverleaf!) in an abandoned state, and am still restoring it, though there's very little to be done. Just need to get my hands on a new flowmeter. I even managed to go to the Spanish forum's tenth anniversary with it. We had a closed circuit and there were lots of Alfas. We had a really good time!
Anyway, greetings to you all. Hope to be reading and learning a lot from you, since I can't really do much all the way from Spain