Alfa Romeo 2600 Review

1964 Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint 2.6L petrol from Australia and New Zealand

Year of manufacture1964
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 2.6L petrol Manual
Previous carAlfa Romeo GTV

Summary:

Unsung hero of the Alfa world

Faults:

The car was purchased in disassembled condition as a restoration project. I'm always dismayed when people pull things apart and then don't have the nous, the finances or the patience to reassemble them. And as one of only 140 imported into Australia, it had rarity value, so didn't deserve this fate.

Surprisingly rust-free, the car had originally been a pinky-grey colour, but had been resprayed in silver at some stage far back in its history. Leather was deep red and in poor condition, but came up well when restored. Internal panels were good, as were all the timber fascias and instruments.

The biggest problem was the engine. Pistons were completely the wrong shape, they were tapered from top to bottom and would have slapped around badly, very weird indeed. I managed to procure a complete set of engine gaskets - very rare and yet inexpensive, they had been sitting on the shelf at an Alfa dealer for over 40 years! - and considered having new pistons made, but eventually had to concede that the cost of an adequate restoration exceeded my resources.

Another problem was the tyres, which are a weird size and thus complete unobtainium. They were an intermediate size made at the beginning of the radial ply era, before standard sizes were agreed upon, and Michelin discontinued them in the late 60's. I traded the one NOS tyre I had for some body trim parts that were missing, and intended on fitting mag wheels with more modern tyres.

Not a project for the faint of heart or light of wallet; this car when completely restored still doesn't fetch much, since it doesn't have the cache of other models of that era. More valuable than the ugly 4-door Berlina model, but nowhere near as desirable as the Spider or Sprint Zagato.

Car was sold to a guy in the airforce who had infinite time on his hands - he was posted 950km from his wife - and the full resources of an aircraft engineering workshop at his disposal. I therefore feel the car will have eventually been done the justice it rightly deserved.

General Comments:

I loved it, but never drove it. As static works of art go, it was beautiful.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st July, 2010