BaT Euro Alfa Adventure -- Part 2 -- Seeing our 1964 Giulia Sprint GT for the first timeThu, 19 Sep 2013
Though the racing events were the original justification for this trip to Europe, the greatest anticipation was coming from picking up the Alfa Romeo. With Goodwood finished off, it was time to collect the 1964 Giulia Sprint GT that we had committed to buy just last week. We've never bought a car to bring back to the USA before, but we see it all the time on BaT and wanted to do it ourselves so that we could learn more about the details of such a transaction. We'll be reporting on how it goes, which hopefully will help others in the future.
Everyone has been clamoring for more details on the car ever since we teased that windmill shot two days ago. The car is a 1964 model, which makes it an early step-nose GT with the rare front grille and lower rear wheel arches. It also has a gray dashboard instead of the later black-and-wood veneer models. There are some other differences as well, which can be dissected by the Alfa crowd to no end, but suffice to say that it will be one of the earlier Scalinos in North America once it makes it to the USA.
As we mentioned in Part 1 of this series, we reviewed many of these cars for sale in the Netherlands and had several inspected. We landed on this one because we liked the rare factory Bluette color and the overall condition. It is also a real Giulia Sprint GT with the original 1600cc engine, which is more valuable in the U.S. market than the Junior cars that were the budget offering in Europe. Our car has also been mildly modified for rally use, and has actually run the famed Tulip Rallye in Holland an impressive eight times in the last 11 years. It still has some cool participant decals in the windshield.
As a result of its rally use, the car sits very tall on custom springs and has aggressive Vredestein snow tires mounted to the factory steel wheels. Big Cibie lights were mounted up front for some night events and a period Marchal backup light was mounted in back. More aggressive bucket seats were added in matching blue, but we are stoked that the original two-tone seats were included in the deal. They are impossible to find used and will need covers but are in very good shape.
We bought the car from a well-known Alfa specialist on behalf of his longtime customer who owned the car, so technically it was dealer listed but it was actually a private-party deal. It remains here on their website. I think they might have photographed the car in deep grass because it helps hide how high the car sits, but that will be easy to deal with. Logistics of this international deal were straightforward, with a wire transfer that was held up for two days in transit, but we were greatly helped by our local friend in Holland who assisted with verifying the title and paperwork. Buying a car to bring over to the USA is relatively easy if you do not want to drive it in Europe first. As long as the seller's title is in order, they would just ship it. But to drive it here in Europe, it needs to be registered and insured. I researched temporary plates for several countries, and found the rules to be different for each one. It seems that Holland will offer you 14-day temporary plates if you guarantee to get your car out of the country within that time span. Insurance is easier, because firms in the States will insure your car for European use. Bottom line is that the rules are different for every country. Buying from a larger dealer will usually mean that they know the titling rules better, as most private parties have no experience with international sales rules. Either way, if you want to drive it in Europe, expect to make plenty of phone calls and send a bunch of e-mails across the Atlantic before things are sorted out. We're encouraging our friend here to start a business to offer his assistance to others -- it has been invaluable for us. You can of course skip all this mess if you just want to ship the car home without using it, but what fun is that?
We collected our car and drove it the 55 kilometers from Utrecht to just west of Amsterdam. The car is strong and smooth, as we hoped it would be, with no second gear issues that these cars are famous for, and better performance than expected on the skinny snow tires. The body is quite good, and our favorite part is how the doors close. They can be a saggy, notchy mess in these cars, and many require severe slams to latch at all, but this car has two doors that click shut perfectly. It is awesome. There are some things to be tended to, like new door brakes and perhaps a new shift boot and some carpeting, but overall it is in terrific shape. The mechanical rally timer operates perfectly and the stock steering wheel is in great shape. The dash lights aren't working but that should be an easy fix.
It is pretty amazing that this car is about to turn 50 years old. We've had some iffy weather this week so there haven't been too many classics on the road with us, but there are plenty of admirers. We did spot a Citro
By Randy Nonnenberg