Fed-up with rotten 60's UK cars? Can you only find ones that are held together with filler and wire mesh over a base of crumbling rusty metal?
Same for me, till I finally found this car in 2001. She had just been imported from the USA by marque specialists, Alpine West Midlands.
Quite late in the series, she was the 99th Alpine made before production ceased.
I first saw her at their workshop before any work had been carried out - she was fresh from the deserts of California, still full of sand (and slightly sunburned paint!) but when I saw the condition of her bodywork, and those perfect shut-lines, I knew I had to have her.
The bodywork is just perfect. I have never been able to find a single repair on this car. There is no rot or filler to be seen anywhere, and the bodywork and panels are all original, including those lovely original slightly curved sills. She looks as lovely from below as she does from above. The cruciform chassis is perfect, easily tested by lifting the car on one of its jacking points and checking panel gaps. (Most cars doors won't even close when you try this)
To illustrate just how good the metalwork is on this car, a few years ago I removed both window winder mechanisms for servicing and greasing. Most UK cars of this vintage would be lucky to even have the lower 4" of the doors still present. These window frames are secured by tiny 2BA screws in the base of the door frame. Removing them usually involves angle grinders and welding. Mine came out with a screwdriver. The frames came out, I serviced them, and put them back in, with a bit of grease on the threads ready for the next time. Ditto for the leaf springs.
The car was converted by Alpine West Midlands to right-hand drive, and built up to a good usable road car.
The body was repainted sympathetically in the original colour. By "sympathetically", I mean I didn't want her bead blasted or acid dipped which, although would have stripped the metal back to a perfect shell, would also have removed a lot of character.
For example, even the original expanding foam jointing compound between the front wings and the engine bay / bulkhead is still present.
Beneath the underseal is still the original factory red primer.
The panels are still sealed with the original panel jointing compound.
(I left the boot interior as found, still in the original paint for comparison and old time's sake!)
To protect the pristine bodywork, I absolutely filled every nook and cranny with Waxoyl, the excess slowly dripping out over a number of years and sunny days!
During my ownership, the car has been upgraded and maintained with, among other things:-
New wire wheels (never washed, just wiped, to avoid water penetration)
New knock-off splined hubs all round
Spax adjustable gas shock absorbers at the back
Koni shock absorbers at the front
New leaf springs
Re-bushed front suspension (poly bushes)
Overdrive gearbox fitted
Kenlowe electric fan fitted
Lucas gold coil
New battery 6 months ago.
Plus all the usual servicing items
The front suspension / gearbox items were supplied and fitted by Sunbeam Supreme in Leicester.
The speedo was recalibrated by Speedy Cables in August 2003 (with tyre pressures set to 30 p.s.i. the mph reads exactly the same as my satnav. Spot on.). Since then, 10 years later at time of writing, she has covered only 3612 miles. Prior to that, the speedo read about 59000 miles, which I would assume was genuine, though so many parts have been replaced that the figure is largely irrelevant. During my ownership, there have been several years where the only mileage was to the MOT station and back, plus occasional blasts around the lanes. (Verifiable from the old MOT's)
I have all the receipts from specialist suppliers for parts and work carried out. I haven't added them up, but they're in the £1000's. I also have the bill of sale from Alpine West Midlands. My reserve price is considerably lower than this stack of invoices would indicate!
Included in the sale are all the various spares and accessories I've accumulated during ownership, including:
Hoses, points, plugs, bulbs etc.
There's a few small jobs I never got round to, but I'm assuming the winning bidder will be a classic car enthusiast like me, and will eventually get them done during their ownership, such as;
The fan heater works, but is very feeble. It's a standard fan unit as used on most BL cars well into the 90's, so that could be easily swapped. I never bothered as I don't use the car in winter.
I replaced the driver's seat foam swab and elastic straps. The passenger side still needs doing. I have all the bits to do it as far as I can remember.
The paintwork has a few scratches and a small ding about the size of a new 5p by the petrol cap consistent with me having an overcrowded garage and despite my best efforts to keep people and things away from my pride and joy. Plus the usual signs of wear and tear.
Alpine West Midlands fitted a new Double Duck / Canvas hood, but a small section of stitching at the back hinges has started to unravel, and needs restitching.
A few expert Alpine owners might be able to tell you that there should be a polythene sheet hanging down from the window frames internally to deflect water away from the door cards during a downpour. I only know this because I saw the tattered remains hanging down when I took the windows out to grease the mechanisms. I shouldn't think most cars on sale today would have had them for the last 30 years! Again, not needed in California, and not needed in my ownership having only covered dry miles, but it would be a nice touch, even though no-one else would know it's there!! (The door cards fitted are of vinyl covered marine ply with a polythene backing in the meantime!)
Lastly, there are 2 tiny punched holes in each wing underneath the 1725 badge. This would be where, in America, there would have been the 5 pointed Chrysler badge. I've left them as they were for originality. You can buy a couple of badges for a few pounds and stick them on if you wish.
The car is available for viewing in Hertfordshire, 10 mins from Junction 6 of the A1, and 15 mins from Junction 10A of the M1. Serious interested parties are welcome to view before auction end, but, as they say, no tyre kickers please. I'll be happy to share everything I know about the car, and you can feel free to thoroughly look her over. (I have a well lit inspection pit for underneath)
I took her for an MOT yesterday, and she passed first time as she always does, so now MOT'd till 14th August 2014.
Road tax is of course free for this historic vehicle.
The car is advertised elsewhere, and may be removed before the end of this auction.
On 16-Aug-13 at 16:39:53 BST, seller added the following information:
***Please note the car will only be available for viewing until Wednesday 21st August.***