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The Roffle Alfa GTV (featuring shiter's wives annoyance)

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Is any car worth getting up at 5am for, on a Saturday?  YES, when it's a free exotic car from that Italia!


Mrs Pirate had reluctantly agreed to give me lift to Southampton airport.  Annoyance level was around 10% come 5am.  I then whined until she stopped at McDonalds drive-through, annoyance level now 25%.  At the airport I misdirect her and we almost end up in the long stay car park, I get out and walk shortly before annoyance level hits meltdown.

Little plane reaches Manchester an hour later, but the last 20 miles to Bolton takes another 90 mins 'cos trains.  I text Jamie with my ETA, but it seems the Alfa is already misbehaving so his wife picks me up from the station.  I'm unable to gauge her annoyance level accurately, but she had just been asked to collect a strange man so I would say 20%.  Yes I'm strange, of course I am, and if you're reading this you know damn well that you are too.  Don't be kidding yourself that you're the "normal one from Autoshite".


"Hello, I'm your new car, but you can PISS RIGHT OFF if you think you're going anywhere in me today".  It seems the battery won't hold a charge and it won't even respond to the charger Jamie has bought, so it was  a quick trip to ECP for a replacement.  Even the location of the battery is bloody awkward, on a sort of shelf above the rear wheels - like many things on this car, it seems like an afterthought.  Anyway, it then fired up immediately with the new battery and I set off for home, after a brief interlude of demolishing wheelie bins which almost snapped off the passenger mirror.  The road next to Jamie's house is very narrow and you have to reverse up it, OK?  My inevitable decline into parking-bump giffership hasnt started quite yet, I hope.

Out on the road, the car drives very well.  The clutch (replaced a couple of years ago) is very smooth, which is good as I can't risk stalling it due to the hotstart issue.  Steering is lovely and it handles nicely.  It feels quite large - like a full size saloon that's been truncated.  Seating position is quite odd, wheel is a long stretch away and it almost seems like you're sitting in the back of it.  It's certainly not slow despite being the little-engined version, I like it.


240 miles later and I'm home with no issues.  I stall it getting it onto the drive... but it starts right up again!  Wife is reasonably impressed by it, annoyance level now 10% again (about average).



As you'd expect, there are jobs to do and this isn't the ideal time of year for it.  Today's tasks are the exhaust leak and to give it a check-over for the MOT next month, but there doesn't appear to be any obvious problems.  I'm really pleased with it so thanks to Jamie and Mrs, and Snagglepuss for buying me the roffle ticket :)

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Top bombing! I Found the seating/ driving position odd on these as well;it’s the only car I’d ever owned where I couldn’t quite get things set up to my satisfaction, I like being quite close to the controls despite my height so it wasn’t anything related to the long arm short leg thing older Italian cars are accused of.

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I've been checking out all the invoices this came with.  They make for grim reading - imagine you've moved a new partner into your house, and only later found out they've got multiple convictions for domestic violence.  One of the bills is for nearly £1400, which probably counts as attempted murder. 


I've given it a thorough health check today.  Diagnosis: BED REST until further notice.

  • MOT problem #1: exhaust flexi is totally shot, but this bizarre sleeve has been put over it - I can't see how it was ever gas-tight.  I've found a repair section on eBay which looks like it'll sort that without any welding shenanigans though.
  • MOT problem #2: nearside inner CV gaiter is split.  Doesn't look too tricky but no doubt I'll be eating those words later.

Apart from the front disks and pads having little meat left, the rest of it looks sound enough to pass.  Plenty of evidence it's been run on an absolute shoestring though, despite all the bills.  Mismatched rear dampers, cable ties holding things together, etc.


I've fixed the interior fan (it stopped working on the way home), it was a dodgy connection at the relay under the dash (the cables look like they've been overloaded at some point).  Check out this mess too - the invoices mention a bodge for the heated rear window circuit,  I'll live without it.  I'd assumed the tales of Italian auto electrics was exaggerated but there's plenty of not-fit-for-purpose to be found here.


There's no mention of a cam belt change in the bills, in fact most of them seem like 'distress' fixes (there are at least 3 recoveries included).  Thermostat has failed open too.  The ERC parts list currently looks like this, but does include belt kits for cams and balancer shaft.  Will need to add cam locking tools though, and probably a water pump while I'm in there.


I'm thinking I'll take it off the road and do these jobs at my leisure, get it MOT'd at some point then move it on next year.  I like it but the Mercedes suits me better - you don't so much drive the CLK, you merely supervise and as a lazy bastard, I appreciate that.

2019-10-19 16.50.09.jpg

PS: any ideas on what to do about the paint are appreciated.  

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Not me. I'm very eccentric to say the least. I think the older I get, the less I give a fuck what anyone thinks. Makes me happy anyway.

Great car. Looks very solid underneath with lots of alloy. Keep updates coming plz.

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I had a red GTV V6 on teledials, with black leather, and a huge file of whopping expenditure. I flogged a couple of magazine feature with it, made a few little films, then got shot before it killed my mental health. 

Lots and lots will go wrong. Bangernomics is the only way to go with these. You reward it with a new nice part, fitted by a professional at great expense, and it will FTP at the most inopportune moment. Kick it like a stray dog on a third-world beach and it will love you forever. 

Happy to advise on any bodgery needed. 

Pic of me in mine - http://www.motorpunk.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Sideways-through-Kallenhard-corner.jpg


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13 hours ago, RobT said:

I'm not the normal one on AS either.  In fact, who is?  Surely there isn't one.

Me. I’m exceptionally normal.

14 hours ago, Fat_Pirate said:

PS: any ideas on what to do about the paint are appreciated.  

Call it patina and learn to love it? 


Great stuff, I like these. Ran around in a Spider version for a while once - the 2.0 TSpark engine is a peach.

May it reward your restorative efforts many times over, and not fight back.

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The GTV is back on the road!  I've fixed MUCH STUFF and am feeling the warm glow of satisfaction, but it's been an absolute BASTARD because everything is awkward on this car.  I've become a bit obsessed with sorting it though, it's like it's challenging me and it's rarely far from my thoughts.  I told you I was strange. 


The exhaust flexi I bought from eBay didn't fit, plus I found a hole in one of the cats where it's been grounded at some point (exhaust mount was also snapped off).  I had the local Powerflow place weld a flexi section in @ £100, and my friend Chris welded up the broken mount, massively overengineering it into the bargain.  This was nice of him, as the only thing I've ever done for him is crash my motorbike into the back of his.



I snapped off the studs on the other cat removing the front pipe, it was like they were made of flipping popcorn.  I had to bother the good folks on the 'Ask a Shiter' subforum for advice on remedying that, and it took all the daylight hours of last Sunday to cut them off and drill out the holes to accept 8mm bolts.  OK, I wasted a lot of time by loafing about eating cake, watching TV and looking for more totally fucked cars to buy on the internet, but it felt like it took all day.


The frontpipe was ready to go back on now, but then I noticed a weeping coolant hose at the oil filter (it's got some fancy integrated oil cooler).  It's mostly hidden by the heatshield on the exhaust and I imagine a previous owner has just lived with mysteriously disappearing coolant.  I cut a section out of a hose from my spares cache to replace it (that's a Mazda MX5 part which now finds itself in a very bad neighbourhood).  That oil leak in the photo is the cam cover gasket, btw. Not sorted yet.


Split driveshaft boot next.  I've got a PDF of the Alfa workshop manual, which reckons you can pop the shaft out by removing just one of the bolts from the suspension strut - but this wasn't the case (and in fact the illustration in the manual shows the hub completely disconnected).  This was completely the wrong way to do it, and I had to use a spring compressor to get it back in, should have just undone the bottom balljoint like you normally would.


Replacing the boot was easy enough, apart from getting myself completely covered in CV grease.  Refitting was a problem though - 6 bolts attach it to the gearbox flange, but they didn't screw in as expected.  'Ask a Shiter' comes to the rescue again... there were nuts on the back, which I'd not noticed.  All 6 had fallen into an expansion joint in my concrete drive, I felt like a right pillock.  Replaced with new as they're nyloc jobs.


New thermostat fitted - yeah, it's that whole assembly, worked out about £20 from ECP though.  Spent another £15 on hose clips from Halfords 'cos I'd forgotten to order any,  Discovered it's had a radiator quite recently too, which must have been a sod of a job.  Replaced the oil and filter, put the wheels back on and it was time for a test drive.


It works!  No leaks from the exhaust (no gasket on the front pipe, btw), and I managed to complete 23 gentle miles without the wheels falling off.


Engine now reaches operating temperature, so have a working heater. Unfortunately the motor that controls the heater flaps seems to be dead (it's electronic, just what you want), so you can only have heat to the footwells.  Some internet research suggests this is a standard GM item though which is accessible and can probably be repaired.  This fault rules it out as daily driver for the moment though, can't demist it.

Remaining jobs are front disks'n'pads, and replacing the belts. Although the car still hasn't cost me a lot of money, I've spent a lot of time on it so I'm not prepared to play cambelt roulette.  And I'm coming to like it.

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