A little over two months ago, an incompetent driver slammed into my parked Alfa Romeo. The Alfetta was in the body shop for 46 days while I argued with State Farm over the value of the car and searched for replacement parts.
I was lucky to find some Euro-bumpers on AlfaBB.com. Larry Jr., at Alfa Parts Exchange was more than helpful in getting me grills and headlight buckets. I was up in Berkeley, so I made a personal appearance at Alfa Parts and bought a reproduction turn signal lens, complete with white gasket. Skip, at J & J Autobody in Monterey, did very nice sheet metal work.
Daniel Stern only had a 5.75 inch Cibie H4 headlamp. I had great difficulty finding a 5.75 inch, flat face, Cibie H1 headlamp. A deep Google search for Cibie “flat face” led me to Joe English, owner of Group2 Motorsports for the H1 headlamp. The last thing I’m waiting for are some Osram SilverStar H1 bulbs I bought on eBay.
In the end, it’s an experience I prefer not to have gone through.
The body shop called today to point out some rust they found when they removed the rear bumper (like I didn’t know about this). I guess what they really wanted to tell me was that it was going to cost more money.
I had ladled POR-15 Rust Preventive Paint on the sheet metal above the left bumper shock six years ago when I saw it looking not so good. I tried to put out of my mind the rust that I could see inside the bumper where the rubber had split.
Mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money…
So far the body shop has repaired rust in the front rocker panels, around the base of the windshield on the passenger side (without removing the glass), around the right windshield wiper drive shaft, on the door under the driver’s side window, around the rear bumper shock, below the bottom edge of the rear window and the trailing edge of the trunk lid.
I’d previously done my bush league repair work on the rust on the inner front fender wells and a large hole in the spare tire well – my first attempts at using fiberglass. Those repairs look great if you don’t look at them.
After haggling with State Farm Insurance over the value of my car, they agreed to pay for the repairs caused by their insured, errant driver.
Since the front end was being worked on, I decided to pay the body shop for some additional work, mainly replacing the Swiss-cheesed rocker panels behind the front wheel wells. Wolf Steel actually sells the lower front fender repair panels, but when I called them, they said it’d take at 3 weeks to get them. J & J Autobody in Monterey, where the car is being repaired, fabricated the panels and also replaced some of the rusted inner wheel well.
I was also lucky enough to find some Euro bumpers, so I thought it would be a good time to put them on too. Someone had made a bracket for the front that attached to the existing bumper shocks. Unfortunately, they were pop riveted together, so the shop took it apart and put in bolts. I guess the Euro bumper mounts lower so they used snips to remove some metal from the top outer corners so it would clear the front fender a little better.
The body shop also pointed out that the door panels were rusting at the bottom. I’m already spending more than the insurance company paid (and more money than I have) so I told them that was a back burner operation. It’s polyester resin (Bondo) time, for now. That started me thinking about taking off the inner door panels and going at it with Eastwood Rust Encapsulator.
I also have to give a plug to Larry Jr, at Alfa Parts Exchange for going the extra distance to help me with replacement parts. When the body shop told me the car needed a RF fender, the front upper and lower valence, Larry went out an procured an Alfetta for the parts.
I was shopping at the supermarket and came out to this scene. The police officer said the driver was trying to park and she stepped on the accelerator. Go figure.
Her car went up and across a ten foot divider, slammed into my parked car and knocked it eight feet out of its parking space. The Alfa’s right front fender is folded in half at the impact point. The body shop said the fender was irreparable. The Cibie headlights are toast. The apron is pushed into the hood, which won’t open. The frame the radiator is mounted to is bent. The bumper is broken.
The PO at the scene thanked me several times for my equanimity. WTF could I do?
It’s not that I love this car, but I have put a lot of work into it. Next time I park, I’ll make sure there is a tree in front of my car. Like that would make a difference with my luck.