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What should I look for; Buying an alpine from a co-worker?

Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by the ghoul, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. the ghoul

    the ghoul Donation Time

    I recently sold off all my projects and consolidated all the parts and nick knacks I collected over the years only to realize I was very unhappy without something to work on. So I stared searching for a little project. I was telling a co-worker about some “toy cars†Ive been looking at. He mentioned that he had a 63 series III alpine just sitting in his garage collecting dust.

    He said that the car was complete but the top and interior are ripped up badly (to be expected for the age). He said it was a southern car, the engine was rebuilt a few months before it was parked (about ten years ago). He couldn’t recall for sure, because its been way too long, but he said he didn’t think there was any major body damage or rust.

    My plans are a sympathetic restoration at first; just clean up what is there get it to good road worthy condition and enjoy it. I plan on keeping it for a good long time and working on it when time an money permits. I am very confident in my skills and my resources (Im a 4th generation mechanical technician by trade; My grandfather, father and all my uncles have owned countless MG’s and triumphs so I am no stranger to British “gremlinsâ€).

    With all my resources, however, none of them have ever owned any sunbeams so I would love to know:
    #1 what are typical rust spots to look for on this car?

    #2 What parts should I make sure are included with the car that are often a pain to find replacements for?

    #3 any tips or tricks to getting this car started / road worthy again?

    #4 I plan on doing the following work before I attempt to drive it:
    -replace the wire harness with a new re-pop (perform negative
    ground modification)
    -replace all rubber brake hoses
    -rebuild all brake components
    -replace all ridged brake lines if there is a hint of rust
    -replace brake shoes
    -rebuild carb and fuel pump, flush fuel tank, and replace lines if they
    look rusty
    -rebuild clutch master and slave cylinders
    -replace transmission, engine main, axle and wheel seals.
    -repack wheel bearings with grease
    -add a master power and fuel cut-off switch
    -get new tires
    is there any thing else I should consider doing for safety sake?

    #5 is there any one making a pre bent ridged replacement brake line/fuel line set? I would like to replace them but would hate to have to bend them all my self!!

    Any input/tips or answers will be much appreciated.
  2. nickraymond

    nickraymond Donation Time

    If you want to restore and are prepared to spend ALOT of time and money on then go for this.
    But spending money 'as and when you can afford' suggests you don't want to put too much into it, in which case I'd suggest getting one thats a bit better. You'll save loads of money in the longer run, and will have a better Alpine that you can do 'nice things' to, like new interiors etc!

    In terms of rust, The sills are a big problem, look at the bottom at the back of the front wheel arches and front of rear for any areas that have rusted through allowing water in. Door bottoms can also go.

    Spring hangers at the rear, If it has a hard top then the back corners.
    Check the front and rear valances are straight.

    Check the bumpers are straight and preferably good chrome. (chroming is very expensive at the moment)

    Look for valuable original features such as Smiths time clock, sunvisors, wooden dashboards, etc.

    Check the door fits as these are very difficult to get right.

    Look for any rust where the cross of the chassis meets the body of the car.
    Also check for rust underneath the carpets in the floor and by the seat runners.

    Series III's are the rarest Alpine and so are a little bit special, but if you intend to use her often, think about the less boot space you get when compared to series IV's and V's.

    My Alpine had stood for 8 years in a garage and not had much love, we managed to somehow fire her up and my Dad drove her home to an 'MOT' (you can drive to a test station in the UK without an MOT) Had a go at fixing the lights etc... took her for the already purchased MOT to see what needed doing and she passed. Have had 5 happy years since with much fun (excluding this morning when i got rear ended.. but she'll be fixed and back shining with a bright new chrome bumper soon!)
    Good Luck!
  3. sunalp

    sunalp Platinum Level Sponsor

    Hi, sounds like a very interesting project! Also sounds like you're going to do everything you need to to make the car road worthy.

    The biggest part of any restoration is the bodywork, just check the floors and frame outriggers, trunk floor and rear suspension hangers for the unseen and hidden rust. You will see any signs of rust on the body, especially if the car has just sat there for 10 years.

    If the car is indeed a Series 3, then you must determine whether it's an ST or a GT. The ST (Sports Tourer) has a soft top with metal covers in the rear to conseal the top & frame when the top is down, has a black dashboard and steering wheel. The GT has a hard top (steel) with no soft top, has a burled walnut dash and wood steering wheel, fancier interior with an interior light above the mirror. If it's a GT and the interior is all "ripped up" that's going to be harder (and more expensive) to make right. Door panels are available from either supplier (SS & CS) and the other panels can be made at a good interior shop.

    GT's also have a few other items that tend to go missing over the years. There are specific air filters (which can be found) that are different than the ST's and also differ between early GT's and late GT's.

    See which one this car is. I know I'm interested to find out as I have a personal interest in S3's

  4. the ghoul

    the ghoul Donation Time

    I think you may missunderstand me.
    I intend to put a great deal into this car.
    For me its more about having a little project that i can work on, and enjoy in the process. Thats why the sympathetic restoration route works for me. I dont care about what options it has on it, or what it might be worth down the road. I do not intend to shop around for another alpine because this one is a great deal (if its as good condition as it sounds).

    What I ment by putting time/money into it when possible is I dont want to start off with a full restoration. I want something that I can get running and road worthy with in one seasion and then i can work on stuff like the intirror and details later. Im not going to pretend I have all the money in the world here, but also im not destatude and have the funds and tallent to take on a large project. for me its less about the finished product and more about the project.

    Thank you for the heads up on the typicall spots. Im most worried that these spots were repaired poorly in the past and I might overlook them when see the car this saturday.

    I have no problem replacing a few patch pannels, I can do that easly my self and do a quality job of it, but if this thing has major structural rust or rust in places there are no patches for I will have to pass on it.
  5. Series3Scott

    Series3Scott Co-Founder/Past President Platinum Level Sponsor

    The Series 3 Alpine was the first to have the new boot layout, so is the same as the Series IV and V.
  6. sunalp

    sunalp Platinum Level Sponsor

    Sounds like you've got your priorities straight! Please let us know what you find when you see it on Saturday. I'm particularly interested if it is an S3 as they are the rarest series Alpines. I'm also interested in the Vin #, SAL # and engine # as I'm the keeper of the Alpine registry and would like to add this car, whether it's an S3 or not, to it.
    Thanks in advance!
  7. sunbby

    sunbby Past SAOCA President Donation Time

    Welcome to the world of Alpines! My strongest suggestion is to keep asking for advice right here. This is the best place for Sunbeam advice and help, IMHO. I have learned all my Sunbeam knowledge from these people and will continue to rely on them heavily; even if I sometimes ignore their advice and learn the hard way that they were right in the first place. :D

    check or replace tie-rod ends and ball joints.
  8. the ghoul

    the ghoul Donation Time

    wow good call
    adding those to the list.

    Ive been through the whole bitting off more than I can chew project car thing before and I dont want this beauty going into that pile. I will be sure to snap pictures and get info. I know for sure its a 63 4cylinder with a convertible top.... the rest is all second hand information.
    thinking about it now, the guy at work said that it was his wifs car and she had been intending on restoring it but havent gotten around to it for the last 10 years. I have to meet with her and convince her that I wont try to turn this into a tiger or a rally car. As far as the information im getting from the guy at work, I dont think its the most reliable. He just told me that his wife is wondering what Im planning to do about the "6v battery system" I told him "dont you mean the positive ground electrical system?"
  9. mikephillips

    mikephillips Donation Time

    You know, you're close enough you should see about coming down for a day, or the whole thing, the end of the month for the Invasion. We'll be just north of Dayton in Tipp City and you could look over other Alpines and get an idea of what may need to be done to yours, where to go for parts, and who's important to do first. If I read mapquest correctly you're only a couple hours or so north.
  10. the ghoul

    the ghoul Donation Time

    yeah that isnt too far, is the event posted some where/can you link me to an info flyer?
    Ive been to battle of the brits at freedome hill a few years running, and I love the show in grand rapids (cant remember what its called at the moment) so I wouldnt mind going to another show.

    wow I have to say I love how much feed back im getting on this forum, seems like a great group here. I just hate asking questions on forums waiting 3 weeks for some one to respond and usually its about as usfall as "try searching first". this place is great! thank you all
  11. howard

    howard Donation Time

    I think you'll enjoy working on your Alpine, if you get it. I bought mine with no prior knowledge of the marque (or any other antique car, for that matter), and lucked out as it has proven to be pretty structurally fit. I have been able to do a substantial amount of restoration and mechanics myself, although I didn't do the engine overhaul myself. (I have limits on shop space/tools/knowledge, so I left that to the pros.) The creativity and satisfaction of the project is well worth the investment of some cash and time.

    AND THEN- when you finally get to drive the car- WOW!
  12. mikephillips

    mikephillips Donation Time

  13. tony perrett

    tony perrett Gold Level Sponsor

    I would recommend that you buy a Workshop Manual and, perhaps more importantly, a Parts Manual. You will find them invaluable.
  14. the ghoul

    the ghoul Donation Time

    thanks mike, Ill look into it!!

    done and done.
    my sunbeam alpine 1959-1968 fasctory workshop manual cd just came in the mail today . I couldnt wait I just had to get my hands on some info on this car!! and my friend at work said his wife has a full set of dealer manuals for it.... though like I said about the info from him though....
    I looked into it a bit more and there is no way its a series III its got to be a II I guess the III s only numbered in the hundreds and were all hand made...

  15. Alpine Addict

    Alpine Addict Platinum Donor Diamond Level Sponsor

  16. the ghoul

    the ghoul Donation Time

  17. mikephillips

    mikephillips Donation Time

    3s were handmade in the sense that they all were were somewhat. They were built on the line just like the IIs before them and the IVs after. Series
    3s were fairly low production because the company went through extended labor problems during that time and the factory wasn't producing much of the time. That labor unrest also ultimately led to the Chrysler takeover.
  18. oldflotsam

    oldflotsam Donation Time

    The fastest way to determine if it's an S3 is to open the trunk. If the spare stands up, the gas tanks are on both sides inside the fender wells.The S3 was the last Series for fins, and the first for dual gas tanks.

    I love mine.

  19. P. Scofield

    P. Scofield Bronze Level Sponsor

  20. the ghoul

    the ghoul Donation Time

    I think its a 3!!
    the owner said it was a seriesIII and thats why she wouldnt sell it before now. She said that every time she tryed to sell the care every one would tell her they wanted to clone it into a tiger. she told all of them to step off.
    It has twin carbs, i think she said they were zenith carbs and 3 identification tags on the right side. The car was orritionally a grey metallic and had light grey intirror with dark grey piping. the car is complete but in rough shape. there is abit of rust on her. the doors are solid and the jambs and sils are in perfect condition, but the rocker panels, front fenders and most of the joints for the floor boards are in bad shape.
    nothing some patch metal wont cure right?
    pictures comming tomorrow when i pick it up!!

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