March 13, 2008

When gold isn't worth anything.

Sometime in summer 2005 I was driving down State Street in my 1988 Alfa Milano Verde and a guy in a Grand Cherokee pulled up to me and yelled out "hey! you wouldn't want a parts car, would you?" I got his phone number but I wrote it down wrong and was never able to get ahold of him.

Fast forward to August 2006, I saw an ad online for a 1987 Alfa Milano Gold. I went to check it out and turns out it was the same car the Grand Cherokee driver had told me about.

But wow, what a car. The odometer was a witness to the 164,000 miles that had been imposed on it. It had been slightly rear ended, the paint was badly faded and the rear wheel arches were rusted. The fellow I bought it from brought it from LA and was planning on turning it into a semi track car but he never got it running. He decided to sell it, a prospective buyer showed up, tried to get it started and it caught fire.. "the fire department came and everything!" He seemed excited about it. After the fire it sat for several months before he listed it for sale again.

I bought the car initially as a parts car but I gave serious thought to fixing it up. The fire was very small and only the fuel injection was burnt. However, once it was in my driveway, I looked at it and looked at my Verde, garaged due to ABS issues. It was at the time undergoing an ABS to non ABS conversion and it needed brake components (pedal box, master cylinder, brake lines) which this car all had.

Another thing is, fuel injection components are quite expensive. Milanos are sadly not worth very much and the Gold models are worth next to nothing, especially not in this shape, even if it ran. If I got it running and resold it, I would have lost money. My 1988 was my daily driver for a while and I didn't particularly care for another Milano daily driver so I did what had to be done: I parted it out and junked it. Various bits and pieces were sold on Ebay and elsewhere, others are in my garage along with the 2.5 V6 I pulled from it. The front seats are temporarily going in my GTV, the roof was cut out for sheet metal, the clutch and I believe the transaxle went to a local GTV6 and the rest went to scrap.

Who knows, maybe in 20 years when Milano supplies are dry, I'll regret parting it out. On the bright side though, I got the parts I needed for my Verde and in the process I got to know these cars inside and out, for better or worse.

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