November - February 2009 - Searching for a welder

 
     

Now that my own Giardinetta is disassembled except for the engine & the suspension and the donor is disassembled and gone the next step is searching for a welder. Through the Dutch Alfa Romeo Club I came into contact with a renowned craftsman. Several phone calls and e-mail messages later the conclusion is unfortunately that the communication between us is not working at all. Quite sad to find this out. Due to the fact that this company is well known and praised by its many customers the poor communication must be due to me????? No other way then to search for another welder.

November 6th 2009: Today I will go to the Habraken company in Best. They are specialised in paint removal. Big industrial companies like Philips and the VDL group use their services as well so they must do something right. Several methods are available such as sandblasting, aluminium oxide and glass pearl blasting. Also pyrolysis is an option they offer. I am basically looking for a rough cost estimation for my vehicle. I will bring the dimensions of my vehicle to get an accurate estimate so I can understand what the costs will be.

November 6th 2009: Habraken (sand)blasting company.

Due to the fact that I have no running car myself I use the Nissan Bluebird of my parents to go to this company. It refuses to start. Either the battery or the dynamo is dead. My father and a friendly bystander helped me to push the vehicle on its way. Once it's running and the engine doesn't stall I'll be fine. The trip to Best is not so far, approximately 20km. The gentleman at the company takes sufficient time to explain the different processes and all the options. The advantage is that they have a lot of experience with processing vehicles and not only industrial items. They are aware that body parts can not be exposed to extreme heat so I trust them to do a good job. All in all the price is significant so I will think about doing it or not. On the way back the car again doesn't start. The owner of Habraken and a guest pushed the vehicle to get it started. The Habraken company can be found on the internet at the following location; http://www.habrakenstraalbedrijf.nl/

November 15th 2009: On the website of a Dutch gentleman with the restoration log of an 1975 Alfasud TI I found a tip for a welder. I contacted the Alfasud TI owner and got the name and place where the welder lives. Now it's just a matter of searching the internet telephone book to get a phone number. The Alfasud TI is still on the Dutch roads 10 years after the welding was done so that's a vote of confidence for the craftsmanship of the welder. I called the gentleman and it appears he is quite busy. By telephone he can't make a cost estimation so he will come and take a look for himself on December 12th. Now it's just waiting .........

 

November 21st 2009: A package arrived with 2 brand new first series headlights with white blinkers. A gentleman I came in contact with through the Dutch Alfa Romeo club has a whole lot of these lights and I could buy 2 for a very fair price. The lights are indeed brand new and in pristine condition. I will store them in house to avoid any possible damage by humidity. Now all I have to do find the right side lights. I received 2 LH lights and the person who sold me the lights only has a bunch of LH ones. The ones I had with my car are the more common orange blinker ones but since my body colour will be orange I prefer the all white headlights.

Big box arrived with 2 all white LH headlights.

2 Brand new headlights.

 

December 12th 2009: The welder will come today. My car doesn't have to be completely rebuilt regarding the body but still there is quite some welding work to do. I have a price in my head and hope the work can be done for that kind of money. Whilst taking a look at the car the welder tells me that the status of the car isn't too bad, that's good to hear from a craftsman. I though so as well, but I'm not the expert this gentleman is. The most work will be to restore the hole left by the sunroof especially because the stiffener ribs have to be reconstructed. The other welding work is not too much. One comment from the welder is that the parafan has to be replaced, otherwise he will not do the welding. He only wants to deliver quality work and he tells me that the parafan needs to be replaced because otherwise rust will pop up within 1 or a few years. The hunt for a parafan will start now, that won't be easy. Luckily the parafan is common between all Alfasud vehicles. The price the welder gave me fits to the scheduled budget and is even slightly cheaper.

 

Today also a left rear light lens which I won on E-Bay France arrived. I realise now why the shipment was relatively expensive. The gentleman packaged the lens really well with abundant paper around it to protect from any damage. I have no idea why but left lenses seem to be more common than right lenses. Anyway a good spare part added now.

Left rear light lens which I won on E-Bay France.

Very well protected left rear light lens.

December 17th 2009: I put ads on the internet on several locations. On December 17th I was approached by a member form the Dutch SCARB Alfa Romeo Club forum with the information that his brother has a brand new parafan lying around which he is willing to sell. Now the hard job is get a common understanding about the price. Of course I understand that a brand new part won't be cheap. Especially the fact that from all the ads I put on the internet this was the only reply means that the part is pretty rare. The only setback is the fact that I didn't take the cost of this part into consideration when making my project budget. I proposed a price which was denied. An upgraded price was also denied and now the seller made me an offer. Since I didn't take these costs into consideration I informed the seller that I would get back to him when I wasn't able to find another one.

 

January 5th 2010: I had no result in the search for another parafan. I made an agreement with the initial seller about the price. I was able to get some discount from the original asking price, now I just need to get the part from Friesland (Northern Province of the Netherlands) to the place I live. Due to the size of the part that won't be easy. I wonder whether the postal services will deliver such big packages. After some e-mail discussion with the seller such it is decided to meet halfway in IJsselstijn at the the New Years reception of the Dutch Alfa Romeo Club VARLN on January 24th.

 

January 24th 2010: The snow is falling down heavily today so the seller e-mails me that it is too dangerous to drive long distances. Too bad but today won't be the day my project will finally get some progress. Now the decision is to send it by mail.

 

February 5th 2010: Today I received a message from the seller that the package was returned by the TNT company. The package was too big for them to handle. Why the $*%"@ they took the package in the first place is completely unclear to me. Not such a good commercial for the TNT company.  Another logistics company will be used. Let's hope this company will not take the part with them and 1 week later return it with the message that it's too big :-)

 

February 17th 2010: Today the package with the parafan arrived. After struggling for some time with shipment of this rather big part now it's finally here. This is the time to get some movement into the project which has been slumbering for some time now. The next step is to get an appointment at the welder. He required to have the part so now I can comply to his requirement.

 

February 20th 2010: Transportation of the part is more difficult then anticipated. The part barely fits my fathers car. After some struggling we managed to get the part in. It shouldn't have been 2cm wider! Now we should get the part into the Giardinetta. It doesn't fit through the quite big boot when opened. It also doesn't fit through the side windows. The only way to get it in is through the front window opening. Now it's time to call the welder and inform him that the required parafan is there and make an appointment. $*%"@ the welder informs me that he no longer does any welding due to an illness. Of course very sad for the welder because there is nothing more precious than your health, but also quite annoying to me. I finally found the required part and now I have to find another welder. Welders used to be everywhere about 10 years ago, now they've become scarce. I approached 3 possible candidates but none of them do this work anymore. I will put an ad on the Dutch Alfa Romeo club forum in the hope to find a welder.

Huge package with parafan.

 

Brand new parafan.

 

Parafan barely fits in my dad's vehicle.

Parafan with package barely fits in my Giardinetta.