December 2011 Continued welding


December 6th: The reversing light bracket which was hand made by the welder in April 2011 will be finished by adding the required holes. 3 holes are required apparently. 1 hole is required for the threaded stud of the back-up light itself and 1 is required as an anti-rotation feature for the back-up light. The third holes is a slotted hole of which the purpose is unclear to me. Possibly it serves as a wire guidance hole? Anyway thanks to the Dutch Giardinetta owner who providing this information so the bracket can be made in the original specification. With these holes added the bracket can be positioned on the rear valance. The same gentleman who provided the info for the holes also informed me the proper position. My car did not have this bracket anymore so the only way to get the vehicle back in original condition is by receiving information from fellow Giardinetta owners. Putting the bracket in place is a piece of cake for the welder. After grinded the excess weld material away in the bracket the rear end of the car is now complete. All things which had to be done are done now.

3 holes added to front of back-up light bracket.


Position for bracket sketched on rear valance.


Bracket plug welded to rear valance.

Bracket welded to rear valance, excess welds grinded away.

Additionally some square profiles arrived. These profiles will serve as a stiffener frame during the roof replacement. As you can imagine removing the roof has a major impact on the stiffness of the car. The stiffener bars will keep the original dimensions for the width during the time there is no roof. With some craftsmanship these bars are pre-bent to suit the vehicle geometry.

Square profiles which will serve as a stiffener frame for the roof.

Square profiles pre-bent to suit the vehicle geometry.

The original holes in the luggage room which were welded shut last month due to my poor communication to the welder will be re-opened. A good lesson for me. What's in my head is not necessarily in the welder's head so clear communication is essential. Hopefully this was the last of my communication issues. The holes are re-opened by first drilling a hole with a 10mm drill and then tracing the original size of the hole with a compass. Another fairly easy task for the surgeon. The holes on the left hand and right hand side are restored in no time.

Accidentally welded shut hole on lh-side of luggage compartment.


Hole drilled and original hole size traced with compass.


Hole back in original specification on lh-side of luggage compartment.


December 7th 2011: Today the stiffener frames for the roof will be assembled and put in position on the right hand and left hand side. These frames will be welded to the body to ensure the body doesn't change width when the roof is removed and the stiffness of the body will drop drastically. Now that these stiffener frames are welded in position you mistakenly judge my Giardinetta as a race version (hahahaha).

Stiffener frames to keep original width during roof removal welded in position.

Stiffener frames to keep original width during roof removal welded in position.

The second item to do today is to get the yellow coloured donor roof (vehicle AS*5001471*904B) from its storage position and start the initial work on it. Since the roof was picked up in February 2011 it has been in storage so the amount of dust an dirt gathered is quite something. After roughly cleaning the roof the spot welds on the rear end near the C-pillar section are drilled out. The same applies for the front section near the A-pillar. These drilled holes will be filled with welding material once it will join the body.

Donor roof due to large size positioned on home made work bench.

Donor roof rear section spot welds drilled out.

December 22nd: Accurate measurement of several dimensions is extremely important to keep the original geometry of the vehicle after replacement of the roof. Luckily the welder is a detailed and I therefore have full confidence that my Giardinetta will return in its original condition after this complicated task. After measuring some tapes are attached to the pillars to indicate the positions of measurement. This may look like an easy task, but it requires a high level of accuracy to get a good end result. The first section of the roof that will be cut away is the front section above the windshield. The view looks pretty strange with this material removed. The pain staking process of measurement of the original roof continues ........

Measurement of original windshield height.


Original roof cut away above windshield, strange sight.


Tape attached to A-pillar after measurement.

Measurement of distance from stiffener frame to original roof.

December 23rd: Today the final measurement of the original roof will be done and tapes will be added as markings. Once that is finished the measurement on the donor roof will start to get the same values for the distance. Some dimensions are made with an excess on the donor roof. This is done to ensure a proper fit to the body. Removing material is easier then to add a lot of welding material because the donor roof is too small.

Tape added to B-pillar as marking after measurement.


Tape markings on donor roof at A-pillar after measurement.


Tape marking on donor roof at B-pillar after measurement.


Now the exciting task of removing the original roof is on the schedule. I'm happy I'm far away during this operation. Even though I have 100% confidence in the capabilities and craftsmanship of the surgeon, but this task is definitely something I would never have the courage for. After removal of the roof the only 2 small portions remaining are at the front section above the windshield and at the rear section near the C-pillar. It is very weird to see a Giardinetta without roof. I hope this sight won't last long. The welder maintains a log of his activities on the Dutch Alfa Romeo club SCARB forum. He funnily changed the name of the topic "project sud giardinetta cabrio" which translates into Giardinetta convertible. Even though basically funny I sincerely hope this forum topic title will be changed again soon. Personally I'm not a big fan of convertibles for myself.

Original roof removed, what a strange sight.


Original roof removed, now a Giardinetta Spider appears.


Original roof removed, what a huge sunroof hole.


Welder's project log on Dutch Alfa Romeo club SCARB forum stating a Giardinetta cabrio "convertible".

December 25th 2011: The donor roof has a severely rust affected section at the rear end near the C-pillar, that's why the welder will remove this section. The inner part, where the weld nuts for the boot hinge attachment are located, will be removed and the original section of my Giardinetta will be used.

Donor roof with severe rust at rear end near C-pillar.


Complete inner section of donor roof  will be removed due to rust damage.


Donor roof with inner section removed at rear end. This looks much healthier.


After the removal of the rust affected areas it's time for the initial trial fit. The B-pillar fits nicely. A small amount of welding material is required to fill the gap between the B-pillar and the donor roof. The A- & C-pillar require some additional trimming. The sections are purposely made too big to make fine tuning regarding trimming possible. Making these sections too small would result in big issues because the curves of the roof are very hard to imitate by bending sheet metal yourself. During the initial trial fit markings are made to determine where the donor roof still requires trimming. After some iterations the donor roof fits very snug at the A-, B- & C-pillar. Very detailed work which not only requires craftsmanship, but also a fair amount of perseverance and patience.

Good with wit very small gap at B-pillar, no iteration required.


C-Pillar sections still needs some adjustment.


Iteration of rear end of donor roof regarding size.


Amazingly snug fit at C-pillar after hard work from welder.


Quite some major sections of material cut away at C-pillar area. Donor roof ready for welding.

Removed material from donor roof.

The donor roof has holes drilled at the front and rear sections to replicate the original spot welds. Such kind of details make this welder into a true craftsman. He's not only fixing the damage, but he is putting the car back in a condition as close as possible to the original. Before the actual welding of the roof will start a thorough final check is made regarding the fit. Just to be sure nothing is missing. Once the welding starts there is no turning back.

Fit of donor roof near A-pillar.


Fit of donor roof at B-pillar.


Fit of donor roof at C-pillar.

What a beautiful sight, a roof without a hole.

December 26th 2011: The magic moment has come. The donor roof will be joined with my Giardinetta. I really detest the fashion of the eighties and nineties to add sunroofs to a car. Possibly the comfort is increased slightly, but the beautiful lines of a vehicle are violated by a glass surface in my opinion. Exchanging the roof is of course a huge task, but I think it's well worth the amount of effort and money to restore into its original condition.

The welding starts from the C-pillar. To be honest I have no idea why the welding order starts at the C-pillar. The only thing I can imagine is that the welds at this section are the longest and therefore the most important. Since these welds are the longest the weld distortion caused by this operation is more easily to compensate at the B- & A-pillar then vice versa. That's just my guess. I will ask the welder when I have a chance. After welding the C-pillar sections the excess weld bead is grinded away as usual and the bare metal treated with the "coroles" orange coloured anti-corrosive coating. What a superb end result. Once the C-pillar is finished the B-pillar is done. Compared to the C-pillar this operation is probably easier but still requires meticulous attention. What is noticeable for me is the fact that the weld of the B-pillar on the vehicle inside have a black coating or this is some kind of discolouration? Something I have to ask the welder if I don't forget. As for all welding work done so far the excess material is grinded away to make a flush fit and the bare metal treated with the famous orange coating. After these operations the welder is tired and calls it a day. I can surely understand that, especially because of the amount of concentration required to get a good end result. The A-pillars will have to wait till the welder has found some inspiration again. I guess this is it for the month of December. Significant progress has been made and a great thanks goes out to the surgeon for his excellent quality of work. Another great thing is that the title of the welder's log on the Dutch Alfa club forum changed swiftly changed into "ex cabrio" which translates into "ex convertible".

Donor roof welded to C-pillar and rear end. Excess weld material grinded down.

Donor roof welded to C-pillar and rear end. Excess weld material grinded down.


Roof inside at C-pillar. Welded & excess weld material grinded down.


Welded C-pillar treated with anti-corrosive coating.


Welded roof rear end treated with anti-corrosive coating.


Welded roof inside at C-pillar treated with anti-corrosive coating.


Donor roof welded to B-pillar. Excess weld material grinded down.


Welded roof to B-pillar treated with anti-corrosive coating.

Donor roof welded to B-pillar on vehicle inside. Excess weld material grinded down.

Welded roof to B-pillar. Coating applied to welds or discolouration?


Welded roof to B-pillar on vehicle inside. Treated with anti-corrosive coating.



Welder's project log on Dutch Alfa Romeo club SCARB forum topic name changed into Giardinetta ex cabrio "ex convertible".

December 28th 2011: Luckily for me the surgeon has found some inspiration to continue the work on the roof. Today the donor roof will be welded to the A-pillars. The same procedure as applied to the C- & B-pillar will be used for these final 2 connections of the roof to the body. Compared to the C-pillar this task is of course less complicated but it's definitely not an easy task. After welding the excess welding material is grinded down to create a smooth surface and the anti-corrosive coating is applied to the bare metal. There is still some work to do on the right hand side of the roof at the passenger side A-pillar because some rust affected material is available there, but that will most probably be done in 2012. During 2011 major progress has been made and the body is approaching the final welding operations.

Opemimg between lh A-pillar & donor roof which will be filled with weld.


Lh A-pillar - roof connection after grinding away excess weld material.

Rh A-pillar - roof connection after grinding away excess weld material.

Lh A-pillar - roof connection treated with anti-corrosive coating.