Projects - 33 1.5 QV 1986 (S1) Complete body restoration

June 2017: I am regularly browsing the Dutch Alfa Romeo club SCARB's forum for interesting stuff. This time a gentleman offers a series 1 Alfa 33 QV restoration object from 1986. Since I like body challenges my interest is quickly raised in this particular vehicle. Series 1 33's are quite rare and this top of the range version, the 1.5 QV currently exists only 4 times in the Netherlands according to the data from the RDW of which 2 cars haven't had a roadworthiness check in many years. When contacting the seller, who offers this car as a serious project or a spare parts donor, I swiftly receive good quality large size pictures which don't leave much room for guessing regarding the seriousness of the extent of the rust to the body, but I'm still very tempted to take on this challenge. The seller doesn't beat around the bush and the pictures show the rust damage clearly.


June 27th, sales ad on Dutch Alfa Romeo club SCARB forum.


June 27th, sales ad on Dutch Alfa Romeo club SCARB forum.


June 30th, picture received from seller, not looking too bad.


Hatch door clearly in need of attention or potentially complete replacement.


Right hand side showing serious pest on the rear wing and both doors.


Odometer showing mileage of 173.561 km which is not too much considering the cars age and the LPG fuel.


Obstinate interior typical for the series one Alfa 33 apparently in pretty good shape.


July 3rd, car purchase finalised after visiting and looking at the extent of the rust damage.


I make an arrangement with the seller that the car is reserved for me and I will soon go and take a look before making a final decision to purchase it or not. On July 3rd it's the day to go and take a look. The car is located pretty far away relatively close to Emmen in the Netherlands. When reviewing the car in person, the good quality pictures which I received from the seller presented a pretty good image of the actual status. All 4 doors have severe rust damage at the bottom section and some as well on the top. The rear fenders on both sides show extensive rust as well as the front ones. The hatch door also requires mending. As a desert the sills on the right and left hand side are almost obliterated as well. All in all a fair amount of body work to be done. As opposed to the poor state of the body the interior is in good to very good condition. The 1.5 QV specific lantern in the driver side door is even present and in perfect status. The driver seat needs some small repair work, but nothing serious. The interior has not been tempered with, with the small exception of the speakers which are in the front door cards and the switch for the LPG fuel. The current owner is only the second owner and stored the car for a long time now with the intent to restore once time would become available. That time however never came and now the owner needs to sell it because he's moving to a new place without storage space for a car. The original Dutch license plates (pre Euro license plate era) are with the car but no registration papers. The pretty immaculate state of the 1.5 QV specific interior convinces me that this original Dutch car is worth saving.

After completing the sale I contact the Dutch license registration office (RDW) to check if I can obtain the original Dutch number even though this vehicle is no longer registered anymore for several years. I get a confirmation that with a relatively small effort the original Dutch license plate number according to the current valid European standard can be retrieved, that's a nice cherry on top of the cake. The mileage is 173.561 km, that's not much for a vehicle like this one which is/was running on LPG. The interior which makes a fresh impression confirms that image. Whether I will keep the LPG or not I haven't decided yet.

Today, July 27th, is the day to pick up the car. Another travel to the province of Drenthe. This time with a Landrover of a pal as a towing vehicle and a car trailer. For the Landrover this load is of course no issue. On the way back when looking in the rearview mirror


Car on the trailer, ready for take off.


First series 33 1.5 QV seen through rear window of Landrover towing vehicle.


LPG specific air filter box in between the 2 double carburettors, not sure yet if the LPG appliances will be kept.


LPG switch in the interior, enough time to consider whether I will keep it or not.


Interior upholstery (seats & floor) which is 1st series QV specific in amazing condition.


Door cards in good addition, only added speakers.


The driver side door even contains the first series QV specific "flash light".


With exception of the steering wheel which shows some surface rust and wear on the leather the interior is almost pristine.


When this project will commence is unclear and when it will end is even more unclear, but I don't want to let this chance go by to save such an interesting car. I promised the previous owner that I will restore it and not demolish it and sell it in pieces. I keep my promises so at one point in time it will be up and running again. The former owner took the effort of keeping this cool vehicle alive for so many years with the intent to restore it, now that task is up to me.

September 2017: I found all required sheet metal parts at one address so no need to beat around the bush and I decide to take it all. All of the parts are original Alfa Romeo NOS (New Old Stock) and therefore in immaculate status. There is no sense in repairing the rust affected sections because that will be too labour intensive. My 156 SportWagon fits the majority of the parts. I leave the 4 doors for a next time, I don't want to take the risk of transportation damage. The loot consists out of the rear wings/sidewalls (left & right), the sills (left & right), the front wings and all 4 doors. Having one address for all sheet metal parts is very convenient because it will save me dealing with numerous sources which can bring hassle and it saves shipping costs because the majority of available material is located in Italy or Germany. Normally I'm not a big fan of repair panels because the fit is often doubtful and mostly have to made to size, this time the circumstances are different however. The rust damage is so severe that it will take a unrealistic amount of time to repair it and all these repair panels are official Alfa Romeo parts and not some sort of aftermarket parts which hopefully ensures a proper fit with no or little need for adjustments. I will see when the work on the car commences. One good example of the fit issue is that aftermarket repair panels for the sills do not contain the upward section at the rear end. That section however is vital to get the original geometry and a proper fit.


156 SportWagon pretty packed with NOS official repair panels.


Nice loot or not? All repair panels official Alfa Romeo NOS parts which hopefully results into a nice fit.

Rear wings (lh & rh) sills (lh & rh) and front wings (lh & rh), looking pristine. Doors will come next time.

Very cool part number and logo marking on one of the NOS repair panels.


Both front doors are the next parts to transport. Two doors is the maximum which fits my 156 SportWagon to ensure no transportation damage. The doors with their original stamp marking and label marking look pretty cool. It's almost a shame to use them, but I'll do that anyway. When putting these doors alongside the 33 the difference is so obvious it's mind boggling. The remaining 2 rear doors will be picked up at the next convenient opportunity.


2 doors fit safely into the 156 SportWagon.


Labelling of the left hand front door.

Labelling of the right hand front door.


When lining up the NOS doors with the car the difference is obvious.

Repair of this crispy left hand front door is theoretically possible, but makes little sense.


January 2018: Looking for NOS body parts is fun and frustrating at the same time. A bonnet I found at the Dutch auction website "Marktplaats" for a very cheap price even I don't have a explicit necessity for it so it wasn't difficult to decide to buy it. The trunk however for the type 1 & 2 33's (till 1990) is quite difficult to find, but I did find one now in the middle of the Netherlands in the vicinity of Utrecht. The price is very different from the bonnet but since the trunk on my car will take a whole lot of effort to bring back to "as new" condition I will take this opportunity and buy it. Picking it up was an interesting event itself. The gentlemen selling it are Alfa enthusiasts whose hobby got a bit out of hand. It's amazing to see the amount of NOS parts they have gathered over the years. The bonnet is in a quite different part of the Netherlands, I will pick it up when an opportunity arises to do so. Now the only necessary NOS body part missing is the section between the rear lights. The gentlemen near Utrecht have this particular part also on stock NOS, but currently the hobby budget has run out so that will have to wait till a next opportunity. All in all it's amazing what I've been able to source as NOS parts for the bodywork, it's almost a complete body in the mean time.


A NOS bonnet for a really affordable price on the Dutch auction website "Marktplaats".


The factory original sticker on the left side still available, pretty neat, especially if you consider the price.


NOS trunk on top of current one, I can detect some small differences ;-), can you??



NOS trunk on top of current one, not a difficult choice which one to go for.

The NOS trunk looks somewhat more solid I guess.



The factory original stamp on the NOS trunk compared to the rust damage on the current one.

February 2018: After almost completing my quest for NOS body parts it's time for the next phase of the project. The first hurdle to take is to regain the original Dutch licence plates that belong to this car. In the Netherlands the licence plates belong to a car and therewith you can determine from the licence plates when the vehicle was first registered. This often closely correlates to the building date. Since this car was taken off the road a long time ago the original plates have become invalid due to inactivity. In order to get the original plates valid again I need to go to an official RDW (Dutch Road Registration) office to have the VIN validated and correlated to the vehicle. These appointments you can make online and so I did for the end of February. I never experienced this before so lets see what this "confirmation" will consist out of.


Appointment with the RDW to get the original licence plates activated again.

Last update: February 21st 2018  

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