Indraja's and Linas' Sprint 1.5 Grand Prix
There are Alfasuds and Sprints in Africa, South America and of course in Australia. But would you have imagined that a Sprint has found the way to Lithuania?Well, this Sprint was presumably sold as a new car in Germany. It is a Sprint 1.5 Grand Prix, a special edition of the Sprint 1.5 QV created by the German Alfa
Romeo importer. This one was built in 1984. It must have found its way to the East in the 90s when the iron curtain opened. At that time many, many trucks full of old, damaged or crashed cars went from Germany to the East where many people finally wanted to have something else than a Lada or Wolga... This Sprint was one of the cars. It was bought by a young woman. After a year she decided to sell the car because there were some repairs to do she could not afford. Selling the rusty Sprint was not easy and so the car stood on the road for a year - nobody wanted to have it. In order to make it more interesting, the owner then decided to give the Sprint a respray.
The “masters” who painted the car lost a lot or interior parts. They needed another year to finish their "painting” work, but still the car was looking sadly. After all, the owner tried to sell the car again. The new paint of the car had already become satin, and the interior of the car was damaged by the sun because the car had been standing outside for all the time
Linas and his wife Indraja bought the car in 1997. The only drove it for one year because the engine diedone autumn morning. Fortunately they did not throw the car away. Linas and Indraja decided to put the car into a garage and started to search for a new engine. While searching for a new engine they decided to restore the complete car. "Yes, the car was terribly rusty, but it was painted not so long ago, before we bought it. So everything was hidden under a layer of paint. We have been driving our car few months, and only after the winter we saw the rust.", Linas said. Many body panels had to be rebuilt. In Lithuania there are still craftsmen who know how to do that. And of course, this work is affordable compared to West European prices.
The dashboard was damaged by some kind of glue, or maybe even by the heater the "painters" had used to dry the fresh paint. So Linas and Indraja covered the dashboard with “eko leather”. It is an artificial material which looks like natural leather. They also had to replace the seat's fabrics because the original fabrics were damaged with cigarette holes, oil and mould. In addition, the driver's seat was ripped. Earlier (about 5 – 10 years ago), there were some other Sprints in Lithuania. Most of them died in a crash and their owners tried to sell the parts which were not damaged by the crash. The seats have always been sold first! And Linas and Indraja missed up.
Meanwhile they also had found a replacement for the old 1.5 litre engine of the Sprint. It was a 1.7 IE engine which was taken out of an Alfa 33. Linas adapted the carburettors of the 1.5 litre Sprint engine to the 1.7 IE cylinder heads.
After two years and a lot of work, the car was back on the road again. Nearly all the spares, the couple needed were bought at local Alfa Romeospare parts dealers, but some parts they needed were not available by Alfa Romeo anymore so they had to spare parts of other cars they adapted to the Sprint. There is a small but strong Alfa Romeo club in Lithuania whose president is Linas. In the club there are some members who have their own business on trading used Alfa Romeo parts. You can visit the club's website at www.alfaklubas.lt.
Last Update: May, 27th 2004 Created: April, 20th 2004
© Layout and text by Tim Rauen. Photos by Indraja and Linas.