Text by Bert Kanters
Bert Kanters from the
Netherlands owns and drives Alfasuds since he has been 18 years old. After an
Alfasud Ti series III and a Sprint 1.5 QV he bought the Alfasud you can see on
this page in 1996. It is originally an
August 1982 red 1.5 QO. He had seen this car driving when it was still red.
Later he heard some guy had it,
At the front, yellow Koni shock absorbers were mounted together with shortened original springs in Sprint struts, because those are shorter. Bert even lengthened the struts at the bottom by 2 cm for extra suspension travel. That way the bumpstops are almost never hit, enough suspension travel in the front ensures good grip. All the rubber bushes were replaced by PE suspension bushes and the thicker anti roll bar of the Alfasud series I replaced the original one.
The Sud now has a real stiff rear suspension with the springs of an Opel Rekord stationwagon cut in halves and Ferrari 308 Koni shock absorbers. In addition, nylon bushes were installed in the linkages. Bert had them made at his job 10 years ago - they show no sign of wear until today. They are solid without flex, they only allow rotating movement and this means if one wheel travels up the axle gets twisting force and this makes the axle act like an anti roll bar.
The Alfasud stands on BMW Alpina (Ronal) 7x15 wheels. Bert redrilled the cone and shaped part of the holes to compensate for the 1 mm difference and enlarged the centre hole by 0.5 mm to fit over the Sud hub. They have an offset for the old BMW 3-series, ET15, barely fits in the front. In the rear Bert added 15 mm spacers which makes them offset 0. On the pictures it still has 2x5 mm spacers each side from old Fiats 127. 195/45 Dunlop tyres were mounted on the rims. They are very narrow more like 175 "but that's only good for clearance and driveability", Bert tells. Bert also has a set of Revolution 7.5x14 rims with 225/40 tyres. "But that's not fun anymore, nothing to play, no oversteer on demand".
The front lights share not one part with original Alfasud Ti system: Hella DE main lights from a BMW 7-series made in the end of the Eighties were mounted. The inner fender had to be enlarged for this modification because the Hella lights are much longer. Bert bought new Siem high beam lights but by mistake dropped both on the floor so that the lenses broke. So he adapted the lenses from some rusty BMW lights he had laying around... The front indicator lights were replaced against Suzuki Alto indicators with running lights.
After all the mechanical and technical modifications were done Bert fitted the doors. Many hours of sanding followed, not much welding though. Bert lengthened the bonnet a little to close the huge gap that Suds always have. Bert also wanted to mount a new not original front wing. He kicked in it with his steel nosed shoes because after 2 days of trying cutting and reshutting it still wouldn't fit. The paint he chosed was Ultra Marine Blue form the RAL card (number RAL 5002). He thought it was a rather dark serious blue colour but that turned out other way... Bert painted under the hood and the door jambs with a brush, on the outside he used 2-pack. He got four litres (a gallon) for 100 Euro from ebay including two litres of hardener and one litre of thinner. Bert sprayed it in the open on a fresh autumn day with sun but wet ground so there was no dust. However some 100 bugs flew into the paint. After the paint hardened he sanded it smooth, first with 1200 grid paper then 2000 grid, then he polished the paint with Commandant nr 4. The bugs were turned into hardly visible pits by then. The Martini inspired striping had to be there as this car was not meant to be serious. Bert used Porsche Indian red that he had left over from when he sprayed the Ferrari (...), the light blue was done with a roller brush from a can. When he first pushed the car outside and parked it between other, modern, cars that are almost always grey or black or some dark metallic colour Bert thought, my god what have I done as the blue on his Sud almost looked radioactive, it is that vivid. Sometimes it is light blue, then dark blue and even purple or violet when the sun is low and red. Now he is used to it and has fun driving the Sud. It looks much better than planned as it was a low budget, low effort project, the painted wing extensions and bumpers make it look very modern and "tuned". By the way, the sill extensions are 2mm thick steel U-profiles welded on. Bert thinks they made the car a little stiffer. When he jacks up the car behind the front wheel, the rear wheel lifts ground first. Further Bert installed racing bucket seats, bought from a guy in Belgium that couldn't fit them in his Opel GT. He also made aluminium door panels, "looks cool and makes the speakers sound very well", Bert says. The sound from a speaker in each door and a subwoofer is very, very good for not much money. A 150 Euro Sony mp3 CD-player with 4x50 watts and some cheap subwoofer amplifier claimed 300 watts do the job perfectly well. Bert turned the spare wheel upside down and the woofer fitted in the hollow part of the wheel, mounted on a plank so there is no sacrifice in luggage room. A cheap remote central locking system was installed, too. It works perfectly, Bert can recommend it to everyone because it saves you the hassle with the flimsy Sud door key mechanism.
In 2006 Bert added further modifications. Meanwhile the 1.7 litre engine showed signs of age and made some noises which made a replacement a sensible thing. Bert decided to look for a 1.7 litre 16V engine. He could find an overhauled one in the near Belgium. This engine had not been installed into a car after the overhaul. Bert bought it. The engine came with new platinum spark plugs, hydraulic tappets, piston rings and newly honed cylinders. Bert reworked the outer appearance of this engine and gave it new paint including read cylinder head covers.
Of course Bert wanted to modify this engine to achieve a
higher power output. He removed the fuel injection system and replaced it
against the 40 IDF Weber carburettors of the 1.7 litre 8V engine. He installed
the overhauled carburettors on specially made adaptors together with K&N sport
air cleaners which were actually intended to work on a Renault 19 engine.
Bert had to do some further work to make the 16V engine fit into the
Alfasud's engine bay. The water pump pully on the crank shaft of the 16V engine
has three rings in order to drive the belts of the alternator / water pump, air
condition and power steering pump. The Alfasud' pully has only one ring. So Bert
had to shorten the 16V version by two rings. Then, the front crossmember of the
Alfasud had to be replaced
the one of an Alfa 33 16V because otherwise the larger cylinder heads would have
made the install impossible. Together with the new crossmember came the anti-roll bar of the 33 16V which has a different shape than the one of the Alfasud.
The 33's manifold also had to be reworked to make it fit to the Alfasud's floorplan. The problem was that the original layout of every Alfa 33 manifold made it impossible to use it with the inboard front discs of the Alfasuds. So Bert cut it in several single parts and changed some of the tube's angles.
Bert plans to drive this Sud forever, if it crashes, burns or gets stolen he wants to build another one.
Meanwhile Bert changed a lot of components on his Alfasud. Read the news here.
Contact Bert: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Update: May, 19th 2011 Created: December, 16th 2005
© Layout by Tim Rauen. Photos and text by Bert Kanters.