mahai None
Nov. 27, 2010 12:39 a.m.

Hi folks, I'm new to car renovation but I have always loved the Alfa Romeo Veloce and/or 2000. I'm also a big fan of the MGB.

In your opinion, which one do you think I should tackle for my first car? Which one is easier to work on? How about parts availability? Costs? Support? Etc.?

Thanks for your input!


redstack New Reader
Nov. 27, 2010 12:42 a.m.

In reply to mahai:

seems to me that Classic Motorsports did a good article on this, I believe it's online at their site..

I recently drove a friends beater mgb and had to admit that it was kind of fun, this from a guy with a supercharged miata.. No comparison but still fun in a tractor make it work sort of way.

I'd like to test out an Alfa to compare.

BobOfTheFuture HalfDork
Nov. 27, 2010 12:49 a.m.

You can build a new MGB from 2 catalogues, Moss Motors and Victoria-British.

I live in NY and any tune up part was a day away by mail. Some heavier parts, but not many, were 4 days away, shipped from cali by Moss.

I found that many parts were run by mom and pop parts stores. You can find out online how to run a Saturn alt on the MGB motor, super easy mod.

I dont know Alfa's but my vote is MG

oldtin HalfDork
Nov. 27, 2010 2:17 a.m.

Alfas are secksier - MGs are easier. Sills are the toughest rust fix on an MG - not that they're difficult - it's a well documented fix. They made half a million MGBs - so that one gets the nod on most survivors - cheapness and a good sized community They can also do well in vintage racing - E production I think.

aeronca65t Dork
Nov. 27, 2010 5:10 a.m.

Both nice cars, but , as stated, MGs are far more common. And even the tricky repairs are well-documented. I can get a lot of my MG parts at Autozone.

I've driven both and they're both fun (if in decent shape). I have a slight preference for the MG even though it is more primitive. Maybe because it's also a bit lighter.

~This~ in mine.

ddavidv SuperDork
Nov. 27, 2010 6:07 a.m.

I've driven both, and suggest you do the same before you decide. They are vastly different cars in feel, ergonimics and performance. Build quality of the B is much poorer. Alfa has the better engine and nicer suspension. B has the best transmission. Alfa has the better top. B has the parts availability and is more affordable to restore. Neither car should be bought if it's got rust issues. The Alfa is harder to get body parts for.

If these two float your boat you should also consider the Fiat 124 Spider which is a great alternative. Cheaper than the Alfa, better performance and roomier than the MG.

LainfordExpress New Reader
Nov. 27, 2010 6:30 a.m.

Neither, Fiat 124 Spider for me. Better looking than both of the other two, and 1980+ have the same looks with four wheel disc brakes and electronic fuel injection.

PS122 Reader
Nov. 27, 2010 7:50 a.m.

My dad had a Spider and while i like MGs, there is something about an AR that just captures you. My choice would be an early Spider with Webers. Second choice would be a late Spider with Motronic injection... like this: And before someone else says it, "yes Miata is the answer".

STS_ZX2 New Reader
Nov. 27, 2010 9:17 a.m.

No one said 'Miata'. Wierd.

Keith SuperDork
Nov. 27, 2010 12:52 p.m.

My MGB has a lot of Miata parts in it

If you're a purist (or like to be surrounded by them), get the Alfa. People are much more used to terrible things being done to MGs, so they're more tolerant of people with imagination.

mahai New Reader
Nov. 27, 2010 1:02 p.m.

You guys are awesome! Thanks for your input!

Woody SuperDork
Nov. 27, 2010 8:05 p.m.

Nobody asked, but a Miata is a great way to determine whether or not you're really a two seat convertible type. For $2500 (or less) you can be on the road tomorrow and finding out for yourself, for less money and time than it would take to bring an older sports car back up to snuff.

Nov. 27, 2010 8:07 p.m.

Seriously... you have to build one of these. Jump right in - nothing can even really go wrong.

irish44j HalfDork
Nov. 27, 2010 9:39 p.m.

Out of curiosity, any reason a Triumph Spitfire isn't in your comparison? A Spit 1500 should be around as quick as the B, even easier to work on (is that possible?) thanks to the cantilevered hood that comes up with the fenders, alot of them were built in various generations, you can upgrade some parts with GT6 bits, there is a ton of aftermarket (relatively-speaking), and I'd say (just guessing) that they are even more common in vintage racing than the B is.

Nov. 27, 2010 10:01 p.m.

I don't know if it would matter to me. Just make sure you find one with no or very little rust or you will spend a lot of time shouting E36 M3 and berkeley.

ddavidv SuperDork
Nov. 28, 2010 6:55 a.m.

The Spit is far more comparable to a Midget than a B. It's a very cramped little car in comparison, and is loaded with fragile bits. I had no trouble dispatching them back in the day with my 1438cc Fiat 124, the slowest one of the lot. The Spit is a neat car, but it plays in a different field.

Nov. 28, 2010 7:40 a.m.

They are both old crocks that entertai because of the fact. Believe it or not, they are at their best when in good stock condition. Took me about 30 years to figure this out with MGBs. Course I am gona stuff a 302 in there eventually!

The Alfa will be a bit more expensive to own. If you need rust repair, proper proceedures are not as available as for the MGB. The road to doing sills and floors on a B is well travelled and you should have no trouble gonig down the road.

Best car to buy regardless is a five year old restoration where the owner wants to move on. If the car was used on a regular basis, it should be sorted. The owner will be taking a big hit on this car: your gain. The best news is that since the PO took the "resto depreciation" hit, you could drive thecar for five years and sell it for exactly (or more) than you paid for it. Try that with a new car.

aeronca65t Dork
Nov. 28, 2010 9:27 a.m.
NOHOME wrote: ......Best car to buy regardless is a five year old restoration where the owner wants to move on.....


Also, having owned Spitfires and Midgets (and Minis), I do think Spits are a bit roomier than Midgets. If you're not a real big person, they can be just as acceptable as MGBs or ALFAs. I agree...they are a bit more fragile (especially trans & final drive). Plus they can be spooky to drive at 10/10ths due to the rear suspension.

And it depends on your ability to deal with (or modify) smaller cars too. I'm 6' and 200 lbs (and in my late 50s) and I prefer Spridgets (Midgets-Sprites) over all of the cars above (including my own street MGB).

~Here~ is a nice drive in my very mild 1500 Spridget.

(it ain't all about big power )

Keith SuperDork
Nov. 28, 2010 12:16 p.m.
aeronca65t wrote: (it ain't all about big power )

I dunno, I've been driving my MG around this weekend after the big power transplant - and it's been a lot of fun

Nov. 28, 2010 12:25 p.m.
aeronca65t wrote: ~Here~ is a nice drive in my very mild 1500 Spridget. (it ain't all about big power )

Very cool. That didn't look like SVRA - who were you racing with?

aeronca65t Dork
Nov. 28, 2010 1:04 p.m.
Keith wrote: I dunno, I've been driving my MG around this weekend after the big power transplant - and it's been a lot of fun worries. I had a P1800 with a 289 Ford and 4 speed. Big power can be fun too.

But these days, I'm more of a momentum I'm sure you know, there's lots of different ways to have fun with cars.

GPSnokel: I race with VRG.

We help run the Pittsburgh Vintage, the Jefferson 500, the New Hampshire Vintage and several others neat events. A very low-key, vintage club aimed at folks who "get" that vintage racing is all about just having fun.

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