The Italian way!
We are all aware of the value a good Lancia Delta has, in the current financial climate not many investment returns can compete with an Integrale.
A while ago I saw a handsome Lord Blue Evo2 for sale at a good price, not wanting to miss a good deal I contacted the vendor. He and his Delta were located in Holland, my wife and I had business across the channel,
so we decided to call in and view the car.
Contact was made and an appointment confirmed, so after our other business we pointed the Hilux for Utrecht to see the Delta. The car was located off the
beaten track, in a substantial working building behind large greenhouses.
The building we were visiting was the parts and service centre of
the Sam Van Lingen Alfa Romeo dealership in Utrecht.
This business had gone bankrupt in 2009, but the service building remained
in the family ownership. Alfa Romeo signs were still on the building,
and Alfa liveried vans in the yard.
The Van Lingen brothers had many years experience of Alfa selling and tuning,
the Van Lingen family now operates a service centre for classic and racing
Alfa Romeos. Some of the experienced technicians from the closed dealership work there, servicing and repairing the lovely old Alfas.
Inside the building was a wonderful scene of brightly finished Alfas in many states of repair. Mr & Mrs Van Lingen's Alfa Montreals were casually parked up, and racks of many new and used spare parts lined the walls.
The technicians are able to repair and rebuild anything Alfa, a lovely rebuilt
Alfa V8 was just finished on a stand ready for installation.
A rebuilt Alfa 2.6ltr V8
The Delta vendor's personal Ferrari project was being stripped down
and rebuilt, this corrosion hit car was going over budget so the Evo2
was being sold to help finance it.
Mr & Mrs Van Lingen's Alfa Montreals.
This Bertone designed car was first exhibited at Expo67 in Montreal, Canada in 1967.
Originally un-named, the public referred to the car
as the Alfa Montreal, and the name stuck.
Another nice Alfa, in a rare colour.
Our Evo2 can just be seen to the right.
I gave the Lord blue Evo2 a good look over, it started easily and it was sound and rust free underneath. It had a stainless exhaust, and the interior and roof lining were in good condition. We test drove the Lancia on the flat, straight rural roads, all was well except the alternator light was showing.
Repair assurances were made and I left a deposit.
A week later I took a train back to Utrecht, the vendor met me at the station and we went to his workshop. The Delta started up well, I made a bank transfer and I owned the car. After sale you have to return a car's licence plates in Holland, so I had bought a set from home for the trip, which we fitted.
The alternator light was annoyingly still on, but the vendor said it was ok, and "always like that". I had a ferry to catch, so couldn't hang around.
The afternoon weather turned bad on the 65km journey to Rotterdam, the battery was losing power, so I used the wipers etc. as little as poss.
I reached the terminal, to great relief! There was a delay, then we boarded the ferry, I lowered the passenger window to hand in my ticket, but the window wouldn't go back up again. I assumed it had stuck on the internal door
crossbar as is usual.
Once parked on the tightly packed car deck I checked in the trunk for tools, there was a wheel brace. I squeezed open the passenger door and pulled the door card off the back clips, with one hand on the window switch and the other inside the door with the wheel brace, I freed the window and wound it up.
Travelling on the highway the charge warning light was intermittent, and the battery voltage
was getting lower.
I had to put the lights on, but no wipers or heater
Pics above of inspecting the Evo2,
generally in a well preserved condition.
It had been looked after.
Driving any car you've just bought is full of uncertainties, an Integrale more than most!
Although this Evo had its share of problems,
it got me home, in great style too.
Once parked up on the ferry I locked the doors and got my tooth brush out of the trunk, I closed the tailgate, and of course it didn't lock. I removed anything valuable in the car, luckily no-one could drive it away!
I chose to sleep in a lounge chair, due to unexpected company in my 4 berth cabin! I spent the night wondering if the Delta would start in the morning, the battery was quite low, but I hoped it would tickle itself up a bit overnight.
I was planning how I would ask the car deck staff for push start, and I wondered how angry the drivers behind me would be!
On UK arrival the engine did start, and me and the Delta tackled the unfamiliar morning rush Hull traffic, heading for the M62.
I didn't stop the engine until we got near home on the other side of England, near enough for public transport anyway! The sun was shining and the Evo ran well over the moors of the M62, it felt good and tight, no rattles and the stainless exhaust singing a pleasant note. Oil and temp were steady, and the seat was comfortable.
Jim in Chester told me he had made the same trip once, with plates like me, but his Delta broke down on the M62. That motorway is lonely place,
and with dodgy plates it's very tense too!
Later on I fitted a new window regulator, and had the alternator serviced.
While in that area of the engine I did the belts etc, and gave the car an oil change. I still have the car, it's a lovely example, and I keep it well wrapped up.
Here's the Evo2 at home, it's a lovely original European car in genuine unmolested condition.
I get a bit annoyed when vendors don't quite tell the truth about a vehicle, you will still buy the car,
but it would be helpful to know what's going to occur.