Lightning Bug Cars

1959 Alfa Romeo Touring Spider 2000

Home Projects

1959 Alfa Romeo Touring Spider 2000

I bought the Alfa in 1987 out of a wrecking yard for $600. Little did I know that the car had been sitting with a leaky top for 10 years. I towed it home, put the top down, stepped into the car and fell rigth through the floor. Everything from midway up the rocker panels was rusted out. I spent the next year cutting and welding in new floor boards, frame rails and rocker panels.

31 Dec 2005

Fitting a 1963 Oldsmobile 215 ci aluminum block V8.

27 Aug 2006

Prepping the car for bodywork.

26 May 2007

The bodywork begins.

07 06 June 2007

Primed and ready to paint.

09 July 2007

Fresh paint!

11 Aug 2007

The engine had some oil starvation issues so I fabbed up a new oil pan with baffles and increased the capacity to 7qts up fron 4.

02 Sept 2007

Finishing up welding the oilpan.

16 Sept 2007

Installing the oilpan.

25 June 2008

The original tires for this car were 165/75x400 which translates to 165/75x15.75". It's hard to find decent tires in that size unless you're willing to pay $400 per tire for substandard vintage tires. I took the original wheel centers and had new 16x7" rims welded to the centers. Now I can get rid of the cheesy Enkei cheapo wheels and have the correct looking wheels with modern tires all for less than the price of two vintage tires. win, win!

Sept 2009

California Melee 2009

Sept 2010

California Melee 2010

Sept 2011

California Melee 2011
We lost our hydraulic throwout bearing by lunch of the first day...drove the remaining 800+ miles with no clutch.

Sept 2012

California Melee 2012
This rally didn't end well! All the oil leaked out of the differential over the course of the rally and the diff seized after 850 miles, just 25 miles from home. I ended up replacing the stock differential with a Ford 9" limited slip diff, overkill for this car/engine, out of a 1970 Mercury Cougar that I bought 25 years ago to put into the Alfa but never got around to it...necessity is the mother of invention. I used most of the stock suspension pickups but switched from the Alfa 3 link, 2 lower trailing arms, one top control arm, to a 3 link with a panhard rod. It made a big difference adding the panhard rod, removing the Alfa upper control arm and replacing it with a trailing arm, this lowered the roll center of the rear suspension by 6"!

Sept 2013

California Melee 2013
Ran the whole rally with no problems. The differential worked flawlessly but it was a bit loud. I'm using the stock rubber bushings on the lower trailing arms to the differential and 1/2" chrome-moly rod ends for the upper radius rod to the differential. The chrome-moly rod ends transmitted all the diff noise right into the chassis so we had to listen to the loud whine of the diff for 900 miles...ugh! I think I'm going to replace the chrome-moly rod ends with some Sealsit rubber rod ends, should buffer the diff from the chassis.

02 May 2014

It looks as though the Sealsit rubber rod end wasn't up to the task for the upper radius rod on the new 3 link rear suspension, although I may have asked too much of's only a 1/2" rod end in a 2600# car with a 200# differential. However the standard 1/2" chromoly rod end held up fine, no worse for wear, they were just too loud.

30 August 2014

I made a new upper radius arm for the Alfa with 5/8" rod ends and 7/8" dom tube to replace the 1/2"-rod end 3/4" dom tube. I tried using a 5/8" Sealsit rubber rod but it couldn't handle the load so I guess I'll have to live with the diff noise.

Sept 2014

California Melee 2014
Another great year! The new upper radius rod worked flawlessly albeit a bit noisy

Day 1

Day 2