500 (Classic) 500F Rebuild


This may be the shortest rebuild thread here. It is going to be a race to the end of the project or to the end of the funds. I am sure there are those of you who know what I mean.

I have owned the car for about 24 years, I did a quick rebuild/tidy when I purchased it. Used it as my daily drive for about 14 years and then took it off the road about 10 years ago. (There is more to this story but this will have to suffice for now.)

In the last month I have done a parts strip and have almost finished the paint strip so that I can ship the body off to my panelbeater. If I don’t do what I can do myself then the car will sit for another ten years.


Joe R

24 years ago (Free delivery!)

About 15 years ago

1 Month ago


Now for a quick quiz. Found this on the roof. I think I know the letters and numbers and I have a theory on what it all means. Chocolate frog for the correct answer. (Judged by forum consensus and the prize has to be collected in person.)
Hi Joe,

Nice to see a fellow convict on the forum. I also share your sentiment regarding the constant battle between what may be required and the available funds. I'd be nice to have a bottomless pit of money, but unfortunately we live in the real world.

You seem to have made good progress with the bodywork and hopefully you can get it sorted in a shorter time frame than my car, though I'm very happy with the final result.

As to the quiz. The letters have me stumped, but maybe the numbers are the year of manufacture (69) followed by the paint code (456 = dark blue) and an indication of whether the roof is to painted a different colour (no = 0, with maybe yes = different paint code after forward slash).

Please keep the photos coming.

Got a coat of primer on most of the car today, ordinary job but as long as it keeps the surface rust away for the time being it will suffice. Remembering that this is all so that the panelbeater can give me a ball park quote based on what he can see rather than what was hidden by layers of paint and filler. I can’t comit yet as I have no idea if I am looking at 5K, 10K, 15K. Once I have a ballpark I can go forward from there.

Whilst this has been a lot of work for me (about 70 odd hours to get to where I am) It has been a voyage of discovery as I now know a lot more about the car I have owned for so long and it also gives the panelbeater a fair chance to get it right. And just to confirm to everyone here, yes, I am insane.

Chris, Alfa’s - the synergy continues (although being from South Oz originally I am not a true convict. Again like everything else there is more to this story but that too will have to wait for later.) I have owned four and was part of the Qld club for many years. The purists may say Suds and 33’s don’t count but I would counter that as long as you are flying the flag it does not matter. Loved my Sud’s but like a lot of the earlier Alfa’s they can just break your heart for stupid reasons. To me there was nothing better on the road as a drivers car than the Sud back in the 70’s and 80’s. But I digress…

I will clean up the inside before I ship it off for a quote. Pending on what happens I can then consider thinking about the blasting the inside and bottom and doing a proper job (like the ‘convict’ is doing elsewhere in this forum!!)

As an aside, has anyone used a RHD L wiring loom for a RHD F? My loom is a bit sad, and whilst I can see differences in the Haynes manual between the L and the F they do not seem to be show stoppers if a little work is put in.

Before and after the primer.

Joe R
My RHD 500F wiring loom is coded in 500L colours. As you say, there isn't much difference and I'm sure one can be adapted to the other.

Nice to see you getting on with it.

The convict.

PS: My paternal grandfather was of Saxon descent and his wife was Irish, though a free settler as far as I know. My Mum's family are European.
This is great seeing all these rebuilds. Looking forward to getting mine restored in a few years. Who knew these little cars were so popular down there???
And I continue.

Still not sure who is going to repair the car so I am continuing to do what I can to expose any problem areas.

Have started removing the sound deadening material from inside of the car. (I have been told on more than one occasion that blasting will not remove this stuff so I decided I would do it myself.) The process has revealed a couple of old repairs, a hole in the floor and at the bottom of the wheel arch. Have to do the drivers side and then think about the underneath as well.

Every problem I expose is good in that it can be addressed and bad in that it adds to the cost. Will never get the opportunity to do this again so I have to continue.

From what I can see so far I think it is important to check the plugs in the floor to make sure they are sealing and sealed properly to stop water coming up from underneath.

Couple of photo's showing the progress, nothing exciting.


Nice to see you getting on with it. My car didn't have much sound deadening material in it, but what there was I removed prior to blasting as I'd heard the same as you.

Also I had a mate who had a late model twin carb Alfasud and I agree with you - it was a real hoot. It died of tin cancer - RIP.

Did you ever get to the bottom of the inscription on the roof?

Worked on the drivers side floor today and I wished I hadn't. Very ordinary repair done here at sometime before I owned the car (24 years ago). In the middle of the photo you can see a squarish outline with an oval shaped rust hole on the RH edge. Repair was to put a piece of metal over the hole and cover the whole thing with sealer. (note how I said put not weld!)

Below that patch is a bare metal area. This is larger patch that has been welded on top of the floor. Who knows what is going on underneath it.

More rust holes where the wheel arch meets the floor can also be seen in the photo.

Finally, there are some repairs evident next to the seat runner. I think I am up for one or two new floor panels.


In my last Sud I put in a 1.7 injected motor / gearbox from a 33. Now that went like a scalded cat!

How did you get the underneath cleaned? Inside was not so difficult, it is mainly done now except for one small area. Can you get sheets of deadener from anywhere to cut and stick back on?

After I found the rust in the floor I got depressed so I though lying down next to the car looking at the underneath would help given that it was a change of scenery. Gave it a half hearted scrape in a couple of areas and this stuff seems a lot more difficult to get off. (David said it would not come of with blasting.) Then I got really depressed.

Like all good 500 owners I will continue to continue.

Regards to all.

How did you get the underneath cleaned? Inside was not so difficult, it is mainly done now except for one small area. Can you get sheets of deadener from anywhere to cut and stick back on?


Like you I attempted to clean the underneath of the car. I tried just scrapping it, heating it then scrapping it and in the end I used a heavy duty grease remover that I liberally sprayed on and hosed off. It took off the vast bulk of the dirt and grease. Then I talked to the panelbeater (David) and he said not to worry about getting it too clean. In a 40 year old car, any rust lurking beneath would have well and truly surfaced by now in the form of a hole.

I must admit that when I saw the car after it'd been blasted, the underneath was remarkably clean and in parts, down to bare metal. Since then it has been covered with a fair thickness of black sealant, so now it's the next guys problem ;)

As to replacing the sound deadening material, when I had my Alfa recarpeted, the upholsterer lined everything with a material that not only deadens the noise but is also fire retardant. Now if I want to hear the bark of the twin cam four, I just roll the window down.

Have continued to scrape the sealant from the engine bay and the wheel arches. Just the front passenger arch to do. Then I have to have a look at what I can do underneath. Really is insane doing this but at least I know where the demons are and I have given it a good shot.

One point to note (on my car at least) is that the sealant is not applied evenly at all. In some places it is o to 10mm thick, in others it is non existent. Again, in some places it is sound in others it looked OK but was not adhearing to the body behind.

Two photos show progress. The light patch in the engine bay is where I wiped a small area with thinners. Takes the residue sealant off as well as the undercoat back to bare metal.



Joe R
Sad news from me today.

After 24 odd years of ownership I decided enough was enough and I had to get rid of my 69 F that I have been slowly working on for the last few months.

Well kinda, I sent it away to the panelbeaters! I decided that it was time to move the project forward.

Not practical for me to visit and see and report the progress from now on but I will see what I can do.

Lots for me to do at home though, I have bits to clean and restore. One more step forward.

Joe R

can you have a look at this for me? The hole circled is at the end of the row of holes for the rear sunroof bracket. My car had a sheet metal screw through the edge of the sunroof and into this hole (on both ends). I can't see it referenced like this in any of the diagrams I have seen but it seem a little 'rough' to me.

I need to know just in case I have to get David to seal this hole up.


Joe R

Mine was similarly attached and I had the holes filled. If I require them, I'll retap them and if I do, I'll use something nicer than the large philips-head self tapper that was there previously. I've attached a photo of my roof, pre-restoration.

PS: I'll go and have a look at your car next Friday.


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thanks for the confirmation. There has to be something to hold the ends of the bracket down and I agree, the big sheet metal screw is not the way to go. I will put my thinking cap on as well for a solution.

If you visit, can you take some photos and tuck them away for me? Don't care if they have done anything to it or not, I just want to have some shots in the shop.

Can you tell me where you got your suspension from?


Joe R
Not any reportable progress from me, I have ordered my first lot of parts but that's about all. I go into my workshop an I have parts all over the place. Some I can't bear to put back on the car because of the state they are in, some that have to be refurbished. I continue to continue.

If anything I was going to note that I was going into withdrawl after not having my car around (after 24 years of ownership).

Having just had a look at the last post for the Project Bambino rebuild, I am feeling even worse.

These cars look so good after we put some effort into them, Chris has done such a good job as have so many other members of this site.

Joe R
If anything I was going to note that I was going into withdrawl after not having my car around (after 24 years of ownership).

Having just had a look at the last post for the Project Bambino rebuild, I am feeling even worse.


I visited your car on Friday. There is a bit to be done, but probably not quite as much as mine - it will come up beautifully.

It's a nice looking car and a later model than mine as it has the rectangular badge on the front.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - these cars are well worth restoring.

You'll get it back sooner than you know and then the real fun begins.

Went and saw the car today mainly because I had to deliver some repair panels and other bits.

Car has been blasted all over to expose the remaining rust areas and then given a coat of primer to keep the surface rust at bay while the repairs are done.

Front panel has been cut away and some of the dents have already disappeared from around the rest of the car. Not much more rust exposed than I already knew about so that is a good thing.

Went through all the other areas that needed attention with the panel beater. Holes for aerials, mirrors a radio etc that have to be filled. I need to provide some additional repair panels as well.

Inside shot of the car shows a jumble of parts that that were also blasted, engine cooling covers, suspension arms, brake backing plates etc. These all have to end up black.

Whilst the car has been away I have been cleaning up some of the smaller 'black' parts that I did not send away with the car. Will prime these and paint them at home.

I have also included a shot of the speedo. Age has taken its toll and the plastic has become rough and discoloured. Thought I would try and clean it up so I used some old paint cutting compound on a piece of paper towell. You can see the results for yourself. Still need to do more work on the area I have started already but I think I am on a winner as far as results are concerned.







Joe R
Visited the car again to see how things were progressing.

Looking so much better now with the front panel back on. Purple is a guide coat that will come off as the repairing stops and the finishing starts. Still no real idea on how long it will take from here but that is OK.

I have included a before and after on the steering box. A good clean, a strip and new seals on reassembly sees it feeling nice and smooth. Wife saw me scrubbing it and asked why, if no one one was ever going to see it, did it have to be cleaned to within an inch of its life. What could I say?

Went hunting in the back shed for all the bits that I accumulated in 1986. Another steering box, kinkpins, springs interior bits and lo and behold, a complete wiring loom. Now I had been thinking that I would have to source a new one as the one that has been in the car was repaired by me 24 years ago and is now really showing he signs of age. The one I found is in really good condition. Have already scubbed it clean and identified a few small repairs that need to be done. Will rebind it as well so it should be fine.

Pulled the steering column switchgear apart to do small repair. Had to make a pair of small brass rivets to put it all back together. Switch arms have a bit of a design fault (in my opinion). There is a metal rod running down most of the length. Weak point is where the rod ends and guess where the arms tend to break. Rods rust out as well and the arms also get cracks around them. For mine, I just filled the cracks with epoxy, sanded them back and then polished out the scratches. Can still see the seam of epoxy but I don't really want to paint them.

At some stage I am going to think of paint colour. Red with black inside is what I have always thought it should be but I have three votes for ivory with red interior. Not even sure if I have the final say. Does anyone have a white or ivory paint / red interior car out there that can post some photos (inside and out) for me?

Will try and visit the car next week if there has been any progress.






Some time ago you asked about the holes in the roof where the sunroof attaches. I had a similar pair of large outside holes which I had filled. With the retrimmed sunroof fitted properly, the final appearance is very nice. I've posted a photo.

As for colour, my vote is for red with a black interior. If you are after front seats, I now have a spare pair retrimmed in high quality black vinyl with red piping that I'm willing to part with.

My car was originally ivory with red trim - I've attached a photo. If you have red trim, would you also have red carpets/mats. The nice thing about a black interior is that you can match the trim colour and carpet colour without it looking too overpowering.



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