In July of 2003 the Tom Sahines-built 1750 engine that ran so well for nearly two decades came out of the car. Pulling the motor exposed decades of grime in the engine bay. Before replacing it with a 2-litre motor, the engine compartment was cleaned and repainted … in a non originale color. Because my wife is not listening, I will confess that oil control rings, some oil seals and a clutch probably would have kept the Alfa happy for another several years. But it wouldn’t have been as much fun as a fully balanced 2000cc engine with 10.4:1 pistons, Weber DCOE 45’s, headers, aluminum flywheel, ported big-valve head, Megacycle cams, etc., etc.
Twenty years ago Tom did the engine and good friend Steve Smith built the tranny. This time we reversed it. Tom supplied a late-model transmission with lightened gear sets. Steve took a Rich Goodrich cylinder head and built a motor that’s a blast to drive. Because there is more than one Steve Smith in the Alfa world, I should add that Santa Clara Steve was an Alfa mechanic and parts manager, back when Alfas were still imported into the U.S. and the company made cars that drove the rear wheels (as God intended).
More Before Photos
The New 2L motor — The photos below were labeled by someone on AlfaBB as “Alfa Porn.” Was it the blanket we used to hide my messy garage floor?
Below: Note the TWM Induction air horns I used until 2014, and the aluminum housings that stiffen the stock motor mounts. The next photo below adds no new info; I just like it. We dropped in the engine and tranny as a unit, with the rear of the car raised and the nose almost on the floor. The extreme angle made me nervous, but the install was a breeze.
Below is the 2014 version of the manifold and a shot of the engine compartment. This is when I added long aluminum carb mounts from Alfaholics and a Sprint air intake system I bought in the early 1980’s. The air intake was opened up to match the Weber 45s. The result is a lot more torque over a wider rpm range. Very nice! Depending on the conversion factor used to convert Dynojet chassis dyno results to flywheel figures, in 2014 the motor was putting out 160-165 hp and 155-160 ft lbs of torque. In 2016, a freak accident happened. A washer from who knows where got into the #2 cylinder and destroyed the piston and liner. When installing the new mounts, the carbs were sitting on a workbench, under two overhead cabinets. It appears that the washer fell out of a cabinet and into the carbs. Either that or my garage is haunted. The car is not run without the air cleaners. The washer stayed in the air intake until two years later, when it got sucked into the cylinder. After licking my emotional and financial wounds, I yanked the engine and had my friend and favorite engine builder, Steve Smith, do a full rebuild, just because I don’t like doing things half way.