Producing Parts for an Uncommon Car

One year ago plus one week (to the day) I drove a 1985 Alfa Romeo GTV6 home.  I picked it up in running, driving, but rusting condition for a price I can’t really complain about.  Sadly, since I’ve pulled it off the road, I still haven’t gotten it back on the road…  So it takes up space in the garage without giving the fun back.

A lot of the work required is welding, and while I had every intention of spending lots of time with my MIG this summer, work and flooring tended to get in the way.  Not everything is a wash though, since all the time away from home gave me plenty of time to sit with a caliper and reproduce nearly impossible to find parts.

The first one that came up is the adjuster carriage for the headlights.  The GTV6 uses a typical 5.75″ circular light mounted in a half-cup brace.  These braces aim up/down by riding on a little plastic carriages.  If these things are even still sold, I haven’t been able to find them, so I fired up the 3D printer and made a few.


It’s an odd part, with a number of compound curves, but designed to be made out of plastic.


Okay!  Great.  Tested the fit and they came out well.  Only problem is I have to finish the bodywork on the front end of the car yet before I can actually use them…

So, next while I was away another hard to source part, and this is one that breaks easily.  Heck, even the seller warned me not to break it: The sunroof handle surround.

Someone online produces a machined aluminum replacement that looks great, and I imagines functions great, but it’s a bit pricier than I wanted to pay for the moment.  So back to the 3D printer.


This is an odd part.  Based on some of the measurements and what dimensions seemed to be referencing, I’m of the mindset that Alfa originally designed this part to be machined metal, not injection molded plastic.  Probably why they have such a high failure rate.

Based on the way it printed it’s a little rough.  Will need sanding or chemical smoothing before use, and probably a few other changes to get a better fit.


The last part broken/missing on my GTV6 is probably the most unique of them all.  Since this car was designed in the late 70s/early 80s there was still that obsession with circuit boards and how futuristic they were.  So the tail lights were all mounted directly on PCBs.  PCBs, that I should add, were really build with substandard materials, so inevitably they all corrode away…

I started with the left side light, designed them, and sent a set out to OshPark to print.


I designed the boards to use the OEM type bulbs, by using the cheapest sockets I could find on eBay.  Standoff height is a bit different, but in my test fitting it seems reasonable.  I still have to correct some dimensions, but it’s 95% there.  The OEM wiring/connector just fits right on!


So those are the parts I amused myself with while away from home.  Sadly I haven’t had time to go back and weld/paint more, and with Winter setting in I’m a bit distraught another year will go by, but all fun and games!




houstin Written by:


  1. Lachlan
    February 22


    How did you end up going with the sunroof handle surround?
    I am interested in printing it myself and it would be amazing if you could share the file


    • houstin
      February 22

      It wound up working well enough. I adapted to printing in nylon, and it was a pain and a half to make on an FDM printer, but I’m happy enough with it over paying for a fragile NOS replacement.

      I’ll see if I can dig up the STL and will post it

  2. Robert
    April 9

    Wow, this is great. If you don’t mind sharing, I could really use the circuit board files.

    • houstin
      February 4

      I think I still have a few of the left side, if you still need it.

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