10 years of Beretta ownership

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10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby weba » Sat May 17, 2014 4:38 am

This day, exactly 10 years ago was special. That day I bought my first Beretta.

In this topic I'll share some of my experiences and history about these cars in distant northern corner of Europe, for those who are bored enough to read, and possibly even lifeless enough to reply. :)

Also there are several old pictures, that some remember, but some of them may be worth to take another look? I re-uploaded the oldest with better resolution.
Mind the typos, I'm not a native English speaker, and was tired when writing this :oops:

Old members possibly remember the back story, but here it is in brief:

About 11 years ago
I was serving my military service duty, and one boring night, someone of my platoon had brought in one of those marketing magazines that had several dozen pages of car sales adds.

I was browsing that magazine for boredom, not really even considering car purchase, Until one car just suddenly gathered my interest, as I had never seen such thing before.

In that tiny picture were side-shot of 1991 Chevrolet Beretta GTZ, all in white and stock form, who would have knew how much influence that had to rest of my life.

I got REALLY interested about the car, since it looked so cool and was unheard from. That magazine add started to haunt me.

Later I had a weekend off duty, and I was browsing the internet for knowledge to such vehicle. Then I found out that It actually was quick too, and had manual gearbox and not oversize engine so it would not be hugely expensive to own (insurance and specially fuel here will punish you for big engine). It got so overwhelming that I decided to go to see the car, about hour away from where I lived, off course did't have any money back then, so I would be just for curiosity.

It was middle of a winter, so when I got there, the car was just a huge lump of ice, we couldn't even get the door open, but just the exterior look was enough to make my decision: One day I would buy a such car.

TLDR: Saw a picture of the GTZ, started haunting me.


10 Years ago

I had finished my military duty and got a job, life rolling in and all... I can't remember that did I actually search for it from the Internet, or what, but there was completely identical white GTZ for sale about 4-5 hours from me, even the license plate was few numbers off.

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These are the pictures from the car sales website, before I bought the car.

I was stunned, finding such a rare car again was totally unexpected. I made a quick decision: Buy that car now, It's second once-in-a-lifetime change.

Drove all the way there to see it, wasn't in as nice shape as the other car I saw, and was overpriced. Took it to a spin, and instantly liked it, a lot, took it back to the dealer, and there was a young couple who were trying to buy that car.. I had no change but to offer more and get the potential car of my dreams. I traded in my Volvo that had been in the family forever, and got a loan to cover the rest.

Now I owned a 1991 Beretta GTZ (euro-spec)

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Car moments after I had driven it home

But now I had the car, that had been haunting my dreams for a year.

TLDR: Bought the car of my dreams?


First years of ownership

As a young adult, I spend massive amounts of time driving my new car, I took It everywhere and did everything with it. Basically every weekend I would just drive and see things. Also as being young and stupid, I did untold able things with the car, but it took it all and served me well.

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Happy owner

I think I went thru 4 pairs of (used) summer tires at first summer, there were burnouts and hard driving and insanity and all of that.
It was like 4 months after purchase, I got into small fender bender, the other guys insurance payed the respray of the passenger side door.
Also the door mirror was hit, and since I didn't like the bulky euro-spec mirror design anyway, I replaced the mirrors from something more to my liking.

In time, I did few other alterations to the car, it got a massive fart can (to replace even crappier fart can it had), and an audio setup. Eventually I even got a Eibach lowering kit, that I only installed the rear springs cause wasn't ready to do the fronts. Back then I had close to zero mechanical knowledge and didn't even own any tools, so I was happy with those.

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I think it was the first winter, when I was searching limits of my winter driving skills with e-brake, and found them. Had a massive 4-wheel slide into a curb, totalling the passenger side suspension quite bad. The car had to be towed back home on a flatbed.

Not long after I got introduced to super-expensive 'exotic car' replacement parts from local GM dealer, super-hard to find a repair shop to deal with 'exotic car'

I knew a junkyard that specialized on American cars. Off course, that junkyard also had special prices and they knew the stuff was rare. But they had been my main supplier, along with one specialized shop for couple next years until I found alternatives from US soil.

Recovering from the mishap gave me a lesson, I need to start learn how to maintain and fix the car myself, and get the parts elsewhere.

TLDR: I needed a knowledge and parts
Last edited by weba on Sat May 17, 2014 6:43 am, edited 3 times in total.



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Re: 10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby weba » Sat May 17, 2014 4:39 am

2005 - Second Beretta

Somehow I managed to find even another white GTZ, this was in pretty beat-up shape, and again 4 hours from me. But it was decently priced and almost the same car I had, being one year older. I thought that another car would deliver me usable hard-to-get spare parts for a long time, so I made a decision to buy the car.

After all, just couple minor fender bender fixes would have costed more than this soon to be parts-car.

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The parts-car had US-spec bumpers, that I liked more, so It didn't take long for me to swap em to the euro-spec GTZ.. While working on that, I noticed that underneath the body of this parts car was in really nice shape for it's age, basically no rust at all. The other car was showing signs of needing attention soon...

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bumper swap time.

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TLDR: Parts car!

2006 - Changes

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91's last winter

We have a yearly inspection here, that is very strict.

My car did not pass. They punched a crowbar thru both of the rocker panels, and the car was stamped too unsafe for road.

My options were either to fix all the rust (that I had no knowledge back then) or something else.

I had the parts car, that had rust-free body, so I quickly decided to make that my car, and turn the rusted one into a parts car.
I also decided to move whatever I installed on the rusting car, along with the newer interior to the rust-free body, and while in progress add this, and that, and those and maybe that too...

It quickly spiraled out of control into ever expanding project car with way too much stuff on the list of things to do.
I also figured out that it would not be smart to drive such a rare car on snow anyways and see all this trouble just to see another dream car to get rusted out.

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91 GTZ now collecting dust as parts car.


And there was I. I needed a daily driver to get the white car up to the state I was aiming.

After looking for an options from all makes and models for daily driver I'd like.. I ended up with:

Third Beretta - 1993 Chevrolet Beretta base model

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Red car had has arrived

This car was in super-nice shape when I bought it. Actually one of the best Beretta's anywhere I've seen. Paint, Interior, Everything was perfect. Too bad it was a base model with only option was the rear defogger, absolutely nothing else. Wasn't even a color I like, actually I hated the color.. but the shape was so good, that I had to buy this.

Also the base FE1 suspension leaved so much to desire... So as you can guess, It didn't take long as I started to replace stuff with excess GTZ parts I had, adding options and swapping in worn GTZ seats, rims. It also got lowered by a set of Sprint Springs.

Mostly I got away with this car with only normal maintenance, except one burn head gasket (typical to 2.2L engine). I was happy with it.

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TLDR: Parts car<>Project car, New daily driver


2007 - crap hits the fan

The 1990 White GTZ was now mostly apart, and the red base served me for my daily routines.

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white car being pulled apart

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Almost drive able...

I also attended BerettaFest this year, but there being massive ocean between, without own car. This was also my fist encounter with any other Beretta enthusiast and I soon felt like home with the crowd, best times, and thanks again for those special people that helped on the way. :)

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Best times.


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Back home, tried solid grille on base..

Later that year, I was still fairly regularly taking the car out to nightly tours to deserted countryside roads, for spirited driving enjoyment you know.

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Just hours before the end

But Z shoes were too big for base model to fill, along my self-esteem for driving skill, and one night there was an bit of an incident that led into sudden death of the red car.

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It died too young and too soon, but at least it died when it was doing the thing it liked the most.. I like to think.
Oh and because this car was also rust-free, and every safety gadget worked, me and my friend walked out with only dignity harmed.

Most parts got stripped to storage and re-used later, Basically just frame was junked.

But I was out of daily driver again!

TLDR: I failed.
Last edited by weba on Sat May 17, 2014 6:39 am, edited 5 times in total.



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Re: 10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby weba » Sat May 17, 2014 4:41 am

Fourth Beretta - 1992 Chevrolet Beretta GT (with W26 option), 3.1 MPFI and 3T40 automatic transmission

Back then there were few active European members on the board, and one of them living in the Netherlands tipped me about a good condition GT for sale at reasonable price.

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Car in the sales add, still in Netherlands

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The car was at the other edge of the Europe, but as most Finnish cars would cost triple, and suffer extensive salt damage from the winters up here, I decided to go for it, and buy the car from Netherlands. Steve took car of the paperwork on local language and soon I was ready to pick the thing up. Took a plane down there and drove it back, via unlimited speeds of Autobahn, survived home from the long journey without a hiccup, and the new daily driver was ready to use.

And off course it got plenty of the goodies I had from previous cars..

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2008 to 2012 - Routine years?

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Project car, daily driver and parts car in same picture.

It didn't take me a long to realize, that I hated every aspect of the automatic transmission, and quickly the black daily driver to turn into partial project car too, I swapped in the 5 spd transmission leftover from my red base, along with multiple other things I had from the previous cars, and bought plenty of more goodies to adjust the car to my lickings back then. Even started to do stuff to it, that made it worse in daily use, like urethane bushings and solid engine mounts...

In 2008, I attended BerettaFest @ Niagara Falls, Canada, and had a blast time again with fellow enthusiasts.
Year later I took the black car around Europe, visiting 12 some countries and European Beretta-Meet in Germany. That trip also had it's share of issues with the car, but managed to drive home.. Unforgettable experiences I call those. :)

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Nothing like Beretta's everywhere. Niagara Falls.

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Small German town with multiple Beretta's in 2009..

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VERY far away from home, Brussels Belgium...

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Along the years, the black car turned into money and work pit, requiring more and more time to extend it's life. There was a massive cancer on the firewall, and overwhelming amount of issues with the engine mounting and transmission that I repeatedly tried to cure. It took a huge chunk of my resources (time + money + motivation) to fix up the black car.

And as you can guess, It was all out of the resources meant for the white GTZ. That got driven only few times once in a while, spending most of it's time in either nuts and bolts scattered around the floor, or broken because something failed miserably.

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Project car got some road course action in 2011

Also I didn't figure out that I should do a fixed plan for the project car, what would I want it to be, and how. So it kinda collected a little bit of everything in terms on modifications, addons, etc.

But that wasn't the issue, I liked to spend time building it, instead of driving it until the black car developed so much issued that it drained the energy from me to finish the white car.

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Project car got some road in spring 2009

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Everything worked fine that time

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Midsummer midnight cruising

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Also the black car got a fender bender because some idiot did an U-turn ahead of me. That lead me to buy fifth Beretta (1990 GTZ) but that was only used for spare parts, and then scrapped)

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After damaged body panels were replaced

TLDR: Black car limps ahead, white is stuck in project
Last edited by weba on Sat May 17, 2014 7:23 am, edited 4 times in total.



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Re: 10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby weba » Sat May 17, 2014 5:06 am

2013 to current

As life has forwarded, there have been several changes. Currently 99% of my resources are tied to building a house to live in for rest of the life.
That will also drain most of my resources for next couple of years, and then there can be other things to aim those assets.

Also I've come into conclusion, that it's completely unreasonable to try to extend the life of the trouble-making black car forever. I've been scaling down it's maintenance, and fix things only when they completely fail (yet you would not believe how many parts I been swapping past couple years). And when the limit of my patience is finally reached, It will be replaced bu another car. But I'd still like to keep the black one as long I can - Please don't break down again.

I've been de-modding it for a while now, back to rubber bushings, stock mounts, nicer transmission etc. To server better as daily driver.

White car is\was basically ready to be driven, but no resources to do it now (early inspection, taxes, insurances, etc). Also I recently destroyed the header collector on it, when driving it into the new garage, it hit the unfinished ramp. Something to fix before next drive.

I'm not never going to get rid of the white car. In following years my main goal is to be able to drive it more often, and then fine tune it, instead of extensive never-ending project.

Over the years I've gathered massive amounts of Beretta parts, tools, memorabilia, but most important also knowledge and contacts and experiences, that I could say love to this specific car model, has shaped my entire life since I bought it. Let's see another 10 years when I'll post update to this topic if Beretta.net still exists. :)

Berettas in order of purchase:

1991 Chevrolet Beretta GTZ (eurospec)

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23.4.2005

Bought: 15.5.2004
Retired: 28.4.2006
Status: Parts car, to be parted and crushed as soon I have time
Total~ I have driven: 30 000km

Current/Last Specs
Engine: Stock Quad4, CAI added
Transmission: Stock Getrag
Brakes: Stock
Suspension: Rear Eibach springs
Other: Only minor mods.. Mirrors?

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1990 Chevrolet Beretta GTZ

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10.5.2014

Bought: ???? 2005
Status: Hobby-car, waits for time to take it out on beatifull summer days
Total~ I have driven: 5000km

Current/Last Specs:
Engine: Quad4, Mild N/A build with some one-off stuff, accessory delete excp alternator
Transmission: NOS Q4-Minvan transmission (4DFF) in original case, alu flywheel, 6 puch clutch, TeamGreen 'LSD'
Brakes: Front 12.8" with 4-piston Brembo calipers, Rears 12" from Corvette C4
Suspension front: Custom Bilsteins, Modified Eibach springs, Poly bushings, One-off lower bar, MRZ upper bar, Uniball endlinks with relocation, power steering pump delete, FE7 bar
Suspension rear: Custom Bilsteins, One-off springs, Nylon bushings, ADDCO and FE7 bar
Other: Reasonable anmount of addons, mods, tweaks, and stuff. Some are stupid, some clever. Along the year's I've done all sorts of stuff from idiotic to fantastic

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1993 Chevrolet Beretta Base

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11.8.2007

Bought: 1.4.2006
Retired: 8.9.2007
Status: Parted out and junked
Total~ I have driven: 20 000km

Current/Last Specs
Engine: Stock 2.2
Transmission: Stock Isuzu 5spd
Brakes: Stock
Suspension: Sprint Springs, ADDCO and FE7 rear bars
Other: GTZ seats, rims and stuff

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1992 Chevrolet Beretta GT (with W26 option)

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15.5.2014

Bought: 28.9.2007
Status: Daily use
Total~ I have driven: 100 000km

Current/Last Specs
Engine: Stock 3.1 with custom chip, CAI
Transmission: Getrag (90 Quad) in V6 case
Brakes: Stock excpt older model discs (thicker)
Suspension front: Sprint Springs, Koni Adjustables, FE7 bar with poly bushings
Suspension rear: Eibach Springs, KYB Saab 9000 shocks, ADDCO and FE7 bar
Other: base front seats, GTZ rear seat, multiple small modifications

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1990 Chevrolet Beretta GTZ

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22.6.2011

Bought: 22.6.2011
Retired: soon after
Status: Parted out and junked
Total~ I have driven: 0 km

Other: It was a pile of junk that I stripped for parts
Last edited by weba on Sat May 17, 2014 9:21 am, edited 2 times in total.



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Re: 10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby weba » Sat May 17, 2014 5:41 am

BONUS - Review!

Whats it's like to drive my white car? Here's how I describe it:

Engine:
Idle is nervous, it isn't happy on low RPM's at all, it asks to be pushed more.
Engine makes whole car shake and rattle some, along with restless exhaust note, it's waking up your instincts.

Once you get going, you first disappoint since there is a lack or torque, specially noticeable if you just drove V6.
When you get on it, the revs just keep going and going and going, and the fun begins where you would have already shifter to another gear on V6 car.

It's VERY loud, the belt whines like there would be massive supercharger(I wish) and the exhaust sounds a lot like a sport bike going fast. Doing this anywhere near other cars and people would be embarrassing, there is no stealth-mode on this car, and going pushing it means massive levels of sound and drama with high RPM. I'd say it's suitable for track and road course.. If can pass the decibel limits..

Too bad it's not actually that fast on current tune, there is loads and loads of work to be done in the tune, to get it going as loud and fast it feels.

Transmission
You will be shifting a lot, as there is not too much torque. The one-off shifter I have offers plenty of grip, but we all know Getrag is not slippery to shift, it feels like moving a set of iron gears like it should be. Better shift cables would gain speed here, as it would be more constant to use quickly.

Brakes
Brakes are fantastic! I could say that I've never driven better brakes, but again, I haven't really driven any sports cars either.. Anyhow I'm happy with these and I can brake very heavily with these without noticeable fade, they make me feel confident. But I'd like to get more brake pressure on rears, since they don't really do that much, room for improvement.

Suspension
Works fantastic, the car responds instantly to where you point it, there is no noticeable body roll on the speeds I've done with it, yet it's not actually that stiff, much smoother than my black car, however the body movement is much more limited and predictable, It's an enjoyment to ride on this car.
There are no noises at all, completely silent, feels like a new car there.

Steering is edgy and you definitely need to have hand at the wheel all times, cause it will bump steer quite easily, I need to work on the steering rack to remove the hydraulic pistons to make it fully manual at future. But even as it is, it's much more crisp, specially at center of the steering, than it was when power assisted, and definitely not one-thumb weight anymore, will work as gym too. :)

Interior
All business here, nothing fancy, definitely not for any car show, In future I'd like to refine this to be even more racing car style with black dash and stuff. It will also need roll cage.

Stock seats are comfy and look distinctive. New belts keep you firmly planted on the seat, there is no need for racing seats other than weight loss.
You sit bit more towards the rear of the car, than you would on stock Beretta, cause the steering wheel has really deep dish. Unless you have long fingers like me, you cannot reach the turn signal arm.

I'm unhappy with the gauge cluster (It's the weird blueish tint European one) so that could use some work in the future?

Exterior
I just love to look at this car. I can sit down for a time and just admire the shapes of it. Age of the car shows in stone hits and dings here and there, but overall the original paint is good for it's age. Filler panels would improve from proper re-paint, also both bumpers, but not on the to-do list for now.

Not sure on the rims They are nice, but not as nice stock rims would be. As I need bigger size to fit the brakes, I'd like to go 5-spoke style or honeycomb custom wheels someday in the future.

Overall
This baby screams for track\road course time, or deserted back roads, any use other than those would not suit that well.

Good: My adrenaline and testosterone goes up every time I drive this
Bad: Going to need quite a lot of refining to perfect

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Limited angles because of the garage, going to take few more when it's outside next time.
Last edited by weba on Sat May 17, 2014 6:31 am, edited 4 times in total.



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Re: 10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby weba » Sat May 17, 2014 5:49 am

and the same for the black car

Engine
I love the torque, how the car picks up speed with very little work and can accelerate from stoplights or highway ramps with little effort and keep up with much more powerful cars until speeds that go over the limits.
But the power band just falls on it's face after 4k RPM, kinda like a Diesel engine, that's a bit disappointing, should rev higher...

This would sound awesome, but my exhaust is crap. I had to install universal cat converter, and it turned sound to farty. Then the exhaust started also leaking. Currently it sounds like crap, and loud crap. Definitely going to need attention soon.

Also there is a never-ending issue with the 92< engine mounting that is not suitable for manual transmission, it requires a specific skill to keep the engine load on all the times, or it will roll back and forward like crazy. You need to adapt a driving style to prevent this annoyance.

Transmission
I guess it would be okay, but my shift cables are completely trash. Only third gear goes in smooth. 1, 4 are super hard sometime and fifth needs to be carefully slowly slide in or it will grind some stuff. Cables may snap any day now.

Brakes
Horrible! I don't trust these one bit, and it changes my driving style to use as little brakes as possible, I just coast in to where ever I need to stop. These do not promote hard driving at all and make you feel uncomfortable trying to do so.

Suspension
Very tight, will hurt you if you drive over a piece of paper. There is a lot of suspension noise, bangs, klangs, bumps, thumbs and squeaks. Unless you have like 2 adults with you, the increased load makes most of the noises go away. I suspect the crappy newer style strut mounts are the main reason.

The rear axle feels like a sled. Very nice on corners and slippery on winter, but also very uncomfortable on bad roads. This would be considered very hard ride even on European scale. However, there is still body roll on the front axle.. front springs are too weak!

Yet it can take corners at unbelievable speed, thanks to the rock-sled firm ride.

Steering feels pretty nice and requires decent amount of force to use, not feather light. Too bad there is slack on the steering axle (tilt).

Interior
Mix of gray interior parts, seats are from other cars as the original ones got so much sun rot and fell apart. Drivers seat is a bit twisted, but you can't notice that when driving. Everything works tho, noticeable wear as it's daily driver.

Exterior
When clean and waxed, it looks pretty good. unless sun directly shines on the paint and reveals all the bazillion flaws on it. But can look pretty mean with all black theme if taken care at. Very low ride height adds to the overall appearance a lot. Stands out of traffic.

Overall
It sure has seen better days, but outside traffic jams or bad roads, I still enjoy driving it. There the issues won't rise up to bother too much.

Good: Daily driving 22 old American semi-rare car in North Europe? People know you by your car I hear, So that makes me..what?
Bad: Lot of wear and tear

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Last edited by weba on Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:25 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: 10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby weba » Sat May 17, 2014 5:52 am

And special thank you, for everyone of those on the community, that offered help in past 10 years, by supplying parts, knowledge and any other help.
You are highly appreciated! :friends: :beer:



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Re: 10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby GTZfan » Sat May 17, 2014 6:04 am

Holy***** that is some new dimenstion of Beretta history book!
I am very familiar with your Beretta past, nonetheless, I am going to read it all again! Believe me people, Its worth it!!
Great work as always, weba!!

ps. def. share a link on th fb page...its gonna make ppl come visit the forums :)


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1991 GTZ Quad4 black, all original, low miles. Beretta Calendar 2008, 2009, 2015
1992 GTZ Quad4 quaser, completely restored. Beretta Calendar 2011, 2012, 2013 images of the shiny quaser

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Re: 10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby michi » Sat May 17, 2014 7:09 am

Great thread weba! Pretty much enjoyed to read your story and also remembered me of the time we had and the endless nights of chatting about these cars.. haha :)
Your cars look fantastic... always liked what you did to them. When i read your story i just had to think about how special these cars are to us and the story behind it. Its the same with my car's, especially my black GT... some friends call me nuts about taking so much care of that thing haha!
So, just keep on man and enjoy :)



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Re: 10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby woody90gtz » Sat May 17, 2014 9:54 am

Very cool post...a lot I had already seen, but fills in some blanks I had. A lot of dedication here. Funny for hear a Beretta called "exotic"...that has got to be wild since they are cheap throwaway cars here. I really like the review on your current cars. I might just have to make a post reviewing mine.


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91 "SS" 3400/5spd - EP, FFP, TCE, SPEC, DSS, S&S, OBD1, 13s? GEARHEAD dezign

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Re: 10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby weba » Sat May 17, 2014 3:41 pm

woody90gtz, I'd say here all 20< year old car are cheap and throwaway, unless it's like garage kept Porsche 911 or something similiar that carries widely known name tags.

For obvious reasons, cars this age are all beat to hell, and rusted out.

Adding to that, here car ownership is heavily punished with payments and taxes and inspections.
That leads to people usually owning just one car, what would be something very rational, a wagon with shitty 1.6L diesel engine would be obvious choice. Or these days that would be FWD-'suv' with diesel and DSG shitbox.

Under these conditions, something 2-door and sporty will automatically became special.

I think there ever was under ten (<10) Beretta GTZ's in this whole country.
3 of them ended to me. Also I got spare engine and trans from one that I do not know.
Other than those, there is\was at least one white, and one black, that I have seen online.
Also one white one that died in fatal crash along it's driver many years ago.

Lets think about this, in 10 another years, there will be VERY few Beretta's left drive able on US, or even whole planet anymore. And once it's one-generation model that didn't carry in production for decades, this will definitely be an oddball model that will get people scratching them heads: What is that thing?

Here it's already reality.



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Re: 10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby woody90gtz » Sat May 17, 2014 5:03 pm

That's true, they are already scarce in the northeast where the salt kills them. I get a surprising amount of comments on mine when it is out. "Wow, I haven't seen a Beretta in a long time" or "I used to have one of those, I loved that car" haha


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91 "SS" 3400/5spd - EP, FFP, TCE, SPEC, DSS, S&S, OBD1, 13s? GEARHEAD dezign

MY91GT(Z)
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Re: 10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby MY91GT(Z) » Sat May 17, 2014 9:59 pm

I hear the same as eric, even though my car is not a looker but does move and people ask me whats done to it and they'll tell me I didnt know they did that to those cars lol



88corsica5spd28
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Re: 10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby 88corsica5spd28 » Sun May 18, 2014 1:06 am

I get "Wow I've never seen a standard Corsica before!" a lot...



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Money pit Beretta
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Re: 10 years of Beretta ownership

Postby Money pit Beretta » Wed May 21, 2014 7:21 am

Man this topic must have taken for ever to make. Great job!


keep'em flying!


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