Alfa Romeo Spider Buying Guide
Exciting and drop-dead gorgeous, the Alfa Romeo Spider is more complex than you may imagine. Here's what to look for when taking the plunge
How much to pay
• Project £7000-9000 • Good £19,750-30,000 • Concours £45,000+ •
Running costs ★★★
DIY Friendly ★★★
Alfa had offered Spiders before, in the form of the Giulia and Giulietta, but when the company unveiled an all-new model at the 1966 Geneva salon it was more modern, more usable and every bit as attractive. The Alfa Romeo Spider would go on to be produced in four distinct series over the next 17 years.
The lifespan of the Spider was long and complex, with four different engines offered and those four different incarnations each sharing the same structure. However, each offers the same intoxicating blend of great looks and thrilling drive thanks to a slick gearchange, lusty twin-cam engine and superbly responsive chassis.
Due to its high profile, the Spider isn’t one of those cars that you can buy cheaply if it’s a good one, but that high profile does mean the car is well catered for by clubs and specialists while parts availability is good, too. As they say in its homeland: Bellissimo!
Your AutoClassics Alfa Romeo Spider inspection checklist
Any Spider’s all-alloy twin-cam four-cylinder engine won't take kindly to neglect, with blown head gaskets common. However, if the engine is serviced properly (with 3000-mile oil changes and the correct anti-freeze) it’ll last 120,000 miles between rebuilds.
Spider engines can appear healthy long after a rebuild is due, although the timing chains and valve gear tend to be noisy. Oil pressure shouldn't fall below halfway on the clock (4kg/sq cm) just above tickover; the air filter will have traces of oil from the breather pipe if the engine is on the way out.
Other weak spots are the O-rings below the camshaft bearings. If these have failed there will be a trio of oil trails down the side of the engine block (from the head) or traces of oil in the cooling system's header bottle.
Its cast-alloy construction means the engine block is easily damaged by frost, so check the side of the engine for evidence of oil and coolant leaks; they’ll be obvious. Engine mountings can also fail, especially on the exhaust side, so rock the engine via its cam covers to check the mountings.
1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce Allegerita by...
To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION at RM Sothebys' Monterey event, 24 - 25 August 2018. Check back soon for complete catalogue description. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.comTo view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/MO18.Auction | 20 Jun 2018$ POA
Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider 1300 1961
This 1961 Alfa Romeo Giuletta has been restored some years ago and in 2014 the underside was completely restored again, invoice available. Mechanically this car is in a very good condition, it has good oil pressure and temperature. It has a 1290cc 4 cylinder engine with Solex carburetors and 91HP. All gearbox synchros enable trouble free gear change. The interior is in very good condition and theFor Sale | 07 Jun 2018 | Wijnegem, Belgium€ 87,000
Alfa Romeo 146 1974
GT 1300 Junior er modellen, der forener den `nye` Bertone karosse, med det fine instrumentbord fra 1750 GTV modellen med store instrumenter i glas. Med en tilpasset 1750 front med 2 og ikke 4 forlygter, er det en relativt sjælden version. En 1300 motor kan selvfølgelig aldrig have en 2000 motors solide bundtræk. Alfa`s 1300 motor er til gengæld en fint afbalanceret sag, der stortrives med mangFor Sale | 29 May 2018 | Stelvio Automobili ApS Måløv Værkstedsby 93 DK-2760 Måløv€ 25,500
Alfa Romeo 2000 GT Veloce 1972
A very nice 2 liter Bertone GT. This is originally a Swedish car. We bought it 8 years ago and took the car apart for a complete body restoration and some mechanical work as well. It also received an all new interior with upholstery in tan leather. Foto documentation available from restoration process. High quality paint job in rare original Alfa color Blu Pervinca. After restoration we sold tFor Sale | 25 May 2018 | Stelvio Automobili ApS Måløv Værkstedsby 93 DK-2760 Måløv€ 34,900
ALFA ROMEO SPIDER 2.0 65.320 KMS FROM NEW, 2ND OWNER...
A truly magnificent and fully authentic `91 Alfa Romeo Spider 2.0. This ‘type 4’ version is one of the most desirable Spiders, being the last rear-wheel drive one produced. It was supplied to a client on the 25th September 1991 in Emmerdingen, Germany. We have acquired it at 65,320 km from its` second owner. The car is really as good as new with 99% of the paintwork gleamingly original and tanFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | ARNHEMSESTRAAT 47, 6971 AP BRUMMEN, THE NETHERLANDS€ 23,950
Alfa Romeo GIULIETTA SPIDER 1958
This stunning 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider with matching numbers comes in a gorgeous and radiant red with black interior piped in red. This is an older restoration and comes equipped with a 4 speed manual transmission, single Solex carburetor and chrome wheels. It has beautiful paint and interior and excellent bright work. It was previously sold by Gooding & Company in 2016 for $71,500. With 2For Sale | 19 May 2018 | 4576 1/2 Worth St, Los Angeles, CA 90063, USA$ 69,500
Alfa Romeo SPIDER DUETTO 1600CC 1966
ALFA ROMEO SPIDER “DUETTO” 1600CC 1966 Estimated Value: £33,000 – £36,000 Recently bought over from Paris, it is in the process of being UK registered. A “one owner” vehicle with French papers. Interior is original and in beautiful condition. Exterior has been refreshed and looks to be solid. If interested contact us ASAP.For Sale | 18 May 2018 | Tolleshunt Knights, Maldon, Essex CM9 8HX, UK£ POA
Alfa Romeo 2600 Zagato 1968
Vehicle Specifications Original info states sold new Feb 2, 1968 into Novara, Italy Original color: Grigio Metallizzato (metallic grey). I believe it would look better back in its original Grey metallic. The last of the great Zagato bodied Alfa’s. The 2600 Zagato coupe had 165hp to the Spyder and Sprints 145hp plus the Zagatos were 300lbs lighter. More power and light weight – a gFor Sale | 10 May 2018 | 458 Danbury Rd, New Milford, CT 06776, USA£ POA
ALFA ROMEO GIULIETTA 1300 SPIDER RESTORED CONDITION...
We have been able to source this stunning 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1300 Spider from Switzerland. This model has a 5cm longer wheelbase compared to its predecessor; much improving the driving position and allowing for more cabin space. A few years ago it was thoroughly restored with a keen eye to the original details.The bodywork is nice and straight with correctly fitted panels and panel gaps. ThFor Sale | 09 May 2018 | ARNHEMSESTRAAT 47, 6971 AP BRUMMEN, THE NETHERLANDS€ 69,950
Apart from some US-spec Series 4 models, all Spiders had a five-speed manual gearbox, which should be quiet and easy to use – the first problem is usually worn syncromesh on second gear, although the gearchange probably won't be too sweet until the 'box has warmed up.
Suspension and brakes
Cheap lower balljoints are often fitted but aren't always up to scratch – noticeable play means an immediate MOT failure. The central reaction trunnion, which locates the rear axle, features cone-shaped rubber bushes which quickly wear, allowing the rear end to feel unstable. Bushes made of harder rubber or nylon are available.
The four Metalastik bushes in the wishbones can seize through water getting into the trunnion. Replacement is a big job and be wary of cheap bushes, which won’t last long. The lower spring pans also rust; inside the pan is an aluminium shim that dissolves. Replacements are available in varying thicknesses up to 10mm.
Check the anti-roll bar mountings, which will probably have corroded and may need to be welded up. Front anti-roll bars can pull out of their retaining links as the bushes tend to be of poor quality, but new links with bonded bushes are available.
As well as brake servos leaking, the brake master cylinders are prone to bore wear; a regularly used car may need a new cylinder within four years of replacement. RHD cars built between 1970 and 1978 have a dual master cylinder, which is expensive to replace.
Rust is the biggest problem and these cars aren’t easy to restore properly or cheaply. A lack of factory-applied protection means rust works its way out from the inside. By the time it's visible, it's much worse underneath and often terminal. Three quarters of a Spider’s restoration costs are usually for the bodywork alone.
Start with the crossmember under the radiator, the rear of the sills, the wheelarches (especially the double-skinned rears) and floorpans, plus the seams where the front valance meets the wings, the lower half of each rear wing, the trailing edge of the bootlid, spare wheel well and the fuel tank mounts.
From inside the car check for rotten floorpans along with the inner sill wall and seat runners. Also inspect the A-posts which rot, leaving the doors to sag. Other weak spots include the front jacking points and the peak of the wheelarches, the front and rear valances plus the front wings.
Parking nudges can also wreak havoc. Check the bootlid’s alignment and ensure the front wings haven’t been filled. The complexity of the boat-tailed Spider’s construction means restoration is even more involved than that for the later cars.
The seat trim falls apart and door trim panels can warp, but everything is available. The hood is easy to use but replacing it isn’t for the amateur and it gets damaged easily, plus it's prone to leaking even when working correctly.
The electrical system is simple, with rusty connections the most likely problem. On cars with air-con (most common on US-market cars) make sure it works. The same cars are likely to have electric windows which will probably be suffering from sticky motors.
- 1966: The Spider debuts, unofficially tagged Duetto. The first Spiders (badged 1600) have a 1570cc engine.
- 1968: The 1750 Spider debuts, still with a boat-tail but now a 1779cc engine. There’s now an alternator, brake servo plus suspension tweaks. The 1290cc Spider Junior debuts too – right-hand drive cars are rare.
- 1970: The Duetto bodystyle is superseded by the Kamm-tailed version, still with the 1779cc engine. Six inches shorter than its predecessor, the dashboard is revised too.
- 1971: The 2000 Spider Veloce arrives with a 1962cc engine plus a limited-slip diff is standard. Styling changes include a broader front grille, recessed door handles and modified sidelights.
- 1977: Official UK imports of the Spider stop, but cars continue to be imported independently.
- 1983: The Series 3 is introduced, with fresh bumpers, plus spoilers front and rear.
- 1990: The Series 4 debuts and official imports resume, with left-hand drive only. S4 cars are structurally the same as 1970s models but with a heavily restyled nose and tail. The interior is also spruced up and electronic fuel injection is installed along with variable valve timing.
- 1993: Production ceases, a year before the introduction of the all-new GTV-based FWD Spider.
The Spider that’s the most collectible is the earliest model, the Duetto. Later cars are every bit as desirable in that they’re more powerful, more usable and more affordable too. The sweet spot is the Series 2 – cheaper to buy than the Duetto, offers the most investment potential and it still has classic looks; things started to go downhill aesthetically from the Series 3 for most enthusiasts.
The Series 2 was also available with factory-built right-hand drive, whereas the later cars were converted from left-hand drive independently. Whichever model you buy there are plenty of traps for the unwary, but despite their reputation, these cars aren’t inherently unreliable.
While rust protection was pretty much non-existent and repairs are often complex and expensive, if you buy a good Spider it'll take years off you – but jump in without looking and you could end up ageing very quickly.
|1300 Junior (1968-1972)|
|1750 Spider Veloce (1967-1971)|
|2000 Spider Veloce (1971-1983)|
Picture courtesy of MagicCarPics
After that perfect Alfa Romeo Spider for sale?
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To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION at RM Sothebys' Monterey event, 24 - 25 August 2018. Check back soon for complete catalogue description. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.comTo view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/MO18.
This 1961 Alfa Romeo Giuletta has been restored some years ago and in 2014 the underside was completely restored again, invoice available. Mechanically this car is in a very good condition, it has good oil pressure and temperature. It has a 1290cc 4 cylinder engine with Solex carburetors and 91HP. All gearbox synchros enable trouble free gear change. The interior is in very good condition and the
GT 1300 Junior er modellen, der forener den `nye` Bertone karosse, med det fine instrumentbord fra 1750 GTV modellen med store instrumenter i glas. Med en tilpasset 1750 front med 2 og ikke 4 forlygter, er det en relativt sjælden version. En 1300 motor kan selvfølgelig aldrig have en 2000 motors solide bundtræk. Alfa`s 1300 motor er til gengæld en fint afbalanceret sag, der stortrives med mang
A very nice 2 liter Bertone GT. This is originally a Swedish car. We bought it 8 years ago and took the car apart for a complete body restoration and some mechanical work as well. It also received an all new interior with upholstery in tan leather. Foto documentation available from restoration process. High quality paint job in rare original Alfa color Blu Pervinca. After restoration we sold t