1973 Alfa Romeo Spider, Viewed 14/10/2014

1973 Alfa

I’d seen this Alfa online on Autotrader, but it was at a dealership, which put me off a little (I figure that they are always going to be a little more expensive at a dealership because of the “middleman”). Regardless, I decided to go out and take a dekko at it after work one afternoon.

The car was out by the road so I took a look at it before going into the dealership proper. The first look confirmed me in what I had suspected by the advertised price; this needed some work. The paint was generally tatty and was bubbling and cracking in the rockers. From what I could see of the underside there was the beginnings of some rust there that would require excising. The rear tail-lights – strangely – appeared to be angled “up” toward the sides of the car which didn’t look right. It was subtle, but I could see it. Wasn’t sure if it was a bad replacement of the lights after bodywork or if the bumper was bent – either way, not a good look.

Went in and yakked with the sales guys. They were selling the car for a friend, they said, and opined that he’d probably sell it for less than asking (which was $7500). I asked for a closer look at it and a test drive so while one salesman went to look for the keys, I headed out with the other for a closer look. The engine bay was decent but very dirty and the SPICA injections system had been replaced by a carb which I wasn’t familiar with (big plastic casing – very 80s looking). I’d rather have the original SPICA injection if possible, because if it was fettled correctly it apparently provided better fuel control than dual Webbers without sacrificing power or driveability. Looked in the boot and it was nasty. Someone had painted it with some sort of protective black paint and it was popping, cracking  and flaking off everywhere, which suggests some nastiness underneath.

So – Into the car. The interior was actually quite good. I do like the Alfa Spider interior – it’s snug, the IP is beautiful and the shift mount very distinctive. I was handed the keys and tried to start it – nothing. “Ah” said the dealer, “the battery has gone flat… perhaps you could come back on Saturday?” Hmmm. Further questioning about the car produced concerns about the “clutch or transmission” that would need to be fixed before it was roadworthy (although he had seemed quite content to allow me to test drive it… maybe he knew the battery would be flat? Odd). Anyway, it was a nice little car (smaller than I had expected it to be) but it probably requires more work than would be ideal for me in my current circumstances.

Evelyn wasn’t present for this visit, so the rankings are mine and mine alone.

1973 Alfa Romeo Spider Rankings;

Value for money: 2/10 with the amount of work that appears to be needed here, I’d be leery of spending any more than about $3500 – max – on this car.
Driving Impression: N/A
Body: 5/10 rough in places and I’d be worried about what’s underneath. Possible that this has been rear-ended?
Engine: 3/10 – Didn’t start. Suggestions of undefined clutch and/or transmission issues, non original car/injection system…
Handling: N/A

And that was that. Unlikely that this is the car for me – so I didn’t follow them up on their offer of a test drive.


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