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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Help me decide!

Newbie to the board...and hopefully soon to be a new Alfa Spider owner!

I apologize right up front because I am sure this info is all over the place (if so, feel free to direct me) but I seem to be unbalanced, or not apples/oranges “trade-offs” that I am wrestling with….and before I dive deeper into a specific series, I wanted to at least narrow down to the series (or two) to get deeper from a more educated (or at least fuzzy logic) reason!

I have been falling in love with the Alfa Romeo Spiders (’67-’93) for a while now…and digging more and more in to decide “which one”…and the more I dig, the more I get confused! Looking for any advice/thoughts…or other places to get “inspiration” on choosing. …and then finding one with the best balance of car/price/work needed and upkeep down the road!

Just my quick top line of my thoughts....S1, best looking, classic and expensive….S2, nice as nice of a look, but still classic, and possibly more performance, but getting expensive and harder to find….S3 seems the best prices, but to me the look slips further down, but seems to be the most affordable…S4, the most modern, and looks it, not that that’s bad, but starts to lose some of that vintage feel….ugh!

I am in the early stages of “looking” but having a hard time narrowing down even which one! Thanks for any thoughts/advice!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 06:07 PM
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Welcome to the asylum.

I think your first step should be to find a local Alfa club (if you are in the USA see: AROC-USA). I'd bet some of the members would be willing to show you their cars so you can compare them 'in real life'. They might even know of some good cars for sale (sometimes an Alfista will actually sell a car - usually to finance the purchase of another Alfa).

I don't think you'll go wrong with any of the Spider versions. Series 1 cars are likely the best investment - but will be the most expensive (to either buy or restore). Series 2 cars may be a little less expensive but not by much. Series 3 Spiders seem to have the advantage (for a buyer) of a relatively large supply and lower demand. Thus you have a chance of finding a nice yet affordable car. Series 4, being the newest, will have a higher price than a Series 3 but will also tend to be well cared for so likely worth it. The biggest killer of these cars is probably rust. The older the car the more likely there is rust - usually significant. The factory didn't do anything about rust-proofing until the late 80's/early 90's. So check carefully for rust in the sills & floors.

- - Eric
don't read this
~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I'm in the US...in the Chicago area and just signed up for the club. I am not in a big rush to buy, but want to narrow down my thinking so I can just fall into 1 or two rabbit holes designing and planning!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 04:25 AM
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Welcome. The good news for you is that you are dealing with a buyer's market. Most of us owners are getting on in years, so Spiders come to market that are well documented and cared for over long periods. AROC monthly magazine has classifieds, there are cars for sale here on the BB. And Bring A Trailer sales reflect the market values. Just saw that Hemmings is going to compete with an auction platform too.

I think you should define your budget and look for what is offered. I would not limit. S2 to S4. The differences are not that big. For the same $$, an S3 Spider will be in better condition, include a service history with years of routine maintenance at way over the current selling price.

When you start shopping you will also decide what colors please you and which don't. In the 80's Alfa found the paint suppliers color charts. S2 spiders are red, red, white, black, yellow, green, did I include red? Oh yeah. For S3 there are teal, a nice blue, crema, burgundy plus black and red.

Good luck

John

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John R
So. NH, USA --'87 Spider Veloce
See you along the road - member of AROC/AONE

other current members of the fleet

2017 VW Jetta Tsi
2006 Subaru Outback - almost a driveway requirement in VT & NH
2007 Toyota Corolla

previous
2009 VW Jett TDi (Deer took this one out)
1984 Mercedes 300TDT wagon, rust took that one
1972 Mercedes 280SE, got in straight swap for the Discovery
1996 Land Rover Discovery
1986 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon
1962 VW Bug - 6 volt
1974 Triumph Spitfire - wobbly driveshaft kept destroying stuff
1972 Triumph Spitfire - got totaled while parked at DMV

some others that were less interesting
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 07:55 AM
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I'd also suggest not limiting your search to local cars. If you find a good candidate that is not near you, ask a BB member to look it over for you. If it passes that inspection then have a shop that knows Alfas do a pre-purchase inspection. The cost for a PPI is a tiny fraction of the total price and often well worth it. Then you can decide whether to have it shipped to you or make it into a road trip to get it home.

- - Eric
don't read this
~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 12:53 PM
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Agree with Eric, my advice is to buy the very best one that you can get, a brilliant S3 beats a ratty S1, similarly a brilliant S2 beats a tired S4 and so on.

I'm guilty of buying too many projects, rather buy a running car & as John pointed out, it's a buyers market. Peg your budget, but be prepared to stretch it for an exceptional car, the price is forgotten when the investment is so much trouble free fun to drive.

It's so much more fun to drive your toys than endlessly fix them... been there, still doing that !!

My personal preference is the Series 4.... white with a red interior and phone dial wheels - There I said it !!

Aye
Greig

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Some 105's
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 01:26 PM
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There is no better source of advice than the butt you are sitting on. The seat of your pants will tell you which cars work for you and which cars fail. You cannot put all model spiders in the same kettle and then sort out the ones that look the best on paper for the money. The platforms on the S1 through S4 look the same but the character of each is different in many ways not only the ergonomics but to the senses with the exception of the driveability between '72 and '78 being pretty close to being seamless in that grouping. That said, go to Cars and Coffee in your area and join the local Alfa club and partake in their outings even if you don't have a car. You can always mooch a test drive in a car to get the feel. Owners are almost always willing to give you a demo ride and talk about their cars. I for one could never own a S4 because feel cramped and the car is a little too docile, federalized, and plastic to me. Just an example of what i mean. I find them to be nifty design executions but losing the sinews of a minimalistic sports car.

Last edited by divotandtralee; 07-12-2019 at 01:32 PM.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 06:11 PM
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GoSpdGo,

Having purchased my first Spider just a few months ago I can relate to your happy dilemma. In my case I knew that I didn't want a project car (although one could say ALL Alfas are projects). I wanted a fairly well sorted car that I could drive immediately with reasonable confidence and I didn't want to take a year or more to find one.

I searched all the usual online sites with an emphasis on cars from the western states. I assumed I'd be doing some traveling to view cars as here in Arizona Alfa Spiders are pretty thin on the ground. Once I settled on a budget ($15K was my top end) it became pretty obvious that I was going to be looking at an S3 or S4. After looking close at a few cars I narrowed my focus to an S4. As a previous respondent mentioned, it's a buyers market for the S3 and S4 cars and there are plenty of them out there. I found pretty much exactly what I wanted in a '91 S4 that was quite clean and straight , rust free, with a re-freshed engine and trans. Plenty of little details to tinker with but no major troubles.

The car is a real pleasure. My only regret is that I didn't buy an Alfa 40 years ago.

Bill

1991 S4 Spider "Gabriela", 2017 VW Golf R, 2018 VW GTI,

Previous obsessions; 2006 Mustang GT, 2006 BMW Z4M, 5 other Bimmers, Capri V6, Renault 5, Lotus Cortina, Sunbeam Alpine, Ducati Diana Mk 3, Norton Commando
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jack Straw View Post
GoSpdGo,

Having purchased my first Spider just a few months ago I can relate to your happy dilemma. In my case I knew that I didn't want a project car (although one could say ALL Alfas are projects). I wanted a fairly well sorted car that I could drive immediately with reasonable confidence and I didn't want to take a year or more to find one.

I searched all the usual online sites with an emphasis on cars from the western states. I assumed I'd be doing some traveling to view cars as here in Arizona Alfa Spiders are pretty thin on the ground. Once I settled on a budget ($15K was my top end) it became pretty obvious that I was going to be looking at an S3 or S4. After looking close at a few cars I narrowed my focus to an S4. As a previous respondent mentioned, it's a buyers market for the S3 and S4 cars and there are plenty of them out there. I found pretty much exactly what I wanted in a '91 S4 that was quite clean and straight , rust free, with a re-freshed engine and trans. Plenty of little details to tinker with but no major troubles.

The car is a real pleasure. My only regret is that I didn't buy an Alfa 40 years ago.
Thanks all...yes, I am looking for one I can drive and enjoy right off the bat...had too many projects in my life!
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