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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i dont have any experience with alfa's other than what ive been researching the last few days. the question is which year/specific alfa is going to be more reliable and a better investment.

1977 alfa romeo spider $1800

pro: has new after market mechanicle fuel injector system(looks shinney and nice too:)). good compression runs good, no leaks.

con: rust spot on hood with a few golf ball sized dents on the metal lip above the front bumper and one slightly larger dent on the trunk lid. not much more than a few surface rusts spots under the car. chrome is dotted and nasty. the paint is completly shot, interiors sad and the top could use some care although it doesnt leak.

1981 alfa romeo spider $2500

Pro: the outside and inside look considerably better than the 1977 (still a bit ratty).

con: guy said it had rocker panel rust that was "patched". rust spots on hood. also the research that i was doing lead me to beleive that the 81 year has issues more so than the previous years with polution control devices. still using the stock mechanicle fuel injection.

are the two years offering anything different in reliablity? is the after market mechanicle fuel injector common? expensive?

any knowledge/opions on what sounds like a better deal or difference between the 2 years would be greatly appriciated.

thank your for your help

spencer
 

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What do you mean after market mechanical fuel injection? Those years both have Spica mechanical fuel injection as opposed to carbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i didnt know it was called "spica" but the 77 has what looked like and the owner said was a new mechanical fuel injection unit. maybe it was just a rebuilt unit. it had a color pamphlet for trouble shooting the new/rebuilt fuel control system.
 

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Most likely a rebuilt unit done by Wes Ingrahm. I don't think there are any "Brand New" ones left in the world.
 

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There are no aftermarket mechanical fuel injection systems. Ask the owner if he meant that the fuel injection pump was overhauled, when, and by who.

The '81 system had the same Spica system except for a unique single-butterfly intake system. It also had a few more items of emissions equipment. Overall, I think I would hold out for a car that had a good body and paint. Fixing rust and repainting is very very expensive.
 

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Both of those cars do not sound like good deals at all... Rockers are an integral part of the car's structure (frame), and costly to fix. In today's extremely tough market (for sellers), one can find excellent deals. There are plenty of Spiders being advertised for 1/2 to 1/3 of what they were going for in 2007. You will be shocked at what you can get for not much more...

Best regards,
 

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The 77 was the last year without a cat converter, but the 78s had more power because they could retune the injection and the cat could clean it up and had better exaust. 81 has the one butterfly Spica so it lost some performance because it was done for emisions. I would go with the true "less rust" car. repair does not mean fixed. The injection pump is about $700 and a thermostatic actuator is about $250 so that might be a thought as the 81 could need them. I have a 77 and 78 other than tuning they are about the same.
 

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As the owner of an '81, I'd have to admit that it's not the fastest car I've ever owned (then again, my other summer car is a vintage 911). But the Alfa has been very reliable (no problems at all with the Spica, which is what seems to worry most people when they look at this vintage), it has a wonderfully smooth engine and is loads of fun.

So while I don't feel the Spica or "because it's an '81" should be the deal breaker, unless you're accomplished at body work and want to spend a lot of time on it, rust-free should be a priority. Even if you have to up your budget a bit, you'll be way ahead in the long run.
 

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Both of those cars do not sound like good deals at all... Rockers are an integral part of the car's structure (frame), and costly to fix.
I had this same thought, but I always get flamed for raining on the parades of guys like spinsirs. But, since Zunige has already said it, yea, my advice would also be to keep shopping!

It isn't as if 70's - 80's spiders are particularly rare. I'll bet that every issue of "Auto Trader" in every market has one or more (I think the publisher of A.T. has a policy not to print an issue until at least one spider ad comes in).

My advice would be to find the earliest, leasted rusted, least accident damaged car you can find. Price should be a secondary consideration once you find a car with sound rockers & floors, shiny paint, and a minimum of emmissions equipment.
 

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If you don't object to the rear spoiler on the Series 3, I would recommend an S3 due to the fact that they have Bosch L-tronic electrical fuel injection which is usually very reliable. You can get a S3 in a year around 86 to 89 for the kind of money you are thinking of paying for that 81. Rust is the one really big consideration, IMO. You can repair or replace most of the mechanicals and cosmetics of the car, but a rusty car is the ultimate deal breaker to me. I bought an 88 for $3,000 and thought it was rust free. After owning it about 8 months I discovered some rust, but not anything I could not fairly easily cut out and replace with new metal. This was in the front spoiler and in the passengers floor board. Rust in the rear fenders, the bottoms of the front fenders, and in the rockers is not really worth repairing unless you are dealing with a high value model like a Gulia or rare model. You cannot repair serious rust as cheaply as you can just buy a rust free example if you are dealing in the 3 - 4,000 range.

Best advice is to buy in the off season (winter) when prices fall off a little, and be patient, waiting for a really solid car to turn up. Keep checking ebay and craigslist and be prepared to travel to get what you want. I went 986 miles to pick up my 88.
Good luck, Robert
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
thanks a bunch for the insight! im taking the advice. passing on both of these and holding out for the right one and right price.
 

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Good, pass on both of them because everyone knows '78 was the best year...;)
 
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