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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone I am considering getting a spider for my first car. I am looking at mostly s2 and s3s. I would be able to afford one and they are awesome but I am aware of "alfaritis" how alfas are extremely unreliable. I was wondering if it would be a good choice getting one and would like to hear what you guys think about it. Thanks in advance!
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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They are very reliable when everything works and will stay that way when they've been well maintained. You can find the whole spectrum out there, just depends on your budget and how much you want to learn to do yourself. lots of help here, good luck
 

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"Alfaritis"? Not something me or any of the three Alfas I've owned suffer from. I also know that anyone who perpetrates a rumor about Alfas being extremely unreliable knows nothing about *** they're talking about. :rolleyes:
 

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It's not the Alfa that's unreliable. It's the owner that doesn't properly maintain it that's unreliable. If you love an Alfa it will love you back. (The corollary to this is that when evaluating an Alfa for possible purchase, you kind of have to evaluate the previous owner as well.)
 

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In my experience, a well-maintained S3 is a great place to start. They are very reliable - if previously loved. Dickson
 

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Ditto here, and I would lean towards an S3 as it has a relatively simple and trouble-free Bosch fuel injection system. Also, the S3's seem to be at the bottom of their market value right now (maybe just a tad bit on their way up now actually), so they are an amazing value, especially if you plan to keep them long time.

My Spider was woefully neglected, sat for several years in AZ before I got it, and yet I actually used it for work off and on after doing a fair amount of repairs and preventative maintenance....until the transmission went out, that is. :) But again, that was neglect/abuse that I was aware of, it was just a matter of time before it went out.

You should definitely be your own mechanic though, as finding competent people who are Alfa-knowledgeable can be very difficult (this ain't no Ford bucket). I did some (non-mechanic) work for a local auto shop, and they were blown away when I told them I was going to rebuild my Spider's transmission myself. They seemed to consider the task pretty much impossible. Now that I'm in the tranny, I'm like "Really?" It's not rocket science, and yet even people who work on "normal" cars for a living seem to be easily stymied by the little Alfa.

I would say that in general, Alfas, as most mid-to-high performance sports cars, are less tolerant of neglect and improper maintenance than more common, boring vehicles. But who wants to drive one of those anyway? :)
 

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Hi,

The Spider is a pretty simple car comparing to now days cars.
Have a look under the hood of any new car, it is almost impossible to fix them yourself with no "special" computer/software.
If you buy a well maintained Spider and you will keep maintaining it by the book, you should not have special problems.
I would recommend the newer you can get as long as it is in a good shape.
(better to have a S2 which maintained well and not S3 that should be restored...)

The most important tip I can give is, do not hurry. I bought the first one I could afford, I'm still paying the price for that, I think there are few parts left that I didn't replace....

Good luck,
Saar
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you everyone I will definitly treat my alfa like it's part of the family
 

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Rust, me boy, rust....

Engine and transmission mounts ...

Electrical gremlins, especially the grounds...

The in tank fuel pump and associated plumbing...

The large ruibber duct from the AFM and across the top of the valve cover comes lose and/or cracks...

Just page threw the posts here...
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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Don't any of you super nice EFI people take this the wrong way but the Bosh injection seems so un Alfa to me. Sure they work great, give good power and fuel economy but seeing all that "stuff" hanging all over such a beautiful motor just doesn't seem right..... to me.
 

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Don't any of you super nice EFI people take this the wrong way but the Bosh injection seems so un Alfa to me. Sure they work great, give good power and fuel economy but seeing all that "stuff" hanging all over such a beautiful motor just doesn't seem right..... to me.
True, but no choice these days with the emissions regulations. I'm still impressed by the fact that Alfa had the same basic 4c DOHC engine in production for some 30 years. Like my Jeeps, same basic straight 6 that started off as a Rambler engine in the 50s-60s. Near impossible to kill that engine. One of mine has 200k miles on it, runs like new, burns no measurable oil between changes, and holds 50-60 psi oil pressure.
 

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A one or two owner is best. Dont buy one that has been sitting. They are a nighmare to troubleshoot whats wrong with them.

If you can find one that was driven weekly so the PO knows whats its quirks are you will be in much better shape. The ones sitting are cheaper but have all kinds of issues. Try to find one thats 2-4 grand and is driven weekly. Sometimes CL is better than ebay.

The S3's are the best. I was given one that all it needs is a paint job and a little bondo. Cosmetic stuff can be fun to fix. I did the speedo cable and the dash board and heater fan were fun and work, but I learned about the car.

I even went to the junkyard and tore out a heater fan out of a junked one so I could see how it worked and where it went. Go to a junkyard and find some that you can play around in.

Good luck.

Mark
 

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I dont think you should be getting a spider for your first car. Its not the spider part, Its
the first car thing. Go out and find you a car you can play with , Run hard ,Drive hard, if it gets hit or messed up , dont spend more than $1000.00 on it . After you get it up and running than get you a spider for your 2nd car. This is if you are say, 18 years old , Can you work on one? If you look at the INS companys here in the States you will see that most first time drivers ,not all, will mess up there car before a year is up . If you are a young driver, Than that chance goes up more . you might find that one (alfa) Well ,,, If shes get gone you will lose you heart too. The way things are today you need that road time . ( a Father knows best)
 

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For what it's worth...

For what it's worth...

I have been driving my 1986 Alfa Spider Veloce daily since I bought it from Spruell in Atlanta in 1993. I love keeping it looking and operating like new. I have 110,000 miles on it and it has never left me stranded.

It does take care, but I enjoy learning new things about it from this Forum (what 25 year-old car wouldn't need care to keep it nice?). It makes a great driver car. It's fun, exotic, loaded with character, fuel-injected, power windows, power brakes, power mirrors, leather seats, designed by Pinnifarena, an aluminum double-overhead-cam engine with variable timing that's considered by many to be a work of art, 5-speed transmission, 4-wheel disc brakes, air-conditioning, Bosch electricals, a suspension that evolved from racing, a top that you can lift with one hand while in the drivers seat, get excellent gas mileage, magnesium wheels and more. I would have to say it has to be one of the most wonderful cars ever produced!

To continue the tribute to the Spider, I created a digital rendering (see attached). By drawing it in Photoshop, it made me appreciate the clean styling all the more. Once I decide on a size (no restrictions on what size I can print it), I plan to produce a museum-quality giclee print on canvas and park the Alfa on my art studio wall.

So I say it makes a great first, second or third car. Get one!
But Caution: you could also become an Alfa-fanatic!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks spider77rebuild for your advice. I do understand your point that a Italian sports car is not the best choice for a teen, but I think that if I can keep my inner F1 driver under control I can avoid wrapping it around a tree(that's if I can!). I am sure you are probably right but I'll take the chance.

Jay Hunt, I completely agree with you. Alfas are definitely a work of art in every way. I was drawn to them because they are classic, exotic, and all around awesome. And unlike the legends like Ferrari and Lamborghini they are affordable. The rendering is great by the way!
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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I rolled my first Alfa, hit an embankment with the front end flew up in the air flipped aournd and hit the same embankment updside down with the back of the car. Red clay was jammed up the tailpipe about 8 inches, landed upside down with our heads conviently placed in the space of the depression on the side of the road. Basiclly hit the marbles on the outside of a turn and lost it going really fast. No bumps or brusies though. I used up a lot of peoples luck that night so be careful.
 

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Be sure to get insurance quotes before you buy. Will you be able to afford collision coverage? Not because of the Alfa so much as your age. Two or three years of insurance might cost you as much as the car did.

Several years ago, when my 16 year old daughter was fantasying about taking my 2005 Jaguar S-Type R to college, I ask my agent how much it would cost to put her the primary driver. The rate would have jumped from less than $1000 a year to $4000. And that was for a girl and with very high deductibles. It is costing us a $1100 a year for her to drive a 2006 Honda Element - which, by the way, is a much better college car.
 

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See: Alfa Rendering Details

Thanks RossoVeloce179!
You can see screen captures of close ups to show details of the rendering. I didn't want to hijack this post so I started a new topic:
See: Alfa Rendering Details
 

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Hi everyone I am considering getting a spider for my first car. I am looking at mostly s2 and s3s. I would be able to afford one and they are awesome but I am aware of "alfaritis" how alfas are extremely unreliable. I was wondering if it would be a good choice getting one and would like to hear what you guys think about it. Thanks in advance!
Well, first of all, there's no such thing as "Alfaritis" (I've never heard the term before) and the notion that they are unreliable is a myth. I once bought a '78 Alfetta Coupe for $400. I put a new battery in and used that car for my daily commute of 108 miles round trip for 8 years. The Alfetta was a much more complex and exotic chassis than the Spider so, if anything, would have been more prone to reliability issues if they existed. But it was dead nuts reliable.

So as a first car, I don't see any particular problem with that but obviously you're talking about a car that is anywhere from 20 to 40 years old so you can read all the consumer reports you want, they aren't relevant. The condition of a car that age could be anywhere on the map, there's no guaranteeing "reliability" under such circumstances. Something else to consider is that Alfas are not on the grid in North America meaning that you won't be able to get much more than bulbs and wiper blades from most Auto Parts suppliers. There are well established online and mail order suppliers however and the internet is a connection medium that, in many ways, makes it even easier to own and maintain an Alfa than back in the 70's.

Bottom line is - they aren't rocket science and keeping one isn't all that hard. The unreliability myth is something that has made Alfa's one of the best kept secrets in North America. There is virtually nothing else out there that can deliver bang per buck like a $2100 Spider.
 
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