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Just pick up my 73' spider from a total body re-spray and trim clean up - ran like a swiss watch - until the highway backed up - as I downshift to 4th the cluch pedal is full of play and firms up just 2"from the floor. I realize it is engaged and I am in stop and go highway traffic. Needless to say gears ground, and starting the car in second - very strong starter! Fluids look fine - gears where clear - is their a cable adjustment point?
 

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I believe your Spider does not have a cable operated clutch but rather a hydraulic operation. At the top of the pedal is a pivot shaft that operates a push rod into the clutch master cylinder. The factory weld at the end of the pivot shaft is a weak point and will break causing the symptoms you describe.

See: Clutch Pedal Pivot Shaft

And here is where you can buy an improved, stronger pedal pivot shaft with a lifetime warranty: Alfa Romeo Clutch Pivot Arm
 

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Just replaced Clutch slave cyl and now clutch master cyl. Not a bad job, Classic Alfa has the master cyl rebuild kit for $16, slave is around $50.
 
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