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Discussion Starter #1
Ok,

Lately, I've been very intrigued about AR Spiders. Since, I don't know much about them I'd like to know a few things. I do know I want one!

I'm probably going to go for a mid 80s- early 90s spider, though I do like the look of earlier spiders.

What exactly should I be looking to spend and how much are the average maintenance on these?

Also, I'd like to know a little bit about the differences between the cars I listed.

Oh yeah, what kind of performance should I expect? I currently own a '91 Miata for autocrossing.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've read that site a lot the past few days, while it does have a lot of information, it doesn't as much current details.

Anyways, at least I know that a spider can hold it's own against my Miata.

So, with that in mind, how much am I looking at for a decent spider?
 

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Welcome to AlfaBB Spider0!

Generally speaking, the most desirable Spiders are 1974 and earlier. As you progress through the years after '74, Spiders continued to lose their sports car essence (power), having been bogged down by exhaust emmission regulations.

The round tail Spiders, officially referred to as "Osso di Seppia", are highly sought after and gained in popularity because of the movie "The Graduate". Model names (and engine sizes) were 1600 Duetto, 1750 Veloce and 1300 Junior.

Kamm tail Spiders gained more trunk space and the rake of the windshield was also lowered. Model names were 2000 Veloce and 1600 Junior.

For the U.S. market, I believe that 1972 was the first year that Alfa switched from dual weber carburetion to the Spica fuel injection system. This system remained until 1981. All models from 1982 up were equipped with Bosch fuel injection which many believe to be more reliable/durable than the Spica system.

1974 was the last year of the beautiful stainless steel bumpers. 1975-1982 share the same body style as the early 70's Spiders but they came with thicker rubber bumpers to meet regulations. Model names were 2000 Veloce and 1600 Junior.

1983 to 1989 models had the 'rubber tail' and were officially referred to as "Aerodinamica." Model names were 2.0 Graduate, 1.6 (Junior ??) and 2.0 Quadrifoglio Verde.

1990 to 1994 models offered integrated bumpers, power steering and were also available with automatic transmissions. Model names were Spider (1.6 liters) and Spider Veloce (2.0 liters). I believe some where in this period Alfa equipped the engines with variable valve timing.

With all that said, I can tell you that the 1980 and 1981 models are considered by many to be the least desirable (I hope I don't offend anyone.) The reason being is that the models in these two years were in-betweeners (or bastard years) having unique intake parts making them harder to work on. I heard that Alfa was preparing for the switch to the Bosch fuel injection system, and had some labor problems. There were only 1,436 Spiders produced in 1981, the lowest annual figure.

I am not an expert on Spiders, or on any other subject for that matter. There are many very knowledgable people on AlfaBB that can correct any errors I made.

I am the former owner of a 1974 and a 1981 Spider Veloce. Although I thoroughly enjoy my '67 GTV, I do miss the open top driving and the smoking of (stock) Miatas! I am now constantly on the prowl for BMW 2002's, but those guys don't get it.
 

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Hey Spider0,

I've got a 77 spider and an 95 MX5 (miata). Splendid pair. Thoughly recommended. You can never have too many convertibles.

Might find the spider leaks a bit more than the mazda (both water in and oil out). Spider rear end more lively due to prehistoric tyre and suspension technology. Engine more grunty, steering is precise but less lock than the mazda (or mine's knackered), gearchanges are more leasurely.

Parts are reasonbly cheap and easily available (in uk). It's a simple car so maintainence is a breeze (Spica excepted, but I have dirty great carbs).

Spider has huge carrying capacity relative to mazda. I always use it for shopping.

Also bizzare requirement for shorter legs and longer arms.

Dan.
 

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My $.02:

The "best" Spider largely depends on what you desire in a top-down sports car. '66-'67 1600 Duettos are the most simple, the '68/'69 1300 Junior (like mine) is the lightest, the '69 1750 SPICA has the best power-to-weight ratio (in stock form). But, the early Spiders (SPICA was used for every US ALFA from '69 through '79, and on the '80 and '81 Spiders) are very 'basic' and have not many creature comforts...on the other hand, they are the most 'tossable' and easisest to work on.

Spiders got heavier almost every year. In '82, the chassis was stiffened, so the post-'82 cars are stiffer.

If I was not a good 'wrench-turner' and was getting my FIRST Spider, I think I would go with an '86 through '89 Spider. They have better reliability, they look good, they have good power from the Bosch fuel injection and they have good creature comforts for the better half to enjoy. I would stay with either a Veloce or Graduate model (they are less expensive than the 'Quad', and have fewer things that can break.

Cost? Have a look on E-Bay for an idea. Stay away from rust-buckets and buy the best example you can find. Typically, I would expect to pay $3500-$6500 for a nice example.

Cheers,
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all your help.

I don't really care for creature comforts, my Miata pretty much has none, so that is not a problem. Besides, power windows and such are extra weight.

While my Miata is great, I think the Alfa looks so much better!! I just love the lines it has!

One more question, do all spiders leak water? Is that a common problem that I should consider?
 

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In my fairly ignorant, but not so humble opinion the best spiders are 1974 or earlier and 1991 - 94.
Prior to 74 you are looking at "the real deal" a light weight performance machine with no sissy stuff. Lots of raw potential that makes for a very distinctive ride that can hold its own.

The series 4 brought in Bosch Injection for a significant power increase and a redesign that is to die for (Okay I'm prejudiced). But, it has to haul around a lot more weight ( I suppose I should go on a diet)

Here's what mine looks like

If I weren't so attached (and invested) in my 92, I might very well be in the market for a 74 in good shape.
 

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spider0 said:
One more question, do all spiders leak water? Is that a common problem that I should consider?
I assume you're referring to the top leaking water. Generally Spider tops are pretty tight but most likely there will be some drops coming in around the tops of the vent windows, but only while being driven. There should be little to no leaks if she's sitting in the rain. This is also provided that all of the drain holes are free from debris. Having good tight rubber window scrapers helps to reduce leaking into the doors, which also have drain holes.

Perhaps you should have asked whether Spiders leak oil. :) Having all aluminum alloy engines, most Alfas will leak some oil. Others more than some.
 

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A couple of points:

1. Spider0 - No, your Miata has LOTS of creature comforts compared to my '69 Spider 1300 Junior! My car has a good heater (if you are into heating the driver's right foot only), a small interior light that glows just enough to see that there is a light, and that's about it. No headrests, no radio, no A/C, no Power Steering, no console, no cubby holes, no cup holders, pretty bloody basic! Compared to that, your Miata is a 'Luxo-Barge'!

2 Paradiso - Tsk, Tsk....the Spider went through a LOT of evolution during its life. It started out as a pretty basic (but much better-equipped than the British competitors) sports car, but it was highly 'tossable' and reliable. As modifications were made to US -bound cars to accomodate strict US emissions laws, the cars lost a lot of power, were elevated in height, gained unsightly huge rubber bumpers, etc. By the time of the redesign in '91, they weren't competitive with anything on the market. Alfa decided to go "up-market" and sold the few remaining cars between '91 and '94 (actually a few were even sold in '95). The '91 through '94 cars have arguably the best engines because of the Bosch motronic injection, but they were also the slushiest, most overweight Spiders ever! They DO look great, but give me an earlier car anytime! If you were to race test trial each of the Alfa 105 and 115 Spiders ever built, my money would be on the '69 Euro-only 1750. Now, if you bolted up a Frame-Stiffener, a few suspension mods and mounted a modern set of rubber on that car...you'd have a car to beat!!

Ciao,
 

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All Spiders that I know of leak a little...somewhere! But, as was said...you can do a lot to improve things. The best answer is to get a car cover and use it regularly...that way, the leak will only occur when you are out somewhere for a short period.
 

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Alex:
While you were far more eloquent, I thought that I basically said what you said. Particularly in referring to the pre 74 as "the real deal"

How about a 74 with a twin spark shoe horned in!!
 

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Just to correct Kai

Kai's post was great, just wanted to correct one thing though...all the US 90-94 Spiders were 2.0L engines. Its been covered other places but the major differences between the regular Spider and the Veloce in those years is 14" v 15" wheels and vinyl vs. leather trim package.

The 1.6L late-model Spiders were sold in Europe...why...who knows, just glad we got the 2.0L over here!
 

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Bastard Spiders

Oh yeah, as a former owner of an 80 Spider Veloce you would definitely want to stay away from those. Its basically an extremely gutless Spica car....complete with a belt-driven air pump and exhaust gas mixer/breather thingy. (and an 85-MPH speedo) There are plenty of other pre-1980 model cars that look identical but have a more common Spica or Weber setup if you like the look of the series 2 cars.

That being said, I loved my car and it was pretty darned reliable. Drove it all over the place. But the other Spiders that weren't so encumbered by an inefficient emissions setup were quicker. I do miss the pod speedo & tach though. I always thought they looked cool and unique. Now I have the Ford Escort speedo. Ah, progress. :(
 

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Thanks Rob! That post took me over an hour. duh. It became much more involved as I typed. I used this book written by Giancenzo Madaro for reference. The book covers Spiders from 1966 to 1994. There's a massive production figure table in the back of the book but unfortunately it only covers up to 1989. I tried to separate the information to U.S. only models. Thanks for catching that one.

I highly recommend this book if you can find it still.
 

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Here's a shot of the engine bay with the "unique" aluminum intake plenum and exhaust-side mounted air cannister.

P.S. Sorry to stray off topic there Spider0. Friends don't let friends buy 1980 or 1981 Spiders. :D
 

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