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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi!

I am thinking about pulling the trigger on buying an '84 Spider, but I would really like some advice on what a reasonable price would be, as I know nothing about alfa romeos apart from the research I've been doing online. I'm also having a hard time finding prices for this exact model on CL, etc.

Current owner bought it from original owner, who was super into alfa romeos and treated it very well - regular (obsessive) maintenance, always in garage, etc. 111,00 miles. Pictures attached here.

Also, what's your advice in terms of reliability? Maintenance? etc. There is only one other (short) thread that I can find on this message board about this.

Any advice on prices? I really really appreciate any and all help you guys can give me!

Thanks,
emily
 

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Hi Emily,


Before you buy any Alfa take it to an Alfa mechanic and get them to thoroughly inspect it for you. This is crucial. It will be the smartest 80 bucks you'll spend on your car. Or at least the first $80 bucks!

I go to Benny at John's Alfa Romance on Pico Blvd. and I highly recommend him. There are other great Alfa shops in LA that may be be closer to you but whomever you use, make sure it is an Alfa specific shop, not a "foreign car" shop. This will be your first visit of many so pick your Alfa mechanic before you buy an Alfa. Really.

This is not to say that Alfas are unreliable but this is a 20 +yr old car, its Italian, they have quirks specific to Alfas and they all need something (or more likely several things). Even the most well maintained machines have parts that wear out. Best to find out what that list of "things" is before you buy it.

I don't see any pictures attached btw. I'll let other S3 owners chime in on the price ranges on the 80's cars but its going to depend on the specific car's condition, repair history and current mechanical state. Also, some here seem to think the red ones are the fastest. Others swear that black spiders are faster but I think everyone agrees that the cool people drive green spiders.
 

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We have an '84 Spider. Once it is sorted out it should be a reliable, fun car. I drive it work regularly (in good weather) and we've taken multi-day/thousand mile vacations in it.

The Series 3 Spiders ('82-'89) have Bosch L-jetronic FI/ignition. It has proven to be quite robust but does have a few quirks that not every mechanic might know. (There is a link in my signature to a page of DIY things a handy home mechanic can take care of with a few basic tools.) Alfa's do not tolerate neglect but if you take care of routine maintenance (fluid/oil changes, tune ups, brakes, etc) it should give you many happy miles.

The Series 4 Spiders ('90-'94) have Bosch Motronic FI/ignition and are a few years newer so might be even more reliable. But they tend to cost more, too.

I suggest you contact a local Alfa club. Members would probably be willing to help you check out the car plus they are likely to know of good ones for sale.
 

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RE: maintenance cost. Here’s my experience after 1 year of ownership and using the car as a daily driver.
So far I’ve put about 7000 miles on the car (now at 116,000) In the first week I opted to replace many front suspension and steering parts including the shocks with Konis, also replaced in- tank fuel pump, minor tune up, oil /gear box fluids and center and rear exhaust + catalytic converter. There were other asstd cosmetic repairs and minor things like wobbly mirrors and slow power windows to address as well.
This all cost about 1500.00.
Other parts I’ve replaced this year: the other fuel pump, front and rear brake pads, water pump, several belts, a couple of head light lamps and a turn signal/ flasher relay. (The bulbs and relay I did myself.- woohoo)That’s another 700.00 or so.
All this I consider routine stuff. It’s just old parts wearing out. The water pump, for example, looked original and was in pretty sad shape. It’s hard to believe it was running at all in its condition. It lasted for almost 20 years. Not too bad IMO.
I consider my car “reliable” for an old car and I drive it everywhere with little concern about whether it will get me there and back. I pay very, very close attention to it and so far I’ve been able to tell when something is going wrong before it fails completely and leaves me stranded. The water pump began to make made a slight rattle , the fuel pump caused the car to have a kind of flat spot when accelerating before it gave up entirely. I also keep up my AAA premium membership.
I don’t expect this year will be inexpensive as I have a list of things I want to replace including a new top, but I’d rather spend the $ putting new, quality parts on this car than pay a 300+ a month car payment on any new car that would be in my price range. If you are not repairing the car yourself and you are driving it daily I think it’s reasonable to expect and allocate about $1200-1500 year for ongoing maintenance and repair costs.
 

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Alfa's are generally pretty reliable and repairable, but a general picture can't tell you about any specific example.

I think that perhaps the mechanic who does the inspection for you could best help you with valuing the car.

However, if you want a WAG to get some idea of where you are, probably in the 5 -7 K range... with the understanding that the one of the nicest ones, needing nothing (and with lower mileage than yours) might bump 10K or so... HOWEVER THIS IS ONLY AN ORDER OF MAGNITUDE GUESS and worthless in your specific case.

The thing about a car with 110k miles is that we don't know where it is in its maintenance cycle. Was the water pump replaced somewhere along the line? The oil pump? The front suspension bushings? How about the radiator. None of these things are particularly prone to fail, but on ANY car with 110K miles, they will wear out. If they haven't been replaced yet, and fairly recently, then they're on the upcoming attractions list. Same is true for brake pads and rotors, the clutch, etc.

Then there is the mystery factor of any 30 year old car. Something will happen.

If the car is pretty and the mechanic OK's it, ask him what he'd recommend for its first service. If there's anything that might go wonky on you in the next 6 months to a year, just have him do it immediately upon purchase.

Scheduled repairs are always less traumatic than surprise ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thank you all for the info! I will def. take to a mechanic. All the help is very much appreciated!!
 
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