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So... over the years I've owned a '64 spider while in Germany, a 68' Giulia Sprint a '69 US boat tail, a '68 Canadian spider parts heap and a brand new Milano Verde when that were first released. None of them at the same time, mind you !! I want another spider I've driven a lot of them in the Philly area. They were all poorly maintained and a far cry from my earlier Alfa romance. From Kaiserslautern to Munich for the Octoberfest in '71... flying at 165 kph on the autobahn at night in the Sprint !!!

What does it take to bring a Series 1, 2, 3 or 4 spider to a modern level of performance? As a target to be comparable to and NA or NB Miata. Suspension and engine upgrades would be the likely upgrades. I have a pretty good handle on the suspension requirements but it seems the getting 150-175hp from the engine is a challenge.

I'd love to hear you thoughts !!!
 

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But buying a Miata is a valid option
Pete
 

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So... over the years I've owned a '64 spider while in Germany, a 68' Giulia Sprint a '69 US boat tail, a '68 Canadian spider parts heap and a brand new Milano Verde when that were first released. None of them at the same time, mind you !! I want another spider I've driven a lot of them in the Philly area. They were all poorly maintained and a far cry from my earlier Alfa romance. From Kaiserslautern to Munich for the Octoberfest in '71... flying at 165 kph on the autobahn at night in the Sprint !!!

What does it take to bring a Series 1, 2, 3 or 4 spider to a modern level of performance? As a target to be comparable to and NA or NB Miata. Suspension and engine upgrades would be the likely upgrades. I have a pretty good handle on the suspension requirements but it seems the getting 150-175hp from the engine is a challenge.

I'd love to hear you thoughts !!!
here is your answer... and more than a maita NA or NB....but it takes work..my 0 - 60 should be in the low to mid 5 seconds.....
IMG_20210208_114558_7.jpg
IMG_20210208_114605_4.jpg
IMG_20210207_161156_0.jpg
 
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150-170 crank is not that hard, some here have 170hp to the wheels. Remember, you have a two liter - NAs and NBs may have a more modern architecture (not by much!) but still have to deal with a 1.6-1.8l mill. It won’t take much. Cams, I/E/H, tune or carbs, and you’re there.

Suspension-wise is a lot more challenging because of that live axle on the back end, the Miatas double A arm rear suspension is NICE and super adjustable, a suspension guys wet dream. But you do have a stock LSD!

Take that from an ex Spec Miata mechanic. Love them to death.
 

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i have a panhard rod system ready for my car
 

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A pumped up 2L engine with the usual higher compression pistons and performance cams (etc. etc.) may get you what you want. If not enough there is the turbo option, or the 3L Busso V6 transplant option. Then there is the option to transplant a non-Alfa engine. Or, today, go to the Alfa Dealer, write the check, and drive home in a new 2020 4C Spider. There are two at Faulkner in Mechanicsburg, PA.
 
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No doubt about it, the Alfa Spider is a classic looking car, and giving it a more powerful engine more worthy of its looks is tempting.

HOWEVER, having done several engine transplants (5) in different cars, I can say this: once you have transplanted, by the 3rd year (or earlier), your transplanted engine is out of date, and now you have a non-original and out-dated engine in the wrong car, and an OLD car at that! You will forever be chasing a newer engine. You will end up looking for an original Alfa engine to put back into your car.

It's a tough thing for me to say, because here I am, well into a 5.0 Mustang engine transplant into a 1956 Jag XK140FHC -- and already regretting it, but it's too late! The engine is a 1995, so it's already 25 years old and WELL-BEHIND the power curve in regards to "a modern engine". There are so many more and better, more efficient and more powerful and more-maintenance-free engines that are available and which NOW should be used: LS, Jag V12, Coyote, even electric engine!

(BTW, the reason I went with a 5.0 injected Ford was because the car was a rolling chassis that originally had an old 302ci Ford. So it was MOL set up for dropping in a 5.0, allowing me to get it on the road quickly!!! Well, it's now been 3 years LATER, and the project is still not completed -- so now I have a bastardized classic Jag with an out-dated, non-original engine.)
Yah, MANY Jag purists tried to dissuade me from doing the 5.0, but again, my initial sole aim was just to get the Jag on the road and not be a forever-project. Hah.
 

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No doubt about it, the Alfa Spider is a classic looking car, and giving it a more powerful engine more worthy of its looks is tempting.

HOWEVER, having done several engine transplants (5) in different cars, I can say this: once you have transplanted, by the 3rd year (or earlier), your transplanted engine is out of date, and now you have a non-original and out-dated engine in the wrong car, and an OLD car at that! You will forever be chasing a newer engine. You will end up looking for an original Alfa engine to put back into your car.

It's a tough thing for me to say, because here I am, well into a 5.0 Mustang engine transplant into a 1956 Jag XK140FHC -- and already regretting it, but it's too late! The engine is a 1995, so it's already 25 years old and WELL-BEHIND the power curve in regards to "a modern engine". There are so many more and better, more efficient and more powerful and more-maintenance-free engines that are available and which NOW should be used: LS, Jag V12, Coyote, even electric engine!

(BTW, the reason I went with a 5.0 injected Ford was because the car was a rolling chassis that originally had an old 302ci Ford. So it was MOL set up for dropping in a 5.0, allowing me to get it on the road quickly!!! Well, it's now been 3 years LATER, and the project is still not completed -- so now I have a bastardized classic Jag with an out-dated, non-original engine.)
Yah, MANY Jag purists tried to dissuade me from doing the 5.0, but again, my initial sole aim was just to get the Jag on the road and not be a forever-project. Hah.
Surely something like a BMW straight six would be more in keeping for the Jag, give you a big power boost with a modern efficient engine?
 

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A detailed account of extracting 170 HP from a 2L in a Spider is here. If that isn't enough power, the sequel is here.
 

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Surely something like a BMW straight six would be more in keeping for the Jag, give you a big power boost with a modern efficient engine?
Nah, when dealing with cars over 30 years old, no matter WHAT you put into the car that was not model-specific or period-correct, it would be just a non-original, out-of-date engine within a very short 2-4 years.
Maybe it would have been OK to put in a more modern Jag straight 6 -- at least the all aluminum DOHC look would be similar. But even then, to make a 30+ year old car to perform in all areas like a new car would require great structuring.
Like a previous comment -- at some point, it's better to just buy a new Miata.
 

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The Alfa twincam rescinds very well to camshafts. And in 2021 there are up to date profiles that can give you the power you want without making the engine fussy. It would be a lot simpler to match this with Weber carburetors; the intake system used on the Bosch injection cars would need a lot of transformation to provide the required air flow.

So your best bet would be a Series 2 Spider, which is also lighter than the S3 or S4.
 

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Nah, when dealing with cars over 30 years old, no matter WHAT you put into the car that was not model-specific or period-correct, it would be just a non-original, out-of-date engine within a very short 2-4 years.
Maybe it would have been OK to put in a more modern Jag straight 6 -- at least the all aluminum DOHC look would be similar. But even then, to make a 30+ year old car to perform in all areas like a new car would require great structuring.
Like a previous comment -- at some point, it's better to just buy a new Miata.
Why not put the correct type of engine in your XK140?. Surely that would result in you making a profit, if that matters. These old Jag engines are as common as, and actually quite good, if very heavy, engines

Pete
 

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Getting to the original topic, regarding being competitive with Miatas, I can say from experience that as much as we adore our Spiders, they will never be competitive with well driven Miatas on an autocross course or the road. I've been trounced by several, in spite of my best efforts. And I've driven a couple of them, at speed. Just look underneath both cars, and you should realize why. Oh sure, we can add power, and accelerate with about any Miata that's not a turbo or LS1 under the hood, but cornering? Sorry-- technology and suspension design marches on, and the Miata will outcorner us no matter what. They are lighter, have superior geometry, and less overhang F & R. With a good set of sticky tires, it's no contest.

Now, if you're talking a dedicated race car, ok the playing field can be narrowed a bit. A certain local red '76 Spider comes to mind....;);)
 

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Absolutely correct Yves! And when I read recent articles about Mazda's "innovative" backbone chassis, I smile and recall that Colin Chapman did that before, long before the Miata. In fact, Mazda pretty much lifted the Miata concept from the Lotus Elan, right down to the cam covers and Chapman struts.
 

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It's been widely reported at the time of the Miata introduction that Mazda had a Lotus Elan in their design studio while the new car was being created. Whoever picked the Elan for inspiration did right: it is bound to remain the most advanced and uncompromised sports car ever built, before regulations became a burden.
 

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So buy a Miata and repower with an Alfa Twinspark ;)

Pete
 
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I remember many years ago (Summer of 1989) someone brought an older Alfa prototype to the AROC convention in Connecticut. The lines were very close to the then new Miata.

Mo in NJ
 

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Actually if you want a faster Alfa Spider, buy a 916 v6!

Pete
 
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