Andrew, you wouldnt happen to be a clinician would you.... using terms like malignant and stage 4 cancer :grin2: to describe rust :grin2:
In any event, I agree with Andrew on several points. However, I will add the following "personal observations".
First however, regarding your question about Fuel PSI.... there are "actual" numbers posted in shop books.... BUT..... in Alfa language... that is more of a "suggestion" than a rule.... i swear sometime the engineers didnt read their own specs on these cars. In reality.... the dash of the 70s spiders has a low fuel pressure warning light....(make sure the bulb works)... the same light shares duty with the hand brake (so youll know which one it is). if the bulb is working.... and the light is "off" while youre driving.... youre good..... i say this because (In addition to my 1987 Quadrifoglio Spider pictured in my avatar) I have a 1971 1750 Spider. I had that thing dialed in on Fuel pressure to factory... but at idle the low fuel pressure light would barely start to flicker if i sat at a stop light too long... tried minor tweaks to fix it... but car ran great.... Alfa mechanic friend said... drive yourself crazy trying to fix a bulb.... or drive the car like crazy and make a smile.... obviously i chose the latter. Bottom line, if the light is off under load.... and mostly off at idle with knowledge of no fuel tank rust, no fuel leaks, and new high filtration/flow filters.... have fun.
Regarding Early vs Late 70s spiders... for all intent and purposes they are the same car. In Europe.... they "WERE" the same car with only minor exceptions, the most glaring being the 1971 model had the 1.8 ltr 1750 4cyl engine... and the 1972 on cars had the 2.0 ltr 2000 motor. All USA cars were fitted with Mechanical FI (however some have been retrofitted to carbs because of the performance advantages). The later 70s cars are (As Andrew said) not as fast largely due to increased weight from US DOT crash regulations mainly in the bumpers. To save weight and increase performance, ditch the late 70s bumpers and retrofit to the early 70s type.... in these cars bumpers are more for aesthetics than useful purpose. Depending on CA smog and laws... you may be able to put Carbs on it and higher Cams if you want/need the extra power.... but... if not... the car is fun/fast enough on its own. Besides.... you already stated you have some "American Muscle" in the garage for going fast in a straight line >
. Although.... I would recommend ditching the late 70s bumpers... car handles better.
(Also, regarding bumpers... if you do buy an Alfa, beware the SUV/Truck or heck any car that can back into the nose of the Alfa above the bumper line).... Always park nose in (toward a wall, light post or other protective structure.... or park Nose Out.... away from other cars esp in parking lots to avoid unnecessary need for body work.
Regarding "Grazie" statements.... as he said, it boils downto your personality and "mechanical ability". If youre not a "sockets and wrench" kind of guy/girl Alfa ownership will be very painful, frustrating and costly. Thankfully for the earlier cars pre-1980 they are mechanically very simple and parts are readily available (international-auto.com) or (vickauto.com).
I think to have these cars, you need a "massive sense of humor"... in all things Alfa.
Ive been tinkering with these cars for 20 years ..... so to me.... most things are "manageable" ..... when folks ask me about Alfas, with few exception, I take the "Rocky Balboa approach" e.g. "Question: Is the food good?....Reply: Its all edible"
So bottom line, if youre mechanically inclined.... and go in with the expectation of a "rolling/drivable" long term and never ending project.... then you might not find eons of frustration and will find galaxies of smiles and like minded nut jobs to share a beer and scars/stories with.
Lastly, the car is 36 years old..... there will be things wrong with it... unless it was someone's garage queen and has had heaps of service beyond simple usage stuff and they want billions of dollars for it... there will be things wrong with the car .... however as above.... if the body is solid.... that is a great place to start.