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1987 Quad
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Discussion Starter #1
This is an important set aside, but if one disregards the differences in the front and rear body treatments of the S3 and S4 cars what advantages does one car have over the other? I am pretty new to Alfas and I am just curious about differences in the series. I know the S4 has an air bag in the steering wheel and the bolster on the dash for the knees. Other than that I wonder? Remember, in responding, please disregard the difference in the front and rear end design treatments. Thank you.

I should mention that I currently have an 87 quad.

Looking forward to responses.

Lin
 

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'84 Spider Veloce
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S3 up to '85 has the twin pod dash and wood steering wheel; 86 and after, the monopod dash. S4 gets Motronic injection, power steering, airbag steering wheel - a little more safety & power, but more weight, too. Many don't think the S3's manual steering is a disadvantage.

To me the S4 knee bolsters seem confining. S4 is more a boulevard cruiser . . .

See Alfa Spider FAQs for a complete rundown.


David OD
Laguna CA
 

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Bosch Motronic fuel injection (actually intorduced in the final year of the S2 ) upped HP from 115 to 120 and power steering. While many view the restyle as more asthetically pleasing, beware that it is impossible to get new replacement bumpers for the S4 if they are damaged.
 

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If you like the S3 body but want the S4 Motronic injection, get a 1990 S3.
If you want the dual pod gauges that were used from 1971 through 1985, get an 83-85 S3 Spider Veloce.
Like previously mentioned, the knee bolsters used in 1986 and up are confining and even worse in the S4 cars unless you have a European version.
 
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Someone on the form started the different between all 4 of the series really well. I have only drive a S3. An 85 graduate and my current 84. I think the S3 is the best of all worlds. It has just the right amount of road feel, electronic fuel injection and a duel pod gauge package. Plus the three gauges over the radio and the wooden steering wheel. I鈥檝e had a 1986 Milano 3 L that鈥檚 a completely different car.


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I worked as a tech at an Alfa Dealership in 90-91. I did all the Predelivery Inspections on the new Spiders and 164 sedans. The 164 was well assembled. The Spiders, not so much. The power steering was a game changer for the sales department. As the cars became heavier and the tires wider, the steering became more difficult (when stopped). Women would complain about this. The power steering solved this issue. The automatic transmission helped too. I remember several 91 automatics that were purchased by, or for women.
 

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Thanks spiderserie4 for the NOS bumper listing for Series4 bumpers. The lack of availability of reproduction bumpers was a factor in my original decision not to buy one. Good to know that there is still a small supply of NOS, although once they run out..
 

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1987 Quad
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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone! I appreciate the feedback. Very instructive and helpful.
Lin
 

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Thanks everyone! I appreciate the feedback. Very instructive and helpful.
Lin
Soooo, are you going to stick with your Quad or buy and S4 or both?:)
 

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1987 Quad
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Discussion Starter #12
Hah! Good question. I will stick with what I have for the moment, but you just never know....
Lin
 
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I own both an S3 and S4. My S3 is early (1983) and my S4 is a 1992. I bought my S4 for a specific reason. I like the look, but more important is that it's more of a GT car than a sports car. We use her for trips to the beach or drives up and down the coast. I also drive my S4 to work - I rarely take any of my S2's.

Please, don't take this wrong, but I worry about my S2's getting stolen - they're so hard to replace (except my 1980). If my S4 gets stolen, I'll be upset, but I can find another one in good condition. Today, I drove her to meet the trucking company, then to the office, then to meet my client, to lunch (drive thru window), back to my office, then to my favorite taco place and back home. Here's my oooops moment (I seem to do this with my S4, but not my other Spiders), I left the keys in the ignition again!!!! I'm not sure why this happens only in my S4, but it's happened too many times. Lucky for me, there weren't a lot of customers in the parking lot, so I dodged a bullet. The other times I've left the keys in the car has been safer (in front of my house or in the driveway).

The S4 is also longer than the S2 and S3. My S4 came with AC and 15" phone dial wheels (not crazy about the look, but it was the style in the day). The Motronic makes the car feel different. For instance, I was on the freeway today doing 75 or so. I decided to make her move and I was up to 95 pretty quickly. The VVT and Motronic (and maybe taller cam) make a difference. Here's the big BUT - the car feels more like a Toyota - starts easily, idles smoothly (no cammy idle), no smelly exhaust (good and bad), cat blocks some of the beautiful music from the tail pipe and a lot of the soul is gone. My early S2's are angry! Rough on the edges and you can tell there's a lot of camshaft in the motor. It doesn't matter if it's a 1750 or 2L, they both have a soul.

I asked some colleagues what they thought of the different versions of Spiders. Of course, the S1 was the favorite. The older crowd liked the metal bumper S2, while the younger crowd liked the S4. The rubber bumper S2 came next an the S3 was last. I find it very interesting, because prices follow in step.

My recommendation is to drive and S4 and see if you like it. Also, drive an early S2 (SPICA or carb).
 

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If you like the S3 body but want the S4 Motronic injection, get a 1990 S3.
If you want the dual pod gauges that were used from 1971 through 1985, get an 83-85 S3 Spider Veloce.
Like previously mentioned, the knee bolsters used in 1986 and up are confining and even worse in the S4 cars unless you have a European version.
I actually like the bolsters on our S4. It makes the car feel even more like a GT, which is what we were trying to accomplish when we bought ours.
 

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I actually like the bolsters on our S4. It makes the car feel even more like a GT, which is what we were trying to accomplish when we bought ours.
I thought about a S4 with power steering and automatic transmission. Driving in and out of the city with bumper to bumper traffic. Never pulled the trigger.


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I always got annoyed at the auto journalists who used to say, back in the 1990s, that the Alfa Spiders had not changed or evolved over the years. Those were the flacks who obviously had never owned them, they only did occasional road tests. This thread clearly brings out the fact that the Duetto and the final S4 were VERY different Alfas, and it's attested to by owners with road experience. Good for us! Facts prevail at last.
 
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