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The price tag on my old 911 had risen to ridiculous heights. The same can be said for the 70/74 GTV 2000 which I have always lusted after. I am looking for a car I can actually drive and don't have to worry that's its not replaceable.

What were the major differences over the years from say 1970 on up. I am not really looking at the high end model from the 1990's. I prefer the simpler lines on the older cars without all the plastic bumper covers and plastic interiors.

I dont have a real budget but it looks like <$15k is tops all in. Average mechanical skills, no engine drop but not afraid to tackle basic jobs. No body work skills, rust is a killer for me.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Then you're looking for a 69-74 Spider with the stainless steel bumpers (they are not chrome as many people think). Starting in '75 they went to the "federalized" bumpers. Of course some later model owners converted back to stainless bumpers. Also starting in 1975, the engines started getting more and more pollution control devices on them.

1969 - Had the rounded Osso di Seppio rear end and the old style instrument panel. 1750cc engine. They also had a slightly different Spica Fuel Injection system (different fuel injection pump and idle air system). However, this does not present a problem from maintainability and parts availability. It also had the old style braking system with twin brake boosters, which can be a pain to repair. Steel wheels with center hubcap cover. Price-wise, 69s command a much higher price than the later Spiders due to their styling and rarity.

1970-73 had the 1750cc engine also with a revised Spica Fuel Injection System. Rear end went to the square-tail (Kamm) style. Instrument panel was changed to the individual binnacles for the tach and speedo and added center console. Headrests added to seats. Steel wheels with center hub cap covers.

1974 Engine increased to 2000cc. Wheels changed to the Turbina style.

Although the 2000cc engine produces more torque, many people prefer the 1750cc engine as being "rev'ier" and "sweeter."

Caveat - The Spica Fuel Injection System, while very reliable once tuned correctly is great, can be hard to find a competent mechanic who can work on it. Therefor, I advise prospective owners that they need to be willing to do a little bookwork and learn to tune and maintain the system themselves. It's not terribly difficult, but it does require some intellectual investment of time to read and understand the manuals and guides.

Also, since these injection pumps are old, many are worn out and leak gasoline into the oil sump, which is a mandatory overhaul. Unfortunately some sellers try and pawn-off unserviceable Spica systems on unsuspecting buyers. It's important that you know what to look for and what questions to ask when inspecting a potential purchase. A refurbished injection pump (part only) is $1050 and a Thermostatic Actuator about $250. http://wesingram.com/pricesheet.htm

Read through this thread carefully and you'll get an idea what to look for:

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/car...-purchase-inspection-spica-injected-alfa.html

That said, once the Spica system is running well, it requires almost no tuning and just fuel filter changes occasionally. It's been over 10 years since I've had to do any adjustments to mine.
 

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I think the S2a Spiders with the Fed bumpers and de-tuned SPICA are a great value. That is if you are willing to replace them with SS bumpers and Webers. It's not a cheap conversion but as cheap as the cars right now you can afford it.

I don't have any experience with them but the last of the S2a's had EFI I believe and might be a nice compromise in reliability and old school styling...
 

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71-72

I think the 71 and 72 have the nicest body lines without the extra on the bumpers and with out having to do any additional work.
For 15k You could get a really nice 71 or 72 spider depending on which engine you prefer
 

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Good suggestions. Some nit picking details: For the U.S., the 1971 Spider was the square tail 1750, and 1972 was the 2000. Also, the U.S. spider didn't get a limited slip until the '72 models. I still have the letter from ARI stating a U.S. dealer could have ordered a 1750 spider with a limited slip and this legalized its use for SCCA autocrossing. This was a big deal and installing '72 rear axle with LSD made a world of difference in the performance of my '71 spider. The '71 1750 Spider is relatively rare since it was only sold here for one model year.

I think the 71 and 72 have the nicest body lines without the extra on the bumpers and with out having to do any additional work.
For 15k You could get a really nice 71 or 72 spider depending on which engine you prefer
 

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I'm not a spider guy (too tall) although I had a roomate with a '70 and worked on an early '80s one some for another friend. The information provided here relative to the various years is of course really important but I submit that with your dollar and no bodywork requirements those may trump you getting the exact year you want. Getting the car with the best body condition and good enough in all the areas may be your ticket to success. You probably know this already but these cars can hide rust in some stealthy places (at least for a while) and not all previous owners will be forthcoming (or may not know what is hiding). So get a good inspection from someone that knows Alfa spiders! And keep us posted so we can share in all your fun!
 

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The general rule on Spiders is to buy the best one you can afford with the year being secondary. Fortunately for you $15K will buy you a very nice Spider. I will assume here that you have read the Spider FAQ and can differentiate the S1, S2, S2B, S3, and S4's. The most desirable (IMHO) are the S2 years followed by the S4 years, sort of skipping over the S2B and S3 generations. The market says that the S1's (boat tails) are the most valuable and they are indeed the most beautiful, although the oldest design and thus the least proficient technically. However no matter which year however, they all share the same genes and were all designed by engineers who valued function first, beauty second, and price last. The bones are always there and so is that sweet, sweet engine.

The differences in generations are mostly in looks, pollution controls, bumpers, and comfort. Performance doesn't vary that much from generation to generation. in any case, bumpers and pollution controls are removable (in most states). You can buy an S2b or an S3 for less than an S2 and improve engine performance to better than S2 levels while spending no more money overall. Comfort, best in the S4's, is hard to add to the earlier cars.

Another factor to consider - do you have a dedicated Alfa mechanic in your vicinity? If not, perhaps one of the Bosch injection cars will suit you best - the Bosch system is familiar to most mechanics. SPICA is not. Cars converted to carbs are fine, but the quality of the conversion varies. A car converted to Webers on the European manifold is easier to tune than one converted to carbs using the SPICA manifold. Note that Webers are not an improvement on the SPICA, just different. Brakes are always ATE which are common to BMW's of the same generation and in any case are almost always no problem, and the electrical stuff is pretty good in general, except for the grounding points, which are almost always the first place to check when you have an electrical problem.
Parts availability, in general, is not a problem in the age of the Internet.

Spiders have only two worry points, generally speaking. The first is rust. Rust in the floor pans is common and not a big deal. Same for rust in the spare tire well. Rust anywhere else is cause for discussion because these are unibody cars. The second point is second gear. For reasons known only to Italy, second gear schyncros are weak in almost every Alfa Spider.... e.g. 'they all do that'. This is not a point for worry about actually, but will be an eventual expense unless you learn to double-clutch as otherwise it becomes annoying. Fortunately rebuilt transmissions are less than $1500, and a rebuild will last as long as -you- own the car.

One last point to consider: a 911 and an Alfa Spider are completely different animals. A 911 is enclosed with the engine behind you. A Spider is open with the engine in front of you and hence noiser. The handling is completely different. A 911 will oversteer; a Spider understeers. A Spider has more body roll. A 911 has more power (in later years) and being a coupe as compared to a convertible is stiffer. This is not to say that Spiders don't do well in the mountains, but you are going to have to relearn your driving style. IMHO, Spiders are pretty tame seeming until you start to push them. They don't impress much in routine driving as they don't beat you up like a lot of performance cars. But surprisingly, the harder you push, the happier they get. The limits are a lot higher than they seem. Still, they are different than what you're used to. You should drive a couple to make sure that this is the car you are seeking before buying. Some people are happier with a TR-6 because, like the American cars they are used to, that straight six produces more torque, even though in the mountains, a Spider will embarrass all but the best driven TR-6 as it handle better and produces more horsepower.
 

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Trader220 - I think its important to know where you are located in terms of smog laws and emission testing. If you are in California, with exception of few counties, all post 1975 cars are subject to smog. Check that your candidate conforms to these laws. If you want simplicity, desirability and value on a $15k budget then '71 Kamm tail is your best bet. As mentioned above, the 82 was the last of Series 2 cars and the first year of the Bosch injection. However, these cars were a tad more complex than the early Series 2 cars. Having owned 74, 79, 82 and now a 69 Spider I would say that the 69 is the most favorite of the bunch as it combines the classic lines with the 1750 power. Yes, the dual brake booster can be costly to rebuild but if done right its really a non-issue. I had a 69 Berlina that was converted to a single brake booster and it stopped just fine.
 

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There is some seriously good advice in this thread.

BTW - while 911 prices have gotten pretty steep I'd not worry about it being irreplaceable. They built lots, parts supply is fantastic, and that is what insurance is for.

Spiders are great cars, but totally different to drive than a 911. Make sure to buy what you really want.
 

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The most commonly available will be S3 spiders, from about 82 to 90. From about 86 to 89 are the ones you usually see avdertised and offered at commonly asked for prices of $4 to $ 7K.

The earlier S3's with Jetronic Bosch ignition and EFI will be up to 1988, The 89 and 90s have Motronic Bosch ignition and EFI. Both of these are reliable but there seem to be more parts available for the Jetronic models. I have an 88 which I like very much. My recommendation (for what it is worth) would be an 86 to 88 model.

If A/C is a consideration, you will be more likely find an 86 - 88 with A/C than in earlier models. Motronic (89 - 93) will also be easier to find with A/C. The problem with all Alfa spider A/C is that it may be on the car, but often is not working. This can be expensive to repair if non functional.

Depending on where you live, a factory removable hardtop may be a real asset, You can buy a used factory hardtop in the used parts network, but they are expensive and hard to ship. Your best chance of getting a spider with a removable hardtop is to buy a Quadrifoglio model, most of which came with hardtops.

The S3s came as ;
1. Graduate models with roll up windows
2. Veloce models which came with electric windows
3. Quadrifoglio models which came with electric windows, A/C and a factory hardtop. Also a ground effects package which includes skirts front and rear and both sides.

Rust is the biggest problem with these cars. Try to buy a car with a known history of having lived it's life in a dry climate like AZ, NM, or CA. You can find rust free cars in other states, but your chances of doing so are reduced if you are buying a car from up north or FL. Hard winters are unkind to Alfa spiders, which are all steel construction, but it is the thinest gauge of steel I have ever encountered. That it why these cars only run about 2,600 Lbs gross weight.

Best advice: Don't get in any kind of hurry and read this BB in depth to see what the differences are in appearance of S2, S3, and S4 models and what kinds of problems current owners are having with their spiders. Look at cars for sale on this BB, on Hemmings Motor News, and on ebay, just to get a handle on what is available out there and how much they are selling for. Winter is the best time to buy a used Alfa spider, summer is the worst time (price wise). Be prepared to travel around the country to get a good Alfa. The chances of finding one in your hometown are usually pretty slim. I live in Memphis TN and my 88 Quad came from Seattle WA (and it was not entirely rust free -it rains a LOT in Seattle). Get yourself an Alfa BB user name and read every day, and ask questions. You can't know too much about Alfas when getting ready to jump in and take the plunge.

The members of this BB are the most knowledgeable and helpful bunch of folks imaginable and most will help you in any way possible to buy and maintain one of these beautiful but finicky cars.

Robert
 

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The alfa gearbox use the same synchro's as the Porsche gearboxes do. If you had a porsche from the late 80's or older you should know all about the synchro problems. In the the Alfa training class the gearbox was always called a porsche designed box.

Alot of the early S1's came with Dunlop brakes. Although I would say most of them have been converted to ATE.

On the S3 models from

82 to 84 there was only the spider veloce model. 83 started the S3 body style. It had power windows, power mirrors, leather interior and cloth top. The seats were the same design as the earlier seats but the stitching pattern was different. A/C was an option.

85 model year had the graduate and the spider veloce. The spider veloce stayed the same. Graduate had roll up windows, vinyl interior, vinyl top and steel wheels. The steel wheels are like the early S2 wheels with the sombreros in the center. A/C was an option on both.

86 to 90 you had the new dash gauges and center console layout.

Graduate which stayed the same as the 85 model. In 87 or 88 it got plastic hubcaps instead of the sombreros center caps. Rims were still steel but were painted black instead of silver. A/C was still an option.

The Spider Veloces got fancier leather seats and new style door panels. I pretty sure A/C was standard. Worked at a couple of Alfa dealers. But I live in the south. So even every grad ordered had A/C.

The Quads had bright red carpet and slate grey seats. The were the same design as the veloce seats. It also had ground effects all the way around. A/C was standard. They also got the 15" quad rims. 86 models the hardtop was an option. On 87 to 90 models the hardtop was standard.

All 1990 models got the motronic injected engines. Which gave them a little more horsepower.

91 to 94 models got he updated body style.

As far as the running gear. The only differences over the years are fuel systems and engine size. Except for some one or two minor things everything from a 67 will bolt on to a 94 and vice versa.

To give you an idea of what I mean. I worked for and independent alfa shop. I bought a couple of 67 gtv's that had completely worn out suspensions. We parted out a lot of wrecked late 80's spiders. Both the gtv's got the complete suspensions from spiders with 40 to 50 thousand miles on them.
 
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