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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to this board. I bought my '74 Spider last year (November) after she had been sitting 7 years. I just sold my reliable responsible adult car (late model Toyota sedan) and now have some cash to put into my Alfa. She is in mostly original shape (I think?), and after replacing all the little cosmetic things that are making me crazy (dash cracks, old seat belts, etc) I expect my bill to be about $1050. But she is now my daily driver and I feel like I want to do some upgrades but don't know where to begin. The husband suggests electronic ignition, but what else? I thought about a chassis stiffener, but he says to do my shocks and springs first. I am also thinking about a carb upgrade, but I don't have a lot of cash left so I certainly can't do everything. What are the most immediate upgrades I should be thinking about? She runs ok, handles ok. Eventually, I would love to have a high-performance car. Any advice appreciated. I plan on ordering my parts this week.

· Administrator
19,299 Posts
Have the suspension bushings been replaced? The original rubber bits are good when new but over time they deteriorate. Replacing with new rubber or upgrading to polyurethane bushings should make a noticable difference.

Shocks and springs if worn are also a good idea. They tend to wear out slowly so you don't notice the degradation in ride. How about the ball joints and the tie rods?

Engine mounts are not a 'handling' item but the mounts also deteriorate over time. This can eventually allow the engine to bounce around and, if they sag enough the fan blade hits the shroud with not good effects.

A chassis stiffener is supposed to be a great item but I'd suggest the bushings and shocks first then add the stiffener if the budget allows.

No idea about ignition or carb changes (our Spider has Bosch FI & computer controlled ignition).

· Premium Member
6,142 Posts
Welcome to the forum, Sara! Your first order of business is to post some pictures.

This is what we know so far:

You have had the car for less than a year.
The car sat for 7 years prior.
The car is to be a daily driver.
You would like to upgrade the performance.
It runs OK.
It Handles OK.

Ok, safety first. If the car has sat this long you really need to deal with a few items. First, I would replace all the rubber hoses for the brakes, clutch and fuel. Even if they look ok they can rot from the inside out.

Next, check the steel fuel lines that run under the car. They are covered with a rubber tube which is good at holding in moisture and causing them to rust (this is more of an issue here in the midwest but worth checking).

The fuel injection system is very reliable but must be attended to. Hopefully the old gas was drained and the tank cleaned before you started driving it. There are two fuel filters one is near the fuel tank in the rear and one in the engine bay on the passenger side inner fender. Remove the air filter box. These need to be replaced. There is also an oil filter on the SPICA which needs to be replaced with each oil change. It is located behind a triangular plate and is spring loaded.

I assume that the car is free of rocker rust. If not, you will want an Alfa expert to evaluate it. The strength of a spider is in it's rockers...

As far as upgrades:
If the engine is running well then you are well advised to leave it alone. An electronic ignition is a good choice as far as increasing reliability. An Alfa engine is pretty well tuned out of the box - upgrades tend to be expensive and don't exactly improve reliability. That said, when your motor gets to the point of needing a rebuild, hi-po pistons, cams, SPICA, etc are all about the same cost as stock so you may as well go for it. Porting and polishing the head is also a good idea but not cheap...

Although the stock suspension set up is quite sufficient for driving around town, folks like to upgrade with poly bushings. Review the suspension section for lots of opinions. Performance springs, shocks, torsion bars are nice options but you'll want to read what set ups people are happy with. I like a stiff suspension but I have to be practical and realize that the roads I travel most are not the best.

One upgrade you might consider is new tires/wheels. I recently went with Rota 15x7 wheel with Toyo 205/55's and have no trouble with rubbing. I like the look and I like having the extra tread. Again lots of opinions and lots of choices.

Lastly, the single biggest upgrade you can make is to your knowledgebase of Alfa's. Get Braden's books, Jim K.'s High performance book is excellent. Wes Ingram and Roadtrip are the kings of SPICA. Read as much as you can stomach on this forum. Remember: Knowledge is Power!
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