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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I'm interested in getting a spider. I want a car that is mechanically servicable with out electrical accesories. I'm competent in electrical and electronic repairs but am tired of snap together plastic connectors that have gone brittle with age and the contacts are inaccesable for cleaning or testing. I also want a car that is assembled with screws, not snap together plastic.
I also would prefer a carborated car, although I've gotten on with the Bosh FI in my 1800 ES. Would prefer less clutter under the hood though. In Maine, where I would register it, they look to see if there's a cat on 68 or newer, but no exhaust test or engine equipment check.
Any advise from you guys that have been around the block with these cars would be apreciated.

Thanx, Chris
 

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Get a '67 Duetto or a late Giulia ('65) with disc brakes. Simple cars, simple systems, 4 plugs and a coil. From '69 on, they are all injected, although not complicated. A '71 square-tail is a nice car as well.
 

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Chris,

I believe it wasn't until the early 80's that the electric windows appeared. Even, then, get a Graduate (like mine) and you won't have electric windows. If you want to learn a lot about Spiders in a minimal amount of time, read everything on http://spiderfaq.home.att.net/ and you'll get a very good basic schooling. Cheers,

David
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanx David,
I just read the link. It was telling though that he said you should bring a cell phone on a trip. I take it they aren't especially trustworthy.

Chris
 

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The last year for the 'non-electric' Spiders was 1979. Depending on the trim level, power windows arrived in 1980 and power mirrors in 81.
Unless you want (and can register) a Euro version Spider, the last year for carbs, as Mike said, is 1967. US cars from 69-81 inclusive have mechanical injection; Bosch L-Jet from 82-89? and then Motronic.
Seems odd that Maine would require a cat on 68 and newer Alfas since Alfas first fitment of a cat was the 1977 California version (the 49 State version cars got them 78).
 

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Chris,

The "cell phone" bit on SpiderFAQ is part true, part tongue-in-cheek. Well maintained, these aren't unreliable cars. But they're OLD cars, hence the advice to carry a cell phone with you. You can say that about owning ANY old car though. But no, Alfas are not particularly fussy or unreliable cars...certainly not enough to outright fear owning one. Are you reasonably able with a wrench? Say "5" on a 10 scale, or better? If so, you'll be fine. I consider myself a 5, maybe 6 at best, on a 10 scale. You don't have to be a top-notch mechanic to enjoy an Alfa. Go for it!

David
 

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davidteachey said:
Chris,

The "cell phone" bit on SpiderFAQ is part true, part tongue-in-cheek. Well maintained, these aren't unreliable cars. But they're OLD cars, hence the advice to carry a cell phone with you. You can say that about owning ANY old car though. But no, Alfas are not particularly fussy or unreliable cars...certainly not enough to outright fear owning one. Are you reasonably able with a wrench? Say "5" on a 10 scale, or better? If so, you'll be fine. I consider myself a 5, maybe 6 at best, on a 10 scale. You don't have to be a top-notch mechanic to enjoy an Alfa. Go for it!

David
A cell phone is always a good idea, but I've found my Duetto to be very reliable. The only time I needed to resort to the cell phone (and AAA) was when I didn't have the distributor properly installed, and the timing went out. That was completely my fault. Apart from that one incident, I've driven the car as far as Watkins Glen (and back!), almost 300 miles, without any problems.
 

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I used to commute in Seattle in my Duetto every day - parked in the old Kingdome lot or under the viaduct. Started every day in pouring rain, no problem. Started right up after sitting for a couple of months. Got caught downtown in a snowstorm once with skinny stock tires and it did fine (got it to a parking garage and left it until the crazies were all gone!). Went on long two day club tours over the mountains. Reliability has never been an issue.
 

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Here's an exact quote from the Spider FAQ website, which I think is good about reliability. These are old European cars; of course they will require more care than a brand new car and they're far more sophisticated than contemporary domestic cars were.

However, according to at least one reliable source, they also lost a certain amount of character (the exact conversation was, "yeah, they went electronic, but now they drive like Toyotas", to which I replied, "yeah, but they also start like Toyotas"). While performance didn't increase noticeably at first, it did at least stabilize and, with the improved driveability of the Bosch systems, made the cars more fun than their immediate predecessors. Reliability also increased substantially. Indeed, it often seems that 90% of the problems experienced by Series 3 and 4 owners result mainly from poor electrical grounds.
If you're looking for reliability, a Bosch car is the way to go... but you lose some character and you gain far more electronic goodies. The Bosch cars don't have many mechanical issues as long as they're properly maintained- the same goes for any car made.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanx all,
Re cat in Maine. I expect that 68 was when most cars got cats. I would just have to convince the local garage they weren't originaly required. I could probably register a euro version but I think I've concluded that;
[email protected] they got smogged and ugly bumpers
[email protected] they got spoilers
I'm a proficient and tooled mechanic. I like the boat-tails, but price and esthetics wise I'm going to look for a solid bodied 74 or earlier.
I'm going to see an 87 that is nearby, I'm curently in Newport, RI., just to sit in one and chech it out.

Thanx, Chris
 
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