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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone know the reason for the 'title' of Spider being used for roadsters/convertables??? I think Porsche used the term Spider, back in the days of the first RSKs(?)...Even Ferrari used Spider for the early/mid 60s roadster it made in Phil Hill's honor, for his winning the World F1 Championship: The California Spider. Didn't Fiat also have a Spider? The Mitsubishi(sp?) Eclipse 'Spider', too...

Being a fairly new owner of a '91 Spider, I thought I should be more informed than I am...so that's my reason for the inquiry.:confused:

Regards.

ps...if this has been discussed, or covered, before--my apologies.
 

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Ah, yes, Wikipedia. The story of the origin of the term sounds plausible, and may well be true, but other parts of that entry are suspect.

'Alternatively, a native Italian who has had no English influence in the pronunciation would pronounce "spyder" or "spider" as speeder. Thus a car labeled by an Italian car manufacturer as "Spyder" or "Spider" is intended to be simply a "speeder" or a sports car.'

Huh? Why would an Italian use their pronunciation of that word and attach an English meaning to it? And since when did Italians call all their sports cars "speeders?"

'In more recent times, the term has been erroneously used by many automakers as a synonym for convertible. The following cars' names include Spyder or Spider but do not meet the basic Spyder criteria as illustrated above'

Besides the fact that they don't actually list any criteria above -- unless we're supposed to use the horse-cart description, which no car that I know of fits -- the Fiat 124 is listed as a "true" spider, and the Alfa Spider as a "spyder in name only."

Like I said, it doesn't necessarily mean this article is wrong about the origin, but it's suspect to my eyes.
 

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according to the article, alfas had rear seats in spiders. the only rear seats I have seen is in fiat spiders. my 74 might squeeze in a couple of small kids, newer ones probably will not.
cliff
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Rob-

I too am 'careful' when reading Wikipedia...since they accept info from 'contributors' & don't edit or fact check the "contributions". I usually accept what sounds plausible & regard the rest as whimsical. The "speeder" reference & that it's an Italian pronouncing 'Spider'--or whatever--is in my estimation a joke(at best) or an ethnic slur(at worst)! Being an 'old' Italian myself, I've yet to run across that particular 'idiomatic' phrase...

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Here's a quote from the book Original Alfa Romeo Spider:

"The word 'spider' actually dates form the age of horse-drawn carriages, when light high-wheeled two- or four-wheeler traps were known as 'spyderphaetons.' The name was coined by a manufacturer called Holmes in Dublin in the 19th century because the wheels were so large in comparison to the very light body suspended between them. Continental car manufacturers, and Italian ones in particular, clung to this allusive description for their open-topped sports cars, although some Italians will tell you that 'spider' derives from the word 'speed'. Whatever the exact derivation, the word is always spelt Spider in Italian, not Spyder, after a 1924 decree by the National Federation of Coachbuilders in Milan, the reason being that the letter 'y' does not exist in the Italian alphabet and, the prevailing politics being nationalist, that just would not do."

I sure am glad I took that high-school typing class!

Erik
 

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Here's a quote from the book Original Alfa Romeo Spider:

"The word 'spider' actually dates form the age of horse-drawn carriages, when light high-wheeled two- or four-wheeler traps were known as 'spyderphaetons.' The name was coined by a manufacturer called Holmes in Dublin in the 19th century because the wheels were so large in comparison to the very light body suspended between them. Continental car manufacturers, and Italian ones in particular, clung to this allusive description for their open-topped sports cars, although some Italians will tell you that 'spider' derives from the word 'speed'. Whatever the exact derivation, the word is always spelt Spider in Italian, not Spyder, after a 1924 decree by the National Federation of Coachbuilders in Milan, the reason being that the letter 'y' does not exist in the Italian alphabet and, the prevailing politics being nationalist, that just would not do."

I sure am glad I took that high-school typing class!

Erik
This is certainly a far more trustworthy source, which also means that as ridiculous as the "spider-speeder" thing sounds to me, maybe there is something to it. Although frankly, that connection could just be from people who (like us) didn't know where the term came from, and made up their own semi-plausible etymology (obviously, I'm not ready to admit I'm wrong about this :D).
 
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