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Discussion Starter #1
I have been a car guy my whole life and can't figure out why Alfa Spiders are so cheap? It was a fairly expensive and exotic car new but the market doesn't seem to respect these cars at all. What gives?
 

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Yeah, On the plus side, easy to buy. The recent Hemmings Sports&Exotics compares them with the TR6 as Car and driver did years before. They compare very favorably and even the magazine mentions that TR6's go for way more, (although they do quote prices that are very high it seems to me.)
 

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I would also add that many people simply don't know about them. My car is pretty rough, but it gets a lot of attention. Most people think it's a Fiat. I suppose Fiats are more common. I only knew about Spiders because I had seen maybe one or two on the road in my entire life, and was careful to take note of the emblems because I really liked the looks of the car.

Just look at Datsun Z cars, or any American muscle car of the 60s-70s era.....prices are sky-high because everyone remembers them from back in the day and wants one. Datsuns were never supposed to be expensive exotics, but now the "everyman's sportscar" 240Z commands a high price if it is in good condition. The American muscle cars are simply insane on price, despite the fact that they are beyond doubt the least sophisticated, lowest quality, and poorest performing (except in a straight line) vehicles of the bunch. Most folks have no idea what an Alfa Romeo is because not too many people had them back when they were being sold. I suppose this was largely due to both price and availability.

Matt
 

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I've said this before: Alfas have always been one of the best kept secrets in North America and I am sooo glad that I've been in on it for all these years. I have no problem with someone believing that their MG or TR or Datsun is a better car than an Alfa. I've driven them all and at the end of the day that's what it's really all about - driving them. Alfas were so far and away superior and I knew that right from the first time I drove one. I never cared a lick what anyone else thought. The majority of bad talk about Fiats and Alfas comes from people who never owned one, never drove one and are just talking out their a$$.
 

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Best kept secret

Saw a mid 80's Veloce (flawless) go for $22K in Jan. at Barrett-Jackson. Made me feel pretty good about my 88 (very nice but not "flawless"). I drive mine to all the races at Road America and can't believe all the compliments and questions I get. I think a previous responder was right - "best kept secret"- glad I got mine at much much less than $22K
 

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"Market value" is a fickle concept. To show an unusual spike, there has to be something that triggers an emotional response. "The Graduate" movie did that a long time ago, helping Alfa immeasurably with new car sales at that time. There has been little to refuel a similar response since.

As for the intrinsic value, late model Alfas are largely brilliant in their simplicity rather than their technical sophistication. The Alfa engineers got very good (not great) performance from simple, low-cost design concepts. Porsches of the same era were a great deal more sophisticated, as was the Datsun Z among others. We know our Alfas are actually quite reliable when appropriately maintained, but that description, by itself, does not inflate the market perceptions.

Most of the post 1960 Alfas were intended to be inexpensive, fun, sporty cars that would be used up and thrown away. They still fit that description, but we keep a gradually declining number alive, and get to enjoy their delightful nature while other far more impressive cars enjoy escalating market values.
 

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good point Mr P. Define impressive when referring to other cars. I think the simplicity of the cars appeal to me moreso than anything else. I've had a Spider, an 88 Graduate and it was nice but didn't really ignite my soul like my first Alfa, Alfetta GTV. I now own a 164 and much prefer its simple "manual everything, basic 4 cylinder" as compared to the more complex 6 cylinder electro wizards. Markets are fickle and something I don't profess to understand. I am however the beneficiary of other peoples thinking. ciao, chris
 

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Because there are so many (S2-S4, 71-94) and IMO they all look more or less the same.

We had a joint event with the Fiat Club recently. A sea of 124 Spiders in different colors and tuning, and two coupes. Two new 500's. While the 124's were all nice they were all the same. Like a big row of new Corvettes. The 30 Alfas on the other hand were mostly vastly different from Giuliettas to 164's, coupes, spiders and sedans.
 

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...there has to be something that triggers an emotional response. "The Graduate" movie did that a long time ago, helping Alfa immeasurably with new car sales at that time....
I don't know about that. As a teenager in high school I was into cars and car magazines like R&T and Alfas were one of my favorites but honestly I had never seen "The Graduate". "Easy Rider" - yes, "Children of the Damned" - yes, but never watched "The Graduate" until probably some time in the 80's on TV.

The first Alfa in our family was when my older brother bought a brand new 1972 Berlina but it was the S2 kam-tail Spider that put the bite on me. We had been driving TR3's and GT6's and I thought that re-imaged Spider was the coolest thing I'd ever seen - still do. That explainss why I've owned one for almost 35 years now.
 

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Because there are so many (S2-S4, 71-94) and IMO they all look more or less the same.

We had a joint event with the Fiat Club recently. A sea of 124 Spiders in different colors and tuning, and two coupes. Two new 500's. While the 124's were all nice they were all the same. Like a big row of new Corvettes. The 30 Alfas on the other hand were mostly vastly different from Giuliettas to 164's, coupes, spiders and sedans.

I don't think there are many 94's left. 190 were made and quite a few have been trashed :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Compared to a TR-6 or any MG the Alfa is a luxury car. The Miata is a great car but no Italian design. All in all, I think Alfas are hurt by the perceived lack of reliability, which is not the case with mine. Well, I guess I'll just enjoy the fact I can get any part I want fairly inexpensively. My last car was a Porsche 912 and every part was a pain to get and expensive. The car was also hard to work on and slow!
 

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The majority of bad talk about Fiats and Alfas comes from people who never owned one, never drove one and are just talking out their a$$.
I get a surprising number of people that come up to me at car shows and say something like, "Oh, I had one of these. Most unreliable car I ever owned."

They're not usually too happy when I explain to them that with Alfas it's not usually the car that's unreliable so much as its owner (or, in many of our cases now, the previous owner). Can't treat them like an old Valiant with a Slant-Six and only check if there's oil when the dash light comes on. The Slant Six may have been one of the most bullet-proof motors ever to come out of Detroit, and so was very tolerant of abusive or neglectful owners (who got used to treating cars that way). Not the case with Alfas. You need to take reasonable care of them, and they'll treat you well in return. As for rust issues, it's my recollection that all cars back then rusted pretty aggressively, and that Alfas don't seem to have any rusting powers above and beyond those of ordinary cars. (We could almost watch my friend's Vega rusting. The number of cars with intact rear quarters in my New England high school parking lot probably could be counted on one hand.)

But those are the perceptions Alfa is saddled with.
 

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cheap?....there is even a free spider just listed over on the BB classifieds!
 

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Most spiders are not special enough to be collectable. The S1 was a great car for its day, drop dead beautiful and a really strong car technologically – unibody construction, five speed transmission, four wheel disc brakes, all aluminum dual overhead cam engine. Given the small number imported to the US it is a wonder they are not worth a lot more. The S2 is also a great car. If not then at least today it should be better recognized for its early fuel injection and still strong mechanicals. The new rear end, while maybe not as beautiful at least to purests, is a much more approachable design. The S2s are even more under appreciated. Then the trouble began – the car was produced for another 19 years! (I have a 1986 Spider and I love it.) This went a long way to undercutting just how special these early cars were/are. So our cars are better suited to hobbiest (people who want an interesting car to work on and enjoy) than collectors and this hurts the value. Spiders seem to get more than their share of abuse or more correctly neglect at the hands of their owners than most other cars. The low value of our cars, make it hard to invest in maintenance, major repairs like paint and engine work, and upgrades. It is just that the math of owning and investing in a car with limited collectability (market value) is pretty tight. This problem feeds on itself in that there are not enough good cars in the market to support to attract more people to the Spider (105/115) franchise. You just have to really fall in love! If enough of us do it will make a difference.
 

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My Alfas past and present are on the short list of cars I've been emotionally invested in. Then you have the merican mind set of trying to go as fast as one can between stoplights. That imho doesn't offer much to become emotionally attached to. Then there is the history. What other affordable car can you get that has a history like Alfa Romeo does and have that history woven into the car you're driving today? Not many. Either you get "it" or you don't. I for one am happy to be in the much smaller first group as I suspect most of us are.
 

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As mentioned in an earlier post, Alfas haven't been imported to the USA for almost 20 years! "Out of sight, out of mind".

And I don't think Spiders are THAT cheap anymore. I bought mine almost eight years ago & was recently offered nearly twice what I paid for it!

Regards
 
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