1973 Alfa Romeo Spider from North America
Yesterdays car without current appeal
Oil Burning. This car burned oil at the rate of a quart per 500 or so miles for nearly all of the time I owned it. The dealer implied this was from following the conservative break-in instructions. A valve job with new seals (Audi seals are far less expensive than Alfa seals) helped. However, the by-product of the valve job was even more smoke on acceleration. While this was a relative minor annoyance at the time, it would not be socially acceptable behavior now.
Handling. Delivered, the Alfa had incredible straight line stability at speed. This was related to the nose being closer to the ground than the rear by an inch or so. The price was continual scraping of the oil pan or sump guard on any sort of obstacle, such as a manhole cover. The fix was spacers in the front springs. While this reduced the bottoming of the engine, the handling was reduced from well above average to good.
Soft top. The stock rubberized canvas soft top was superlatively quiet. However, it only lasted a few years. After market replacements resonated at 60 mph.
Rust. This car seemed to rust all on its own sitting in the driveway.
Driving Position. I could barely drive the Spider more than 100 miles with my right leg cramped at a compound and unnatural angle. The pain would linger on for several hours after parking the car.
I have no logic why I kept this car for 16 years. Perhaps because it was always a second car and the drive train often compensated for the shortcomings. If another Spider ever appeared in my driveway with a note saying pick me, I would likely donate it a charity of choice.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 19th February, 2008
Thank you, sir! I have owned two Alfas previously and have currently been haunting the EBAY auction site, looking for another. Wife keeps suggesting that I buy locally as she had been the driver of the towing vehicle too many times in the past. Being of weak mind, I have continued to search. During my continuing search, I ran across your review. I don't know who you are or of what religious faith, but I plan to give thanks to God for you and your discouragement that I have taken to heart! Know that you have saved a man with weak sales resistance to Alfas from jumping back into that misery once again.