1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Reviews

1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Graduate 2.0 Inline-4 from North America

Model year1986
Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 2.0 Inline-4 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 4 / 10
Comfort marks 2 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.0 / 10
Distance when acquired74000 miles
Most recent distance77000 miles
Previous carJaguar XJ6

Summary:

Despite it's flaws, I'm glad I own this car!

Faults:

The plastic cooling fan lost three blades (surely due to age), the O2 sensor heater wire shorted out the fuel injection system (protected by a fuse, so after an epic electrical diagnosis period, the fix was easy), and currently there's a wicked exterior head gasket leak which will require my mechanic's attention sooner rather than later. Other things the car needs, which I'll do by this Spring, will be a drive shaft rebuild, new motor mounts, and new rear axle limiting straps (all DIY stuff, indeed).

General Comments:

Despite it's many flaws, I love driving the car. It's fun, and it's a head-turner. You rarely see other ones on the road, which is cool. This is a maintenance-intensive car, so you need at least one of these things, and preferably, a combination of the three: 1) Some mechanical aptitude, 2) A good friend with some mechanical aptitude, or 3) A fully loaded checking account! If you lack items one or two, proceed directly to item three hah hah hah! Seriously... this is no Toyota. Maintenance and repairs will be required at least annually, but the rewards from driving the car are a psychological cure for all that ails you. Top-down, on a Spring or Fall afternoon, you'll have not a care in the world.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th January, 2008

1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio 2.0L from North America

Model year1986
Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 2.0L Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired51000 miles
Most recent distance63000 miles

Summary:

Incredible!

Faults:

All these were done at 55,000 miles...

Synchros needed to be changed.

Re-painted original Alfa Rosa (Red)

New Alfa badges.

New convertible top.

General Comments:

This is my second Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio and my love for these cars grows deeper with time. Others have written here about its unique style, charm, and Italian manners. I wholeheartedly echo those sentiments. This is indeed a rare car, that constantly turns heads.

I agree also with those who have said that you must keep your Alfa well maintained by a mechanic who knows Alfa's. Additionally, you MUST drive it with regularity. An idle Alfa is an Alfa that will require more maintenance and repairs.

The Spider is a classy, fun, and well made car that offers you a heavy dose of exclusivity-especially the Quadrifoglio version. Though I can't confirm it either way, I've heard that only 1500 Spiders that made it to America were Quadrifoglio's. That would cover the span from 1986 through 1992.

As a member of AROC (Alfa Romeo Owners Club) I get to see a lot of Alfa's for sale, and I can affirm that prices on the Spiders are on the rise, which is a testament to how gracefully these cars are aging and how many people are discovering the irresistable allure of the Alfa. While most originally stickered for $17-$23k, there are quite a few 20 year old specimens on the market for $12-$17k! WOW!

The Alfa Spider of this era is a dynamite car, with great looks, reliability (if properly maintained), super handling, and reasonable comfort.

I wouldn't sell mine for anything less than original sticker. I love it that much.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th January, 2007

1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce 2.0 cc FI from North America

Model year1986
Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership1986
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 2.0 cc FI Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.4 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance54000 miles
Previous carAlfa Romeo Spider

Summary:

A beautiful, classic, reliable convertible sports car

Faults:

The brake master cylinder had to be replaced because the seal had begun leaking. In the 19 years I have owned this car, this is the only repair I have ever had to make.

General Comments:

This is the finest car I have ever owned. I puchased it new in 1986 from the leading Alfa dealer in Seattle (who also handles Ferraris and Maseratis). I have previously owned many cars (and currently own three others), including a great TR-6 that I sold in 1974 when I went to Europe with my new wife. Prior to buying this 1986 Alfa, I owned a 1978 Spider that also was a very good car. I traded it in on the `86 (and later learned that the dealer re-sold it the same day).

The 1986 Alfa is Alfa Red (what other color can an Italian sports car be?) with tan leather interior, power windows, air conditioning, and a nice factory sound system. Everything works fine, including the AC. The paint is like new and the interior and top are in good condition. (This is because the car is always garaged, rarely driven in bad weather, and I am careful to fold the rear window when lowering the top.)

The engine runs as well as the day I bought the car and I have not had a single mechanical problem with it. (My neighbor wishes his Lexus were as reliable.) It burns a little oil between changes, but leaks none. The transmission has also been trouble-free. I am sure this is partly due to the fact that I always double-clutch when down-shifting. (This eliminates excess wear on the synchros and sounds cool.) The drive train is solid and the brakes are excellent.

Like any performance car, Alfas need to be properly serviced and regularly driven. If you mainatin them by the book and keep them clean and garaged, they will last a very long time. Always use the best factory-trained mechanic you can find. The service will not be cheap, but will be worth it.

The fact that the engine in this car, a four-cylinder DOHC dating back to the `50's, is as strong and reliable as it is is amazing - and underscores the genuis of the original design. I would love to have an extra 50 HP, but the car is plenty fast as it is. It, of course, isn't by any means a drag racer, but it will cruise all day at 85 MPH without missing a beat. Handling is also good, with just the right combination of balance and oversteer.

This car is perfect and I will keep it forever. If Alfa re-enters the North American market, they should take the original rear-wheel drive 1980's Spider, update the ergonomics to 2005, add modern safety equipment and comfort features (airbags, anti-lock brakes, cruise control, power everything, first-class sound system, AC, etc.), and stick Alfa's V-6 engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission in it. They will not be able to manufacture all they will sell.

A genuine indication of the attractiveness of this car is that I often find notes left on the windshield asking if I am interested in selling it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th August, 2005

1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce 2.0 from North America

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership1986
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 2.0 Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10
Distance when acquired100 miles
Most recent distance55000 miles
Previous carCadillac Seville

Summary:

A collectible head turner

Faults:

The drive shaft bearings went bad during the warranty period and were replaced by the dealer.

I have had to replace two trunk release cables.

The convertible top is worn and is now badly in need of replacement.

Second gear "crunches" unless the clutch pedal is buried in the floor on downshifts.

I have had to replace various interior trim, i.e. the rubber convertible top hold down straps, and the leather pulls on the front head rail hold down clamps.

General Comments:

The paintwork on this car is lipstick red and looks like new.

It was our wedding gift to each other in 1986 and has been fun to drive every day we've owned it.

It is constantly mistaken for a much more expensive car. The original sticker was a shade over $17,000.

You definitely will not see yourself coming and going; they are rare.

The 2.0 four cylinder engine requires premium fuel, but it literally sips it and gets 30+mph.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th March, 2004

1986 Alfa Romeo Spider graduate 2.0 from North America

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 2.0 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired63000 miles
Most recent distance67200 miles
Previous carTriumph TR6

Summary:

A decent, somewhat high priced toy

Faults:

Nothing out of the ordinary for a foreign sports car 16 years old.

General Comments:

The car handles quite well. Seems more solid than the Triumphs and MGs I used to own. The fifth gear is great versus the old overdrive units of the British cars. No worrying about whether the overdrive will break down; just put the Alfa into fifth gear. The car is great on the highway. Operating the top is much easier than the british "erector set" affairs. The seats seem much more comfortable than any MG or Triumph too. On the down side the car is as reliable or unreliable as any British car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 12th August, 2002

Average review marks: 7.0 / 10, based on 5 reviews