1991 Alfa Romeo Spider Review

1991 Alfa Romeo Spider from North America

Year of manufacture1991
First year of ownership2012
Most recent year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.7 / 10
Distance when acquired39500 miles

Summary:

Like an intoxicatingly sexy and exotic lover who can be a bit "high maintenance" at times

Faults:

When I bought the car, the car was 9000 miles late for its scheduled 30,000 service. (Not the car's fault)!

All hoses needed to be replaced (original ones were on the car).

Interior electrical maladies that I'm currently trying to sort out...a slight burning smell and an odd electrical clicking sound from the rear.

A/C, heater and radio antenna not working.

The tan Alcantara (faux suede) seat inserts don't hold up well, unless you totally baby them.

General Comments:

I just bought this car recently, and this is my first Alfa Romeo (please take that into account). I'll report again later after I've had the car a while.

What I like:

> It's red/tan/black, drop-dead gorgeous, sexy, Italian, and turns heads.

> The design is timeless, and with the Series 4 (final) version, Alfa "got it right", in my humble opinion. The rear styling blends well with the overall design, and doesn't have the tacked-on black rubber spoiler of the '80s models (which I think spoiled the looks of the Spider).

> I'm not a big guy -- 5'10" and 160 lbs. -- and the driver's seat totally fits like a glove. It might be a challenge for a much larger/taller person, though.

> It's great on gas!! I was surprised. It does require premium fuel, though.

> The car feels "vintage", but has enough modern features to make it livable on a daily basis -- plus it handles quite well, doesn't have the rock-hard, jarring ride of modern sports cars, and keeps up quite adequately with modern traffic.

> Love the sound of the engine! It's like an aphrodisiac. :-)

> Parts seem to be no problem whatsoever. So far.

> The trunk is pretty big for a sports car. Plus, there's room behind the seats for stuff.

> The "phone-dial" wheels are cool. "Blingy" aftermarket wheels are totally unnecessary (and uncalled for) on these cars.

> I found an excellent Alfa repair specialist nearby before I bought it. I would NOT recommend buying one of these if you don't have someone reputable that you could take it to! Too many Alfas have had repair work of questionable quality done. Beware, and have an expert check it out before you buy!!

What I don't like:

> As stated before, I'm sorting out some interior electrical issues. Until this is done, I won't have full confidence in the car's reliability. It's hard to fully trust a car when you occasionally hear weird clicking noises, smell vague burning odors, or hear of a friend or two who lost their Alfas due to electrical fires! :-O

> The battery placement in the trunk is less than optimum.

> The plastic rear window takes an extra bit of careful maintenance. I've found that Plexus plastic cleaner/polish is a great way to keep it looking good, though -- try it!

> People automatically assume I'm having a mid-life crisis.

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

Review Date: 19th February, 2012

21st Feb 2012, 00:36

It's me again, the owner of the '91 above -- I didn't want to alarm any prospective buyers or collectors of these Alfa Spiders, so I'm reporting on the cause of the burning smell and clicking from the rear.

The burning smell was simply caused by a lubricant that had been dripping onto the exhaust manifold, following a recent service, and was nothing to worry about (thank goodness).

The clicking sound coming from somewhere behind the passenger seat is just an electrical relay of some sort that is only doing the job it's supposed to be doing. Again, nothing to worry about. One should worry only when it DOESN'T click, I guess!

A mystery remains, however -- what would explain the fires that two different friends have had over the years with their Alfa Spiders? Hopefully they're just isolated (and very unusual) incidents.

3rd Mar 2014, 08:21

Greetings, I bought an Alfa Romeo 75 three years ago (1989 year, 2.0 TS). It's a wonderful car to drive; very reliable, good quality, strong, beautiful and fast.

Cuore sportivo.

Average review marks: 7.7 / 10, based on 1 review