Unbelievable that you had 3 head gaskets in the first 30000 miles.
Even Austin-Rover engines manage better than that...
That was the worst year of the Spica injection; the factory tried to stretch it much further than could be done. I have a '72 Spider and a '73 Berlina, and the only problem either Spica has given me was a split injector tube on the Spider, 7 years ago.
Unfortunately, emissions regs do not allow backdating to early Spica or carburetors in most jurisdictions, but I agree that an update to later Bosch injection, preferably Motronic of the last years, would've transformed the car and been clean-burning. I may yet do that to mine; drivability in cold weather would certainly be much better.
And for what it's worth, almost all the problems I've had over 15 years with my cars have been because of aftermarket human error, PO's taking short cuts or making Alfa blunders like using silicone in the engine.
From the Author: A bit of explanation. The frequent head gasket replacements were more a product of the separate oil passage o-rings that were placed in openings in the head gasket. Even Viton seemed to deform over time, lose shape and start seeping oil.
Last year I thought seriously about getting back into a later MY Spider, with the final body style and Motronic ignition. Instead, I bought a midyear '86 Porsche 928 and became a friend of Rennlist.com. Best 7k I've ever spent on a car.
I traded a 78 Fiat Spider for a 1981 Alfa Veloce Spider (and a few dollars) from a sports car dealer in Clearwater, Florida.
From day one, problems. Had trouble starting the car (mechanical fuel injection of course) and this haunted me for 18 months until I traded the Alfa. It was beautiful, silver with burgundy, leather interior. Had initial problems with fuse for fuel injector, key broke in the ignition, then leaking brake master cylinder (can only use certain brake fluid), then new tires, but can't get anyone in Tampa to mount new tires because custom alloy wheels have "too small a hole" for standard mounting machines back in the 80's.
Car was constantly breaking down.
Topless cars were hard to get in 80's with no US production. Decided to move up from Fiat to Alfa, which was a big mistake. Finally took Alfa to dealer in Tampa that sold Subaru also. I was told that the mechanical fuel injection was shot. Had to remove and send to N.J. for repair. Mechanic asked If I drove this car daily and I said yes. His response, most folk drive these only on Sunday and this is not a daily driver. I traded the beautiful, but impossible, Alfa Veloce Spider in that day on a 1987 Subaru Brat Truck (which had no problems for years). I understand that 1981 was the last year of the mechanical fuel injection (and last year I bought an exotic car). I will never go "Italian" again.