・Great sounding 1.6 litre twin cam with twin Webers
Best known for its starring role in the Hollywood film The Graduate in 1967, the Alfa Romeo Spider is the quintessential sixties roadster whose popularity saw it produced into the nineties.
While the basic recipe of a rorty twin cam four cylinder engine driving the rear wheels remained constant, it was gradually evolved to tweak its appearance, keep up with legislation and to improve reliability.
Series 1 and 2 cars have seen their values head up at some rate and it’s surely a matter of time before the later cars get pulled along with them. But for most people, Alfa ownership is a matter of the heart, not the head and that means that there is a loyal band of followers to help you get the most from it.
This Series 4 example (‘S4’) has a 1.6 litre twin cam engine with twin Weber carbs and started life in its native Italy where it’s believed to have remained until it was imported to the UK in 2016. Since then, it’s thought to have spent some time overseas again as it remained with its original left hand drive headlights. The current owner, the third on the V5, acquired it from a classic car specialist just over a year ago to replace a later GTV Spider and has fitted right hand drive lights, though the originals will come with the car.
The recent MOT saw a couple of issues raised with the brakes and propshaft bearings and these have been addressed and a new battery fitted.
Since owning the car, the vendor has covered fewer than a thousand miles, the current situation being what it is, and has now decided that a camper van will get more use. Despite describing it as his favourite of all the cars he has owned, he has therefore decided to sell in order to fund his van life.
There is a slim wallet of history files which draw from the car’s time in Italy and receipts for the work outlined above from the current period of ownership. The V5 is present along with the MOT that expires on 23 August 2022.
The all original black leather and alcantara trimmed interior contrasts well with the exterior colour scheme and has worn well with only some light bobbling to the alcantara seat inserts. The dashboard shows no damage or cracking and has an aftermarket stereo fitted which feeds a single speaker behind the seats but is unfortunately not currently functioning. This hasn’t been a problem for the current owner who would much rather listen to the exhaust note!
The switches and dials all function as intended and the hood is in good condition and remains watertight with a clear rear screen which affords good rear visibility. The interior catches that latch the hood have aged a little around the edges and, although they currently operate without a problem, they may need attention at some stage. The tonneau is also present although not used by the current owner and there is a custom car cover stashed in the boot which is also included.
Many people will assert that red is the best colour for an Alfa Romeo but the vivid yellow of this car counters that argument by showing off the lines of the car beautifully. The paintwork is all believed to be original and polishes to a good shine and the chrome work is also all in good order.
If he were keeping the car, the owner would have looked to upgrade the wheels to a set of alloys but for fans of originality, the wheels that came with the car are the ones to have and the wheel trims are unmarked, while the tyres all have good tread depth.
When considering a Spider it’s obviously important to check for corrosion and here we can report that while the front of the bonnet and behind the passenger door shows a little bubbling, the owner’s assessment is that the underside all looks solid with the inner wings and jacking points showing no more than surface rust.
The engine bay is very tidy and, thanks to the auto choke and fresh battery, the car starts for the first time. The seller reports that the engine is a little noisy and perhaps could use a service or that the exhaust may need some attention although performance is still strong and it pulls well through the gears. If you’re used to driving a right hand drive car then the gear change can take a little getting used to as it can apparently initially feel a bit notchy but there are no untoward noises from the drivetrain nor knocks or bangs from the suspension. The recent work on the brakes means that it pulls up well and the handbrake is also very effective.
Consider that the Alfa Romeo Spider was only ever produced at the factory in left hand drive (right hand drive cars were converted by local specialists on behalf of Alfa Romeo) and you can see that one could argue that LHD represents the car in its purest form. Granted that as the final revision, the Series 4 is perhaps not the purest but it arguably represents to some degree the best of both worlds: a classic sixties sports car produced almost thirty years later. The market currently values the earlier cars more highly and will probably continue to do so but, as prices rise, they are dragging the later cars up too.
A Spider S4 is an Alfa you can buy with your head and your heart.
This example looks great in yellow and is in very original condition. There are a few things to attend to in order to bring it up to the standard of one of the best but what better way to get to know your local Alfa enthusiasts? On a sunny day with the roof down, it’ll surely put a smile on your face and bring a little sunshine of its own to any onlookers.
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