The Alfa Romeo GTV and Spider – The Time is Now

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By Chris Pollitt

Let’s get one thing out of the way. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying something simply because of the way it looks. To behold beautiful things is part of the human condition, we want art, we want beauty and we want to surround ourselves with it. From the earliest cave man scribbling on the walls, through to bidding frenzies every time some Bristolian graffiti hits the open market, we want it. Our homes, our clothes, ourselves, we want it all to look a way that pleases us. Cars are no different. Yes, there are some people that bought a Ssanyong Rodius of their own volition, but we’re not talking about those people. We’re talking about you. And you like a stylish car, right? That’s why you need an Alfa Romeo in your life.

Alfa, Alfa Romeo, Alfa Romeo GTV, Alfa Romeo Spider, GTV, Spider, GTV V6

Alfa Romeo is the boss, the daddy, the headmaster of the arousing automotive aesthetic. Alfa Romeo, with the exception of the Arna, doesn’t know how to design an ugly car. It’s just not in the blood. Instead, it penns timelessly beautiful machines, and it does so with the aid of Pininfarina, just put the icing on the cake. And then, to really spoil us, they fit the most tuneful V6 engines known to man, and they make the cars a blast to drive. They also fit them with electrical systems that are about as useful as a chocolate Zippo, but we’ll gloss over that.

An introduction to the Alfa Romeo GTV and Spider

Alfa Romeo needed a bold and impactful return to form when it came to the coupe. The GTV of the ‘80s was a mighty car, but it needed to be replaced by something altogether more captivating. As such, design work started on the GTV and Spider – the two-seat ragtop version – way back in 1987. By 1988 there were clay models of what would be the new coupe. Those initial designs were penned by Enrico Fumia of Pininfarina. Enrico’s name could be attached to cars like the Alfa Romeo 164, the Ferrari Testarossa and the Maserati 3200, so he was certainly qualified. However, while Alfa Romeo was taken by the initial designs, the detail within it was a bit off the mark, and as such, the GTV project was bounced around for a number of years before a final look was decided upon. In the end, it was Walter de Silva’s Centro Stile Alfa Romeo team who gave the GTV and Spider their finishing touches.  

Alfa, Alfa Romeo, Alfa Romeo GTV, Alfa Romeo Spider, GTV, Spider, Spider red

Under the skin, the GTV and Spider we based on the same platform as the Fiat Coupe, though it wasn’t a simple cut and paste. The engineers at Alfa Romeo revised the platform with new multi-link rear suspension and front suspension derived from the Alfa Romeo 155. Engines ranged from humble 1.8 four-cylinder units through to a snarling 3.2 V6, which is arguably one of the best sounding engines in the world for our money.

The Alfa Romeo GTV and Spider had pace and handling in spades, but it was the looks that really sold it. The bonnet, which sweeps over and covered the lights, leaving them to peer out through four holes within the structure of the bonnet, the sharp ‘slash’ folded into the side of the car, the rear lights encased in one car-width chamber, yep, it was stunning and like nothing else on the road. Alfa Romeo had well and truly nailed it.

Alfa, Alfa Romeo, Alfa Romeo GTV, Alfa Romeo Spider, GTV, Spider, GTV blue

What are prices like?

Still pleasing, in a nutshell. You can, if you’re fast on the ad pages, get a 2.0 model for around a thousand pounds. Of course, this isn’t going to get you a mint car, but it will get you something presentable. Double that and you should be able to get a tidy 2.0 car with decent history and in solid condition with a nice wedge of MOT on it, too. If you push the budget to four grand and above, and you don’t want a V6, you’ll either get a really, really good base spec early car, or a decent condition late model car. Five to six grand puts you in the territory of the best of the best non-V6 later model cars.

Alfa, Alfa Romeo, Alfa Romeo GTV, Alfa Romeo Spider, GTV, Spider, V6 Alfa engine

If you want a V6, and really, you should, anything under £2,500 isn’t really going to be worth considering. They are out there, but for this money you can expect a car with minimal history as well as probably having led a hard life. Four grand will get you an early V6 car with some history, whereas six grand or so will put you in the territory of some of the best early V6 cars. If you want a late-model V6, you can easily get up to ten grand. Though one consideration is that post-2001 cars will be considerably more expensive to tax, thanks to the change in rules applied back then.

Why should I buy one?

Because everyone should own an Alfa Romeo at least once. And because you’re buying a car that, in all reality, has already had all the kinks worked out by a previous owner. If you do buy one and it turns out to be problematic, which will almost certainly be something to do with the electrics, there’s a profusion of specialists out there who will be willing to help. What we’re saying is don’t get bogged down in the reputation or the stereotypes. If a GTV or Spider is looked after, if you buy one with full history, and if it hasn;t done more miles than an Eddie Stobart lorry, you should be okay. Yeah, things might go wrong, but the same could be said of any car.

Alfa, Alfa Romeo, Alfa Romeo GTV, Alfa Romeo Spider, GTV, Spider, GTV interior

Plus, you’re buying one of those cars that will make you love driving again. If you’re looking to rekindle your passion for cars, the GTV and Spider are a great way to go. They’re modern enough to use everyday, but they’re old enough to still be given knowing nods by fellow fans. They’ve not aged, either, so nobody will think you’re driving an old car. They will, however, think you’re driving a beautiful car. Because you are. Trust try not to rear-end it into something whilst looking at yourself in shop window reflections.

How long will it take to see a return?

Looking at the data from our parent site, Cazana, we can see that prices have steadily been on the climb for the last couple of years. However, we can also see that there are still cheap cars around. However, the data also tells us that the number of cheap cars is falling, which is pushing the correlation further upwards. This is, of course, good news if you own one. If you don’t, now would be the perfect time to get one that perhaps needs a bit of tlc. Buy it, but it right, enjoy it for a couple of years, then cash in when the time is right. Perfect.

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