Winning Amount: £ 225,050.00
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“This little Alfa … nevertheless packs a vigorous punch behind handling which is truly vivacious. It is the last of the traditional, conventional Alfa line, and all the more enjoyable for it, a classical design in an age of increasing conformity.” Motor Sport Magazine, July 1977.
The 105 Series Alfa Romeos were the company’s mainstays throughout the 1960s and well into the late 1970s, building on the foundations laid with the 750/101 Series Giulietta and ultimately Giulia back in the 1950s. The everyday but far from mundane 105 Giulia saloon donated its floor-pan (shortened) and running gear to the range of sports coupes and the open topped Spider which was penned by Battista Pininfarina and Franco Martinengo when employed by the former’s eponymous styling house.
Launched in 1966 as the 1600 ‘boat tailed’ Duetto , the Spider was successfully developed over the next almost three decades, initially having its tail chopped off in 1969 and its engine capacity increased (and decreased for the Junior entry level version) via 1750 ultimately to two litres for the early 1970’s onwards 2000 Veloce. Powered by the largest version of Alfa’s evergreen (even by then) all aluminium twin overhead cam engine ingesting fuel and air through a pair of twin choke carburettors, even in standard tune the Spider Veloce boasted an honest 133 brake horse power and 132 lb/ft of torque which, according to contemporary road tests, provided a top speed of 120 mph and 0 to 60 in 9.5 seconds. The engine’s exotic mechanical specification was carried through to the rest of the car with a five speed gearbox, disc brakes front and rear and a properly located coil sprung rear axle, complete with limited slip differential, to compliment the independent coils, double wishbones and an anti-roll bar up front.
Production of this classic roadster remained viable for almost three decades right through to 1993 which just goes to prove the old Italian adage, ‘Se non è rotto, non aggiustarlo' (‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.)
First registered on 25th August 1978 to a Mr Thomas Lind, this Alfa Spider passed through a couple of owners until being purchased by Robert Cox of Cox Estate agents in West Hallam, Derbyshire on 25th August 1982 (its 4th birthday) by which time, according to the bill on file for a major service carried out at this change of ownership, it had covered 18,861 miles. Mr Cox kept the Spider for a further two years before selling it to the current owner in July 1984 for the sum of £4,500 (receipt on file!); not too bad considering the car’s list price in 1977 was £5020; rampant inflation did lead to apparently virtually depreciation free motoring… Since then it has been well but sparingly used and meticulously maintained. Originally residing not four miles from Berlinetta’s Midlands office, the owner had the car looked after by the local ‘Village Garage’, G. W. Webb and Son. On moving up to Lancashire the owner continued to entrust the Spider to Webb and Son (and now grandson and occasionally great-grandson) and it was returned south (often via Goodwood so while you might question the owners geography, his desire to use the car is admirable) virtually every year for its annual service, check over and MOT; a testament in itself to Webb and Son’s expertise. Evidence of the value of this scrupulous care is contained within the paperwork file which has some twenty-three MOT certificates (the latest valid until 18th November this year), all without so much as an ‘advisory’ on them aside from a periodical suggestion of adjustment to the wheel bearings. The physical evidence of the effectiveness of such preventative maintenance is that the owner has successfully completed many trips abroad in the Spider venturing as far afield as Italy, Spa and the Nurburgring. It is understood that many more modern traveling companions fell by the wayside during these trips…
Early in the car’s life in 1985, the enthusiast owner instructed Webbs to endow the car with slightly more sprightly performance and notes on file attest to genuine Autodelta ‘11mm’ cams being fitted along with a pair of Delorto 45 DHLA carburettors, jetted to suit. Uprated coil springs, gas dampers and a ‘Montreal-specification’ rear axle linkage to reduce ‘self-steer’ supplanted the standard items with parts being supplied by EB Spares. The result, even some thirty plus years later, is a Spider that is that bit more vivacious. 11mm cams are a fast road profile (with full race being 12mm) and they work very nicely with the 45 DHLAs when atop the torquey two litre engine, giving a noticeable improvement to the ‘top end’. On the road the suspension upgrades give the Alfa a little more planted feel without in any way being harsh and the delicacy of the steering has not been compromised, helped in no small part by the retention of standard profile tyres. Essentially the result is just what was being sort – a more useable machine that drives beautifully without compromising its original strengths.
Never restored, the Alfa scores well on the originality scale - for example, remarkably it still wears its original ‘Braehead Garage (Ayr)’ supplying dealer’s rear number plate - and it will appeal to those who value this over the look of the fresh nut and bolt restored cars that can appear as though they were made yesterday, attractive though that can be. The original ‘514 Rosso’ paint code sticker is still in place on the underside of the boot lid while the boot itself displays the body number stamped into its floor. The Alfa’s tools – jack, wheel brace, spark plug socket and spanner - are in place as is the original hood cover. The original steel wheels have been refurbished and are wrapped in quality Uniroyal tyres of the correct 165/14 profile with plenty of tread left. All the car’s badges are present and correct and the stainless front and rear bumpers are in very good order. The chrome-work is showing some evidence of pitting – not perhaps surprising given Motor Sport magazine had to have all the chrome on their Spider replaced under warranty after just one English winter back in 1978. The door handles are also slightly pitted so it is simply a case of popping down to your local breakers yard to source a good second hand pair from a contemporary Ferrari! The gorgeous Carello headlight covers (a ‘must have’ for any Spider in Berlinetta’s opinion) have yellowed very slightly over the years but are in un-cracked condition. The windscreen has a small crack in it though this doesnot appear to be significant from an MOT perspective.
Some 14 years ago new inner and outer sills were fitted though the middle sills were found to be very solid and required no attention. Door bottoms and lower front wings were treated to repair panels and the car was repainted. The Alfa is now showing a few ‘blebs’ in the paintwork, mostly to the front wings and one corner of the boot lid – which are documented in the photo gallery. As the metalwork behind these imperfections appears solid, they may be due to some moisture making its way between the paint and metalwork. Overall, the body appears to be very solid inside and out and the doors shut beautifully attesting to the shells integrity. While the boot area is sound, there are a couple of surface rust spots in the spare wheel well where the spare has rubbed through the paint. Cosmetically the engine bay and underside are in used condition, arguably disarmingly honest in their presentation, but also perhaps all the better for that. Though this is undoubtedly a car for driving, the tinkerer could spend many a happy hour beautifying these areas should they so-desire. The hood in correct Haartz material is virtually new, fits beautifully and the one-hand up or down operation the Spider is well known for works perfectly.
Mechanically new servos, brake pipes and callipers have been fitted relatively recently. The engine ticks over at 800 rpm with 50 psi oil pressure showing at a warmed through 170 degrees Fahrenheit water temperature and the car pulls away smoothly with little obvious evidence of the notorious Alfa second gear recalcitrance.
The simple, functional interior is very stylish from the purposely miss-matched door pulls to the voluptuous instrument binnacles. Very driver focused with the three supplementary dials for fuel level, oil pressure and water temperature angled towards the right hand seat, it is ergonomically perhaps better than some modern machines. A leather-rimmed steering wheel is present along with the original rubber mats which have been protected by over-mats and are in very good condition displaying only a couple of small tears which have been skilfully repaired and strengthened. The original radio and single speaker are still in place. This generation of Spider enjoys the same stylish and comfortable driver and passenger seats of the earlier cars but with the added comfort and safety of small headrests as well as rear seats suitable for introducing the younger generation to the joys of open Alfa motoring. They are all original and in good condition throughout.
The plump documents file contains a Workshop Manual (encouragingly free of oily thumb prints), assorted Alfa Romeo Owners Club information, a spare set of keys, a cloth Alfa badge and various cards and suppliers catalogues. More importantly, the original Service Book showing the Pre-Delivery Inspection was carried out by the Supplying Dealer along with the 1st service at 601 miles and next three services taking it up to 18,871 miles in 1982, all carried out by Alfa main dealers. Also present is the car’s Instruction Book and a charming period item – the Alfa Romeo service Vouchers Book, complete with a full set of vouchers for oil, air and fuel filters plus plugs and brake fluid. Unfortunately we can not guarantee Alfa will still honour these.
A quantity of Road Tax Discs are present along with the aforementioned MOT certificates which track the mileage perfectly from 37,000 in 1992 to todays 80,155 and demonstrating that some 16,000 miles have been covered in last 11 years; steady but consistent use. The Alfa has recently been taxed and though this is obviously not transferable to the new owner, it is worth noting that in a couple of years, the Spider will achieve Historic Status and become tax exempt. Various old & new style V5Cs and V5s are present resulting from the consistent updates made to these documents by the DVLA.
There is a small spares package with the car including the original cams and Solex C40DDH carbs, trumpets & mounts. A new rear view mirror, radiator cap and gear lever boot along with ignition switch and key plus wiper arms are also included.
Criticised in their day for fairly poor build quality as much as they were praised for their dynamic performance, character and style, the Alfa Spider has fast been appreciating as a technically advanced and very usable Classic. While money can be spent on a car to improve its condition, you can not do the same for its History, a commodity this charming Alfa has in spades. There you have it, a lovely Alfa Spider and we didn’t mention Dustin Hoffman once…
Registration Number: XSJ 452T
Chassis Number: AR *2472756*
Engine Number: AR 10512