Buyers Guide to:
Alfa Romeo Spider Series 2
1970 to 1982
1300cc, 1600cc, 1800cc, 2000cc
Alfa Romeo Owners Club
For anyone after a stylish two-seater convertible, the Alfa Romeo Spider should be high on the wish list. The pretty Pininfarina looks first appeared on the boat-tail ‘Duetto’ model back in 1966, and fitted with a punchy twin-cam engine it quickly became a strong seller. The Series 2 model arrived for 1970, the rounded design of the Series 1 giving way to a squarer ‘Kamm’ tail, along with a raft of detailed changes, both mechanical and cosmetic. Engines ranged in size from 1.3- to 2.0 litres, the latter replacing the 1750cc unit in 1971. By the time the Series 3 arrived in 1982, around 16,000 examples of the Spider 2000 Veloce models had been produced.
- Front valance
- Bonnet edges
- Windscreen surround and A-posts
- Door bottoms
- Wheel arches
- Boot edges
- Rear valance
- The bottom six inches of the bodywork as this is where corrosion tends to strike. The floor of the cabin and boot need careful checking, too, so lift the carpets or better still, get the car on a ramp
- The condition of the front cross-member as this often succumbs to rust
- Panel alignment and shut lines as any issues could indicate serious structural problems. Getting replacement panels to fit properly can be tricky, and adjustment is likely to be needed
- That you’re not looking at an example that’s laden with filler, or worse still a bodged restoration. It’ll cost a fortune to put right, so you should walk away
- The condition of chrome exterior trim. Refurbishing pitted items can get pricey, although replacements are available
- The quality of a right-hand drive conversion, and get a specialist inspection if you’ve any doubts.
- The engine for oil leaks from the cam cover and evidence of low oil pressure; leaking oil can collect around the spark plugs, causing misfires. A professional re-build isn’t cheap so avoid anything tired
- That there’s no sign of overheating. The cooling system may have been neglected, causing silting of the radiator and engine block, and it can lead to head gasket failure. Keep a close eye on the temperature gauge
- For poor running caused by worn carburettors; although re-building them isn’t especially difficult, setting them up properly can be fiddly and it may need professional expertise
- That the gearbox isn’t excessively noisy or suffering from an overly obstructive shift. A worn unit will jump out of gear, especially reverse, while worn second-gear synchromesh will cause crunching. It’s also worth listening for whines from the rear axle although they rarely lead to failure
- The steering for vagueness as it indicates a worn steering box
- The brakes for wear, leaks from the master cylinder, and seized components due to lack of use/maintenance. Brake calipers can stick, but don’t worry about a poor handbrake as they were never that good. It’s a straightforward set up to overhaul, though
- That the suspension bushes aren’t perished, especially those for the front wishbones. A Spider should feel taut on the road, so anything else means an overhaul is due
- For signs of rot around the spring pans. Does the ride height look correct? Listen out for rumbling rear wheel bearings, too
- For worn or damaged trim, and evidence of water leaks; damp carpets should be cause for concern. Check that the hood and its mechanism are undamaged, and watch for cracks in the dashboard
- The electrics are all working. They aren’t as problematic as you might think, but with the newest example more than thirty years old it could be suffering from brittle wiring and corroded connectors
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