Incredible

1978 Alfa Romeo
Spider 2000

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Italy has been the birthplace of some of the most exciting sports cars in history, from the small 500cc Abarths or Cisitalias to the V-12 powered Lamborghini supercars. Somewhere in between fits the Alfa Romeo Spider, an agile two-seater convertible from one of the country's oldest and most celebrated sports car manufacturers, who also happens to be the former employer of none other than Commendatore Enzo Ferrari himself.



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Introduced in 1966 and designed by Pininfarina, the Alfa Spider is a living legend. Everything about it is race-car quality. More than half a Century ago, it came equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes, a 5-speed close ratio transmission, a steel-sleeved aluminum engine with 7.5-quart oil volume, and a sport exhaust that emanates pure mechanical music.

If you like a Ferrari 275 Convertible but lack the discretionary funds to buy one, consider the Alfa Romeo Spider.

This particular one, built in January of 1978, one of 22,059 "Series Two" U.S. Spiders made between 1970 and 1983, is factory-finished in Nero over Amaranto with a black convertible top and spent all its life in California.

Motorvation comes from a 2.0-liter inline 4, fed by a Spica fuel injection. We've been driving Alfa Spiders since the 1970s, but we've never encountered one that can rev from 1,500rpm to nirvana without the hint of a hiccup like this one. Yes, Webers are cool, but a properly maintained fuel injection setup clearly has its advantages as well.

Bottom of engine and transmission are as neat, clean and dry as the engine bay itself.

Interestingly, the little Alfa was owned for over 30 years by a history professor teaching at UC Berkeley, which somehow reminds us of the famous 1967 movie "The Graduate." Apart from a few small parking lot shunts, the car has avoided serious body damage and the attractive coachwork presents itself nice and straight.

Factory black convertible top is in fine condition and very easy to raise or lower.

Looking fine, sporting the factory Campagnolo alloy rims.

Inside, all is well. Elegant three-spoke, wood-rimmed steering wheel looks immaculate. All switches, gauges, and lights work flawlessly, even heater and fan, and the melodious horn, too. There are a couple - seemingly unavoidable - splits on the dash, alas, there's a nice dash cover in place.

Fabulously preserved black rubber floor mats. Note top-hinged pedals, introduced in 1969.

The interior definitely exudes the charming ambiance only a well-loved macchina dalla bella Italia can provide.

Instrument layout and steering wheel possess the pure 1960s sports car look, and, with their large round JAEGER instruments, deeply recessed in black wrinkle-finish binnacles, remind of period Ferraris.
The car was driven sparingly, serving its owner as a fair-weather toy. It accumulated less than 3,000 miles on its odometer annually, on average.

Comfortable seats feature their original, deep red ("Amaranto") leatherette upholstery.

Pure beauty!

Looking sharp: Alfa's famous Kamm-tail.

This small sports car features a huge trunk, nicely clad in gray felt. Battery resides here, too.

Trunk floor looks immaculate.

All's well in the spare tire well.


It has been said that rust is enemy #1 of any Alfa Spider. Indeed, lots of these cars have met their maker after only a few years of service, due to insurmountable corrosion problems. Incredibly perhaps, this fine California survivor, always garaged and pampered, presents itself completely rust free!

Rust free floor pans.

April 15 was another sunny day in our little seaside paradise and we were looking forward to our test drive and photo session.

Alfa's engine starts easily. You might remember the single most important thing about Italians: they like to party and need their time (and lots of Espresso) in the morning to get up to speed. So you let 'er warm up properly. Put in first, change quickly up to second, then third, and let'er roll easy for the first few miles. You are gentle, a strategy that the engine will reward with unmatched longevity. There are 9 quarts of life juice in her belly, remember?

Piloting the Italian Stallion is pure joy. The engine revs willingly to its 5800rpm redline with the velocity of a speeding bullet. No smoke, no oil leaks, no untoward noises: nothing but good news from the engine department!

Pure, unadulterated fun!

Unknown to most, apart from the circles of the cognoscenti, an Alfa is a serious sports car, the smaller version of a Sixties Ferrari convertible, at a most attractive price of admission. There's nothing like it on the road!

Returning home, we are impressed with the Alfa's road manners. Very impressed. Here's a 40-year-old sports car that does everything right. It runs and drives flawlessly and provides endless reasons to smile. We are firm believers that these vintage Alfa Spiders are among the best bargains in the world of collectible automobiles.


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You are most welcome to inspect this fine automobile at our location in Ventura, by appointment, or have someone inspect it for you.
Please, direct all inquiries to bill@californiaclassix.com or call us at 805-653-5551.