1985 Alfa Romeo Spider for $3,500

1985 Alfa Romeo Spider

After the traditional sports car had reached its prime, a few diehards soldiered on. The Alfa Romeo Spider was one of them and it may have lived way past its expected expiration date, but later models represent a bargain today for those of us who long after that silky twin-cam. Sure, an earlier Spider is more desirable, but the current values can make ownership prohibitive. Plus, something like this can actually be enjoyed everyday. When Rich G sent this one in, he mentioned that he had emailed back and forth with the seller and they claimed that the car is rust free. It needs a new top and some cosmetic attention, but if it turns out to be as good as it sounds and looks, this could be a great deal. Find it here on craigslist in Powell, Ohio for $3,500!. Thanks for the tip Rich!


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  1. Dolphin Member

    These can be bargain open sportscars with that Alfa style, but I’m not sure about the combination of the $3.5K price and the 184K mileage. The few minor parts the seller replaced won’t wind that high mileage back, so unless there’s documentation of serious maintenance/rebuild work done I would be wary.

    OTOH the body looks pretty good in the small photos, so if he doesn’t come up with the evidence then maybe it could be had for a lesser offer, especially since it needs paint and cosmetics and the condition is only “fair”. Maybe $1200 or a bit less. These aren’t scarce so it’s worth being picky and getting your money’s worth.

    • James g

      It’s worth about 2k-3k we sold a graduate like this but an 86 model year with 86,000 miles the gearbox has never been out of it but needs syncro rings and it grinds in 2nd-3rd gears over all we fixed it up new clutch completely mechanically sound needs paint has a new top but never wrecked sold for $3,000 seats were slightly torn fair price that car is probably on the high end. But we just picked up a real 27,000 mile 85 spider for $1,200 you can tell the interior is nice all the silver is on the radio seats aren’t torn but sat under a tree for over ten years body has some few dings in it paint is still good but last few years top leaked stitching rotted on the seats but can be restitched amazingly the cheap Italian leather wasn’t dried up and hard like most steering wheel is still perfect dash has no cracks needs seat pans and the rubber plug in the floor pans but overall a very nice car.

      • Dolphin Member

        Sounds like you bought a decent Alfa Spider with a fraction of the miles of the Craigslist car for my $1200 number—a better deal than the CL car.

  2. James g

    Odd thing is that the shift nob is not very worn they would look like that after about 30-35 thousand miles

  3. KLHarper

    Easy enough to fix and getting running well, but to get it right will cost a fair amount. Unless it has been done with 184k and 25 years of existing it will likely need some suspension work. 105 Alfa’s have a lot of rubber in their suspension that breaks down after a time. A valve job is probably in order, they generally need one after about every 100k, thought the bottom end is likely fine. 2nd gear syncro is likely shot as well as the trans mount. The seats will need to be done, I have purchased leather kits for these for 500 bucks off E-bay and still have a couple of sets hidden away. 800 to 1k is the normal price. Tops are not to hard to replace and good ones can be found for a few hundred dollars.
    Paint is going to be difficult, a black car will show all flaws and even a good not great paint job will set you back 5k. Luckily these do not rust bad like the early ones and are usually pretty stout in that area, but it still needs to be looked at.
    In the end to get it in really good shape, and not concours is going to cast you an easy 10k. I think 3500 is a little rich, but 2 to 2500 is probably within range.
    Oh the 184 K does not bother me at all, I have one of these with over 450k and it still runs well, with a lot of maintenance mind you,

  4. Tirefriar

    Price is in line for a Series 3 Spider if no rust and the engine runs well. The 85 was the last m.y. of the twin pod dashes, with 86 m.y. bringing out the buzzkill mono pod and its never working right odometer. I recently sold my 69 Spider Veloce 1750 which marked the 6th Spider (previous 5 were all series 2 varying in years) and, at least for now,the end of my AR days. the Series 3 is the most affordable of the 4 Series of Spiders. This one is still relatively free of electronics and the Bosch injection only adds to the overall reliability of the car. 184k miles is nothing for the Nord engine, which by the way is almost infinitely rebuildable as long as the cylinders do not go too out of round, If they do, just buy a cylinder/piston set and keep on going. The 2nd gear grind, although typical on the 105/115 cars, simply means that your second gear synchro is writing its will. It is not normal (as opposed to typical) but could be alleviated with the use of redline gear oil or similar lubricants. The seat covers are not factory and most likely hide a bit of a mess. Used set of seats for an S3 are usually within a $300 range for a clean set. Most parts are readily available and the ALFABB.COM is a great source of information.

    These are a much better alternative to anything else in its class for the following:
    – 4 wheel disc brakes
    – 5 speed trans
    – DOHC
    In case anyone decides to chime in and say that the said features are not uncommon in today’s market, this is what the Series 1 Spider appeared with back in 1966.

    If I was to buy this car, I would have it up on the lift looking for rust. If very clean and no rust anywhere, then the price is very fair. Rust is the worst enemy of AR and the repairs of typical rust spots in the rockers, trunk, floor and radiator support can and often will run you more than the original purchase price of the car.

    • james g

      rust really shouldn’t be a problem unless the car got rained on with the top like that. Also don’t forget those features even came in Berlinas as well not many 4 door sedans had those back then. The gearbox is also known has a Porsche style since they’re almost exactly the same but slightly different sizes. Aircooled Porsches also grinded because of the second gear syncro ring which started grinding when down shifting on both cars that’s also where double clutching comes in handy.

      • Tirefriar

        James, I agree. When it comes to defining “sport sedans”, Alfa Romeo was first to coin the cars, BMW coined the phrase…

  5. Rex Kahrs Member

    James G, it’s easier to read your post if you add a comma or period every so often. Just saying.

  6. lrry

    No insults intended, Rust Free ? Alfa Spider ? Didn’t they come into the US with the stock rust option on every one imported ? It sure seemed like that back in the day. They didn’t last long in the East Coast of the U.S. Great Cars, but Rust Free ?

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      That is why, if the claim is true, this car would be worth every penny of the asking price!

    • james g

      S3’s don’t have a major rust problem from 66 to 82 good luck finding a clean one that’s cheap

  7. Rich G

    My thoughts on the mileage – if it is true – is that if it has made it 184k, it must have been maintained at least reasonably well for most of its life. Sure you may stumble on another one with lower mileage at a lesser cost, but a rust free AR in Ohio? I doubt it.

    If I had space, I would be there in a heartbeat to check it out. It goes, stops, and turns, and is rust free. Cosmetics can be fixed.

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