7,600 Miles: 1986 Alfa Romeo Spider

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Does it ever seem to you that quintessential summer cars, like the Mercedes SLs and this ’86 Alfa Spider here on eBay, are more likely to lead lives of solitude and fair-weather only driving? I feel like more often than not it’s possible to find cars that can shed their roofs in unspoiled, unmolested form. After all, they were likely used solely for trips to the beach and Sunday drives, not slogging through the daily commute. This pretty Alfa wears only 7,600 original miles from new and is listed with an $18,000 Buy-It-Now.

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It’s a nice change of pace seeing one of these “Graduate” Spiders in Silver as opposed to the typical red. Apparently, the current owner wanted a turnkey classic car that he could cruise in without worrying about potential mechanical gremlins creeping in, so he bought the Alfa with 3,600 miles and proceeded to pour $6,200 in preventative maintenance into it. The listing says he owns an automotive maintenance facility, so the work was carried out by his technicians. The interior looks as good as you’d expect, if not better since new carpeting was installed.

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Of course, this begs the question: what kind of condition was the Alfa in when it arrived that it needed so many cosmetic improvements as well as the long list of mechanical refurbishments? The individual selling the car on behalf of the owner says none of the work was actually needed but the seller wanted peace of mind. Well, I’m hoping he slept like a baby after lavishing this specimen with new hoses, plugs, wires, motor and transmission mounts, intake manifold and muffler, among many other items. In addition to the carpeting, the hard top was also repainted.

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So what gives here? If I were to seek out a low mileage specimen like this Spider, I’d hope my maintenance concerns would be minimal. Sure, I might replace the water pump and plug wires if I didn’t know when they were last done. My guess is that whomever purchased the car new used it so sparingly that it never saw the inside of a service facility under their ownership, and the current owner was forced to address what amounted to years of deferred maintenance. Can’t figure out why the carpets needed to be replaced, though. What are your thoughts?

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  1. jim s

    i wonder why all that work and then only put 4200 miles on it. sure looks good. great find.

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  2. Tirefriar

    First, this is not a”Graduate” Spider but rather a Quadrifoglio model. The Graduate was a base (decontented) Spider model with steel wheels, etc while the Quad was the top of the line with pretty much everything standard, including the hardtop.

    This was the first year of the Series 3 with redesigned (not necessarily improved-for Alfisti) interior featuring the monopod instrument cluster. The monopods are well known for broken odometers so actual mileage should be verified (don’t ask how, I don’t know). I’m not saying that this is the case here but….

    Series 3 is the least expensive of the four 105/115 series but the Quads are the more desirable trim level because of all the standard equipment, including a/c. Incidentally there’s no mention whether a/c works. $18k is a very strong number for an 86 Quad but the 105/115 Spiders are finally seeing some respect in the market place and the uber clean ones command pretty strong prices

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  3. DolphinMember

    The earlier roundtail ‘Graduate’ Alfa Spiders were made for only a couple of years at the start of the run before the tail got chopped, and being scarcer and better looking, are valued much more highly than these later Alfa Spiders. I would own a roundtail if they weren’t so dear, but these later square tail Spiders are much easier to find—altho not very often as low-mile and nice as this one.

    But this one has a body that’s too busy and has too much ‘stuff’, especially the ground effects do-dads and the battering ram bumpers…..and that odd black plastic spoiler at the back.

    I guess it’s not that surprising that as nice an Alfa Spider as this one would be bid up to $10K after a few days, what with the runup in the prices of decent small foreign open cars, but I wonder if it will reach the reserve or the $18K buy-it-now price. Lots of other cars available out there…….

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  4. John Fitzgerald

    I know exactly why the previous owner lavished all that money on this Spider replacing what appeared to be perfectly sound parts.

    Many years ago I purchased a very low mileage car which had been stored for some years in a nursing home’s underground garage.

    It was absolutely beautiful – there wasn’t a scratch in the paint or a spot on the carpet.

    However, I quickly learned that long term storage takes a terrible toll. The tires were flat spotted, the shocks were gone, and the springs were drooping. Needless to say, the car wasn’t particularly pleasant to drive. Then it began to eat water pumps, and finally the engine stopped forever.

    In hindsight, what I should have done was had the car towed to my home, replaced the tires, springs and shocks, replaced the radiator, all belts and hoses, had the fuel lines blown out and the gas tank boiled out, and, most importantly, had the engine torn down so that each and every oil passage could be blown out.

    My pristine old car ended up in a junk yard, and I learned a very expensive lesson.

    What’s the old proverb? On, yeah – “Experience is a dear teacher, but a fool will learn from none other.”

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