Beautiful Bargain! 1988 Alfa Spider

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By 1988, purchasing a new Alfa Spider was like buying a brand new vintage car. The original design dated from 1966, although many updates had been performed since then. This example wears the next to last visual update, in my opinion, one of the most successful ones and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Surprisingly it has been listed for only $5,000 without a reserve. This scarlet beauty is located in Conway, South Carolina, and is obviously owned by an automotive enthusiast based on the surrounding cars in the pictures.

It’s obvious the whole family likes cars — see the Cozy Coupes in the background? That nice looking Alfa hardtop is removable and the “ground effects” cladding was only fitted to the upmarket Quadrifoglio models. The car has been repainted once, otherwise, I would call it a survivor — remember, this is 31 years old now!

The car was purchased from its long-term caretaker last summer and was treated then to this work: New oil/filter, brake fluid, ignition wires, plugs, distributor cap, fuel filter, battery, clutch kit/throw out bearing and a new muffler/complete exhaust from engine back. The seller states the cost of this work was $2,400.

The underside looks as good as the topside and belies the 104,370 miles. It also validates the claim of a new rear exhaust system.

While the interior does show some wear, it’s not abused wear. There’s a tiny crack in the dash pad right at the windshield but I wouldn’t let that stop me from purchasing the car.

Normally I’m not thrilled about a picture of a trunk, but just look at how nice this appears to be! The squared-off trunk design of these later Spiders makes the trunk far more useful than earlier cars. Check out this buyer’s guide to learn more differences between the four series of Spiders (and, interestingly, to find that this series is the least valuable). That being said, NADA puts the low retail value of this car at $10,780 so I’m thinking the $5,000 opening bid would be quite a bargain!

By this point, the US model Spider featured a 2-liter version of the famous Alfa DOHC four-cylinder. Some clean up under here would work wonders, but overall I don’t see any added wires or sloppy maintenance. I think this would be a terrific buy at anything under $10,000 — what do you think?

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  1. NotSure

    I like! I have room in the garage. I’ve always felt that I deserve one of these because mom told me that I’m special ***(once). I have cash! Midnight tonight may find me out in the backyard digging up some Mason jars to get the needed cash. I’ll let everyone know how it turns out. *** Mom wasn’t sober when she told me that, but it still counts, right?

    Like 14
  2. NCTrad

    It’s a coastal car and you can already see the ill-effects of prolonged exposure to salt spray on the undercarriage and around the hood. I’d pass.

    Like 1
  3. Sam61

    Very nice find…Mrs Robinson approves!

    Like 8
  4. OhU8one2

    Oh this Alfa is on my list of top 10 to own. It has all the right options. My first Italian car. Timing couldn’t have come at a worse time. No funds for this baby. I will have to sit and keep dreaming of the day I’m driving one.

    Like 2
  5. Tom Justice

    In the eBay ad he says “The tranny feels good with no synchro issues to speak of.” Having been involved in changing out the synchros of several of these cars, it is a NIGHTMARE. I would question the seller carefully about this but otherwise it seems like a decent car. The old Top Gear guys said you can’t be a car guy unless you have owned an Alfa so this might be the one to make someone a real car guy.

    Like 4
    • Mark-A

      As long as it’s not a Tranny with the following eBay find Swinger eh?

      Like 0
  6. Eli

    Downshifting from 3rd to 2nd can reveal some surprises on Alfas. My very first car in 1967 was a 1962 Giulietta Spider. It was a beautiful car then that just never wanted to start. It did look good parked for most of my ownership. Just for it’s current value I wish I had it today.

    Like 0
  7. PRA4SNW

    Anyone here have any experience with the 4th generation Spider, the one right after this model? I saw one at the Owl’s Head auction last year and it is the only one I’ve seen. I think it looks sharp and probably could be had for pretty cheap.

    Like 1
    • Mitch

      I’ve got a 92. It has better rust proofing and the Motronic injection good for a few more HP and better reliability. It also has power steering, an unneeded complication to suck up those extra horses. Altogether its been quite reliable and the AlfaBB is a great source of info. Parts are easy to find.The interior is crap but I don’t care. You really need to do most of your own work if you don’t want it to become a money pit.

      Like 2
    • Chuck Turner

      This is as close as I can come. Just bought it.

      Like 2
      • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

        I was beginning to drool over one on a dealership showroom floor, priced very right, until…. I got close enough to see the automatic lever instead of the manual shifter in the console. Pass!

        Like 0
    • Kevin Harper

      Yeah I have experience with the series 4. It is really one of the better looking spiders. Unfortunately they added a lot of stuff like power steering and weight which just kill the driving experience. It is really just a cruiser and not a sports car. A very pretty cruiser but the earlier cars are more fun on the twisted.

      Like 1
  8. Marathon06

    This Alfa is cursed with the terrible “automatic” seat belts that plagued the 1988 model only. You can see where they are located between the seats. Your lap belt is separate. Never worked correctly. Would check closely on potential rust issues underneath and cost of new seat covers. Flashy car but the seat belts are such a pain.

    Like 1
  9. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    This seller also has listings for a Lancia Scorpion and a V-8 converted XKE 2+2.
    Too many toys/projects, he says…

    Like 1
  10. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    Finished out at $7600.

    Like 0

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