BF AUCTION: 1991 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce Automatic

I know we talk a lot about the fun of rowing the gears of a manual transmission, but let’s be honest, there are times when an automatic is better and sometimes, you just want to kick back and enjoy the drive without having to worry about shifting. While most cars are easy to find with an automatic, some cars are a real challenge, especially European sports cars. And that’s partially what makes today’s Barn Find Auction special! This 1991 Alfa Romeo Spider is one of a very small handful of cars to be equipped with an automatic. Reader Christopher B purchased this Alfa from a barn in San Diego, California 3 years ago. He’s done a ton of work to get it back on the road, but health issues are keeping him from finishing the little work that still needs to be done. It’s now in Prescott Valley, Arizona awaiting a new owner to button it up and enjoy it!

Christopher hunted this Spider down when shoulder issues made it impossible for his wife to reasonably drive a manual-equipped Spider. He really lucked out finding this car, as there really weren’t many automatic Spiders built. The option to forgo the manual became available in 1990 with the introduction of the Series 4 redesign. While there aren’t exact production numbers out there for how many received this option, most sources claim that just around 240 cars were optioned as automatics.

Most manufactures were trying to introduce fresh new designs going into the ’90s, but Alfa Romeo took a step back in time with Spider’s design. And in no way is that a complaint in my book! The massive rubber bumpers were replaced by color-matched units, the ducktail was removed from the rear and the triangle grille was looking more Alfa Romeo and less like an afterthought. While not as stunning as the original Spider, in my opinion, it was a massive improvement over the looks of the 3rd Series.

The inside was also given a mild update, with more options and improved seats. For those that wanted leather, the Veloce option added leather and standard AC. This car happened to be optioned as a Veloce, but the original seats had been poorly redone, but Christopher found nice seats and door panels from a 1990 Spider Veloce. They might not be original to the car, but honestly, the black leather with its red stitching looks awesome. He notes that the door panels have a problem with the clips that keep them attached to the doors, but that’s an easy thing to fix. The AC system is going to need a new compressor and hoses, but those are easy to find parts.

Christopher has an impressive list of what all he’s replaced or repaired on this car. He sent that over as a PDF, which you can view here or in the photo gallery below. The list of what still needs to be done is nice and short, but things like sanding and buffing the paint aren’t necessarily easy tasks to tackle. It’s also going to need a new catalytic converter, at least for those of you that live in states with strict emission laws, but replacements are readily available. That’s the only thing I see here that might keep you from driving it right away and save for charging the AC system, the remains projects are all things anyone can do and probably in just a few weekends!

While Alfa turned the clock backward from a styling standpoint, they updated the Spider’s engine with Motronic fuel injection. While it didn’t really add anything on the horsepower front, the addition of on-board diagnostics is a huge plus, especially for anyone that’s unfamiliar with working on an Alfa. As you can see from Christopher’s list, parts aren’t that expensive for these cars, but doing all the proper maintenance at once can start to add up quickly. Thankfully, he has already done the expensive and time-consuming work that is needed, so you can just finish it up and enjoy. As long as you keep up on the basic stuff, this one should be good to go for a long time now.

I won’t lie, I’m a sucker for Italian sports cars, so this Alfa is ringing a lot of bells for me. The automatic might zap a bit of the car’s zip, but it makes up for it in ease of use. I don’t drive my Fiat Spider nearly as much as I’d like and mostly because I don’t want to sit in traffic in it. Between the automatic, electronic fuel injection, hardtop and those comfy Veloce seats, I’d be driving this Spider every chance I got!

Christopher has done a great job presenting this car, with lots of great photos. He also sent us a video of it running, which you can see above. It might need a little work still, but it’s close enough to being done that you could easily jump in it and go right now. Personally, I’d clean up the paint a bit more, fix any urgent issues and start driving it. So, do you think the automatic is a plus or a negative? Be sure to take a close look at this Spider, leave any questions about it in the comments and don’t forget to bid!

  • Location: Prescott Valley, Arizona
  • Mileage: 37,351 Shown, Actual Unknown
  • Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Auction

High Bid: $3,700 (Reserve Not Met)
Ended: Mar 27, 2020 8:00am MDT
High Bidder: Barry1
  • Barry1 bid $3,700.00  2020-03-27 11:47:29
  • Owenwa bid $3,600.00  2020-03-27 08:58:08
  • Barry1
    bid $3,500.00  2020-03-26 21:28:03
  • grams bid $3,333.00  2020-03-25 22:04:08
  • cynles bid $2,150.00  2020-03-25 11:24:52
  • Barry1
    bid $2,000.00  2020-03-25 10:13:02
  • Vintage bid $1,500.00  2020-03-25 04:34:48
  • Owenwa bid $1,000.00  2020-03-24 17:33:59
  • Vintage
    bid $850.00  2020-03-23 04:27:00
  • shane0319 bid $750.00  2020-03-20 17:17:24
  • Barry1 bid $500.00  2020-03-20 16:59:46
  • shane0319
    bid $250.00  2020-03-20 15:55:37


Auctions Ending Soon


  1. CJM

    Alfa did not ‘turn the clock back” with the last gen restyle in 1991, they modernized and updated (and vastly improved, IMO) what was then a nearly 25 year old design. They were not TRYING to make it look retro. They were trying to make it look LESS retro, but they had constraints to work within. And they did a very fine job if you ask me. I agree that the look is far cleaner than the Series 3 car, particularly the rear end. Of course the a basic body was very pleasing and timeless if dated. As for the automatic transmission, I can’t imagine anyone preferring it unless they had a physical limitation which prevented them from driving the manual. For me, it would be a deal killer on this car, which, if 5-speed equipped, I would love to own.

    Like 4
  2. Skorzeny

    I agree with CJM. The ONLY reason to have an auto in a car like this is a physical limitation that would prevent you from driving a manual.

    Like 0
  3. audifan

    I do not have a physical limitation, but still prefer automatic transmissions,
    especially in a convertible.
    I don’t see the need for a handshaker in this car at all.

    Like 2
  4. ArchitectureOnWheels

    Terrific sports car for those with a physical disability creating issues with clutch activity, wishing to enjoy the pleasures of driving one. As my father in law once stated, “There’s a gluteus maximus (ahem..) for every seat.” Someone will love it.

    Like 0
  5. Car Nut Tacoma

    Sweet looking car. I’ve heard of the Alfa Romeo Spider before, but I’ve never heard of, or even driven one with an automatic gearbox. I was like “what?!”

    Like 0
  6. Araknid78

    I love it. The front and rear treatment looks so much better than the previous generation. I personally don’t care if it has an automatic. At this stage of my life (almost 65) I am perfectly happy letting the car do the shifting. Although, I do love the manual mode and paddle shifters in my Audi. I don’t suppose this car has that feature.

    Like 0
  7. djkenny

    I vomited in my mouth a little when I saw Automatic and Alfa Romeo Convertible.

    Cost of repairs for that combo alone should make it a deal breaker.

    Like 0
  8. Marauder

    Eye-talian? Love it. I actually had a 91 Spider Veloce in black with tan leather. Yes, a 5 speed. Loved it, but unless it was going uphill it was pretty sluggish. Can’t imagine driving one with an auto.

    Like 1

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