Blue Plate Special: 1984 Alfa Romeo Spider

While 80s German cars continue to accelerate in price, Alfa Romeos of the same vintage seem like a relative bargain. I’ve been checking out the Milano sedan and the later 164, and despite the upkeep requirements, they seem like a worthy alternative to a BMW 3-Series or Mercedes 190 of the same era. However, the Spider is the biggest bargain of all if you’re considering a convertible, and this one here on eBay¬†is a California creampuff that hasn’t left San Jose since new.

Like so many other cars built over many years in large quantities, the Spider tends to get overlooked simply because they’re so easy to find. That doesn’t mean a good one is at the top of every craigslist search, but in my view it is firmly on that list of “safe” cars to buy if your spouse demands a cute convertible in the garage. Think Miata, or a Mustang drop-top. The Spider is absolutely going to cost more to maintain than either of those, but I also think it’s part of the reason why the collector crowd hasn’t gone flocking to these.

The early model Duettos are a different story, but it’s also a different car in many ways. It’s older, and arguably purer – both in the driving experience and design. The later Spiders suffered the same fate as almost any car from this era, with the ugly safety bumpers slapped onto what was otherwise still a gorgeous design. Fortunately, the interior remained as driver-focused as Alfa intended, with the classic woodgrain steering wheel and dash-mounted 5-speed manual shifter.

The seller doesn’t go into great detail on this Spider, partly because he believes the car should do the talking. The engine is said to run like a Swiss watch, the paint is original, and the interior shows no signs of dash or seat leather cracking. The Panasport wheels are included, and while they’re not my favorite design, they hardly ever look bad on a vintage Alfa Spider. Bidding is over $5K with no reserve, which still seems like a bargain for a car like this.

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  1. Paul


  2. Jeff

    Looks like a great example, but I always thought these cars were awkward looking. Much in the same way that the ’02-’05 Thunderbird looked goofy, there’s just something about the proportions that don’t appeal to me.

    • the one Member

      The earlier “boat tail” models were much better looking.

  3. Joey Buzz

    Ma Ma, Me a, That’s a spicey meat ball !!!

  4. sean

    Great car to drive if your under 5 ft.

  5. David Frank David F Member

    What a beautiful car, at least in the pictures. The problem with these in California is the difficulty of passing an emissions test. I sold a blue one much like this really cheap a couple of years ago because of that. Perhaps it will be a good deal for someone in a state without the requirement,

  6. The One Member

    These cars drive so nice! Smooth, not like an mg roadster. We have owned both. A superior driving automobile, but ya gotta work on ’em a bit.

  7. Maestro1

    I agree. I’ve had two and they were wonderful cars but will require maintenance. So your running costs will be higher as Jeff and others point out. If i had the space I’d consider it seriously. The cars are romantic and elegant.

  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Jeff, you and I think a lot alike.

    Milano (that one the other day that sold for pennies was great to see), 190, and the Spider are always on my radar.

    If I were to purchase one, though, I would have to weigh it against owning something more reliable/cheaper to repair.

  9. Dickie F

    I like those wheels.

  10. David Miraglia

    always wanted a spider either fiat or alpha. I bet it would probably pass in inspection in New York state.

  11. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Yes boat tail but also hard to find good priced examples….like.

  12. Dave

    Had a ’71 Red spider back in early seventies and it was a blast to drive. Loved the sound and the handling. One of my favorite cars.

  13. t-bone Bob


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