Forced Sale: 1966 Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider

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Being forced to part with a beloved project car before the build concludes is difficult. When the decision stems from significant health issues, the pill is more bitter and difficult to swallow. That is the case with this 1966 Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider. The couple purchased the car around five years ago, planning to return it to its former glory. However, the husband’s sudden and significant health issues mean they will never see it through to completion. They have decided to send it to a new home, and a buyer willing to do this classic justice. It is listed here on eBay in Placerville, California. Bidding currently sits below the reserve at $13,600.

The story pre-dating the seller’s ownership of this Alfa is unclear, although it appears it has spent its life in California. That is significant because these little classics are renowned for rust issues, and in the right climate, ugly bubbles and brown stains can seem to appear overnight. The climate in this location should have reduced the chances of significant problems, although bubbles are visible in one lower door corner. However, if an in-person inspection confirms this tiny spot is the only problem, potential buyers could be onto a winner. It is unclear whether the Spider received a repaint, but the overall condition of its Alfa Red exterior suggests this is possible. It shines well for a car that has sat for years and may respond positively to some effort with a high-quality polish. The Black soft-top is shredded, but the frame appears fine. The chrome is in good order, and I can’t spot any glass issues.

The heart of what makes these little Italian sports cars so endearing is found in the engine bay. A 1,570cc twin-cam four occupies the space, sending 125hp through a five-speed manual transmission to the rear wheels. These are pretty peaky motors that happily sing in the upper rev range. While some could find that prospect tiresome, it rewards owners willing to concentrate and drive enthusiastically. The modest power figure might not set your pulse racing, but the twin-cam powerplant can launch the 2,064 lb Spider through the ¼-mile in 17.7 seconds on its way to 115mph. Straightline performance isn’t this car’s forte, but they come to life when pointed at some twisting road. The seller indicates that although the Alfa doesn’t run, the engine was professionally rebuilt as part of the restoration. It hasn’t seen active service, leaving the winning bidder with the joy of hearing that four roar into life for the first time in years.

This Spider’s interior is serviceable, trimmed in Black vinyl. A few items, like the radio, are missing, and the driver’s seat has a tear that looks beyond repair. Slipcovers would hide the problem from prying eyes, although spending $260 on a pair of replacement seatcovers would represent an affordable and permanent solution. Beyond that, I would thoroughly clean everything before compiling a shopping list.

The backstory of this little Alfa is sad, and it is one we all hope never to experience firsthand. I hope someone can complete what the owners started, returning this sweet little Italian sports car to its former glory. It won’t offer the outright performance of a Corvette or a similar vehicle, but tackling a ribbon of twisting tarmac with that twin-cam four singing its beautiful song should make it worthwhile. Do you find that prospect attractive enough to pursue it further? If you do, I wish you good luck.

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  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Great parts pictures. Wonder what the entire car looks like. These are good looking, fun to drive cars.

    Like 6
  2. "Edsel" Al leonardMember

    Great write up Adam…sad to say but this story will become more common every day…some will sit in unfinished condition, in a place unaware of any eyes..and will never be driven or seen again..

    Like 6
    • Claudio

      Search steve kirsch and you will understand why we are seeing more sick people and deaths

      Like 1
  3. Denny N.Member

    That’s the ugliest trunk luggage rack I’ve ever seen!

    Like 5
    • Ciro DiMarzio

      They’re all pretty ugly. I don’t care for luggage racks on any of my little British cars. Sure they’re short on storage but they aren’t touring cars.

      Like 1
  4. Somer

    Lots of little things. Wrong seats. Correct air filter missing. Always look for rust around the jacking points. It would be wise that they show receipts for engine build. This is the last of the original Spiders.1600 engines are stout!

    Like 2
    • Mark RuggieroMember

      Was this always a single carb? I figured it for twin sidedraft. EDIT: Clearly there’s not enough room for that configuration…

      Like 0
  5. JGD

    Yes, ditch the luggage rack. The trunk of the ’55 thru ‘early ’66 Giulietta and Giulia Spiders was ample for most folks. My ’57 Spider
    would swallow a leather 3 suiter suitcase and my army duffle bag. With the top up, the area behind the seats can accept soft carry-on bags around and on top of the spare tire. That should be enough for any road trip.

    Like 3
  6. PJ Quinly

    Mid seventies we had a ’66 G.Spyder. White. ’69 formula 1 1600 in it. High Desert, So. Cal. Was buying from my parents when mom gave it to a friend. Very nice condition. Car came from Vegas. Not a happy day for me. This car hauled ass. If you have this car, oil pan is modified, easy tell tale.

    Like 0
  7. Frank Barrett

    Bought a ’65 (which this probably is) in ’92 and did a rolling restoration on it; still enjoy it. Great car for the money. First thing to do is look underneath for rust. Looks pretty complete. Single carb, so it’s a Normale, though easy to add Webers, a la Veloce, which transform the performance. Parts readily available. If it’s solid and you don’t have to repaint it, this is a good deal.

    Like 1
  8. freakinutz

    I simply will never understand how someone can pay for a complete engine rebuild and then never fire it up? That just doesn’t make sense to me. You can find some nice later model Spiders for not much more than this asking price.

    Like 0
  9. Paul Root

    Unless it is a late hold over, it looks like this is a 1965 model. The 1996 brought the boat tail design.

    Looks like the carb is the correct one but there was an air cleaner that came over the top of the engine.

    A quick google search shows these going 60k up to 130k.

    Like 0
  10. ccrvtt

    Once again, Adam hits the nail on the head,

    “It won’t offer the outright performance of a Corvette or a similar vehicle, but tackling a ribbon of twisting tarmac with that twin-cam four singing its beautiful song should make it worthwhile.”

    Isn’t that why we drive the cars we drive?

    Instead of Priuses?

    much for what it looked like. The Corvette, on the other hand, was a very low mileage ’95 with an automatic that I would buy back if I could. I think there are still unplumbed depths of performance that I’d like to try in a C4

    Like 1
  11. HoA Howard AMember

    I was lucky enough to, in my lifetime, drive one of these fantastic cars. Right after HS, (1971), my brother bought a ’63 Alfa like this, and the seller “threw in” a very tired black TR4. It’s odd to see both cars featured here. I thought it was $500, but my brother said more like a grand, but still, nobody wanted these cars, and were literally giving them away. It was kind of a beater, not rusted, but tired, and when #3 spark plug blew out, we took the motor apart, and must have had the valve timing off a cog, because it never ran the same. We were punk kids that had no business working on these, but we thought, how different could it be from the 4CV? Anyway, we thought it was a POS then, and he traded the car for a Big Healey, another unthinkable thing today.
    Not to be redundant, and Adam has probably had enough, but it’s misleading thinking this car would do 115 in the 1/4. It does 81, with a TOP SPEED of 115.
    Again, you can see my disbelief, how values have changed, but if there was ever a car worth $13 grand, you shan’t be disappointed,,,unlike that rusty Bronco you just bought,,,

    Like 1

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