A small, nippy two-seat roadster is a great way to get into the car hobby without taking out a second mortgage. The MGB, Mazda Miata, and Triumph TR6 are all popular ways to get that sports roadster fix. But what if you want something different? For something with a little more style and flair, the Alfa Romeo Spider might be an attractive option.
Arriving first in the mid-1960s, the Alfa Spider continued without significant change through the mid-1990s—a production run rivaled only by the current Miata. By the end of the road in 1995, the Series 4 Spider had received many improvements to keep it current as possible. Bosch fuel injection helped increase output to 120 hp, but those gains were offset by added safety features that piled on weight.
The best examples of Series 4 base models in the world are still under $30,000, a fantastic deal for any Italian sports car. A perfect Alfa Spider should be immaculate in every sense of the term, and your safest bet is to buy a car with meticulous documentation. We’re talking about what is essentially an old-school Italian car, so regular service intervals should be strictly followed. Be wary of the shade-tree mechanic—improper work or cut corners can cost you in the long run, so it is important to vet the previous owner as much as the car. Questionable maintenance history should be avoided.
Other items to watch for are the obvious rust, inevitable leaks, and a weak first-to-second gear synchro. “It’s not a Miata. You need to know that going in,” says Mike Austin, Hagerty digital content director and earlier-series Alfa Spider owner. “It is more like an Italian R107 SL.”
Digging in our data on insurance quote traffic, which is a good indicator of popularity, we see that the average Alfa Spider owner is a Baby Boomer and that values they place on their cars have tracked steadily for the past three years, a trend that continues with current values. Series 4 Spiders have enjoyed steady values for the past three years, ranging from $9600 on average for #4-condition (Fair) examples to $27,000 for pristine, #1-condition (Concours) cars.
However, we live in a world where investment potential is always in the back of the mind. Signs point to these cars remaining steady in value for the foreseeable future. That said, just knowing that if you buy a car right and treat it well, you won’t lose your shirt when it’s time to upgrade.
Still, you need to be a dedicated Alfa Romeo fan, or just looking for something different, to take a Spider instead of a Miata or an MGB. If you are well informed and buy the right Alfa, the experience is absolutely something special.