The Italian connection is undeniably part of the Alfa charm, but these cars appeal to more than just Italian Americans. The Spider was one of the few sports car bright spots in the 1980s, so it left an imprint for many who grew up then. It's also just a fun, affordable, relatively modern roadster. And it's not so valuable that owners are dissuaded from upgrading or personalizing as they see fit. For someone who doesn't demand maintenance-free Japanese reliability, the Spider is a more characterful, collectible alternative to a used Mazda Miata.
ENGINE: 2.0L DOHC I-4, 115-120 HP, 117-119 LB-FT
TRANSMISSION: 5-SPEED MANUAL
SUSPENSION, FRONT: CONTROL ARMS, COIL SPRINGS
SUSPENSION, REAR: LIVE AXLE, COIL SPRINGS
WEIGHT: 2550 LB
$13,495 (1985 Graduate); $23,950 (1990 Quadrifoglio)
An Alfa Spider represents a very affordable way to get the classic roadster experience. The Series 3 cars are the least expensive of the Spider iterations, and they're never going to be any cheaper. With an excellent, easy-to-use top; a roomy trunk; effective air-conditioning (if equipped); and a comfortable cabin (assuming you can deal with the long-arms/short-legs driving position), the Spider is a truly usable vintage roadster. The vocal engine, direct gearshift, and vivid steering provide a driving experience unlike a modern car. Steer clear of neglected examples, which can be hideously expensive to revive, and watch out for rust in the rocker panels, as well as weak second-gear synchros.