We enjoy the Alfa Spider and put it fully to the test
As long as you look after your Spider there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to use it regularly – in fact, CCW contributor Russ Smith often brings his in to the office when the sun puts in an appearance. It’s light and easy to use, there’s enough luggage space to survive an outing to the supermarket and visibility is decent enough, even with the roof up. The only thing we’d watch out for is creeping corrosion, especially if you use one in bad weather – it pays to protect the underside and keep on top of bodywork blemishes as soon as they appear.
IN THE SERVICE BAY
The Spider’s old-school simplicity is your friend when it comes to looking after one of these cars. Electrical issues are most likely to be as a result of corroded connections, and there’s plenty of room under the bonnet to work on the twin cam engine. The bigger thing to watch out for is corrosion taking hold on the bodywork – unless you like spending your weekends in the company of a MIG welder, we’d look for one that’s already been restored.
ON THE SHOW CIRCUIT
There are plenty of classic events up and down the country where the Alfa will be made welcome – try the Auto Italia show, which takes place at Brooklands this year on 29 April, and the Alfa Romeo Owners’ Club is particularly proactive when it comes to organising tours and gatherings for owners. And while this particular S3 is a 1990s car, show organisers should still welcome it with open arms because it’s clearly a design that’s firmly rooted in the 1960s beneath all that plastic trim.
THE LONG WEEKEND
The Spider’s five-speed gearbox makes all the difference when it comes to long weekends away with the Spider. A 5060mph cruise translates into 2500rpm or so, which in turn keeps fuel economy on the respectable side of 20mpg and makes things much quieter and more relaxing over long distances. There isn’t a massive amount of space in the boot but it’s bigger than the Series 1’s sloped boat tail allows, and you should be able to stow a medium-sized suitcase behind the seats if needed.
THE B-ROAD BLAST
The Spider places greater emphasis on allowing the driver to enjoy tackling sweeping bends in comfort than its rival, the Mazda MX-5. The result is some body roll, but a more pliant ride – and it’s still a huge amount of fun on the right road. It doesn’t take long to ready the Alfa for some al fresco fun either. There’s no messing around with dot fasteners and tonneau covers here – simply release two clips, drop the roof and you’re ready to enjoy the sunshine. How much simpler could it be?