We en­joy the Alfa Spi­der and put it fully to the test

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Driving -


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.


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.


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 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 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?

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