My First Alfa Drive – 1971 Alfa Romeo Spider 1750

I was looking through the classifieds, as I often do, and noticed a green 1971 1750 spider for sale up in the north-east bay area. Back in 1991, when I was looking at cars, I checked out a green ’71 with steel wheels and those disc hub caps in Redwood City, and ended up passing on it because the guy wanted $3400, which would have blown both my purchase and repair budgets. However, the top down experience with the weird shifter exiting at an angle through the console, as well as the sound of that engine, encouraged me to keep looking until I found the spider I have today. The ’71 might have been the wiser investment, but I subsequently met the person who purchased that car a few years later, and it apparently had some significant rust in the floor pans that she spent a lot of money repairing.

Well, as it happens, it seems this car has popped up in the classifieds again. I can’t say for 100% sure, but there must be very few green ’71s left, and I specifically recall the weird nerf bars this car had to protect its nose. Check it out on craigslist, where it’s listed in Vallejo/Benicia, CA for the bargain price of $1450.

1971 Alfa Romeo Spider front

The car actually still looks pretty good, in these admittedly poor quality pictures. The early Kamm-tail spiders are particularly clean, with the lack of rubber “overriders” on the bumpers and the small license plate lights mounted on the bumpers. I also really like the simple hubcaps on the phone dial steel wheels – very typical for that period. Note the weird nerf bars that have been added to protect the car’s nose.

1971 Alfa Romeo Spider nose

Clearer shot of the nose. I’m not sure how this is supposed to protect the nose – you’d think the first thing that hit this setup would push it right into the body, thus accomplishing the same outcome that would have happened were they not there, and at less cost. That said, I see no dents in the nose, so maybe it does work!

1971 Alfa Romeo Spider interior

Here’s the interior. Dash doesn’t look bad – is that a cap? – but is missing a vent, and if you look closely you’ll see the sides of the center console are out, as are the heater controls and one of the switches. Maybe a sign of a removed heater box? The steering wheel is intact, which is actually a plus since the 1750 spider got a plastic wheel that’s more liable to be sun-damaged.

So, you say, why don’t you go out and buy this, given that you can have the same car now for $1450 that you could have paid $3400 for in 1991? Well, it’s not that simple… the owner states in his listing that the right door panel is off, window is out (not such a big deal, but it’s not stated why), the engine has a thrown rod, the diff might be whiny, and there’s a dent in the driver’s door. That said, it’s got Konis and comes with various engine parts that might help with a rebuild. Sadly, and in spite of the rarity of these 1-year-only 1750 spiders, this might be destined to be a parts car.

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3 Responses to “My First Alfa Drive – 1971 Alfa Romeo Spider 1750”

  1. bob Says:

    I now own this car and its being restored to original driver condition, not concourse, using original parts etc

  2. bob Says:

    Thanks Chris, floorpans need replacing, there is surface rust everywhere , but in general it is structurally decent. I sourced a replacement 1750 motor ; just freshened it, I rebuilt the trans, now refreshing a 4:10 LSD for the diff, redid the brakes, replaced steering box, etc. Should be driveable in the summer and then off for finish paint / bodywork. It is this exact car since it has the weird nerf bars — paid 2K for it one year ago from sacramento ; had it trailered down to san diego where she sits in the garage

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