S2 vs. S4 – 1973 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce and 1991 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce

Have you ever met two siblings and thought, could these people really have come from the same parents? If you haven’t, you’ll certainly find yourself saying it of the different generations of Alfa Spider. The 1971-1982 Series 2 (S2) Alfa Spider, while fairly comfortable and spacious in its cruising/touring role, is also a fairly raw, raucous sports car whose driving experience is dominated by a wonderful engine note and good handling dampened by cowl shake and live axle quirks. The 1991-1994 Series 4 (S4) Alfa Spider is the older brother, with slightly sharper engine response, stiffer platform, and a much more muted version of the Alfa twincam four, together with narrower leather/alcantara seating and all the electric conveniences and ease of use of a modern (ish) sports car of the 1990s. In spite of that, it has some archaic characteristics like the S2’s live axle peccadilloes, cowl shake, and narrow cabin. To get started, let’s check out this 1973 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce for sale for $3500 in San Francisco, CA.

1973 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce right rear

For some reason, the seller is not able to pull off a single well-lit, clear photo of the entire front 3/4 view of the car – perhaps 170 inches is just too big for his camera phone? The car is said to run well with many new parts, but is in need of “belly pan” welding – must be the floors. Unfortunately, neither pictures nor text give any indication as to how bad things are, though there appears to be some significant rust in the driver’s side sill. The rest of the car doesn’t look too bad, though it clearly needs a repaint.

1973 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce rear

Nose and tail look pretty decent on the car, and you can tell it’s a 1973-74 car by the bumper nubbins front and rear. California blue and yellow plates suggest the car’s been in the state since new, while the European tail lights with amber indicators mean you should at least check for accident damage, though many owners have performed the conversion as an upgrade.

1973 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce engine

The interior is not shown, though there is one change visible – seats appear to have lost their headrests. Center caps are missing from all four turbina wheels, but underhood everything looks fairly complete. The washer fluid bottle is missing its cap, and the lack of a coolant overflow bottle is a bit of a head scratcher. It’s nice to see the car retains its stock SPICA mechanical fuel injection. With that, let’s take a look at the electronically injected car, this 1991 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce for sale for $3700 in Santa Rosa, CA.

1991 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce right rear

This car also appears to have oxidized paint, though not as bad, and you’ll notice the more chunky details like rear view mirrors, bumpers, and third brake light. It’s certainly a cleaner design than the 1983 – 1990 Series 3 spiders, but not as lithe as the earlier cars. In spite of having only covered 79,000 miles, the car is said to need a bit of love and care, though evidently not because of rust. The seller does leave you guessing, though – dented nose? Electrical issues? Worn alcantara or failing air conditioning?

1991 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce interior

The car is said to have a replacement engine and all service records, and oddly, is apparently imported from Germany. A European market car would have side indicators, though, and the plates suggest it’s been in California since the mid-1990s at least. So there we have it, two ostensibly similar cars interpreted for different eras. Bot have lingered on the market and had reductions of a few hundred dollars each, so the sellers are probably willing to negotiate. Which one would you choose?

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