How to get one in your garage:
An expert’s view: JAMIE PORTER, ALFA WORKSHOP - “The Spider is a great sports car: pointy and agile in Twin Spark form, beautiful-sounding and effortless in V6. The V6 is heavier and not as responsive as the TS, but is my favourite. A shame they’re so rare. A late-plate 3.2 is a real collector’s item. Saying that, I see all 916-series values going through the roof. Early cars are getting rusty around the rear arches and jacking points, and some parts are hard to source. Spare hood release motors, for example, are non-existent, so make sure the hood works.”
ENGINE - Check the oil level because it likes a drink. Oil pumps are prone to failure. Timingbeltshouldbechangedevery 36,000 miles on the 2.0 TS, every 60,000 on the V6. A rattle could be the cam variator. Low power may be the mass airflow sensor. Check condition of V6’s oil cooler pipes. Hunting at tickover is a failed idle control motor.
TRANSMISSION - Clutch and gearbox are reliable but a high biting point means the clutch is givingup. Check smooth changes; a notchy fifth could be a loose nut.
SUSPENSION - Check for excessive wear on the inner edges of the front tyres, possibly caused by worn front lower wishbones. Rear suspension can be troublesome, one problem being on the 2.0 TS where steel inserts in the bushes rub against the aluminium subframe. In rare cases, the subframe may need replacing.
HOOD - Check it works, and is free of tears and leaks. The power hood is computer- controlled and any issues should be indicated by a light next to the control switch. Check hydraulic rams for leaks.
BODY - Rust shouldn’t be an issue on later cars but any you find could be a poor repair.
INTERIOR - On start-up, check ABS, airbag and engine management lights go out. An inactive air-con system may need a new radiator (expensive). Annoying squeaks may be the locating pins for the hood. A dab of grease should cure it.
Also worth knowing:
Alfa provides original and refurbished parts for older cars, which can help keep running costs down. The Classic Line scheme is for Alfas over five years old and provides filters, belts, brake pads and so on. Meanwhile, the Refurbished Parts scheme supplies cheaper remanufactured parts.
How much to spend:
£1200-£1995 - Later (2002 and on) 2.0 TS cars in need of attention rising to £1995 for a 116k-mile 02-reg with recent new parts.