Overall condition: Ok
Number of owners: 11
MOT: 27th September 2023
The Alfa Romeo spider/GTV (GTV being the non-convertible offering) was designed by Enrico Fumia at Pininfarina in the early 1990s, being released in 1995 and ending production in 2005, in these 10 years of production the spider won a grand total of ten awards such as 1995 car of the year from Autocar. Sharing quite a lot of its characterises and components as the Alfa 155 which adds real pedigree to this Italian stallion. There was three ‘phases’ or facelifts of the spider this being the phase one it sports the most classic look. If you remember these cars they were a seriously interesting alternative to the Japanese and German roadster offerings, and the sale numbers do show, these spiders sold quite well, but unfortunately not many of them made it to the uk.
These spiders are truly unique when it comes to its exterior styling, with their defining lines, clam shell bonnet and single piece rear tail light it’s a one of a kind Italian roadster. The 90s style on this car has aged wonderfully, giving you a sense of what could be done before stricter car safety laws came in and spoiled the fun, its hard to find any car in recent years with a design as unique as this. This 1997 example came presented in the phase one, or pre facelift, arguably the most charming of the bunch it really feels like a true classic with its old school styling and timeless wheels.
Coming in a very period silver, and sitting on its pepper pot wheels, there is a strong retro appeal. This spider being a twenty-six-year-old roadster comes with some wear and tear, mainly to the soft top roof which would benefit from being replaced or refurbished. There are also a few scuffs around the car, one on the bonnet and some of the plastics could benefit from a plastic darkening treatment as the plastics are a little faded. With a little bit of minor restoration, love and care this alfa would look like new. There is no rust present on the bodywork and all the body panels are straight with no abnormal panel gaps.
Mechanically this spider is in good condition, the two-litre twin spark engine fires straight up and purrs along perfectly. This engine sounds really quite nice, teasing you to work through the rev range with its exquisite tail pipe noise. Being the twin spark its actually quite a reliable unit, more so than the v6 offering, also these twin sparks almost feel perfect for this car as they are very light which helps with the weight distribution thus improving the handling. With twin camshafts, twin balancer shafts, variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder, it really is a smooth unit. Should also be noted that the clutch and gearbox feel smooth.
Moving towards the handling department, these spiders were full of character which only add to its appeal, being extremely playful yet precise. It would appear to make a bit of a clunking noise, while not always present its definitely there over more aggressive bumps, these spiders were known to suffer with rear suspension bushes failing so it would be suspected to be that causing the sounds.
Lastly, the interior, this 916 spider is presented in a lovely all black colour scheme inside, which is very clean with no defects. The spiders interior is designed all around the driver, with the dials all facing the driver, you have a real sense of belonging in here. It’s a very refreshing interior compared to todays cars, this interior is beautifully simple, with the MOMO designed steering wheel taking centre stage and the equally lovely MOMO seats it feels like a true sports car. As a phase one spider this interior lacks the silver centre console panel, in its place is a simple black panel with the hvac and dials. As you open the door you are greeted by a large sill with the Alfa Romeo logo printed across it, this is a nice touch, it really makes this car feel that bit more special and reminds you of where the strengthening was put into the chassis to deal with its convertible nature.
With its timeless styling by Pininfarina, joyful Twin Spark engine, MOMO interior and unique styling the appeal to these spiders has really started to grow, the 916 really does look better now than when new. While this example could benefit from a little loving, there’s really not too much to fault, making this a great little summers car with a little elbow grease and parts sourcing. These spiders, especially the phase ones, are becoming much harder to find and thus more expensive, this could be your last chance to get one, the grin factor alone makes this car a superb buy.
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