Project Car Hell, Affordable 60s Alfa Romeo Edition: 2000 Spider or 1750 Berlina?

Illustration for article titled Project Car Hell, Affordable 60s Alfa Romeo Edition: 2000 Spider or 1750 Berlina?

Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's coolest... and most hellish! Look how well the trio of Alfas did at Lemons New England- great cars, obviously!


Hanging around with the 24 Hours Of LeMons HQ crew, I've learned that they're the most Alfa-centric bunch of car geeks you're ever going to find; most of them started out on British sports cars and then realized that you have more fun when your ride has performance to match its unreliability… and the next step generally involves ditching the GT6 or MGA or whatever and buying an Alfa Romeo. It's true- Alfa Romeo has made plenty of fundamentally superior cars over the years, and so what if they're all nervous and complicated and all the parts have to be hand-carved from the wood of the True Cross by a 98-year-old man in a dirt-floor Genoa workshop illuminated by a whale-oil lamp? You need an Alfa! And we don't mean some easy-to-find Reagan Era Graduate or 164 here. No, we're talking Sophia Loren-grade machinery from the 1960s! Multiple carburetors or Spica mechanical fuel injection! Partito Comunista Italiano firebrands preaching revolution on the factory floor!

The 2000 Spider sure was a looker, wasn't it? Just concentrated essence of Alfa Romeo, for sure, but it's no easy task to find one for your personal Hell Garage these days. You sigh in relief and start looking for a Miata, right? Wrong! We've found you this 1961 Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider (go here if the ad disappears), just 80,000 miles on the clock and a price tag of just 1,700 bucks… or best offer! No doubt you're already spraining your fingers dialing up the seller at this moment, but we do have to throw in a couple of minor caveats. First, there's rust. Maybe a better way of putting it would be it's rust, as in very few fugitive iron atoms have managed to barricade themselves against marauding bands of oxygen molecules. What the heck, you expect some of the red stuff in Massachusetts, no? The car rolls and the drivetrain appears complete, though the seller acknowledges that the engine is most likely frozen solid. Many trim pieces come with the car, and you even get some glass! Come on, it couldn't be that difficult!

We love Spiders, but say you need to do some grocery hauling from time to time? You need a vintage Alfa Romeo daily driver, we say, and that means you should start shopping for a Berlina sedan. No, no, don't give up- affordable project Berlinas are definitely out there. Say, this $400 1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina (go here if the ad disappears). Now, if you've ever seen Double Indemnity, you know that a Medford, Oregon, man means what he says and says what he means, and that's just who's selling this car. Ted knows that he doesn't need to go to the hassle of typing out a whole bunch of pointless description when he's selling a classic Italian sports sedan for the price of a clapped-out Olds Ciera with a couple of rods hanging out of the block. Is there an engine? A transmission? Legal paperwork? A plutonium-240-fueled Soviet radioisotope thermoelectric generator kicking out neutrons in the trunk? Hey, we can't say, but all we need to do is repeat the phrase "400 dollar 1750 Berlina" and you get the point.

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Rob Emslie

Four bills for a 1750 Berlina? Why, that's like saying you can have four minutes to have sex with gina lollobrigida. What's that you say, she's dead? Well shit howdy, that don't matter, it's gina-freakin'-lollobrigida. Y'all gotta' set priorities, and getting your hands on an Alfa Romeo that costs less than that 37" flat screen at the Walmarts is a once in a monthtime opportunity. Get out of mom's basement, cash-in that savings bond and get a trailer from uHaul and bring that puppy home. Because only then will you know the pride and hopelessness of owning a worthless, fugly, ain't never gonna' crank again Alfa sedan.

You think hell is getting audited by the IRS? You think it's passing that kidney stone all by yourself in the boys bathroom during second period back in 7th grade, and having to clean up the mess with paper hand towels and coarse pink soap?

No freakin' way, hell is owning an Alfa that even Alfa-lovers kind of turn up their noses at, and nobody really has a straight answer about where to find those tail lamp gaskets or the stainless trim for around the trunklid.

Satan himself has created this hell, along with the hells of "really liking the music of Ashley Tisdale" and "craving food from the Waffle House". It's not something that you choose, but something that chooses you, and then you find there's no way back.