At $3,500, Is This Kinda Rough 1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce Still A Pretty Slick Deal?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Veloce is Italian for fast, and while it’s a bit of an aspirational title when it comes to today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Alfa Spider, it’s still a nice name to have. Let’s see if its price means it will at least be selling fast.

Along with herpes, our current political climate, and salad frogs, I guess we can add diesel VW Beetle convertibles to the communal list of things entitled “I didn’t ask for that.


Yesterday’s 2014 VW Beetle drop top not only had a fuel-sipping if not exactly clean-living diesel, but also a rare standard six-speed stick as compliment. Very few of you complimented the combination however, and at $19,991 even fewer of you lauded its cost of entry, giving the car a sizable 76 percent Crack Pipe loss.

Okay, so today I think we need to hone in on what elements of that VW proved to be most egregious. Was it the convertible roof? Not likely. The manual transmission? Probably not. The price? Hmmm, maybe we’re getting somewhere. Actually, of all its attributes I’m guessing it was the price, combined with the oil-burner under the hood that proved to be the car’s downfall. Yep, that had to be it.

In furtherance of my theory, let’s do a little test and look at a car that has ttwo of those features, but lacks that last critical—and potentially criticism earning elements. It’s also an Alfa Romeo (does chef’s kiss), but we can only control so many aspects of our experiment. This is science, after all.


This 1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce QV hails from the year that the company was uncomfortably bundled up with Lancia by parent company Fiat. It arrived here in the States just nine years before Alfa pulled up stakes and left the U.S. market altogether. It would be almost 20 years before the company would be back here in force, but to date, Alfa has not offered a full drop-top here since that return.

The somewhat ubiquitous Spider pretty much makes up for that present dearth by having existed seemingly forever during Alfa’s last run. Available across several evolutions from 1966, it became Alfa Romeo’s poster child here in the U.S.. Dustin Hoffman famously drove one in the 1968 movie, The Graduate, and Alfa managed to amortize the tooling costs for almost three decades after that so they probably turned a tidy profit on the little two-seaters late in the game.


This ‘86 is claimed to be the Quadrifoglio Verde edition, a model introduced this year and featuring side skirts, rubber air-dam and spoiler and an available hardtop. The QVs were not made available from the factory in gold in ’86, as is this car, and offered a different hardtop, wheels, and front under-tray so it’s probably not. There’s plenty of evidence here to indicate that this car has been resprayed so it’s not 100% out of the question.


It will need to be re-shot again as there’s a sizable dent in the steel nose above the stylized alfa grille element of the bumper. You look at that damage and have to ask of that bumper “where the hell were you?

The rest of the body seems appreciably intact and free of major issues. Amazingly, there seems to be no body rot at all. The soft top also seems to be in decent shape, however the plastic rear window needs replacing. A hard top is also included, but seemingly lacks a rear window, weatherstripping, or headliner.


There are issues in the interior as well. The seats are snooded in the kind of covers usually reserved for people snatched off the street and then tied to chairs in abandoned warehouses before being beaten with ropes. No, it’s not a good look. Other problems here include a missing eyeball vent in the dash and an AWOL glovebox latch button.


None of these are represent major indecorums but should be noted as part of the car’s overall valuation.


Mechanically, the little Alfa is said to be A-Okay with no mechanical issues noted and the assertion that it ‘runs strong’ in its advocacy. Under the hood lies Alfa’s DOHC 2-litre four with around 115 fuel-injected horsepower. Behind that is a five-speed stick. Traditionally these boxes have syncros that are seem to have been made from hard cheese. Maybe Parmesan. This one is claimed to run and shift without drama.

The car is said to have originally been part of an estate sale and comes with 47,000 miles on the clock and a clean title. The seller bought the car off the second owner, who obtained it from the estate.


Those miles would be considered meager for most cars, but this is an Alfa so… well, wow. It’s hard to find Alfa Spiders that aren’t either garage queens or fright pigs. This one seems to be in that baby bear world of in-between. Yeah, it needs a bit of bodywork and an interior tidying to make presentable, but it seemingly doesn’t have major mechanical issues that would prevent its enjoyment until those aesthetic issues are sorted out.


The cost to take on this modest project is $3,500, and now it’s your sworn duty to vote on whether that seems like a fair price for the car. What do you say—for that $3,500 asking would you fall into this Spider’s web? Or, are the issues too much to ask that much?

You decide!


Greenville, SC Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to @spagoot for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.