For those looking for a sports car with doors that don’t just pop out but also up but lack the cash for a Koenigsegg, today’s Nice Price or No Dice Alfa should be a godsend. The rest of us will have to get past those doors and focus on whether the price pops as well.
The term “use it or lose it” applies to many things in life, but especially so to cars. Well, at least to old school gas-powered cars mostly. In the case of new-fangled electric cars, you might more appropriately say “use it and lose it” since the batteries in these cars have a finite lifespan and each charge cycle brings the batteries one step closer to their e-waste graves. That made yesterday’s 2002 Toyota RAV4 EV such a gamble. Here it is, 20 years from new, and most likely still on its factory battery pack with who knows how many charge cycles under its belt. That made the car’s $11,995 asking price unpalatable for most, a result that earned the RAV an un-rave-like 93 percent No Dice loss.
If we were to morph that “use it or lose it” phrase into something a bit more Machiavellian, say “use it or don’t, you’re still going to lose it,” what car company comes first to mind? I’m going to guess Alfa Romeo. That Italian bringer of beauty and passion suffers from a reputation (well deserved, some would say) for poor quality and a frustrating lack of dependability.
Still, for many enthusiasts, the good outweighs the bad... and the broken… and the synchros seemingly made out of Hershey’s Kiss wrappers. You get what I mean.
This 1979 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce seems to suffer none of those issues. In fact, according to its ad, the only thing amiss with the car is a busted fuel gauge. How very un-Alfa of it. And this is from a year when Alfa still used the Spica mechanical fuel injection to feed its lovely DOHC inline-four. That’s a system that works wonderfully when it works, but can be a headache when the pump seals go bad and it starts leaking fuel into the sump.
Perhaps making up for the broken gas gauge, the seller says the car has five new tires, new ball joints, and tie rods on the front, and comes with just 45,968 miles on the clock.
And yes, it also comes with those funky aftermarket door hinges that some people might describe as “Lambo Doors” but which are really just regular doors that also swing up after opening. Their operation seems unnecessarily convoluted, especially since the latch and securing pin require them to be secured in a traditional fashion.
There are probably benefits to such a setup, but I’m having a hard time sussing out just what they may be. Regardless, the hinges should be easy to remove, returning the Spider to its former, simpler state. The doors aren’t the only evidence of someone’s idea of making the Alfa a bit fancier than the factory thought necessary. Under the hood, almost all the acorn nuts, cam cover bolts, and reservoir caps show evidence of at one time being painted red. That’s not overspray from a repaint either. That’s someone’s conscious effort to “lipstick the pig.”
Everything else about the car seems normal and reasonably solid. Both the interior and top look to be in serviceable shape, and the seller says the top is watertight. A bit of rust bubbling on a rear fender is noted in the ad, but otherwise, the body looks straight and clean. The only oddity in the cabin is the weird placement of a clock mounted in the top of the ashtray door. I guess that means it’s time to stop smoking.
Okay, so I know that most of you are still stuck on the weird doors, but we need to consider the whole car and whether it’s worth $7,500 as it sits, doors and all.
What do you say, is this Spider worth that kind of cash? Or, does that price close the door on any interest?
H/T to Whatsupdohc for the hookup!
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