This Alfa Romeo Spider (Spider being the Italian for convertible), was released to the press and public at the 1995 Geneva motor show. Designed by Pininfarina the car shares the same platform as its GTV stablemate and took design cues from the 1991 Alfa Romeo Proteo who's bonnet lines it shares, and the 1964 Giulia spider who's boot lines there is a similarity to.
This Alfa Romeo has had five different engines ranging from the 1.8 twin spark through to the mighty 3.2 litre V6 with power outputs from 140 bhp up to 240 bhp and while the four-cylinder engines are excellent, the Alfa Romeo V6 is absolutely stunning in this car as the noise and power are intoxicating with the roof off. When the clamshell bonnet is lifted these engines all look stunning and while they fill the engine bay they don't look over complicated and they are not hidden as though they were something to be ashamed of.
Transmission is always by manual gearbox in the UK with the four-cylinder cars having a five-speed gearbox and the V6's having by and large a 6 Speed unit. The chassis is the stiffest that Alfa Romeo have ever made for a convertible and while there is some scuttle shake it is minimal. The movement is, however, magnified by the fact that the screen top rail is only inches from your head which does help to keep the wind off you. The chassis has McPherson struts at the front, with double wishbones at the rear giving a nice but firm ride.
The interior is as you would expect; sporty with the analogue instruments that are all centred on the driver, with the speedo and rev counter set in front of the steering wheel, and the other gauges in the top of the centre console. Moving down the console, you then have the heater controls and the radio at the bottom.
Behind the seats, there is a little secure cubby hole for larger oddments and there is a small boot further back but between the two there is the hood stowage area, Spider's can come with either electric or manual hoods and they both fold very neatly under the cover giving the car a very â€œfinishedâ€ look with the hood down.
The seats on both the GTV and the Spider are the same, very supportive and hard-wearing sports seats.
The Spider had two upgrades in its life span getting a silver centre console and instrument binnacles in 1999 and a major facelift in 2003 when it got a new deeper front grille and different front and rear bumpers, with this last upgrade the Spider, also got a selection of electronic upgrades including VDC, vehicle dynamic control, EBD, Electronic brake force distribution, and ASR to stop wheel spin. However, whichever spider you own you will have a part of Alfa Romeo's history and only you will know that little something extra that only an Alfa Romeo can give you.