I was most interested in C.R.’s account of the Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider Veloce in the July Motor Sport, also in Mr. Bloods letter re: his Duetto and Mr. Ward’s reference to his “fabulous 2000 Spider”. I have been “plugging” Alfa Spiders ever since my first Giulia 1600 Spider, in 1963 (when you kindly printed my “findings”). I have had another 1600 and two 1750 Spiders since (again, you kindly printed my eulogy of the latter). Incidentally, I think Alfas have always been and still are the best value for money on the market. Afraid I never took to the idea of the 2000 engine; I feel they may have “overstretched” the block: I have had gasket problems on a 1750 (Berlina) and have heard of others, but never on the 1300, nor 1600, engines.
My favourite Spider is the 6-cylinder 2600, of which I have a 1965 example. It has not the out-and-out performance of the latest 2000, but for sheer driving pleasure I have never had anything to touch it. It is extremely comfortable, smooth, silent, economical (23+ m.p.g., driven within the legal limits) and plenty fast enough (0-75 m.p.h. in 16 sec.). I have never proved it, but believe the claim that it can be driven from 5 to 125 m.p.h. in 5th gear. The “hand-made” body by Touring of Milan (always superior to Pininfarina, in my opinion) is a joy to behold and superbly finished. It is still in its original dark grey livery and there is not a rattle to be heard. True it has had no winter use for to years but then, neither had one of my 1750 Spiders for three years, when it was becoming tatty. It has four comfortable seats and is driveable with the front seats far enough forward to seat two children – even small adults (or one large adult – “crosswise”) in the back. The hood stows rather more neatly than the 2000’s, but is less easy to manipulate; you have to be stationary. The gear change is the best yet – even better than subsequent Alfa Nord products – and in marked contrast to my 1.6. Alfetta, which is vile. The 2600 is the least tiring car I have ever driven and, to paraphrase one Motoring Correspondent in 1965 – “the driver and passengers look forward impatiently to the next long journey”. Incidentally, the same correspondent quoted a steady Motorway cruising speed of 110 m.p.h. – sic transit …!
I note that Alfa service – as accorded to C.R. by Alfa G.B. is still not all it should be (and vide: correspondence in Motor Sport in the early sixties). I “gave up” the (ever-changing) local agents years ago and depend for service on my local Citroen garage, with whom I have had most satisfactory dealings for a quarter of a century. (Ray and Procter, Longton, Staffs). I have found E.B. Spares very helpful and, of course, there is always Bouts Motors; and I believe there are 2 or 3 other “reasonable” sources of spares and service in this country.
So, I am still very happy in my Alfa motoring. Viva! the airy, fairy Spiders; Motor Sport too, of course!
Booby, Cheshire – R. H. CANTER