- Post is under moderationAlfa 2600 Sprint is a UK bargain / #Alfa-Romeo-2600-Sprint / #Alfa-Romeo-2600-Sprint-Tipo-106 / #Alfa-Romeo-2600 / #Alfa-Romeo-2600-Tipo-106 / #Alfa-Romeo-Tipo-106 / #Alfa-Romeo
Now is the time to reprise the Sixties Carabinieri and chase down a steal
The Alfa 2600 in its day was a real piece – 120mph, twin-cam six-cylinder, all round discs, fivespeed gearbox and swanky options like leather and power windows. One of Guigario’s first designs (along with the Gordon Keeble), it had rakish Italian glamour and was a high-speed pursuit car for the Sixties Carabinieri chasing down mafia bank robbers. Legend has it that despite slow sales of the Sprint, Alfa kept production going purely because the top brass liked the newspaper and TV news coverage of all those dramatic Polizia chases.
The Sprint and even more glamorous Spider were also favourites of movie directors, making appearances in over twenty Italian and French art house movies of the era plus TV shows like The Champions, The Man From Uncle and The Saint. Prices don’t yet properly reflect their rarity – only a couple of hundred 2600 Sprints survive and in July Historics sold a rare UK-supplied rhd ’1966 example (one of only 596) with only 72,000 miles for £20,720, while a private seller in York has a ’1963 lhd car that’s been fully restored for £35,750. As the last of the grand touring Alfas and the final model to be powered by a twin-cam six, the 2600 Sprint is a very special and strangely underrated Sixties Italian GT.
Tatty projects start at ten grand but why bother when you can by shiny cherished or restored cars for between £20k and £35k? While European dealers price 2600 Sprints nearer £50k the UK market doesn’t value them as highly and it’s still possible to find decent cars here sitting twenty grand below Dutch, French or German money. Back in 2014 Silverstone sold a fine silver ’1964 rhd Sprint for £16,675 so values have risen in three years but only modestly. The obvious comments about rust apply, but only buy restored or prized examples and any corrosion issues should have been sorted.
Experts say parts aren’t easy but I looked on Italian eBay and found heaps of used engines, instruments, bumpers, window glasses and even a full interior. That right-hook Sprint sold by Historics was an epic bargain at £20k. Make sure you don’t miss another.
“You can still find decent 2600s sitting £20k below European money”
VALUE 2010 £11k
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- Post is under moderation#1964 #Alfa-Romeo-2600-Spider £57,500. Alfa Spiders may be plentiful enough, but certainly not in this form. Richard Gunn checks out a 2600 model.
The #series-106 topless Alfa Romeos had short manufacturing lives - just three years. Of the 2255 built only 103 were right-hand drive, which makes this something a special among Sixties UK Alfas, especially as this is the eighth one produced.
The car was totally restored between 1997 and 1999, and since then has covered 18,000 miles more, taking its overall total to 97,270. As an older restoration the Spider is still in very good order, yet there are a few imperfections.
There are a few stonechips on the nose and some pinprick bubbles on the bonnet, plus scratches from enthusiastic polishing. The bootlid seems to have the most. Around the bonnet aperture there are a few missing paint spots along the edges. The black mohair hood complements the main body’s vibrant Rosso Red well, and is also nicely preserved, with a painted frame. It goes up and down easily enough. Good steel wheels and chrome complete what is a very tidy-looking and pretty car.
Inside, it looks like the dashboard was left untouched during the restoration - the light patina suits it. The 2600 badge and Alfa Romeo roundel on the passenger side have a certain faded elegance to them. Above, a small split on the underneath of the passenger grab handle is visible when viewed from the driver’s seat. The slightly yellowed gauges may look their age, but they all work as they should.
The charcoal leather upholstery and black carpets do appear to have been redone during the car’s renovation, and they’ve lasted well - the worst thing to be found is a patch of light wear on the driver’s seat back.
The all-alloy engine is almost as attractive to look at as the rest of the car, and the engine bay has been well-detailed. However, any new owner might to replace the single black HT lead that clashes with the uniformity of the other five green ones.
The 2600 Spider may be quick, but initial progress is hindered by the handbrake design, with its release button halfway down the lever rather than on top.
Still, once you’ve mastered that, the Spider proves to be very fond of going, after the engine has been warmed up properly to get rid of its cold hesitancy. It has impressive acceleration and a delightfully rorty exhaust note.
The small pedals don’t suit big feet and the new clutch could do with some adjustment - it bites very high up its travel. The steering, heavy at low speeds, becomes much freer when a decent pace has been reached, and the five-speed gearbox goes through its ratios slickly enough. The brakes work well, anchoring the Alfa quickly and cleanly when prodded.
The price for this very nice Spider may be high, but it is so much rarer than most al fresco Alfas, especially in Britain.
CHOOSE YOUR 2600
► The 2000 Spider was launched in 1958 with a body by Touring, built on the floorpan of the 1900 Super Sprint. Engine was a high-compression 115bhp version of the new 1975cc four-cylinder twin-cam from the 2000 saloon.
► The type is available in Berlina saloon, Spider convertible and Bertone Sprint coupe options.
► The March 1962 Geneva Motor Show sees the debut of its replacement, the Alfa Romeo 2600, this time with six cylinders and double-overhead camshafts. The body is largely the same but distinguished by details like an extra pair of headlamps and the loss of the wing air vents behind the front wheels.
► Disappointing sales of the 2600 range contribute to the Spider going out of production in 1965, a mere three years after its birth. The Sprint continues through to 1966, and is joined by a distinctive #Zagato coupe variant in 1965. That gets dropped in 1967, however. The Berlina does a little better, but only manages to survive until 1968 before it too becomes history.
► This proved to be the last six-cylinder Alfa until the #Alfa-6 of 1979.
Contact Hurst Park, Surrey (01372 468487, hurstpark. co.uk)
Engine 2548cc, inline-six, DOHC
Power 145bhp @ 5900rpm
Torque 140lb ft @ 4000rpm
Top speed: 124mph
Fuel consumption 20mpg
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