£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
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