5 Things You Didn't Know about the GTV / Spider
Updated: Nov 10, 2021
The "916" GTV and Spider made quite a splash upon their introduction in late '94, and their stunning Pininfarina design seems to have hardly aged at all, almost three decades later.
Just over 80.000 units were sold, and good survivors have been on Alfa collectors' radars for quite some time now. But I guess you didn't know these five little factoids about these cool modern classics.
1. Creative Engineering
The GTV and the Spider were, as much of the Fiat Group's output was in the 1990s, based on the Fiat Tipo's platform. However, fitting the Alfa's bespoke multilink rear end instead of the Tipo's simple trailing arms required the interposition of a sturdy yet light subframe. Despite its complex shape, the subframe was die-cast in one aluminum piece thanks to a technique called "thixo-molding." Fine-grain aluminum would be injected into the mold while in a semi-solid form at a temperature of 550° Celsius.
2. Bigger Holes
In March 2003, the GTV and Spider's front end was restyled to align with newer Alfa models. Regardless of your personal opinion about the new design, I bet you didn't notice that the new bonnet also had very slightly enlarged headlight cutouts.
The Spider "Monoposto" show car from 1998 was the last complete project overseen by Walter De' Silva as head of the Centro Stile Alfa Romeo, the role he held since 1986, before joining the VW group later that year. As the name suggested, it was a study for a single-seat track-focused derivative of the Spider, devoid of any weather protection and equipped with a more powerful 24-valve V6 engine. Although a limited run of 30 units was allegedly considered, the car remained unique and resides in the Alfa Romeo Museum's collection to this day.
4. Keeping it short
The GTV and Spider share the same platform and wheelbase, but Pininfarina was asked to produce a Spider model with a 50mm shorter wheelbase during development. However, the aesthetic improvement wasn't significant enough to justify the added expense, so the idea was dropped.
5. End of an Era
The GTV and Spider were the last Alfa Romeos ever manufactured at the Marque's historic Arese factory near Milan. In 2000, the assembly line was transferred wholesale to Pininfarina's facility in San Giorgio Canavese, where production continued until 2004, albeit in much smaller numbers than in the two model's heyday.
Arese-built cars were easily distinguishable by their smaller Pininfarina badges on the rear quarters.
The Pininfarina badging became more evident on the later cars, with a bigger Pininfarina script and the logo on top.