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  • Writer's pictureMatteo Licata

The 10 Rarest Alfa Romeo Spiders

The classic Giulia-based Alfa Romeo Spider enjoyed the longest production run of any Alfa model before or since, stealing hearts all over the world for almost 28 years.

Italians are much better at designing pretty cars than keeping track of how many they make, and the Spider is no exception. I've cross-referenced different reputable sources, though, all placing the grand total of Spiders made at around 124.000, with a few hundred cars of difference depending on who you ask.

Still, it goes without saying that some versions didn't sell quite as well as others, while some were special editions whose production numbers were limited from the outset.

Without further ado, here are the ten rarest variants of the classic Alfa Romeo Spider.

10) 1750 Veloce S1 - 3280 Cars

Like many beautiful things in life, the 1750 Veloce series 1 only had a short, fleeting existence.

Introduced in 1967, just a year after the Spider's launch in '66, the original round-tail 1750 Veloce got only a couple of summers to shine before being superseded by the restyled "Kamm-tail" model in late 1969. Hence the low production number.

9) 1.6 S4 - 2951 Cars

You'd be forgiven for thinking the oh-so-pretty series four of the Spider was only available with a fuel-injected 2 liters engine... But that's not true.

An entry-level model equipped with a carbureted 1.6 liters engine was also produced, mostly for the Italian home market. However, this model failed to attract many buyers, and Euro 1 emissions regulations meant it couldn't be made after 1992 anyway.

8) 1300 Junior S1 - 2680 Cars

Many years ago, I had the pleasure of driving a round-tail 1968 Spider Junior all around Lake Garda in summer. This entry-level model was introduced in 1968 and lasted little more than a year in its original, round-tail form, hence the low production number.

7) 1750 Veloce S2 USA - 2622 Cars

The Spider's second series was presented at the Turin Motor Show in late 1969. This new look would stay on the market for twelve years, but the 1.8 liters engine ceased to be offered only a couple of years later.

The US-Spec model is worth mentioning separately from the European one because of its different technical specifications.

To comply with the US's antipollution regulations, a mechanical fuel injection system developed by Alfa's supplier SPICA replaced the carburetors.

This ingenious system consisted of an electric fuel pump near the tank that sent fuel to a timed injection pump similar to that of Diesel engine applications, which was belt-driven by the crankshaft.

6) 2.0 Quadrifoglio Verde - 2598 Cars

Many words could be used to describe the Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio Verde, but "subtle" isn't one of them.

But those were the 1980s, after all, and so the top-of-the-line Spider model received deeper, color-coded front and rear valance spoilers, plus thick side skirts.

According to period marketing, this carnage was all done to improve aerodynamics, but, conspicuously, no Cx figures were ever released.

The production figure I'm quoting here refers to the European Spider Quadrifoglio Verde built between 1986 and 1989. The Quadrifoglio appearance package was also sold in the US, but I couldn't find any specific figures.

5) 1750 Veloce S1 USA - 1405 Cars

At the risk of sounding disrespectful towards the late Anne Bancroft, I'd go out and say the sexiest character in "The Graduate" was the Alfa.

US sales of the Spider started in that same 1968, with the 1750 Spider equipped with the above mentioned SPICA fuel injection system.

As the federalized engine was down on power compared to its Italian counterpart, a shorter final drive was used to improve acceleration. And very short indeed was this model's production run, too, hence the low production number.

4) 1750 Veloce S2 Euro-Spec - 1394 Cars

The so-called series two of the Spider traded some of the original's charm for a sharper, more assertive look. Say what you will about it, but there's no denying this new look served the model well. However, the 1.8 liters engine option would instead prove relatively short-lived on this side of the Pond as well, leading to a relatively low number of cars made.

3) Niki Lauda Special Edition - 350 Cars

They made very few of these and, for once, I think that's all the better for it. 1978 was the second year of Alfa Romeo supplying engines to the Brabham F1 team.

This special series of the Spider was made to celebrate the arrival of World Champion Niki Lauda's arrival to the team for that season. Lauda is one of my heroes, but this Spider is just too garish for my taste.

2) Commemorative Edition - 190 Cars

This pretty limited edition for the US market was made in 1993 to commemorate the end of Spider production. Each of the 190 examples, sold in the USA as 1994 models, came with a plaque with its progressive number on the dash, wooden gear knob, wood trim on the door cards and console, and small, tasteful badging on the outside.

1) Beauté - 120 Cars

Specific to the French market, this limited series was designed in collaboration with the couturier Jean-Louis Scherrer.

It was finished in a striking but quite attractive combination of white and dark blue. The fabric top was blue rather than black, and the white and blue motif was carried out to the interior, where the seats were upholstered in white leather, and the carpet was blue. Much like the previously mentioned limited series, no modifications were made under the hood to the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

Only 120 examples of the Beauté were made in 1991. Each was identified by a numbered plaque mounted to the right of the clock on the center console.


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