Junkyard Find: 1974 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce
I’ve never owned an Alfa, and every time I see one in the junkyard I feel a twinge of guilt for never having rescued some poor abandoned Spider project prior to the inevitable ride to the junkyard that all such Alfas take after a decade or two spent sitting under a tarp in the driveway. Here’s yet another rust-free Spider that’s going to get eaten by The Crusher because nobody was willing to save it.
Alfa Romeo made the Twin Cam for 40 years, and the one in the ’74 made a claimed 129 horsepower from its 1,962 cubic centimeters. That’s very good for the Malaise Era, though it’s worth noting that the Datsun 260Z of the same year sold for more than a grand less than the Alfa ($5,289 versus $6,550), had 33 more horses under the hood, and weighed only 184 pounds more. Of course, the ’74 Fiat 124 Sport Spider sold for a mere $4,395, but buyers had be willing to overlook the car’s 92.5 horsepower (any time a car manufacturer claims a fraction of a horsepower, look out) and general terribleness.
This car, which I found last week in a Denver self-service yard, appears to have spent many years with its interior exposed to the Colorado elements. Too far gone to be worth restoring, although it would have made an excellent 24 Hours of LeMons race car.
What does it mean when the “THROTTLE” idiot light comes on? Broken throttle cable?
Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.
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