By on May 19, 2014

11 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhile Fiat 124 Sport Spiders are commonplace in junkyards, the Alfa Romeo Spider has remained sufficiently valuable that few examples make it to the kind of self-service, high-inventory-turnover wrecking yards I frequent for this series. We’ve seen this ’74 and that’s it prior to today (though I have passed by a few junked Alfa Spiders that were picked clean before I got there). The Alfa Spider was more expensive than the Fiat Spider when new— in 1978, the Alfa listed at $9,195 (about the same as a new ’78 BMW 320i), while the Fiat cost a mere $6,495 (just a bit more than a Volkswagen Scirocco)— and American Alfa Romeo fanatics have always been more maniacally obsessed than Fiat fanatics. Here’s an unrusted, not-yet-completely-stripped ’78 that I found in a San Francisco Bay Area yard a couple months back.
02 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOutdoor storage with no top in Northern California, with its sunny summers and rainy winters, tends to be rough on car interiors, and not much was worth saving out of this Alfa.
03 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 111-horse, 1,962cc Twin Cam engine is still there.
08 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe giant 5-mph crash bumpers looked pretty ugly on small cars during the Malaise Era.
12 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSpica mechanical fuel injection! This system worked amazingly well given all the moving parts.
20140113_135806When I find a rear-wheel-drive Alfa Romeo with any good stuff on it, I always call my friend Conrad Stevenson to see if he needs anything. Conrad runs an amazing Alfa restoration shop in Berkeley, uses a ’58 Fiat 600 Multipla as his parts runner, and races a profoundly terrible (yet fast) Spica-equipped Spider in the 24 Hours of LeMons.
IMG950181Conrad burned rubber right over to this Oakland wrecking yard (in his ’64 Ford Ranchero, which he uses for hauling parts too big for the Multipla) and grabbed the rear end, the transmission, and a bunch of smaller goodies. The Alfa Mafia is strong in the Bay Area, and no doubt many of Conrad’s fellow capos swooped down on this car during the next few days and vultured it down to a bare shell.

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17 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider...”

  • avatar

    I should make a story where a bearing anomaly causes the rear end to randomly lock up while driving. The severity is to the point where the protagonist is too terrified to drive it, finally scrapping it after 25 years in the driveway.

    • 0 avatar

      Your stories are the best. But a bearing anomaly is a little boring. How about someone leaves some unspeakable, unnameable object in the Spyder while the owner was away. This thing (to remain unnamed) is so awful that the guy (or gal) can’t stand to even sit in the car, let alone drive it. Think Black Dahlia, or Lovecraft (or both). . .

  • avatar

    Spiders have a mind of their own, so that would actually be a perfect story!
    Story ingredients, some out of my own experience: fully random electrical problems due to crap wiring and grounding issues, speedometer randomly tilting up and down without any reason, side mirror glass popping out of the housing while hitting a pot hole, doors opening themselves during driving when some torque is applied to the chassis (mostly because of a shitty body shop job or severe rust…)


    But boy, is it fun to drive!

  • avatar

    Where is the closest junkyard to Wall St.? I need to know where I can source used parts for Ferraris, Bentleys and such. I’m sure the yard’s high frequency trading software can match me with an optimal replacement part within a nanosecond.

  • avatar

    It would be interesting to see just how much of this fine piece of Italian engineering is left behind by the vultures for The Crusher. Any chance of that?

  • avatar

    Will someone please save the 2 liter engine!

  • avatar

    For some reason I have always wanted to put a 2.2 Chrysler Turbo in one of these(or the 124 spider).

  • avatar

    What is the white car going butt to butt with it?

  • avatar

    Was the full size spare standard or optional equipment?

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Whenever I see one of these I think of Dustin Hoffman driving down the boulevard with Elaine Robinson in the passenger seat, the wind whipping her auburn hair fiercely—with Hoffman trying real hard to act pissed off about his situation in life.

  • avatar

    Not all ALFA`S can be ‘survivors’
    I hope the parts can keep others alive!

  • avatar

    I see RUST FREE SEAT PANS! Do you know how hard those are to find in states that have weather? Mine are rusted to hell. You could sell those quick on

    @Superdessucke: A full size spare was standard equipment and fits snugly into a well in the trunk floor next to the gas tank.

  • avatar

    I’d rather see pictures of a still working Ranchero.

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