Junkyard Find: 1981 Alfa Romeo Spider

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Prices for (non- 164) Alfa Romeos have been getting somewhat crazy in recent years, but it’s still possible to get a restorable 1970s or 1980s Spider for non-insane bucks. The proof of this is that rougher examples still show up now and then at the self-service wrecking yards I frequent. In this series so far, we’ve seen this ’74, this ’78, and now today’s ’81.

The interior is ugly, but it doesn’t show the atomic-testing-grade obliteration that Colorado convertibles get when left outside for years with no top.

Alfa Spiders love to rust, even in single-digit-humidity Colorado.

Not worth restoring, but a good parts car.

Its final parking place is next to a Mazda RX-7.






Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

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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  • Cc-rider Cc-rider on Jul 02, 2014

    The 1981 cars had the worst power of the Spica injection. The 1982 got Bosch injection that carried over for a number of years. I love the shape of the 91-94 spiders but dislike the dash changes that went along with the re-skin. The dual binnacle dash like in this one are super cool.

  • -Nate -Nate on Jul 02, 2014

    Kinda sad IMO ; I'm no Alfa lover but I grew up thinking they were special in a very good way . Oddly these from the late 1960's through mid 1970's are perennials in the So. Cal. self - service junkyards , rust & dent free , just sun baked In the first few years of the ' Charity Car Auction ' craze (when YOU got to write in the donated vehicles $ value) there were scads and scads of these from inside storage , they ran O.K. but rarely fetched over $125 at the auctions . Not worth the cosmetics needed I guess . -Nate

  • Lou_BC Ironic, the Honda Ridgeline, a truck that every truck guy loves to hate is in 6th place.
  • 28-Cars-Later I keep forgetting I own it, but the space look on the ext cab reminds me of my 'Yota pickup of the same model year. I'm pretty sure there is some vintage of Hilux which features the same looking ext cab window (maybe '88?) its a shame these things are mostly gone and when available are $1,000,000,000 [INSERT CURRENT CURRENCY].
  • Sayahh Imagine if Ford had Toyota design and build a Mustang engine. It will last over 300k miles! (Skip turbo and make it naturally aspirated.) Maybe Yamaha will help tune it...
  • Sobhuza Trooper Isuzu's crime was to build some damn good trucks.Shame on them.
  • El scotto Listen, unless you were Lord Headly-Stempmoor or such when you got off the off the boat, boot in Canada, you got the short end of the stick. People got on the boat, these days a plane, to escape famine, becoming cannon fodder in yet another stupid war, or the government thought it was A-OK to let soldiers kill you. Juneteenth is just a way to right one of the more bad ideas in the American experiment. Instead we have commenters who were buying tater chips and diet soda at Wal-Mart and got all butt-hurt because they heard someone who wasn't speaking English. I'm going to go fix a couple of frankfurters with salsa and guacamole and wash them down with a lager or three
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