The modern classic series 3 Alfa Romeo Spider is on the rise

There was a time, some 15 years ago, when a show-quality Series 3 Spider could be had for less than 10 grand, but those days are over. This penultimate generation of Alfa Romeo’s twin-cam two-seater is considerably dearer now, although its values in well-equipped Veloce (from 1983), entry-level Graduate (from 1985), and premium Quadrifoglio (from 1986) trims remained fairly steady until recently, with top-condition examples having crossed the $30,000 threshold. The 1980s Spiders may no longer be cheap, but they remain cheerful and perpetually appealing. Brewster Thackeray, board member and past president of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club USA (aroc-usa.org) and Series 3 enthusiast, explains what’s distinctive about this era of Spiders, and why they inspire such joy. “The Series 3 is a 1960s car that evolved for the 1980s. Rustproofing had gotten better with time, so they were more durable as drivers, and more survived instead of becoming donor cars. They were fitted with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, better-integrated wraparound bumpers, more modern tail lamps, and front and rear spoilers. Alfisti consider them to be divided into two groups: 1983-’85, and 1986-’90. Earlier Series 3s had a wood steering wheel, rubber rear spoiler, and twin-pod instruments, while later ones had an updated instrument panel, plastic rear spoiler with integrated third brake lamp, and a rubber or leather steering wheel rim—the former has a more classic sports car feel, the latter some refinements and more content. And with three trim levels, there’s quite a bit to choose from to fit one’s personal taste. I’ve owned all of them… there’s something to Alfa standing for ‘Always Looking For Another.’” https://www.classic.com/widget/Vl1f5rBtzWB/ Fellow AROC-USA member and Alfa Owner magazine auction columnist Bob Abhalter weighs in. “As with all collector cars, Series 3 Spider values are heavily dependent on condition. Until relatively recently, the value trend on these Spiders was flat: $10,000 would buy a good, #3 condition ‘driver.’ That was true five years ago, and true through early 2020. Condition 2 cars typically commanded a 30-percent premium, and pristine, unmolested ‘garage queens’ occasionally went for close to $20,000. All other things being equal, a Veloce or a Quadrifoglio might sell for $1,500-$2,000 more than a comparable Graduate.”

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Photo courtesy of Stellantis. Bob continues; “Starting roughly the third quarter of 2020, selling prices began to increase. The average price for a #3 Graduate is now closer to $13,000, up 30 percent over the last three quarters. Low-mileage condition 2 examples are increasingly harder to find, and currently trade for over $20,000. The premium for Veloce and Quadrifoglio models over the Graduate is still about $2,000, and the gap between condition 3, 2, and 1 cars is broadening. A recent high sale in an online auction was a 21,000-mile Champagne Metallic 1986 Spider Veloce that sold in August 2020 for $33,500.

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“The market seems robust, fueled in part by the pent-up demand that has driven it as a whole, and the broadening realization among collectors that these are enjoyable, classic, and relatively trouble free sports cars,” he muses. “The supply of good examples doesn’t currently seem to be a problem, as owners of some carefully kept Spiders are aging out of their enthusiast years and offering their cars for sale online. That supply won’t last forever, and I think potential buyers are starting to realize it, thereby driving selling prices higher.”