The best design ever.
The design of the rear end of the
Spider is fascinating. In 1969 I finally got the chance to see
a Duetto, a Spider Veloce. Until then I've had various
Alfas but was so attracted to the Spider. During the summers
in Italy I was constantly looking in the junkyards for spares.
It strikes me, that I never saw any Duettos or Spider Veloces
there. The owners obviously took well care of the cars. In
early 1970 I finally bought a Duetto. My car was a 1967 Spider
Veloce, the one with the 1750 engine. Rosso Farina AR514 of
course. I named my car "Gina" since she was an
I didn't know by then how rare my car
was. In 1969 the authorities did enter a 1967 car as a
1969-year model even if the correct model year was 1967. They
based the data when the car was sold. Strange.
I have found out that many Alfas have
different year identification due to the date when they were
registered. My Gina is one of the very first Spider Veloces.
She left Arese on May 7th 1967. I have no idea of what she was
doing until 1970. Anyway, I was very happy. Today I know more
about the car. She has a single brake booster and the pedals
are standing on the floor. It is very hard to tell from the
outside if it's a Duetto or a Spider Veloce.
The engine was also one of the very
first 1750's. I had the non-offset pistons, but I changed
these to offset Borgos later. Read all about it in my
mechanical page. Weber carburettors and the air-intake on the
left side were also high-tech 1967. The left rear-wing mirror
was on the panel on the early Spider, but in 1968 Alfa moved
it to the door. It was definitely easier to adjust from the
driver's seat there.
The interior is almost the same, but
have a look at the ashtray. The Duetto has a smaller one than
the Spider Veloce. The instruments are similar, made by
Jaeger. Later they were equipped with Veglia Borletti. I have
red carpets in my car, but these were optional. The standard
interior included black rubber mats.
The original steering wheel on the
Duetto was black and plastic. The first series Spider Veloce
had a wooden wheel made by Hellebore. That wheel had three
spokes and was very classic.
There were also three spokes for the
horn but no such button in the centre. The original steering
wheel was 14". The cars had no power steering in those
days, so it might be heavy to drive at low speed.
Rather rather small switches on the
dashboard operated the fan, the wipers and the instrument
lights. I got used to the strange head light flash quickly,
but friends who drove my Spider, had a hard time. Pressing the
stick activates the head light flash. The normal procedure on
other cars was to pull the stick backwards instead. No problem
to me, though.
While driving in the sun, the warning
lights were hard to spot on the panel. Actually, when driving
an Alfa your main concern are the enormous rev-counter and the
oil-pressure, oh yes, the law might also to be considered.
BTW, the oil pressure has a warning light as well as a regular
instrument. Strange enough, the pressure was always 100 per
cent normal on my Alfas. That is, when idling the needle was
pointing at 11 o'clock and when revving the needle pointed at
noon to 1 o'clock.
Anyway, it added a sporting touch to
the Alfas. The instrumentation was not the same as Alfa used
in the 1750 GTV. The oil pressure was separated from the
rev-counter and positioned together with the temperature and
fuel, just above the radio. On the GTV the oil pressure was
integrated with the rev-counter. The Spider has fuel meter to
the left, oil in the centre and temperature far right.
When buying a Spider, observe if all
of the instruments are made by the same manufacturer. If not,
they have been swapped. This may not always be a bad sign, but
the mileage may not be true. Jaeger instruments were common on
pre-1969 Spiders. The rev-counter and speedometer are not
equal to the instruments of other Alfas. The rev-counter has
no oil-pressure meter like in the GTV. The speedometer has
only a warning light for the alternator and no such for the
heating fan like the GTV has.
Veglia instruments are mainly used on
the GTV and on Spiders after 1969. It's good to know, that the
mileage is almost impossible to temper with on the cars. Steel
and brass make a good instrument, not like plastic and junk in
the '80s. Also note, that the speedometer was the same both in
Duetto and Spider Veloce. The different speeds were true
indicated by using different speedometer driven gears in the
The Duetto had a final ratio of 4,55
and the Spider Veloce had a 4,1 ratio. Another strange thing
was that the temperature was showing a hot engine with the
ignition off. This is caused by the wiring and quite normal.
Once the ignition is turned on, the instrument shows the
The red warning light for low fuel is
almost impossible to see. It is hidden in the fuel meter and
only slightly visible in the night. Normally, that's no
problem. Say if you're out driving with your date and run out
of fuel. What do you do in the middle of nowhere in the dark?
Don't tell me, find out for yourself.
This is what you see inside my Spider.
I installed the anti roll bar in 1972. I was not that keen on
the original safety belts, so I replaced them with tree-point
belts instead. The anti-roll bar is rather neat and does not
disturb the Farina design.