Buyers Guide Alfa Romeo
Spider & GTV 916

Introduction

The last Alfa Spider left the Alfa works in 1993 after 27yrs of production. It was a tradition that there was always an open sports car with each new series, but 1994 was to be the first year where this tradition was broken with and many Alfisti were shocked, this was due to the development of the the new 916 which was not running as the engineers had hoped, this led to the delays. These were to be hard times for the lovers of Alfa Coupe's and Cabrio's, but their despair was to be short lived. At the '94 Paris Motor Show came the answer to all their prayers, the Alfa Spider and Alfa GTV were presented to the worlds public, both models became the works intern name 916.


Alfa Romeo Spider und GTV

Due to the resulting changes in the new design became the Alfa Spider/ GTV the Multilink-Axle, the design of this geometry allows a rear wheel steer effect in the opposite direction to which the front wheels are being pointed. This also explains the rather small boot or as some people would call it, the glove compartment. This was soon forgotten as soon as the roadholding was taken into account.

 

Engines

Here is where the differences between Alfa Spider and Alfa GTV begin, the Spider became the 4 cylinder 2.0L TS 150bhp engine which was slightly modified in 1999 due to the new emission laws ( Euro III ) to 155bhp as the basis engine.

In 1998 became the Spider yet another engine, if only for a short time, the 1.8L TS with 144 bhp, this engine is also to be found in the Alfa 145, 146 and 156, this engine played no great part in the Spider history.

The top end engine was to be the in production until 2001, it came from the Alfa Romeo 164, it was the well known 3.0L V6 12V with 192 bhp. As from the Autumn of 2000 this motor was no longer available for the Spider, instead it was decided to use the Alfa GTV V6 24V engine with 220 bhp. This engine is still being used today but with "only" 218 bhp.

The same basis engine that was employed in the Alfa Spider was to be found in the Alfa GTV, the top end engine was the 2.0L V6 12V TB engine with an amazing 202 bhp. This engine was also taken out of the GTV programme in 2001 due to the stiffer emission controls and was replaced with the 3.0L V6 24V engine with 220 bhp in conjunction with a 6 speed gearbox, ( as from 03/98 ), and is the only 6 cylinder engine in the Alfa GTV programme. 

 

Chassis

The extreme wedge form used by Pininfarina will still look timeless well into the next century through its timeless simplicity. The 2 projection headlamps, although small and compact, give a superb light, they also, even if at the first look that they may not be one unit, but they are!. They are seated elegantly under the bonnet, a bonnet which is made from a composite material known as KMC. The advantages speak for themselves, weight saving and no corrosion problems, corrosion plays a great role in the new design. Alfa Romeo had learnt from the earlier models and decided to galvanise all relevant parts, including the chassis, so that corrosion will never again rear its ugly head.


Alfa Romeo GTV V6 24V

The chassis is not a perfect example of taughtness, this applies mainly to the Alfa Spider, the platform has the habit of giving every bump in the road surface to the driver via the steering wheel. To compensate for this a dome brace from the firm of Wiechers and Zender can be fitted. The brace can be ordered through the Fanshop from Alfisti.net. Whilst driving on very long motorway curves or on uneven surfaces you will quickly notice the difference to the handling that the Dome Brace makes as it averts the twisting of the front end. This is as we said before mainly a problem of the Alfa Spider.

The Alfa Spider and Alfa GTV are produced in rather small numbers, about 500 yearly, and due to this the coachwork tolerences suffer ever so slightly, this has no effect on the appearance or functionality of the coachwork.

The coachwork has one shortcoming and that is the rather limited allround vision. The view through the windscreen is limited to a narrow slot and trying to reverse or park is a guessing game as you cannot see where the boot ends. The inner room is adequate enough for 2 persons and if you use the rear seats in the Alfa GTV then you have an extra baggage compartment. As from May 1998 the boot was enlarged by 37 l from the then 110 l to 147 l, this was achieved by the removal of the spare wheel, this was replaced with a repair kit. If by any chance you are over 180 cm tall then you can forget the electric glass roof as this would reduce the headroom even further. This applies only to the Alfa GTV.

 

Modifications

In May 1998 became the Alfa Spider and Alfa GTV a minor facelift. You can see this on the radiator grill, here is a chromed heart to be found, this can be fitted without any problems on the older models and costs around 50 € . The cockpit was also lightly modified, the contours of the classical "tumbler form" of the Speedo and rev counter became a chrome decor, it is rather a pity that it is only made out of plastic. The centre console was also modified with the same "chromed" plastic. In the L version ("Lusso", which means Luxury) was an air conditioning to be had. Also available were the 2 visual variants "Red-Style" and "Blue-Style", by which the dash and door trim are in either in red or blue. On top of this are the sills, the front and rear aprons are in the same colour as the bodywork. Inside again, the seating position has been slightly modified the front seats have been raised slightly, if however your headroom has been affected you can always change the seat height back to the old standard using different fixing bolts.


Cockpt after the Facelift

The leather seats from Momo have been available since Autumn 1996 as an, these seats are renowned for their high quality. At the moment they are available in the following colours; black, red, beige and grey. One fault that these seats have is that they squeak, especially when it gets rather cold outside. Although there were leather seats on offer since Autumn 1996 these were only to be had in black and did not look half as good as those from Momo.


Interior in the Red-Style

As one of the classical faults are the windowseals in the 916er series. Whether it drips or you can hear the wind then it is due to the various seals, usually they are not seated properly. This problem can be fixed with a little time and foam rubber and when everything sits it will be a very quiet car, just like the Alfa GTV eventhough it has frameless side windows.
Another fault is the incorrect adjustment of the side windows. If by any chance the windows are not seating properly this will inevitably lead to damage of the seals causing water seepage and wind noises. The front window can be adjusted to avoid just this fault.

The soft top of the Alfa Spider is very sturdy, the only real problem that can spoil your delight can be the rubber seals, again if the seals do not sit correctly they can wear or even tear and cause water to seep in. The rear window is of plastic and is therefore rather sensitive to cold temperatures, so when folding or unfolding in the cold it is to be done with great caution as not to cause any damage, if you do not take care you will see the results.