Bodied by renowned Italian coachbuilder, Touring, known for creating some of the most exquisite early Ferrari and later Maserati designs, the Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider closely resembled the Vignale-bodied 3500 Maserati roadster. The 2600 was introduced in late 1962 and although similar to the 2000 series in design it offered a different grille, hood, windshield and body trim. On the Sprint and Spider as shown here, the car had a horizontal air scoop at the front of the hood and for 1963 huge auxiliary lights were fitted below the headlamps. Most noticeable, however, was the increased horsepower and performance from the much larger engine.
Although it's a fine line to cross for an Alfa Romeo, the 2600 was more of a sports tourer at heart than an out-and-out sports car. The Spider cockpit was an enticement to sports car enthusiasts with an eye-catching instrument cluster beautifully executed in the classic Italian tradition with large, round gauges behind a stylish steering wheel. Classified as a 2+2, the rear seating was there only in case you needed it, since legroom was all but non-existent. Lighter than the Sprint Coupe, the Spider had quicker steering and somewhat better acceleration. Only 2,255 Spiders were built between 1962 and 1965, and most were imported to the United States.
The little sports tourer pictured here is believed to be a very complete car. It has a red leather interior which has a nice patina, as one would expect from a car of this year. Mechanically, the present owner is very pleased with how the car runs and handles, though he has used it sparingly. The body, cosmetically, appears to be quite sound and the paint presentable. This convertible with hardtop is a well-maintained sports car that is ideal for an enthusiast.

{analysis} The car pictured was sold at No Reserve at Christie's auction in Tarrytown, New York on April 26, 1997 for $21,850 (including Christie's buyers commission). The factory hardtop adds to its value, but it was hardly a primo piece: the repaint was very casually applied, that interior with its "nice patina" was well-nigh worn out and the chassis and engine compartment were, in a word, dirty. At the time, we called it a "4." The result was a lot of money for a car that usually brings $15-17,000 in decent condition, and compares unfavorably with the $10,500 that bought an equally tired but good-running 2600 Spider at Kruse in May 1998.
When introduced in 1962, the 2600 combined a new 2.6-liter engine with the rather dated chassis of the 2000. The combination made for a pleasing boulevardier, an Italian T-bird with sporting pretensions. Competition, however, was stiff: Thunderbirds, 190SLs, XKEs and the like. The 2600's recycled styling, embellished with a hood scoop and badly integrated fog lights under the headlights, didn't arouse much excitement. Nor has 20-20 hindsight challenged the judgement of the times.
That said, the 2600 Spider is a good, long-legged touring car, when its progressive-linkage Solex carburetors are working properly. Unlike the Giulia's Webers, where each throat feeds a single cylinder, the Solexes feed into a log manifold, using one throat of each carb during part-throttle operation and opening the secondary throats at full throttle. The 2600's steering is heavy around town but becomes comfortable and stable at highway speeds.
Like most automobiles that didn't excite the market when new, the 2600 doesn't get much respect in the collector market, selling at a big discount to its contemporary boulevardier competition and not appreciating as fast as the market. It's a good value in a driver, but don't expect to make money on it. And watch for little bubbles in the rockers and around the wheel arches.
Photo and data courtesy of the auction company. Market opinions in italics by Rick Carey.{/analysis}

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