Imagine a modern car company tooling up to produce anew model, then stopping after a mere 92 examples were produced. That's exactly what happened with the Alfa Romeo Quattroruote (or `4R') Spider.
Inspired by an article in the Milan motoring magazine, "Quattroruote", Alfa Romeo commissioned the coach-builder Zagato to clothe a contemporary Alfa chassis in coachwork that would duplicate as closely as economically feasible the classic lines of the 1930's Alfa 1750 Gran Sport.
The result was the `4R', which aside from smaller 15" wheels, is nearly iden tical to the great supercharged Alfa of 60 years ago. Despite the vintage look, the contemporary mechanicals gave this spider ample performance coupled with an easily-maintained drivetrain.
The prototype was exhibited at the Italian coachbuilders show at the Turin Motor Museum in April 1965 and the production version at the New York Motor Show one year later.
Alas, the emotional appeal of this factory replicar did not extend to the buying public. Between 1966 and 1968, only 92 cars were sold.
With the passage of time, this exquisite Spider has increased in value, as well it should given the beauty of the coachwork and the fact that it was actually built by Alfa Romeo and Zagato.
Enthusiasts have found that the light weight, at 1,650 pounds, coupled with the performance from the single-Solex carburetted 1600 Normale engine squeezed under the narrow hood, combine to provide performance that leaves most Giulia Veloces in the dust.
Ride is firm, and the seating position typically upright in the classic fashion. While wind buffeting on the road presents a small inconvenience, the thoughtful driver will have stopped at their local motocicletto boutique before beginning a trip and acquired a send of trendy glass goggles to solve the problem.
Best weather protection is achieved by traveling at rates of speed above 60 m.p.h. and leaving the primitive weather equipment at home.