1969 ALFA ROMEO 1750 Spider VeloceView vehicle description
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The summer of 1966. One famous actor, namely Steve McQueen, said of the Duetto: “It is a very forgiving car. Very pretty too.” His words succinctly sum up the essence of the delightful Duetto and the uniqueness of Alfa Romeo – driving pleasure and pure beauty.
Film fans will doubtless also recall a very young Dustin Hoffman driving a Duetto in the Hollywood blockbuster ‘The Graduate’. The car went on to star in many other films and this helped seal the car’s cult status. Every young man aspired to own one.
However, there’s a lot more to the Spider than schoolboy fantasies, not least the delightful rear-wheel drive chassis, a lively twin-cam engine, a beautifully balanced chassis, and one of the nicest interiors of its generation. All of this endeared it to the petrolhead community.
Available with a range of engines from a free-revving 1300cc through to a powerful two-litre twin-cam, it went through four iterations, gaining sophistication and refinement as it aged, albeit at the cost of some of its cuteness and the loss of little of its svelte-like weight.
Each model has its own quirks and attractions, but many think the first-generation cars, the Series 1 built between 1966 and 1969, best balance looks, performance and refinement.
The iconic ‘osso di seppia’ (Italian for cuttlefish) or ‘boat-tail’ rear end and delicate chromed pre-impact bumpers help enormously, but you cannot discount the importance of that gorgeous early interior, either.
Later 1969 cars were the first to get the desirable 1750 DOHC engine from the GT range and less than 500 of these were sold worldwide. And it is one of these models that we are offering for sale here.
This is an original right-hand drive car which has spent the majority of its life in the warm and dry climes of South Africa. Our seller, Adrian, used the car for over 25 years in that country, having purchased it in his twenties from an Alfa collector. The older owner was moving into a retirement village and wanted the car to go to a good home, and Adrian was that lucky fella!
He reports that the car was in great condition and was used as a second car for many years. After a move to London, Adrian’s father stepped in and kept the Alfa running, using it for Sunday drives. A fellow Alfa enthusiast, he did the basic tinkering, servicing and brake work as required.
Not wanting to be parted from his beloved Alfa, Adrian duly imported the car into the UK in 2019, garaging it in Liverpool until beginning a mechanical restoration in 2021 at a friend’s restoration garage. It was undoubtedly a labour of love, using only the very best components available.
The car is we are told 100% original, with the only exception being the upgrade to the Classic Alfa suspension handling kit and drilled and grooved brake upgrade. Also installed was a Bluetooth programmable electronic distributor, that can be programmed with fast-track curves and acts as an immobiliser from your phone. (The original distributor has been kept).
Adrian had every intention of keeping the car, but a recent move to left-hand driving Switzerland to a home with no garage means that he has reached the sad decision end his long-term relationship with his cherished Spider. The car is running well following a carb balancing and some new Spark Plugs that were fitted this month.
On the Outside
The seductive body and ‘rosso’ paintwork are in simply great condition. There’s a deep lustre to the finish and we can think of no better colour to show off those graceful lines.
This car has been used and enjoyed so there are some signs of a life well lived, such as the paint chip on the bonnet above the Alfa Romeo chrome grille, which has some dents on it. The paint on the edges of both doors is chipped too in places.
The cosmetic paintwork touch-ups were on Adrian’s to-do list. We would suggest spending some time looking at the extensive array of pictures accompanying this listing or better still, come and inspect his gorgeous car in the metal.
We can report that new side mirrors have recently been fitted, along with new rear light lenses, reverse light, side indicator lights, rear reflectors and headlight cowling lenses.
The Alfa sits on original-fit 15-inch Fergat steel wheels and a new set of Bridgestone Blizzak snow tyres have been fitted.
The black mohair soft-top has been replaced, the new one being made of the very highest quality German Sonnenland mohair. There is also a new soft-top cover that can be fitted when it is folded down.
On the Inside
On a convertible car, the look of the inside is as important as the outside and we are pleased to say that the cabin looks fantastic.
The seats, door cards, dash top and A-pillars are all trimmed in black and look in fine fettle. The only point worth mentioning is a split in the material on the driver’s seat base. A good trim shop may well be able to affect a good repair.
The interior carpets are a little tired and the intention was to replace them at some point.
Whilst the main instrument panel is black, the rest of the dash is body-coloured, setting off the original Blaupunkt radio and the oil, water and fuel gauges rather nicely. The wood-rimmed steering wheel, possibly the original, is a delight to hold.
The boot is a generous size, with plenty of room for luggage should a touring holiday be on the cards. The exposed painted metal is in good condition and rubber matting is fitted to the boot floor. Underneath this is the spare wheel well, containing a matching wheel with a Goodyear tyre.
There are pictures in our gallery of the Alfa’s underside, and these are worth studying. On Adrian’s still to-do list was to carry out a partial repair to the outer passenger side foot-well. The panel can be bought from Classic Alfa for around £120 we gather.
This work was to include the front lefthand side jacking point. The new part has already been purchased for this.
Also on the list was to carry out a repair to the outer passenger rear wheel arch.
Lift the bonnet and that beautiful and sonorous 1750cc engine is displayed in all its glory. What a sight to behold. Adrian had the compression measured and it is within tolerances, but the intention was to install new rings as the car does smoke and consume oil. The manifold gaskets and studs have been attended to. Had the car remained in his ownership, and in line with the quality of the work completed on the Alfa thus far, the intention was to go to the extreme lengths and have a specialist carry out a full engine rebuild.
This would be a good time to make a cup of tea, as there is plenty here to report.
We have already mentioned that during Adrian’s long-term ownership the car was used, enjoyed and regularly serviced and maintained. However, it is the recent mechanical work that is of interest, with most work carried out with the help of a classic Porsche mechanic in his workshop.
We would reiterate that the best original parts were used and there are accompanying invoices in our gallery. The exhaustive list of work done includes:
- Full, complete suspension rebuild. All parts powder-coated. Upgraded to Classic Alfa handling kit with Koni yellow shock absorbers.
- New front and rear springs (fast road spec)
- Sport brake disc/calliper set. Full set of drilled and grooved sport brake discs, new callipers, pad pin set. Ferodo ds2500 fast road/track day pads and a set of Goodridge braided hoses.
- Brake System Vacuum non-return valve, reservoir, and servo hoses.
- 123 Tune Bluetooth programmable electronic distributor, including Pertronix Flame Thrower Coil – 3 Ohm. New leads and plugs.
- Full carburettor rebuild – Weber 40 Dcoe. High performance reusable/washable K&N air filter.
- Burman steering box rebuild, to include bottom O-ring and gaskets.
- Rear differential rebuild by Cloverleaf Transmissions.
- Prop-shaft rebuilt.
- Front gearbox seal replaced.
- Original equipment Sachs 3-piece hydraulic clutch kit, pressure plate, friction plate and release bearing.
- New clutch slave cylinder – original Benditalia brand.
- Gear gator base, transmission tunnel apertures, and complete rubber gators to include seals replaced.
- Engine valve cover washers, half-moon seals and gaskets. Upper and lower sump seals.
- Front and rear crankshaft Corteco oil seals. Oil filter.
- Oil pressure sender (Jaeger gauge) and water temperature sender.
- New engine mounts.
- New water pump.
- New radiator and cowl, hoses, radiator support and sealing rubbers, thermostat, expansion tank, plus firewall grommets.
- Restored heater box, plus new air ducts and drainage hoses.
- New Bosch battery.
- Rebuild original alternator.
- New mild steel exhaust system with the correct style chromed tailpipe. Made in Italy by IMASAF.
- Manifold – new buts, studs and manifold gaskets.
- New Italian car horns.
- New window rubber seals.
- New windscreen wiper foot pump and chrome wiper blades.
The car has been little driven since all the work has been completed so the wheel alignment needs to be set up by an Alfa specialist in order to optimise the handling of this car. Let’s just say, some running in may well be required.
What We Think
Just 380 right-hand drive Duettos were made during a very short production run, and we believe less than 100 remain. This makes this car extremely rare.
Not only that, but this must surely be mechanically one of the very best, having been subject to considerable recent expense. From memory Adrian seems to recall the total parts bill alone is around £12,000.
It is a privilege to offer such a lovely car for sale and we feel sure it will delight and enthral its lucky new owner.
We confidently expect the car to fetch between £30,000 and £40,000.
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- Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
- Seller Type: Private
- Odometer Reading: 01531
- Chassis Number: AR1470528
- Engine: 1750
- Gearbox: Manual
- Steering position: Right-hand drive
- Colour: Red
- Interior: Black Vinyl
- Estimated Price: £30,000 - £40,000