Collectible Classic: 1983-1990 Alfa Romeo Spider

Collectible Classic: 1983-1990 Alfa Romeo Spider
1983-1990 Alfa Romeo Spider - Collectible Classic - Automobile Magazine
La dolce roadster.

Alfa Romeo’s popular and accessible sports car, the Spider, was sold in the United States from 1966 until 1994, its long run divided into four series. The early cars, with their distinctive boattail styling, were immortalized as Dustin Hoffman’s ride in The Graduate. Generally regarded as the most beautiful iteration of Pininfarina’s design, these Spiders also are the most basic in spec, the rarest, and the most expensive. After skipping U.S. exports in 1970 (as it had in ’68), Alfa brought back the Spider for 1971, beginning the second series, with a chopped tail and fussy Spica fuel injection for its enlarged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; heavy rubber bumpers arrived for 1975. The next iteration, the ’83 to ’90 Series 3 models, got a controversial black rubber ducktail rear spoiler, better-integrated bumpers, and (in ’86) interior revisions. They enjoy more reliable Bosch fuel injection and available air-conditioning (both of which actually came on board in ’82). For the final cars, the 1991-’94 models, the styling was smoothed out, power steering and a driver’s air bag were added, and an automatic transmission (!) was optional; they’re a bit more powerful but also slightly heavier.

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Rare Breeds: Four Obscure British Sports Cars

Rare Breeds: Four Obscure British Sports Cars
Rare Breeds - Obscure British Sports Cars - Automobile Magazine
Obscure British two-seaters you’ll want but can’t have, plus a three-seater you can assemble in your garage.

Fret not when another British sports car maker slips under the waves. Since England is the cradle of two-seat entertainment, whenever an automaker like Triumph or TVR succumbs, some up-and-comer arrives to fill in. In the land of fish and chips, creativity isn’t so hindered by balance sheets and business plans.

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One More Chevy Volt Trick: Reduced Power

One More Chevy Volt Trick: Reduced Power
One More Chevy Volt Trick: Reduced Power - Automobile Magazine
What happens when you work the Chevy Volt too hard?

The Chevrolet Volt’s gas-electric powertrain is seriously complex. The mechanicals and four primary driving modes — which we covered earlier this week — are fairly straightforward, but the Volt continues to hide curiosities in the computer code and control strategies that define this game-changer’s behavior. At yesterday’s media drive in suburban Detroit, we learned the details of a rare scenario in which the Volt operates with reduced power during extended-range driving.

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COMMENT: The little Mazda truck that could

Back in the day, waaaaay back in the day, in my far-off native New Zealand, the likes of Land Rover, and the then relatively rare Holden, Ford Falcon and Chrysler Valiant ‘utes’ (Antipodean-speak for the car-derived ‘utility’ or pickup truck variant originally developed by Ford Australia in the 1930s) were challenged in 1969 by an upstart newcomer – the Mazda B1500. If you’d told the 12-year-old me then that, 41 years hence, the B’s successor potentially could soon be the world’s top-selling single model, knocking big-brother Ford’s F-series off its perch, I’d have just laughed. But it sure looks possible now.

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Bonhams to Display Elvis’ Mercedes 600 Tomorrow in UK!

« Any place Is Paradise » sang Elvis in 1956. All those rare and exotic automobiles he owned and drove surely reflect that too. Among them were two Mercedes-Benz 600, one of which will be on display tomorrow for the media and prospective buyers to boast Bonhams’ traditional end of year auction of ‘Important Motor Cars and Fine Automobilia’. This event takes place on December 6, 2010, and for the first time at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey, UK.

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Homebuilt: Get ready for the new (old) Bronco

Homebuilt: Get ready for the new (old) Bronco
Get ready for the new (old) Bronco - Automobile Magazine
The latest model in a build-it-from-scratch frenzy.

Replica cars are nothing new. Hot-rodders have been relying on new 1932 Ford body shells for years, and longtime readers may remember the Autokraft Cobra that was splashed on the cover of our second issue, in May 1986. But those are copies of exceedingly rare, expensive, and significant cars. A 1966 Ford Bronco is none of those things. And yet, starting later this year, the public will be able to assemble brand-new ones.

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