It’s almost time to start thinking about gifts for those so-called Grads and Dads promotions, and today’s Nice Price Or No Dice Alfa Spider might just prove to be the perfect choice for either. That is, if it’s a deal, and the real deal.
Near the end of Richard Matheson’s underrated novel, What Dreams May Come, the main character (played in the film adaptation by Robin Williams) makes the choice to spend eternity in his wife’s personal hell rather than return to his own version of heaven, so great was his love for her.
Matheson is one of my favorite authors, and I was reminded of his rumination on the afterlife while reading through the comments on last Friday’s 2007 Audi S4. Opinions were that the car’s notoriously expensive-to-repair 4.2-liter V8 and equally complex drivetrain would make ownership a tempestuous experience at best. Many of you, however, were willing to overlook that possibility, as the car’s seemingly impeccable condition and reputation for performance offered a substantial counterbalance. The car’s $9,500 price tag sealed the deal and earned the Audi a decisive 68 percent Nice Price win.
Today’s 1989 Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider Graduate takes its appended model name from the 1967 Mike Nichols film of the same name. In that film, Dustin Hoffman’s character, Benjamin Braddock, drove an earlier, and just as red, edition of the car. Befitting the meager wages expected of the recently diploma’d, the Graduate model was positioned as an entry-level edition, featuring vinyl upholstery, manual-crank windows and steel wheels.
This one wears alloys off the more expensive Quadrifoglio, and the seller claims there to be leather upholstery on the seats. The ad also sets the price of the clean-title car at $4,500.
There’s something that’s bothering me though. At that price, I can’t be 100 percent certain that this ad is legit. I’m not going to make that assertion outright because a) I have no actual evidence, just my Spidey sense, and b) I don’t want to get sued by the seller. Still, this may be the first time we all have to choose between “Nice Price,” “No Dice,” and “hold-on-to-your-fillings total scam.”
The car itself looks to be in terrific shape. This is an old-school sports car, with a basic chassis, drivetrain and design that, as we already noted, goes all the way back to the ’60s. As such, performance from the Bosch fuel-injected 2-liter four should be expected to be adequate but not scintillating. That’s owed to the DOHC alloy engine being able to muster only 115 horsepower and a gnat’s fart 119 lb-ft of torque. You shouldn’t really expect to have much success outperforming anything other than a Bird scooter in one.
That’s not what a classic sports car is all about though. What’s fun here is dropping the top and then rowing through the five-speed’s gears as you cruise down sun-dappled country lanes, enjoying the world as it glides by, even if it is at a fairly leisurely pace.
Now, let’s get back to the price and whether or not this ad is legit or some sort of Craigslist honeytrap. The first clue that something may not be right is the price. Is $4,500 the right neighborhood for a car of this caliber? Well, that’s up to you to decide.
The other issue is the time this ad has spent on Craigslist. Right now it’s at 23 days and counting. That’s a long time for a sports car to sit just as springtime is getting started and people are still crazy for pandemic projects. Maybe the car sold weeks ago, and the seller just hasn’t taken down the ad. Maybe the seller is lonely and likes reading all the inquiries, even though the car is long gone. Who knows?
What I know is that we have to take the ad at face value and so we’re now going to vote on whether this Spider is worth that $4,500 asking. What do you say, does that feel like a fair price for this Alfa as it’s presented? Or, does that still seem too high for a sports car that can barely keep up with a Kia Rio?