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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Welly 1:24 Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider

Everyone knows the Italian company’s racing history and the long-serving Spider roadster, including one that appeared in the 1967 film “The Graduate”.  This one shown here, however, gets the least-credited votes because of its ancient architecture, but now is more valuable than the favored Spider predecessor’s, the 2600.

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While most of the appeal went to the smaller Alfa’s like the 1600, the 2600 was the larger brother that used a 2.6L DOHC I-6  with two spark plugs per cylinder, three carburator’s, and about 150 (est.) hp. Through a 5-speed manual.  The details of the engine are great, with the silver block the main point with detailed plugs, Alfa Romeo on the valve cover, intake manifold and carbs, and intake hose to the airbox.  Even the hood has a diamond pattern underneath.  All seems nice, but it’s missing plug wires, and being a tightly-fitted six-cylinder it was impossible for me to make simple plug wires without getting complicated, and speaking of plugs the back cylinder just under the intake hose is missing a plug.  The base underneath shows off the upper/lower A-arm front and live axle leaf springs rear suspensions on a body-on-frame architecture.  Combine that with the size and skinny tires on steel wheels with chrome hubcaps and you can see why the 2600 was not as spirited as the 1600.  As usual I added details of the drivetrain and suspension components and even the large oil pan cooling fins as well.

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The exterior reminds me of the Ferrari 250’s: Classic, if a bit antiquated compared to the newer 1960’s successor’s.  Only available in white or red with top up or top down look, the classic Alfa shows off at the front with round headlights, foglights merged with the split grille, flanking the traditional Alfa Romeo Vee grille.  Adding more effects to the front is the hood scoop and the lower scoops just below the front bumper.  The rear has detailed taillights with chrome housings, large Alfa Romeo plate and trunk trim, and a long exhaust tip.  The sides are rather plain with only the kickup at the rear fenders, front fender trim, and door handles breaking up the flat plains.  Now the top-up looks pretty good despite the large blind spots at the rear, but this is a Spider so where’s the open-top fun at?  No need to decide here, just open the casting up, take the two mounting screws off at the rear, and scrape off the glue mounts at the visors and voila! Open top or closed top preference!

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The interior is basic, but sporty for its time with an advantage over the 1600: a rear seat, though there’s not much legroom for starters.  Providing the top wasn’t there the convertible boot cover has nice silver trim details, while the front bucket seats have chrome edge trims for a nice touch.  The door panels have detailed door release and window crank handles, while the rearview mirror sits on the dash, mounted to the gauge cove.  The dashboard is basic with a central glove box, passenger grab handle, lower radio, and comprehensive gauge setup behind the large 3-spoke steering wheel.  The shifter has the right look and feel, and the pedals look good with silver trim.  Downsides: The parking brake handle is located under the driver’s seat just behind the accelerator pedal (watch your foot!), and the white color shows off a major downside: just look at those dogleg door hinges cutting into the legroom and almost piercing the pedals!

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Overall not very impressive style-wise, but for the essence of the decade and the fun-to-drive image of the Alfa Romeo name, this Spider starts looking interesting, if only I can drive it in person!

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