Forgotten Seductress Alfa's Spider Touring 2000
- dean seven
In the late 1950’s Alfa Romeo had just begun to fully emerge from the post war period and was ready to launch new designs to replace the 1900 series which had been introduced in 1950. The new top of the line 2000 series, officially known as Tipo 102, was presented in 1957 at the Turin Motor Show with a 4-door, 6-seater saloon Berlina body. While technically advanced and fairly luxurious, the Berlina was hardly a beauty.
The creation of excitement for the 2000 series was left to the Spider Touring roadster, designed and built by the Touring coachworks in Milan. With lines penned by Touring designer Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni, the 2000 Touring was absolutely gorgeous. An exceptionally clean, crisp shape and tasteful detailing made a bold move into the new era of the 60’s. Arguably one of the most artfully proportioned sports roadsters ever designed, the Spider Touring was a stunning creation, quite as attractive as the contemporary Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina series, considered one of the true classic Ferraris.
The engineering was an evolution of previous Alfa models, but significantly updated and clearly well done. The Spider 2000 featured a robust unibody monocoque and a conventional front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. The engine was an enlarged version of the 1900´s DOHC inline-four displacing 1975 cc. The cast iron block and aluminum head engine produced 113 hp at 5700 rpm and solid mid-range torque via twin Solex sidedraft carburettors and 8.5:1 compression ratio. Two chain-driven overhead camshafts operated two valves per cylinder in the classic Alfa hemispherical layout. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a 5-speed gearbox, with synchromesh on all forward speeds and tall ratios well suited to grand touring at speed. Front wheel suspension was independent, with double wishbones, the rear used a solid axle with longitudinal radius arms. All four wheels feature coil springs and telescopic dampers. Brakes were Alfin drums all around.
Designed with a generous 98.4" wheelbase, the interior offered luxurious trim and comfortable seating for two, with useful space behind the seats and a fairly large boot.
The driving character was very much in the GT mold of the time with reasonably brisk acceleration coupled with relaxed cruising at speed. It was a great car for covering long distances in relative comfort. Handling was stable and secure in combination with a reasonably plush ride, achieved thru the high quality design and specification of the chassis. With the additional 10" of wheelbase, greater weight and tall gearing, the Spider Touring was a much more relaxed sports car than the contemporary Alfa Giulia Spider. The overall accommodations and layout were closer to the Ferrari 250 Spider of the period, to which it is often compared from a design perspective.
Production started in 1958, and the car was well received, but given the luxury price point, sales were modest. The touring character of this roadster was well suited to American driving conditions and the model had good sales in the USA. The Spider 2000 Touring was continued as the halo car for the Alfa brand thru 1962 when it was replaced by the 6-cylinder 2600 line, arguably a step backward in pure style. A total of only 3443 Touring Spider 2000’s were built making the model a very rare find today, indeed.
Wheelbase : 2,500 mm (98.4 in)
Length : 4,496 mm (177.0 in)
Width : 1,650 mm (65.0 in)
Height : 1,320 mm (52.0 in)
Kerb weight : 1,178 kg (2,597 lb)