Collecting Cars

1963 ALFA ROMEO 2600 SPIDER BY TOURING - RHD

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This Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider by Carrozzeria Touring is a charming and rare Italian roadster, presented in a wonderful colour scheme, and in stunning cosmetic and mechanical order. It is powered by a 2.6-litre straight-six twin-cam engine, fed by three Solex carburettors, driving the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. The odometer shows 93,424 miles from new - very respectable for a car a few years away from its 60th birthday.

A Certificate of Origin in the history file confirms this 2600 Spider was completed at the factory on 20 March 1963, and was subsequently shipped to the UK, where it arrived the following month. While Alfa Romeo produced a small run of 103 right-hand drive cars, it also shipped around 50 cars directly to Ruddspeed in Worthing - hence the destination of ‘Sussex’ on the factory build certificate. These cars were changed to right-hand drive before delivery to their first owners, and are recognised as factory-approved conversions.

The first owner of this car was based in Shropshire, and took delivery in September 1963 after Ruddspeed had completed its work. He evidently loved the car, keeping it for around 25 years before selling it to a gentleman in London in the mid-1980s. It was equally cherished by this second keeper who - after some 20 years of ownership - decided to give the car a thorough restoration between 2004 and 2010, when the odometer stood at approximately 91,600 miles. While specialist work such as paint was sent out to dedicated experts, the gentleman completed the mechanical overhaul himself, and there is a raft of receipts in the file covering this period. The third owner acquired the car in July 2018.

Today, this Spider presents in stunning cosmetic condition, with elegant bodywork that is free of damage and corrosion. The shut lines and panel gaps are excellent, and photos of the underside in the gallery below show that the chassis and floors are in great shape. Its Ivory paintwork has a smooth and glossy finish all around the car, and is accented by bumpers and light casings that are fresh from re-chroming. All of the seals and rubbers around the body trims and window glass were renewed as part of the restoration.

The headlight and driving lamp lenses are Wagner items, while the front indicators are the correct Altissimo units. The side turn signals and the tail lights appear to be the original Carello lenses, and while the latter have a few hairline cracks, they are in perfect working order. Its black fabric soft top was replaced during the restoration and is still in superb condition, fitting snugly around the frame. The car rides on the correct 15.75-inch (400mm) wheels with bright Alfa Romeo hub caps, which are in very good order with only a few small nicks around the rims.

In the cabin, the seats and door panels have been re-upholstered in a smart Claret hue, and present beautifully. There is no damage to the trim, and the door furniture appears to be original, showing only very minor blemishes on the handles and winders. The dashboard is trimmed in black, and has a central glove box housing the Alfa Romeo 2600 Instruction Book. Its rear seat cover doubles as a tonneau for the hood mechanism, and while in theory a 2+2 car, it should really only be considered a two-seater for longer journeys.

The carpets and mats are in good condition, and the top runner around the windscreen is also in excellent order. The switchgear all looks original, as does the smart three-spoke steering wheel, and there is a lovely patina to the controls. A full complement of Veglia instrument dials is fitted, and there are no reported faults with any of the readouts.

Mechanically, this 2600 Spider is in excellent condition, having been carefully restored and refurbished, and receiving a recent major service from a renowned Alfa Romeo specialist in the UK. Its previous owner was an experienced engineer who took on the bulk of the mechanical restoration himself, and the engine, gearbox, suspension and brakes were all attended to.

The car is still running on the correct triple Solex carburettors, and it is understood from the history file that the engine was rebuilt between 2006 and 2007, with new pistons, piston rings, and cylinder barrels. The crankshaft was also refurbished, and receipts refer to new main bearings, con rod bearings, and a new timing chain and tensioner. The valve springs were set up correctly, and the carburettors were balanced and tuned. A new fuel pump was fitted, along with a new water pump, thermostat, distributor, and a refurbished starter motor.

The transmission was handed over to Alfa Romeo specialist Clovertech in Essex, which carried out a complete overhaul, including a new friction plate, pressure plate, and release bearing. The car was also fitted with a new steel exhaust system, finished off with a chromed tail pipe.

Its suspension was rebuilt using new Koni shock absorbers, and replacement bushes, while the propshaft was also refurbished with new couplings, and the steering box was reconditioned. New front brakes were fitted, the calipers were rebuilt, and the brake servo was overhauled by classic specialist Past Parts in Suffolk.

More recently, just before handover to the current owner, it was treated to a major service at noted Alfa Romeo specialist DTR European Sports Cars. This included fresh engine and gearbox oil, spark plugs, and brake fluid, as well as an overhaul of the Solex carburettors with rebuilt linkages. The cam timing was also inspected and reset, and the brake drums were stripped and refurbished. In April 2019, the car returned to Southwood Car Company to be fitted with EZ electric power steering, as well as some modification to the clutch pedal height, and a geometry check and adjustment.

While the car is exempt from annual MOT tests on the basis of age, it has had regular inspections since the restoration. Over the last 10 years, covering nearly 1,800 miles on the road, it has never had so much as one advisory, which is testament to its remarkable condition. Its last test was on 4 July 2018 at 93,359 miles. The wheels are fitted with Michelin X tyres in size 165 SR 400, which are date-coded to 2007 and remain in excellent condition.

Reflecting on the 2600 Spider model for an article in Motor Sport magazine in 1988, journalist Gordon Cruickshank said it delivered “a thrilling progression through the ratios, the open throats of the six carb-chokes blaring at full throttle in each gear and the penetrating exhaust rasp swelling behind”. He concluded that “the straight-six cars were the last connection with a tradition of big, fast, comfortable machines which has not been successfully re-invoked since”.

This Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider by Carrozzeria Touring is a beautiful Italian classic in a period-perfect colour combination. The 2600 was the last Alfa Romeo to be fitted with a twin-cam straight-six engine, following on from the great pre-war 6C models, and has become increasingly collectable as a result. It boasts superb provenance, with just three owners from new, which is fully documented in the file - something that is increasingly rare to find with classic cars of this era. Presented in superb condition throughout, this would be a credit to any collection, and is of course immensely enjoyable to drive on the road with the top down.

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