1978 Alfa Romeo SpiderNiki Lauda Edition
- Year of manufacture1978
- Mileage49 000 mi / 78 858 km
- Car typeConvertible
- Interior colourBlack
- Number of seats2
- Exterior colourRed
- Fuel typePetrol
The Alfa Romeo Spider is the longest running model from the 103 year old company. It comes as no surprise as its success spans nearly 30 years and well over 120,000 examples in all different years, variants, and specifications. It’s the quintessential Italian sports car for the masses in many ways, and was Alfa’s first real success as a mass manufacturer supplying cars to many markets across the globe. These little Spiders offered magnificent Twin Cam Alfa power, and with win on Sunday sell on Monday, Alfa Romeo was closely linking their racing success with that on the showroom floor. From pretty 1st series Duetto’s, to the 4th series 2,000’s of the early 1990’s, all of these Alfa’s carry the soulful, high revving, wind-in-your-hair style that they originally intended.
The Second Series 2000 Veloce, or “Kamm tail” as it is often referred to was in high demand between 1971-1982 with nearly 38,380 produced. It was also during this era (1978) that Niki Lauda joined the Brabham Alfa Romeo for a new start after his stint with Ferrari. With Spiders in full production, and to celebrate this new addition to Alfa’s race team, it was decided that Niki Lauda was to be commemorated by a special edition Spider in his name. Launched at the 1978 Long Beach Grand Prix, the Niki Lauda Spider, Chassis # 001 was driven on the circuit by Niki himself. Thus, we are left today with only an estimated 350 Niki Lauda Special Edition Spiders. The differences are subtle, but all add up to a fantastic look. They include such items as a fiberglass rear spoiler that wraps onto the rear quarters that was a first for Alfa Romeo and only seen on past prototypes; special badging on the sides, and a numbered plaque on the dash. Only one color scheme was offered in remembrance of the Brabham F1 livery, Red with stick on blue/white stripes. Other differences included door mirrors, exhaust tip etc…
The example on offer here, Special Edition # 216, is a 49,000 mile example from new and has been enthusiastically cared for during its limited 4 ownerships in Georgia, Illinois, Florida, and Pennsylvania, per our research. It has always been a very good, straight, solid, rust/accident free example and today is the recipient of much servicing as well as a cosmetic freshening. Service documentation shows consistent intervals from the late 1980’s through the present. With a major service carried out in 2007 under the 3rd owner, amounting to nearly $4,000. Soon thereafter, in 2007, the car was acquired by a well known Alfa Collector in Pennsylvania where it has resided and seen much use. During this custodianship the decision was made to freshen the car with a respray, as well as a new interior. Another $5,000 was quickly invested into putting this Alfa into order as a show contender and very nice example overall. The decision was made to absolutely keep all of the rare Niki Lauda attributes; however, the new stripes were not put back on, as a more understated look was desired. The stripe kit is available however, and could easily be purchased and installed with minimal effort.
During this 4th ownership there wasn’t a single lapse in care, the car was often driven, enjoyed, toured, shown, and also serviced regularly. There is a plethora of receipts for service and care over the years, and with the recent cosmetic freshening this all culminates to a very well cared for Niki Lauda Spider that is tour or show ready.
Cosmetically this car shows very well overall. As the recent repaint did not unfortunately entail a total strip and spray, parts of the car were stripped, but overall the goal was to brighten and polish as it was already a very presentable a straight example to begin with. As such we are left with an imperfection here or there, but nothing that warrants attention or changing. It shines beautifully throughout with excellent panel fitment, shut lines, and gaps. The front and rear bumpers are in excellent condition with only a few, hardly noticeable, scratches from use. They have also been recessed to give the car a more pleasing stance but could easily be adjusted to stock in minutes. The top is nearly new, and all of the chrome, glass, and rubber are in excellent condition throughout. The tires are newer, and the wheels are the correct turbine type from day one. Upon entering the interior we notice clean door jams, brand new and very correct leather seats, beautiful center console, and dash, gauges, and door panels; all of which are practically new and easily show quality. The only item with use is the e-brake boot, which adds a nice patina. All of the items on the interior are in proper working order. The only blemish to be noted is a crack in the dash (typical), and one of the leather top stay fasteners has torn (included).
Mechanically this car starts instantly, runs smooth and strong and is quick to respond upon use of the throttle. The braking, steering, suspension, and related systems are all totally in order with absolutely no issues noted. The oil pressure shows to be strong even when warm and the car always holds proper temperatures. In short, this is an Alfa that can be considered turn-key and available for a 1 hour or 1 day drive, no matter the occasion.
Alfa Romeos in general have always held a certain presence amongst the collector car community. They are automobiles for the enthusiast first, and collectibles second, as Alfa’s are perhaps one of the most thoroughly enjoyed collector cars extant. The Niki Lauda Spider offers rarity, performance, and the element of collectability more than any other Alfa of its era. This particular car with known ownership history, unparalleled care and servicing is easily a rare opportunity and worth much consideration by any Alfa collector, or enthusiast looking for the “right one”. Offered with its original spare, boot cover and all records, this is a prime opportunity not to be missed.