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Alfa Romeo Spider (The Star of The Graduate Film)

Updated on December 10, 2014

Alfa Romeo Spider in The Graduate

The Alfa Romeo Spider was the beautiful star of the 1967 film, The Graduate, (also staring Dustin Hofman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross...)

It was designed and manufactured by Pininfarina in Grugliasco Italy from 1966 to 1993 and its longevity was due to the combination the classic design and its association with the equally classic film - some later cars for the US market were even called "The Graduate".

My first real classic car was an Alfa Romeo Spider "Graduate", which I imported to the UK from Florida. I loved it so much that I bought another one (which I imported to London from Yorkshire)

This article is about these wonderful classic sports cars and the film.

The classic 1967 film, The Graduate, features the newly launched Alfra Romeo Duetto Spider which is given to the Dustin Hoffman character, Benjamin Braddock as a graduation present. Benjamin has an affair with Mrs Robinson, the wife of his father's business partner, but falls in love with her daughter, Elaine.

Brilliant photography and music by Simon and Garfunkel

Here is the wonderful end sequence of the film (running out of gas...)

The Alfa Romeo Spider - A beautiful classic design by Pininfarina

My 1975 Series 2 Alfa 2000 Veloce Coda Tronca ("Kamm tail")

The original 1966 car was called the "Duetto" Spider and had a 1600cc engine, but the one pictured has the more powerful 2000 engine (and the name Duetto had been dropped by then, due to Alfa Romeo being sued by a food manufacturer who made a biscuit of the same name)

The 2000 Veloce was the highest performance of the spiders with a top-speed of 125 mph and 0-60mph in less than 9.0 seconds, but all of them had the beautiful, punchy four-cylinder twin cam-shaft alloy engine which sounded like it was going far faster.

The Alfa Scenes in the Graduate

More than 25 years of production

The Spider was in production, with very few major changes, for longer than almost any other car (with obvious classic exceptions such as the Beetle), with a production run of over 25 years. The Porsche 911 has been produced for much longer and is still going strong, but back in the early 1970 had similar power and specifications to the Spider, whereas now the 911 has several times as much power. At the end of it's run, the Alfa was little changed, apart from cosmetically, from the original.

The classic design was by Pininfarina who also manufactured the car - Alfa Romeo just supplied the engines and other parts, until the series 4 cars which were made by Alfa Romeo.

Series 1: Duetto,Veloce and Junior - Osso di Seppia (i.e. Round tail or Boat tail)

The 1600 "Duetto" was only made from 1966 to 1967 and then the Duetto name dropped, but the similar 1750 Veloce and 1300 Junior continued until 1969

Engine: 1600cc

Power: 108 bhp (80kW)

Torque: 105 lb ft (142 Nm)

Engine: 1779cc

Power: 116 bhp (87kW) or 130 bhp for the US market

Torque: 137 lb ft (186 Nm)

Engine: 1290cc

Power: 88 bhp (80kW)

Variants

There are a few variants. The original Duetto quickly became known just as the Spider (meaning convertible sports car... well actually that's a simplification. The name Spider comes from sporty Italian horse-drawn carriages, on which the young boy-racers of the day installed tall thin wheels, so they would ride higher and avoid getting splashed with mud - from a distance, these looked like spiders)

A cheaper variant came out later, with a 1300cc engine, called the Junior, and the engine of the Spider grew to 1750cc then 2000cc. Early cars had carburetors, later replaced with fuel injection and less power, to meet the US emissions laws. The early Series 1 cars had what is now called a "boat-tail" which was long and elegant, but prone to accident damage and rust so later Series 2 cars including all of the 2000cc cars, had a cut-off, shorter tail, which is more practical. Other variations were the replacement of the beautiful chrome bumpers with plastic, covering the chrome grill. Later the bumpers were restyled for the series 3 cars and a plastic spoiler attached to the boot (trunk) The last few years of production these rather unattractive add-ons were replaced with modern painted plastic bumpers and the spoiler removed - this was the series 4.

My Spiders

I have owner two of these wonderful convertibles:

1975 Series 2 - Alfa Romeo Spider (chrome bumpers and a short "Kamm" tail)

1985 Series 3 - Alfa Romeo "Graduate" Spider (plastic bumpers and a spoiler on the boot)

Italian Beauty: Series 2 Alfa Romeo Spider - Series 2 "Coda Tronca" or "Kamm Tail" (1970 to 1981)

Engine: 1779cc (1970-1973)

Power: 131 bhp (98kW)

Torque: 138 lb ft (187 Nm)

Engine: 1290cc - Junior (1970-1973)

Power: 103 bhp (76kW)

Torque: 101 lb ft (137 Nm)

Engine: 1962cc (1971 to 1981)

Power: 126 bhp (94kW)

Top-speed: 125 mph

0-60mph: 9.0 seconds

Engine: 1570cc (1972 to 1981)

Power: 108 bhp (81kW)

Series 3 Alfa Romeo Aerodinamica (or Duck Tail) Spider

The Aerodinamica or "Duck Tail Spider" was made from 1982 until 1989 and while the plastic bumpers did detract from the original classic shape did allow this very special car to continue in production until the restyled Series 4 came out for the last few years until 1993

Engine: 1962cc (1982 to 1989)

Power: 126 bhp (94kW)

Torque: 131 lb ft (178 Nm)

Top-speed: 125 mph (approx)

0-60mph: 9.0 seconds (approx)

1985 Alfa Romeo Spider - interior

Spider - Rear

1985 Spider - Front

Series 4 Alfa Romeo Spider

The Series 4 version of the car lost the bumpers and spoilers from the previous model replaced with more attractive body-coloured bumpers.

Engine: 1962cc (1990 to 1993)

Power: 124 bhp (93kW)

Torque: 122 lb ft (166 Nm)

Top-speed: 125 mph (approx)

0-60mph: 9.0 seconds (approx)

I'm Too Sexy For My Car...

This record was released in the U.K. shortly after I bought my first Alfa Spider... I was teased quite a lot.

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    • robertred24 profile image

      robertred24 3 years ago

      Another very beautiful italian car

    • profile image

      MissMalaprop 4 years ago

      This movie was on tv last week, and my boyfriend & I watched it again. My favorite shot of this car is when he's driving over the San Francisco Bay bridge - I think we even remarked to each other how gorgeous this car is!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      Wow ... that is one gorgeous car!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      This would be a fun car to have.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for the virtual test drive! I'd like to virtually own one! :)

      Password below is squidcar! - Apt, so to say! :)

    • profile image

      seoforce 5 years ago

      alfa scenes are amazing , i scene these also in 007 get print out by my favorite

      ink cartridges for printers thanks for this amazing sharing

    • Bluesssman profile image

      Bluesssman 6 years ago

      I twisted wrenches on Alfas back when I had hair.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      YUP, the dream car of the 60's! Still pretty nice

    • profile image

      FantasyDesigns 6 years ago

      There's this leg....then I suddenly realize that this lens is about the car! (yeah, it's early and I'm slow). :)

    • pylemountain1 profile image

      pylemountain1 6 years ago

      A friend of mine drove one of these in high school. Very unique car and nobody around had anything even similar to it.

    • AuthorNormaBudden profile image

      AuthorNormaBudden 7 years ago

      That's a cool looking car. I especially like the look of series 4. Congrats on your purple star! It's been added to your feature at my Purple Star Series.

    • Candy-Recipe profile image

      Candy-Recipe 7 years ago

      Nice lens! Alfa Romeo is my favorite car :-)

    • kerbev profile image

      kab 7 years ago from Upstate, NY

      That IS a gorgeous car!

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 7 years ago

      Reminds me of being a kid and my best friend had an Alpha. Nothing like this of course, but it sure was a snazzy car. Lenses with personal thoughts just appear to appeal to me more. Blessed by an Angel.

    • eccles1 profile image

      eccles1 7 years ago

      Great lens great car !!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 7 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by my lenses.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Very informative.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Lizzy

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      The quarter mile figure for the Alfa Romeo Spider 2000 is about 18.0s and top speed about 130 mph but it varies quite bit depending on the year etc. It was quite fast in 1967, and the road-holding considered very respectable, but compared to some my more recent cars it's not very surefooted. Still a lovely car to drive though.

      [in reply to Tipi]

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      So. What's its top speed in a quarter mile?

      Does it huge the road when taking corners fast?

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      A beautiful car for sure Andy!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Another great lens. Love the car!

    • danmitch profile image

      danmitch 8 years ago

      Great lens - thanks for publishing. I am a 159 driver and big fan of the classic Alfas - always fancied a Spider ...

    • profile image

      steamtown 8 years ago

      A well deserved 5 What a beautiful car I lensrolled this

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Just visited your Kew Gardens Lens. I would end up there often if I lived so close by!

      Another wonderful journey through your eyes Andy. Thank you my friend! 5*'s[in reply to AndyPo]

    • Rich-H profile image

      Rich 8 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      Now that a cool car, and a great lens. 5*s

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      [in reply to poddys]

      Yes, that is Wimbledon Common. It was taken about 10 years ago. I haven't been recently. I usually get the train to Wimbledon these days and go to the pubs in the village. I really must take the car there again soon, but with Kew Gardens and Richmond Park a short walk away (I live 200 yards from the gates of the park) I often end up there instead.

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 8 years ago

      Lensroll to my FASCAR racing lens Who is Daniel Keene Jr.

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 8 years ago

      I like the Series 4 Alfa Romeo Spider - both color and shape! :)

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Really nice lens Andy, great tribute to this classic car and a classic movie. 5*****

      I'm curious - is the photo with the windmill taken at Wimbledon Common? Looks awfully like it. I used to live in Morden just outside of Wimbledon.

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      Cool car. I like the newer version you show at the bottom better than the one from the Graduate.

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      Cool car. I like the newer version you show at the bottom better than the one from the Graduate.

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      [in reply to heehaw]

      Figures for top-speed and acceleration vary a lot and some are probably quite optimistic, but for the 2000 Veloce, which was the fastest, about 125 mph top speed and acceleration of less than 9 seconds 0.60mph.

      I once drove my "Duck-tail" at 120mph (according to the speedometer i.e. about 110 mph) and the steering went very light as the front wheels lifted and I would not recommend going much above 100mph even on the track.

    • heehaw lm profile image

      heehaw lm 8 years ago

      Nice car! what is the maximum speed?

    • profile image

      Joan4 8 years ago

      Oh, I think I need the Spider! How cool! Great lens!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I loved The Graduate and loved this lens. I watched all the videos and thoroughly enjoyed them. Also, I learned a lot about the Spider. Great lens..