At the 1962 Geneva Motor Show, Alfa Romeo released its successor to the flagship 2000 series, known as the 2600. Alfa engineers sought to address criticism that the 2000 was underpowered by ditching the old iron-block 2-liter inline-four and shoehorning in a new 2.6 liter, all-alloy inline-six. Based on the same architecture as the Giulietta engine, the inline-six used an alloy block and twin-cam head, with removable liners and a seven-main-bearing crankshaft. Depending on the year and model, the six-cylinder made between 130hp for the first sedans to 165 hp for the ultimate Sprint Zagato spec. Many of the chassis components carried over from the 2000, and later models gained disc brakes at all four corners. Even with the substantial Berlina body, the performance was up to Alfa Romeo’s usual standards. While slightly more relaxed than the high-strung twin-cam four, the six-cylinder still offered the character and charm that defined Alfa in the 1960s. It was also a robust engine, proving itself in competition as well as on the road where famously, the Italian Carabinieri Squadra Pantera maintained a fleet of 2600 Sprint Coupes, which proved to be useful tools for high-speed pursuits on the Autostrada.
Alfa Romeo offered the 2600 in several variations starting with the crisp and sophisticated Tipo 106.00 four-door Berlina. A more sporting option came with the Bertone-bodied 2600 Sprint Coupe. The handsome GT car was 100kg lighter than the Berlina, sporting triple Solex carbs for brisk performance. Finally, the task of creating the open Spider version fell to Carrozzeria Touring of Milan. Like Bertone did with the coupe, Touring incorporated much of the existing design from the 2000 into the new 2600, but with a freshened face and revised trim. The Spider shared the Sprint’s high-performance triple-carburetor engine and five-speed gearbox. At a time when Alfa Romeo focused on mass production, the 2600 was made in relatively small numbers. Total production of all models (Berlina, Sprint, Touring, SZ, and Deluxe) just topped 11,000 cars, with the pretty Touring Spider accounting for only 2,257 units. The 2600 Spider is less of a hardcore sports car, feeling most home as a relaxed high-speed grand tourer. A refreshing and practical alternative to a Jaguar E-Type, Maserati 3500, or Lancia Flaminia, the 2600 Spider brings exceptional performance, Italian coachbuilt style, and high levels of luxury.
Our featured 1965 Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider is a highly desirable late-production example, well preserved in marvelous condition in crisp bright white over a red interior. The serial number denotes this as a very late-production Touring-bodied Spider equipped from new with desirable four-wheel Girling disc brakes and an improved electrical system with alternator charging. This 2600 is superbly well-sorted, with an honest, highly original character. Save for a respray and possibly an interior retrim some years ago, it has been cherished and well-maintained through the years, and feels as though it has never been completely apart. The bright white paintwork presents well overall, with some minor imperfections and touchups found under scrutiny, but with a character that invites regular driving. The bodywork displays consistent panel gaps and doors that shut with satisfying ease. Exterior brightwork is very good, and details include Carello fog lamps and the delicate Carrozzeria Touring cloisonné badges on the bonnet and front wings. Rolling stock consists of factory-correct steel wheels adorned with chrome center caps and fitted with period-correct 400 mm Michelin X radials.
The interior of this Alfa presents with a lovely patina that makes it ideally suited to regular use. There is some moderate creasing and wear on the seats which is appropriate for the age. However, the leather remains remarkably supple, with delightful careworn charm. The 2+2 rear seats have a similar character, and the remaining soft trim, including the door panels, leather convertible top boot, and gray carpets, are consistent with the overall presentation. The seats are comfortable and fit like a favorite old shoe, and the original three-spoke, black-rimmed steering wheel, and gear lever fall easily to hand. Interior fittings, controls, and Veglia instruments are in excellent, original condition. The sale will include an original tool kit and an extremely rare factory-issued emergency fuel canister, complete in its factory packaging.
Alfa-Romeo’s 2,584 cc inline-six sits snugly under the bonnet. The Spider shared the Sprint’s Tipo 00601 engine, which produced about 15 horsepower over the standard 2600 saloon. Alfisti would feel right at home working on the engine, as it shared the same twin overhead-cam layout and distinct polished cam cover as its four-cylinder cousins. This car retains the original trio of Solex PHH carburetors along with the correct alloy airbox and remote air cleaner assembly. The engine presents in good, honest, original condition appearing tidy and properly serviced.
This Alfa truly shines out on the road. The inline-six fires with ease and delivers silky-smooth performance from idle up through the top of the rev range, and it remains impressively quiet and civilized even at speed with the top down. Likewise, the 5-speed gearbox shifts well with slick, effortless changes through all gears. The steering is direct, and the chassis feels properly planted, delivering a controlled and comfortable ride. This refreshingly honest example of Alfa Romeo’s sublime Grand Tourer is ready to enjoy on your favorite roads, with the practicality and comfort to suit use on long-distance driving events.
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