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Along came a spider

Along Came A Spider

Whatever you think about Alfa Romeo’s eccentricities or any minor foibles you may feel it displays in some areas, you have to hand it to the Italian firm when it comes to designing beautiful cars. Even the affordable Alfas have it, although pinpointing exactly what ‘it’ is can be tricky, so you’d bet your luxury Milanese penthouse on a ?175,000 open-topped Alfa supercar being at least mildly attractive. The 8C Spider doesn’t disappoint.

You will probably never see an Alfa Romeo 8C Spider on the road. Even if you do mix in all the right circles and spend a good portion of your time tootling around San Marino harbour, there are only 500 destined to be built and these will be distributed to dehumidified garages around the globe, so the odds are against you. Just in case one does hove into view along your local high street, the accepted response is to widen your eyes, lower your jaw a good inch or so and commence a full-on gawp. There’s no need to feel self-conscious because everyone else will be doing the same thing.

The oily bits in the 8C Spider soft top are, for the most part, lifted from the 8C Competizione Coupe which in turn pinched them from Maserati. The 4.7-litre V8 engine has 450bhp and can fire the 8C past the 62mph barrier in 4.5s, confirming supercar status for Alfa’s flagship. The top speed is 182mph but the real thrill comes from the bellowing engine note that accompanies any sustained use of the throttle pedal. The 8C has the sight and sound boxes well and truly ticked.

Compared to the 8C coupe, the convertible Spider version has gained only 90kg in weight. That’s despite the strengthening that has gone on under the car and in the engine bay to negate the wobbly results that tend to follow the removal of a car’s roof. Weight has been saved in the braking system with the Spider replacing the coupe’s steel discs with carbon ceramic items. The suspension has been tweaked in an apparently counterintuitive way with firmer springs installed to improving the ride quality.

“Jaw-dropping looks and a 450bhp V8 engine mean it ticks the important supercar boxes”

No open-topped Italian supercar would be complete without a roof that could have been designed to form the basis of the mental agility round on the Krypton Factor. With the 8C Spider, owners are required to lift off two plastic panels for the fabric roof to leave its storage bay behind the seats. These are then replaced to cover the hole and the roof is manually attached to the top of the windscreen with a couple of clips. The boot is ridiculously small as well but none of that matters in the slightest.

The 8C is a fantastic looking thing from any angle with its long sweeping curves running from the grille over the bonnet and rising over the car’s haunches. It’s distinctively an Alfa Romeo as well, the designers having resisted the temptation to merely re-badge a Maserati product. The cabin is finished in jet black leather, carbon fibre and aluminium.

A perfect 50:50 weight distribution is achieved by mounting the engine behind the front wheel and the gearbox in front of the rear ones. The transmission is a robotised manual that’s operated through wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

If you don’t already have a receipt on Alfa Romeo headed note paper for your deposit on the 8C Spider, the chances of acquiring a new one are very slim. All the cars have been snapped up, which gives Alfa Romeo a handy retort for those who have claimed the price tag was on the expensive side. It’s true that Aston Martin (with their DBS Volante) and Ferrari (with their California) will both sell you an open-topped V8 supercar for substantially less, while if you don’t mind a fixed-top sportscar, then the Maserati Gran Turismo S that this car is based on would save you nearly ?90,000. Still, despite a relative lack of pedigree in this sector, Alfa has filled its admittedly small order book with ease.

Running costs will be a virtual irrelevance for most 8C Spider owners. These individuals are more likely to concern themselves with the cost of heating their swimming pools or installing helicopter landing pads on their luxury yachts. Just in case you’re interested in the kind of fuel consumption they can expect, the official combined cycle reading is 17.3mpg and emissions are measured at 379g/km. Greenpeace activists will have to console themselves with the fact that there aren’t many of these cars about.

Alfa Romeo is best known for bringing Italian sportscar style to a wider audience than can stretch to Ferrari and Lamborghini products but with the 8C Spider, it’s shown that it can mix it with the big boys. Jaw-dropping looks and a 450bhp V8 engine mean it ticks the important supercar boxes and while the pricing might look a little steep, the order books are bulging, so it’s Alfa that’s having the last laugh.

What really is a dream car and how would you recognize it

What Really is a Dream Car and How Would you Recognize It?

What really is a dream car and how would you recognize it? Many people argue on what the best dream car is, and many people also have differing opinion on what constitutes a dream car.

For instance for the teenage boy trying to impress the girls something like a Ferrari or a Lotus Elise might be their version of a dream car, or it could even be a souped-up version of an old Ford or Honda which looks nothing at all like what it started life out as!

The dream car for the Young and the Upwardly mobile adults of yesteryear was definitely any make of a BMW. That was it, nothing more nothing less. This has of course now expanded to include the likes of Audi and Lexus, but you get the picture here, right?

A dream car on the other hand for person perceived to be having a mid-life crisis by their friends and family, could be something along the lines of a Porsche coupe or an Aston Martin DB-version. Corvettes, Lamborghinis and even Alfa Romeo’s seem to make the cut for this type of dream car.

Going further up the ladder you will find that a dream car for the person who can’t afford the signs of affluence will run along the lines of Mercedes-Benz, Jaguars, Audis, BMWs and yes, Lexus.

What is the ultimate dream car though? What is the one car above all others which makes a grown man break down and cry when he sees it? It is not one but a number of cars actually which all have one thing in common (besides the making a man weep thing that is). They are all of them fabulously expensive.

Any one of these choices could pose as the ultimate dream car for any car enthusiast, but taken together, they really will make grown men fall to their knees. These are, in no particular order, the Bugatti Veyron with a price tag of $1.7 million.

The Koenigsegg CCX with a price tag of just over $6 hundred thousand; the Ferrari Enzo which comes in at a cool $1 million; the Mercedes McLaren SLR at about the mid range of $4 hundred thousand; and also the Aston Martin Vanquish which comes in at the mid range $2 hundred thousand.

And let’s not forget the Porsche Carrera GT which is just under $5 hundred thousand; the Saleen S7 Twin Turbo at just over a $.5 million. And if these weren’t enough to make you drool, one of the grandest of all cars to be considered a dream car is none other than the Rolls Royce Corniche convertible.

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