Curbside Musings: A Cluster Of (Alfa Romeo) Spiders, Part 2 – Just Chop It

c. 1971 Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider Veloce. Ashburn, Virginia on Friday, November 24, 2023.

I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions for some time.  It’s not that I don’t believe in doing so, or that I don’t find value in the accountability that often comes with such declarations.  My thought process is more around the fact that guilt, by itself, is never a healthy motivator, and when we break a promise to ourselves, it often somehow feels worse.  In instances in my life when I’ve used guilt or shame as the reason to do (or not do) something, it has been far less effective than when I had found and internalized benefits to whatever change in behavior.  I’ve also been more deliberate in paying attention to lessons that life has intended for me to learn, so as I’ve been more aware of what’s happening around me, it has become more of an ongoing series of adjustments, versus an annual tune-up.

Series Three (1982 - '90) Alfa Romeo Spider. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois, on Sunday, July 9, 2023.

One of my main tenets that has solidified over the past five years or so is the importance of letting go and embracing the end of something.  This could be something even as small or innocuous as bidding someone farewell after a meeting.  Long goodbyes aren’t comfortable for anyone.  Why prolong the sadness?  Suppose you’ve been able to bid adieu with some degree of eloquence with just the right words, where if you and the other person(s) were to walk away from each other at that very moment, it would have been a very proper way to wrap your time together.  …But then you linger, and more words come out that perhaps aren’t expressed quite as clearly or beautifully, and what would have been a great way to say goodbye or “so long” has by then vanished.

You should have just chopped that conversation at its logical end, like the rear styling of the second series of Alfa Romeo (Duetto) Spider.  Why let your words trail off into some droopy butt of an indecisive end, as you slide slowly down that slope of a rear deck until you plop onto the ground, looking and feeling a little stupid?  It’s the same with the holidays.  I want to be clear that I very much love the year-end holidays and all the joy of coming together with loved ones, the bright lights and decorations, delicious foods and treats, and other aspects of them.  It’s just that when I’m done with certain activities, I’m done, though I’ll still probably leave my tree up through the end of this week.  After that, though, chop.

Popular Imported Cars magazine cover, as sourced from the internet.

I was in middle school during Madonna’s True Blue phase and watched in shock and horror as some of the prettiest girls in my classes went to bobbing off their once-beautiful tresses.  “If Madonna jumped off a bridge, would you?”, I might have wanted to ask if I had the courage back then.  Sadly, I think some of the females at my middle school might have done so, which speaks to Madonna’s power among my demographic at that time, and I am still a fan.  In the end, though, that blonde chop facilitated a very effective visual transformation for Ms. Ciccone concurrent with the solidification of what is widely considered to be her imperial phase.  The chop worked… that is, before she grew it all out again only a few years later.  (Pepsi, anyone?)

Series Three (1982 - '90) Alfa Romeo Spider. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois, on Sunday, July 9, 2023.

I hadn’t even seen the torpedo-esque rear styling of the original Alfa roadsters until adolescence, long before the answers could be found with a few keystrokes or a swipe on the screen of a smartphone.  The front of the early cars looked fine, but I was unimpressed with the back, at first.  It seemed too rounded and pointy.  I later came to appreciate the original look, and I still like it today.  However, the “Kamm”-style tail that arrived for model year ’71 is much more to my liking.  I used to think the designers at Pininfarina had simply chopped off the tail, but looking at both cars in profile, it looks like the horizontal surface of the trunk was also straightened, which would explain the appreciable increase in usable luggage space that arrived with the restyle.

The third series cars with their black rubber spoiler ensemble on the rear fascia never looked right to me.  They always seemed unfinished, like there had bee a paint shortage at the factory, or maybe that only higher-end models got the body-colored rear-deck spoilers.  All of that matte-finish, black body addenda just looks so “Dodge Caliber” back there.  It’s a shame, because the basic styling of these cars had otherwise held up beautifully after over fifteen years of production.  The final refresh that arrived with the final, fourth series cars had fixed this for ’90, but by then, the Alfa Spider was clearly a throwback that appealed mostly because of that, especially with the advent of the brilliant, thoroughly modern Mazda MX-5 Miata.

c. 1971 Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider Veloce. Ashburn, Virginia on Friday, November 24, 2023.

Among all the four iterations of the original Spider, my preference is currently the 1971 – ’82 version.  The one above, a 1750 Spider Veloce (from the badge above the left taillight), might be a ’71 or a ’72, given the styling and that fact that a 116-horsepower, 2.0L mill was introduced for ’73.  The 1750 (the engine of which displaced 1779 cc) was rated at 132 horsepower, according to my Great Book Of Sports Cars by the editors of Consumer Guide.  All Spiders ranged in weight between 2,200 and 2,300 pounds, and the 1750 could do 0-60 mph in about ten seconds and also reach 115 miles per hour.  According to one source, the older red example is one of about 4,000 “Kamm-tail” 1750 Spider Veloces produced.  This one was in pristine condition as it scooted along Old Ox Road next to Dulles International Airport.

So, here we are in 2024.  I’m not making any promises I can’t or won’t keep, but I will continue to foreshorten my exposure to things, people, places, experiences, etc. that have demonstrated that they’re simply not beneficial to my well-being.  Be empowered to adopt the same philosophy for yourself, and understand and internalize that doing so does not make you a bad person.  Less can be much more.  Chop-ola.

The older example was spotted in Ashburn, Virginia on Friday, November 24, 2023.
The newer one was seen in Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois, on Sunday, July 9, 2023.

The print ad was sourced from the internet.

Click here for Part I.