Combine one of Pininfarina’s most enduring shapes with a classic twin-cam Alfa Romeo engine, and you have the Spider. In spite of several updates to keep it abreast of the times, the Spider remains immediately recognisable as the lineal descent of the car which Dustin Hoffman drove in The Graduate. It is, without any doubt, a classic. Yet when the Spider was launched at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show, the gentlemen of the motoring press expressed mixed feelings. Some thought that the great stylist Pininfarina had blundered, and several thought that it lacked the delicacy of his earlier Spider body-work for the now-superseded Giulietta. Still, nobody complained about the new Duetto’s performance. The original car managed 105mph from just 1570cc, and the noises it made were pure poetry to those who appreciate Italian cars. Up-engined to 1779cc and renamed the 1750 Spider in 1968, the car produced an even more enticing 118mph top speed - which makes an interesting comparison with the 105mph available from the slightly larger-engined MGB of the time. At the same time, a 1290cc Giulietta version was introduced, which avoided the tax penalties incurred by the larger engine in Italy and sold remarkably well. Even that car could manage 110mph. Purists, by now in tune with Pininfarina’s styling, objected when the Spider acquired a Kamm tail in 1970; but the factory kept its customers happy by introducing a 2000 Spider Veloce in 1971, this time with a 1962cc engine which improved acceleration but left top speed at the same 118mph as the 1750 had offered. Tightening exhaust emssions regulations caused Alfa Romeo to withdraw the car from some markets during the 1970s, but the Spider soldiered on. Impact-absorbing bumpers did nothing for the shape in later years, but fuel injection kept performance competitive. And somehow, the Spider stayed in production till 1993 and was still sold in America during 1994. I am sure Alfisti everywhere will welcome this book. As factual reference material and as pure entertainment, it must become an essential part of the Spider enthusiast’s library. It will certainly be on my shelves for many years to come. Models covered include the Duetto, Junoir, Veloce & Quadrifoglio fitted with 1300, 1600, 1750 & 2000cc engines.