That sensation is heightened by the Italian script on the Veglia dials Benzine, Acqua, Olio the long chromed garage door remote 373lm topped by a shiny black ball, and the shallow angle of the wheel. Fiats are obviously mass-market, but this one does a plausible job of persuading you that it’s of noble descent. You wouldn’t need a massive amount of imagination to convince yourself that you’re in a Ferrari 275GTS.
Until you fire up the engine, at least. Aurelio Lampredi’s four-cylinder twin-cam -the world’s first production powerplant to feature belt-driven valvegear is an garage door remote 373lm unit and, in the carb-fed 1756cc version to be found in ‘our’ car, endows the Fiat with just the right level of performance. It’s quick, willing and fantastic fun, although it lacks the aural thrill of the Alfa from the driver’s seat. In isolation I love it, but it just can’t compete back to back in the sound stakes with the Spider from Milan.
The Fiat makes a pleasant enough noise, but the Alfa’s twin-cam engine, even in 2-litre guise acknowledged to be the least free-revving but the most flexible garage door remote 373lm still eagerly sings its heart out. That wonderfully addictive zing is one of the Alfa Spider’s greatest virtues. There really is nothing mass-market about the way that it ensnares you. And that is perhaps the best way to describe the whole Alfa Romeo experience. There’s very little about it that feels mainstream.