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1991 V6 Spider Conversion Success!

I have always liked customizing and modifying my own Italian cars, for either the street or for racing. So when I had the opportunity of purchasing a wrecked 1994 164 LS, I went to work on my prototype. click for larger image I knew that the Spider could handle a lot more horse power, and still be reliable. The stock transmission and differential are very strong and well built, along with the suspension and braking system. Getting 200 horse power out of the 2.0 litre stock engine would require a lot of money, special machining and parts, and then the engine would be highly stressed for everyday driving or racing. I had a ‘91 Spider that I used for the conversion. I love racing, and so for me, the next challenge was to install the V6 in the Spider and to race it.

The engine for this conversion is an Alfa Romeo 3.0 litre, 24 valve, 164 LS engine, 210 HP. The engine is bolted directly to the stock Spider transmission. I fabricated the main parts myself, which include the engine mounts, intake manifold, oil pan, exhaust manifolds, and exhaust system, etc.

  click for larger image

The conversion itself was a great challenge for me. I had a lot of encouragement and compliments during the course of this project from my family and friends. This kept me motivated to develop this project from the start. Installing the Alfa V6 engine into the Alfa Spider, allowed me to maintain the integrity of Alfa Romeo which was very important. After installing the V6 engine, it looked like it was made to be there. This was a very nice feeling!

Phase I
There were a lot of sceptics out there, who didn't think that this conversion would work. This project took me 2 1/2 years to complete the first phase of development, on a very strict budget. phase 1 engine stand I first fabricated an engine stand to get the engine up and running with the computer and wiring harness and the stock Spider transmission to fit. Next, was fitting the engine into the engine compartment of the Spider. I thought out everything very carefully - fitting, measuring and thoroughly checking all clearances, etc. As well, I also did my own body work and painting on the Spider (not perfectly straight but good enough for racing). In the first phase, the engine was solid-mounted in six places. The engine cross-mount and firewall had to be modified. I did not want to fabricate any new major parts yet, until I proved the car could be raced successfully, without failure. The first time on the track, nothing broke! The car was totally reliable. The brakes worked well, without the booster - the brake pedal feels nice and firm. In the last two years since then, I have successfully completed ten more races in the first phase of development. The outcome has been 4 Firsts, 4 Seconds, and 3 Thirds. And, oh that sweet sound and smoothness of the Alfa V6 engine - very exotic!

There are others out there selling conversions with the 12 valve Alfa V6 engine. However, as far as I know, no one has done it with the 24 valve engine, using the stock Alfa Romeo transmission. The difference with me is that I like to prove first, through development and trial and error, that the project works before promoting it.

Phase II
phase 2 - restoration back to original shape The second phase included fabricating new parts (again). This time, my own intake manifold, oil pan and polyurethane engine mounts. I have returned everything back to original shape, including engine cross-mount and firewall. The first race this year for me has again been totally successful! The car was reliable and sounded great.

Phase III
Now I am confident that this conversion can work and I hope to continue to develop, race and promote the car. I would like to eventually develop a tube frame ‘91 Spider race car with the 24 Valve V6 and fibreglass body.

I also have a ‘67 Alfa Duetto Spider that I've owned since 1978. I have customized this car as well, installing the ‘91 Spider interior and dashboard in addition to the engine with computer and wiring harness. The car has that ‘retro' look with a modern interior and engine, but still has the classic, boat tail Spider body. I would like to eventually install a 12 valve V6 in this car as well.


Rob working on conversion  Car being painted