This is Muhammad Ali’s former 1976 Alfa Romeo Spider, he bought the car personally at European Imports in Lake Forest, just north of Chicago on a day he’d set out to buy himself a Rolls-Royce Corniche.
Ali ended up buying two cars that day, the Rolls and the Alfa. It’s not known if the Alfa was a planned purchase or if had just fallen in love with it on the showroom floor, we do know that Ali kept it for a number of years, he would give it to his third wife Veronica Porché, but she never drove it as she couldn’t work a manual transmission.
He eventually gave the car to Tim Shanahan, a trusted friend of Muhammad Ali and his family for decades. Tim treasured the car, he kept it personally for over 40 years and it’s now a genuine two owner car, with known history from new and just two names on the registration documents – Muhammad Ali and Tim Shanahan.
The extensive history documentation includes Ali’s original registration papers in his own name (with the marque name spelled Alfa Romero, a common slip-up). There are photographs of Ali with the car, an image of Jay Leno with the car, and some images of Shanahan with the car.
Shanahan’s popular book “Running with the Champ” documents the story of the Alfa acquisition over four pages in great detail, and a copy of the book signed by Shanahan is included with the car.
The eBay listing ended without a sale as the reserve wasn’t met, the car is still for sale, if you’d like to read more about it or enquire about buying it you can visit the listing here.
The Alfa Romeo Spider
The Alfa Romeo Spider enjoyed a remarkable almost 40-year long production run over four distinct generations, Series 1 through Series 4.
Under the svelte bodywork the Spider was largely based on the Alfa Romeo Giulia underpinnings, including the iconic inline-4 cylinder twin cam engine, transmission, independent front suspension, live axle rear suspension, and unibody construction.
The car was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 1966 as the Alfa Romeo Spider 1600, it would be the last project in which Pininfarina founder Battista Pininfarina was involved.
The remarkable career of Pininfarina was perhaps suitably capped by the Spider 1600, a beautiful Italian sports car that was affordable to the common man, and would go on to be beloved by owners around the world for decades to come.
Alfa Romeo would build over 130,000 examples of the Spider over the course of its 1966 to 1993 production run, a number of engines and transmissions were offered over the years and the body styling was updated incrementally, however it always remained true to the original Pininfarina design.
Many Spiders have survived through the decades and they’re now popular as a first classic car due to their relatively affordable price tag, but the styling, handling, and heritage offered by the roadster means it’s a popular choice for a wide array of people.
NADA list the value of a 1976 Spider like the one shown here at $10,000 low retail, $18,600 average retail, and $32,700 high retail, but most seem to sell for well under $20,000.