If you were at Geneva Motor show 50 years ago, you would have seen the last car the great Italian stylist Pininfarina was actively involved in designing.

It was Alfa Romeo’s brand new 1600 Spider, or the “duetto “ to give it its street name.

Pininfaina shaped a simple yet elegant body in convertible and coupe form.

He drew his inspiration from many of his previous concept cars.

spider turned the corner for alfa - 1966 Alfa Spider 1600 in coupe form - Spider turned the corner for AlfaPriced just right, the Spider was immediately hailed as the less expensive alternative to a Ferrari.

The model gained iconic movie status when it was used by Dustin Hoffman in the 1967 film The Graduate.

Prior to the movie Alfa Romeo was little known in the USA and those that did know of the brand also knew of the eccentricities associated with owning one – like dodgy electrics.

The movie gave Alfa much-needed exposure to a young, affluent audience who were looking for something different and sporty so they could do a little California Dreamin’ of their own.

Pininfarina died in April 1966, a month after the Spider debuted, but his styling legacy allowed Alfa to produce the Spider for 27 years without changing the basic shape.

Mind you, there are some cheeky folk who think the Spider’s styling is really a 1961 Ford Thunderbird turned around 180 degrees.

David Burrell is the editor of retroautos.com.au

spider turned the corner for alfa - 1966 Alfa Spider 1600 convertible e1509054222993 - Spider turned the corner for Alfa

 

Burrell

David Burrell is founder and editor of Retroautos.com.au, a free online classic cars magazine. Dave has a passion for cars and car design. He's also into speedway, which he's been writing about since 1981. His first car was a rusted-out 1961 Vauxhall Velox. His daily driver is a Pontiac Firebird. Prior to starting Retroautos, David was an executive in a Fortune 500 company, working and living in Australia, NZ, Asia, Latin America and the UK.