By Stuart Light
Spica Fuel Injection what’s that? Spica was a mechanical fuel injection system used by an Alfa Romeo originally on trucks then adapted for use on USA destined automobiles in 1969 and then from 1971 to 1981. From 1982 onward Bosch Electronic Fuel Injection took the place of Spica. What was so great about Spica? Not only did it allow Alfa Romeos to meet increased American emission standards, it also enabled the Alfa Romeos of that era to maintain higher horsepower ratings. This was at a time when British sports cars with smog pumps , not only had a loss of power…there was also decreased fuel economy at a time when gasoline became more expensive.
Since his move from Astoria, Queens to Port Washington in Nassau County, Giuseppe LoRe (”Joey” to his friends) wanted to invite the NY Alfa Romeo Owners Club to visit the new location of the Alfa Import Center. We couldn’t think of a more opportune subject than reviewing and explaining the care necessary to service the Spica Mechanical Fuel Injection system.
Alfa Romeo has had renewed popularity in the USA with the new 4C and Giulia. Older models from the 50s into the 90s have also had a renewed desirability. Spiders from the early 60s such as my 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider have appreciated at a faster rate than my 401K (lol). Early 70s GTVs which not long ago could have been purchased for the mid $20s are now selling at prices that are double or triple.
As older Alfa Romeos become more valuable it is especially important that these cars come equipped as they left the factory. A number of Alfa Romeo owners suffered with incompetent mechanics who often switched the Spica units for Weber carburetors simply because they didn’t know how to work on the Spica units. Today, Alfa Romeos originally equipped with Spica units, but replaced with Weber carburetors are worth less and locating replacement Spica units is harder and expensive.
Joey took time to explain many of the small nuances to properly maintain a Spica fuel injection pump. It’s not rocket science….it’s just taking time, doing things carefully and sometimes repeating a step or two to make certain that the system performs properly before completing the service.
My first two Alfa Romeos were equipped with Spica Mechanical Fuel Injection. First a 1971 Spider, then a 1974 GTV like the one photographed during the tech seminar. My 1971 Spider achieved 31mpg on a trip to Bethesda, MD in 1974 and my 1974 GTV could go round trip to Philadelphia, PA on less than 10 gallons. Since the Statute of Limitations has long expired (lol), I can admit that in 1976 my GTV was on Long Island’s Roslyn Viaduct at night at 120mph without “missing a beat”…a lot of the performance was thanks in part due to the efficiency of the Spica unit.
This seminar wasn’t a large gathering, mostly the Alfisti faithful who have owned their Alfa Romeos in some cases for 30 years…like me…and insist on keeping their cars as original as possible to maintain peak efficiency, plus the value of increasing rare automobiles.