Driving an Alfa Romeo is something everyone has to experience at least once. An Alfa Romeo is a perfect, unique blend of pure driving passion and mesmerizing beauty. In 1967, a movie called ‘The Graduate’ made its way to the theatres. The beauty of one particular enchantress stole the show in every scene which showcased her. The beautiful lead actress Anne Bancroft (who looked great in the movie) is not the one we are talking about though. It"s the 1966 Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider Duetta that everyone glued their eyes to whenever it entered the scene. In the movie, Dustin Hoffman drives the 1600 Spider across a freeway to reach Katharine Ross’ character in the church with Simon & Garfunkel’s acoustic music playing in the background. It is one of those iconic scenes in cinema history that will always be remembered and talked about. The filmmaker made a great move to choose this particular classic car for this movie, besides the fact that Dustin Hoffman’s uncle was an importer of Alfa Romeos.

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When launched in the US, Alfa Romeo organized a transatlantic luxury liner cruise from Genoa(Genova) to New York. They invited only celebrities like Vittorio Gassman, Rossella Falk, and the soprano Anna Moffo to enjoy the three 1600 Spiders displayed in Green, White, and Red colors.

Let’s talk about what makes this car so unique and what happened to the vehicle used in the film.

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How Good Was The Spider?

alfa romeo spider duetto Via: classicandsportscar.com

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One of the world’s most famous petrolheads, Hollywood legend Steve McQueen drove the 1600 Spider Duetto in the summer of 1966 and mentioned that this car is very forgiving while also praising its looks. After all, the legendary Ferrari designer Pininfarina group was in charge of the 1600 Spider. The cute little front grille squished by the symmetrical front bumpers just below the covered headlights make for such an innocent-looking car: how can anyone not love this cutie? There are more curves than straight edges, even in the rear end.

The 1600 Spider had some neat features like sensitive brakes, sharp steering, independent front suspension, and a well-balanced chassis. By no means would it be called a "slowpoke". The twin-cam 1.5-liter inline-4 engine made of aluminum delivered 108 HP. It might not be much today, but good enough back then for this lightweight beauty to be quick on the freeway. A five-speed manual transmission drove the Spider through the rear two wheels. When you see the scene mentioned above in ‘The Graduate’, you will notice that this car has one of the best sounding I4 engines of all time! The 1600 Spider belongs right up there with the Subaru WRX STi or the Lancer EVO. When developing the car, Alfa Romeo was confused between “Duetto” and “Cuttlefish.” They organized a competition in association with their European dealers. Duetto won, but Alfa had to use it as an unofficial name due to some legality issues.