Movie Cars: 5 Things About the Gorgeous Red Alfa Duetto Spider in The Graduate

In the opening scene of The Graduate, Mike Nichols’ classic 1968 film starring Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock and Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson, Ben is asked by Mrs. Robinson to drive her home – leading to one of the movie’s many memorable scenes.

Eager to get away from his own graduation party, he drives her home in the “little Italian job” sports car he has received as a college graduation present from his parents. On the ride over, Mrs. Robinson asks, “What kind of car is this?” Ben replies, “I don’t know.”

While Ben may not have known, car aficionados could have given her the answer. That gorgeous, bright-red convertible was a 1966 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider, the kind of thing dreams are made of – sort of like Mrs. Robinson?

Here are five things to know about it:

1. The two-seat convertible roadster was designed by Battista “Pinin” Farina, founder of the famed Italian coachbuilding company Carrozzeria Pininfarina.

2. Distinctive for its sharp nose, boat-tailed rear end, and enclosed glass headlights, the Duetto – known officially as the Alfa Romeo Spider 1600 because of trademark issues – went into production the year before The Graduate’s debut.

3. Powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine, the Duetto Spider could do 0-60 in about 10 seconds and had a top speed of 118 mph.

4. The car’s inclusion in the film may have been an early example of product placement – Dustin Hoffman’s uncle was an Alfa Romeo importer.

5. The Duetto Spider wasn’t commercially successful – its $4,000 price proved to be prohibitive. Only about 6,000 of the Series 1 Spiders were produced before the Spider Veloce 1750 replaced it. In the 1980s, Alfa Romeo introduced a Spider model with a Graduate trim level.