Re: Buying a Spider...Advise required please........
I'd agree with the last point - if you do go for a power hood - check that the seller demonstrates it (several times) and ask them if the motor has been replaced, or any of the rams. I've driven a 2.0 GTV and now own a 3.0 v6 spider. Have to say the 3.0 has the edge and has an AMAZING tone to it, but both are great fun to drive. So, for your last question, take it from me, I've got a 2001 spider and the power hood needs 2 rams replacing and a new motor (I found this out at the sale, and negotiated a £800 drop in price).
Check the electrics - I test drove nearly a dozen spiders in my 6-month search for the 'right one' and found that in 3 cases, there were annoying electrical glitches (if I remember rightly, one had a defunct passenger side mirror and the intermittent wipe didn't, car 2 also had a misfunctioning power mirror and car 3 had zero dashboard illuminators) all simplish to sort out, but you can use it to negotiate on price.
Also, check for oil leaks - and on a test drive get the owner to drive, and get them to give it some welly whilst you watch the back between gear changes - check for black smoke behind as, for the V6 anyway, they can be prone to burning a bit of oil. Any plumes of smoke could signify a costly gasket problem or similar.
Check for wear and tear on the back corners of the roof as well - sometimes unscrupulous owners are a bit less than careful when folding the roof away (I saw half a dozen with weak areas).
If you're spending 6-7k you should be able to pick up a decent 5-6 year old motor with a sub 70,000 mileage. I wouldn't look at anything much above 70k as, well, you should have a few lower mileage ones to choose from.
The soft top is plastic - which is about 90 quid to replace. It does get 'swirles' and scratches but you can buy a good restorer which will lengthen its life somewhat.
If you're only doing around 3k a year, get your insurance mileage-restricted. Makes a hell of a difference (well, it did for me).
I spent 6200 on a 2001 3.0 v6 Lusso - black interior and exterior on 64,000 miles with an FSH and it is the most fun I've ever had in a car (other than that time in Brighton....