Pretty much ALL the 916 parts I order through the local dealer have to come from Italy. Even the ones that are freely available on the web. Currently I'm waiting for two of these springs from the dealer
Alfa Romeo Spider Door Handle
I placed an order for:
the two springs
set of headlight gaskets (the foam ones that go on the inside of the bonnet)
complete inner door seal (not the trailing edge outer's that always go)
insulating ring and cap for the radio aerial
the springs and the door seal are available from some of the better Alfa parts websites. The reason I went via the dealer is because it was actually cheaper and I don't have to deal with South Africa's appalling postal service. All of the above parts had to come from Italy. The springs are still holding up my order. I think it comes down to simple logistics and warehousing. There's not alot of people buying 916 parts therefore they're not going to use up valuable warehouse space on parts that may sit there for years. When i recently bought a new fuse box lid (also came from Italy) I noticed it had a 2004 manufacturing date. So it's been sitting on a shelf somewhere in Italy since then.
Just out of interest one lucky score I got was the liner/carpet for the cubby behind the front seats of the Spider. AR South Africa went to a great deal of effort to locate for me the absolute last one at some dealer in Eastern Europe. It was moved back to 'central parts distribution' in Italy then onto Johannesburg.
It might be helpful to establish a 'stickie thread' listing all the end of availability parts and where to find alternatives.
original part number 60658051 - 3.0 24v inlet pipe - available at: EBspares and Autolusso
Coolant header tank - all 916 models - available at: EBspares