7 February 2017

eBay Find of the Week: The last Alfa sedan

1991 Alfa Romeo 164

Many Americans were likely surprised to see Alfa Romeo ads in last weekend’s Super Bowl. Our non-auto-enthusiast friends who can even recall the brand in this country most likely remember their sportier offerings. While we certainly appreciate raucous Italian sports cars, we know that the Milanese company has a long history of performance coupes and sedans, like this 164.

This was the last model that Alfa Romeo offered before abandoning the U.S. market in 1996. Unlike the new rear-wheel drive Giulia, this model was front-wheel drive and shared its platform with the Saab 9000 (along with Fiat and Lancia models never offered for sale here). Unique to the Alfa, however, was the spectacular 3-liter V-6. I drove one of these extensively when they were new and I still recall the sound of that engine… and those chrome intake runners, che bella.

Fairly rare, only around 6,000 164s were sold in the United States from 1990-1995. This example, a base L model differed from the sportier S by 17 horsepower (183 vs. 200), less bolstered seats and add-on body cladding. This car appears to be in amazing original condition and who could argue with red?

The Pininfarina-designed body was cleanly styled in all of its square-edged purity. The interior was equally interesting and bespoke, marred only by a Chrysler-sourced stereo head unit and an automatic shifter.

2 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Will Owen Pasadena CA February 8, 2017 at 20:41
    We have a 164S, though frankly I would be happy without the extra power and the ten-pound spoiler wing on the decklid. Especially the latter, Most 164s sold here actually came with the five-speed manual, a very nice box to use. As for the FWD, unless you drop the hammer hard in first gear you might never know which wheels do the driving. The handling is sure-footed and neutral under any amount of flogging I've done; it is less agile than my Milano, but not by much.
  • 2
    Harry Villeneuve QC - Quebec February 13, 2017 at 10:04
    MY wife and i fell in love with a 1992 164L in 1995 when i took a BMW in for service. The garage had taken it in on a trade. MY wife loved the luxurious, spacious leather interior...and me , well , the beautiful V6 with Chrome intakes under the hood...and yes that engine sound was amazing...the car was a bargain at the time as the rumours were there would be no more and the whole service issue was uncertain. We bought it anyways and never regretted it....turns out many independant Alfa garages were eager and knowledgeable to maintain the car and we drove the car for seven years without any major issues. Everywhere we went, people would compliment and admire the car, we met so many nice people just driving around town and going on trips with it. We drove from Montreal to Florida and back...best car trip of my life. Only regret is having sold it to buy a north american daily driver ! :-(

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