Alfa Romeo Alfetta

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Alfa Romeo Alfetta
Alfetta FL1.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Alfa Romeo
Also called Alfa Romeo 159i (sedan)
Production 1972–1987
Assembly Arese, Milan, Italy
Rosslyn, South Africa
Brits, South Africa
Designer Giuseppe Scarnati (Berlina)
Giorgetto Giugiaro/Centro Stile Alfa Romeo (GT)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
2-door coupé
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Related Alfa Romeo Giulietta (nuova)
FNM-Alfa Romeo 2300 (Rio)
Powertrain
Engine 1.6 L I4 (gasoline)
1.8 L I4 (gasoline)
2.0 L I4 (gasoline)
2.0 L I4 (turbo gasoline)
2.5 L V6 (gasoline)
2.6 L V8 (Autodelta)[1]
3.0 L V6 (gasoline)
2.0 L VM80A I4 (turbodiesel)
2.4 L VM81A I4 (turbodiesel)
Transmission De Dion transaxle
5-speed manual
3-speed ZF automatic[2]
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,510 mm (98.8 in)
2,400 mm (94.5 in) (GT/GTV/GTV6)
Length 4,270 mm (168.1 in)
Width 1,670 mm (65.7 in)
Height 1,435 mm (56.5 in)
Curb weight 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) (GTV)
1,210 kg (2,670 lb) (GTV6)
Chronology
Predecessor Alfa Romeo 2000
Successor Alfa Romeo 90

The Alfa Romeo Alfetta (Type 116) is an executive saloon car and fastback coupé produced by the Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo from 1972 to 1987. It was popular due to its combination of a modest weight with powerful engines, selling over 400,000 units until the end of its production run.

The Sedan had a body designed by Centro Stile Alfa Romeo, and the Alfetta GTV coupé (not to be confused with the more recent 1995 Alfa Romeo GTV, or the classic Giulia GTV), was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The Alfetta introduced a new drivetrain layout to the marque. Clutch and transmission were housed at the rear of the car, together with the differential for a more balanced weight distribution, as used on the Alfetta 158/159 Grand Prix cars. The Gold Cloverleaf (Quadrifoglio Oro) model was actually sold as the Alfetta 159i in some markets. The suspension relied on double wishbones and torsion bars at the front and a de Dion beam at the rear. The Alfetta was renewed in 1979 with a revised frontend, new wheel rims and new lights, as well as a diesel version. When leaving the factory all Alfettas originally fitted Pirelli Cinturato 165HR14 tyres (CA67).

Engines[edit]

Version Years Produced
Alfetta 1972–74 104,454
Alfetta (RHD) 1972–78 2,011
Alfetta 1.8 1975–83 67,738
Alfetta 1.6 1975–83 77,103
Alfetta 2000 1976–77 34,733
Alfetta 2000 (RHD) 1977 1,450
Alfetta 2000 L 1978–80 60,097
Alfetta 2.0 1981–84 48,750
Alfetta 2000 LI America 1978–81 1,000
Alfetta 2000 Turbodiesel 1979–84 23,530
Alfetta Quadrifoglio Oro 1982–84 19,340
Alfetta CEM 1983 991
Alfetta 2.4 Turbo Diesel 1983–84 7,220
Total 448,417

It was available with two four-cylinder DOHC engines with two valves per cylinder and a turbodiesel engine supplied by VM Motori.[3] The 1.6 and 1.8 L base models had two double-barrel carburettors, while the 2.0 DOHC received fuel injection in 1979.

The diesel, Alfa Romeo's first passenger car thus equipped, was initially of 2.0 litres, but was increased to 2.4 L in 1982. The diesel added 100 kg (220 lb) over the front axle, but for some reason it did not originally receive power steering as standard.[4] Nonetheless, respecting Alfa Romeo's sporting heritage, it received a tachometer - very unusual in diesels of this era.[4] The diesels were mostly sold in Italy and in France, as well as a few other continental European markets where the tax structure suited this model.

The four-door Alfetta was sold in the USA from 1975 through 1977 under the name Alfetta Sedan. From 1978 to 1979 a mildly restyled version was sold under the name Sport Sedan. The four-cylinder coupé was available from 1975 to 1977 under the moniker Alfetta GT, renamed the Sprint Veloce for the final two years of production in 1978 and 1979. Finally, the V-6 version was marketed from 1981 to 1986 as the GTV-6.

The Alfa Romeo Alfetta became well known throughout the world since it was Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro's official escort car, when, in 1978, he was first kidnapped, then killed, by the Italian Terrorist left-wing organization The Red Brigades. A fictionalised account of these events was produced as a critically well regarded Italian film, The Advocate, which also heavily featured Alfettas of all types, from Carabinieri 'Short Nose-Round Light' through to the Prime Minister's own 'Long Nose-Square Light' 2000 Super Saloon.

A special semi experimental version of CEM (Controllo Elettronico del Motore) was developed in 1981 in collaboration with the University of Genoa, it was made 10 examples derived from the "2.0", this engine could use two- or four-cylinder as needed in order to reduce fuel consumption. The cars were assigned to taxi drivers in Milan, to verify operation and performance in real-use situations. After the first trial, in 1983, was produced a small series (991 examples), which were entrusted to a select clients. Despite this second experimental phase, the project had no further developments.

South Africa[edit]

South African models were first assembled at Automaker's Rosslyn plant, located outside Pretoria. These early, 1973 models, were manufactured alongside Datsuns. From 1974 South African Alfetta's were manufactured at Alfa Romeo's own Brits plant. Beginning in October 1982, the car was marketed as the Alfa Romeo 159i, with the fuel injected two liter engine.[5]

Design and dynamics[edit]

The rear de Dion transaxle found on the Alfetta and derivatives- GTV, 90 and 75- provided these cars with excellent weight distribution. The advantages to handling were noticed in contemporary commentaries by motor testers such as Vicar.[6] The transaxle design, in combination with a Watt's parallelogram linkage, inboard rear brakes and a well-located de Dion rear suspension, resulted in excellent traction and handling. The front suspension design was also unusual in that it incorporated independent longitudinal torsion bar springs acting directly onto the lower wishbones and with separate dampers.

Alfetta GT and GTV[edit]

Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV
Early GTVs had these letters branded on the C-pillar

The Alfetta was the base for the GTV, a fastback coupé version of the saloon, introduced in 1974 as Alfetta GT, initially available only with the 1.8-litre (1,779 cc) version of the Alfa DOHC four.[7] These engines featured a chain driven 8-valve twin overhead cam cylinder head of cross-flow design. For 1976, with the final phasing out of the earlier 105 Series 1.3 and 1.6-litre coupés (GT 1300 Junior and GT 1600 Junior) and the 2.0-litre 105 series 2000 GTV, the Alfetta GT became a range, also available with the 1.6-litre (1,570 cc) and 2.0-litre (1,962 cc) versions of the same engine as the Alfetta GT 1.6, Alfetta GT 1.8 and Alfetta GTV 2000. The GTV designation was initially reserved for the 2.0-litre top version.

In 1979, some minor revisions, including a revised engine with new camshaft profiles and a change to mechanical-and-vacuum ignition advance, saw the 2.0-litre redesignated the Alfetta GTV 2000L. Autodelta also produced a limited edition turbocharged model, named Turbodelta, for FIA Group 4 homologation. This version used a KKK turbo which pushed power up to 175 PS (129 kW). The car also received a modified suspension layout. This was the first Italian petrol production car with a turbocharger.

The styling of the GTV, while distinctive, can be seen to share many design features derived from the Montreal supercar, as translated down to a simpler and thus more marketable vehicle. Examples of this are the bonnet line, which while briefer, still has 'scallops' for the headlights, and the tail light clusters which resemble those of the Montreal. The door shape is similar, and in a sharing of parts, both vehicles employ the same door handles.

In 1981, the GTV received a restyling, with grey plastic bumpers and all matte-black trim replacing bright stainless steel, the 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre versions were discontinued and the Alfetta 2000 GTV became the base coupé model as the Alfa GTV 2.0. The Alfetta name was dropped, but the two-litre coupé retained its type designation of 11636 for left-hand drive and 11637 for right-hand drive. 15-inch alloy wheels were now standard, as opposed to the earlier cars' 14-inch pressed steel or optional 14-inch alloy.


GTV6[edit]

Alfa Romeo GTV6
1986 Alfa Romeo GTV6 2.5 tipo 116.69 (US).jpg
1986 Alfa Romeo GTV6
Overview
Production 1980–1987
Body and chassis
Body style coupé
Powertrain
Engine 2.5 L V6
The bonnet bulge on the top of the intake is clearly visible on this GTV6

Later in the same year, the GTV6, a version of the GTV with the SOHC V6 2.5 L engine from the Alfa 6 luxury sedan, was released. As a result the hood received a bulge to clear the top of the intake and became its most pronounced feature. With Bosch fuel injection instead of the six downdraught Dell'Orto carburettors in the early Alfa 6 installation, the V6 was much easier to start and retained its state of tune much better. The V6 received rave reviews from the motoring press, which had previously lambasted the same engine in the Alfa 6 because of the carburettor problems. It found its true home in the GTV6 where it could stretch its legs better than in the less sporting Alfa 6 sedan. The fuel injection installation eventually made it into the second series of the Alfa 6 as well. The GTV went through a number of revisions, including a new gear ratios and an updated interior in 1984.

The GTV6 was a successful racing car, including winning the European Touring Car Championship an unprecedented four years in succession (1982–85), the British Touring Car Championship in 1983 at the hands of Andy Rouse, as well as many other racing and rallying competitions in national chsmpionships as France and Italy. A Group A GTV6 driven by French driver Yves Loubet won its class in 1983,1984, 1985 and 1986 Tour de Corse round of the World Rally Championship, showing the superb capabilities of the Alfa coupe in tarmac rallyes..

A GTV6 was driven to victory by Greg Carr and Fred Gocentas in the 1987 Australian Rally Championship.

Motor magazines have quoted the Busso V6 engine as one of the best sounding engines ever. The British Classic & Sportscar noted it as "The best sounding engine, this side of a Maserati V8".

A grey GTV6 is featured for a short period in the James Bond movie Octopussy. Bond (played by Roger Moore) steals the parked car in West Germany while its owner uses a pay phone booth and makes haste towards Octopussy's Circus, where he de-fuses a bomb planted by the villainous Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan).[8]

South African models were first assembled at Automaker's Rosslyn plant, located outside Pretoria. These early, 1973 models, were manufactured alongside Datsuns. From 1974 South African Alfetta's were manufactured at Alfa Romeo's own Brits plant. South Africa was one of two markets to have a turbocharged GTV6, with a Garrett turbocharger and a NACA intake. An estimated 750 were assembled before all production ceased in 1986. The South African market also introduced the 3.0 L GTV-6, predating the international debut of the factory's 3.0 L engine in 1987. 212 were built in South Africa for racing homologation.The last 6 GTV-6 3.0's were fuel injected. To this day, the GTV-6 remains the quintessential Alfa Romeo for South Africans.

For the U.S. market two limited production GTV6 models stand out. The Balocco (named after the famous Balocco test track in Italy) in 1982 with a production run of only 350 cars. The Balocco was available only in red with sunroof and black interior, leather-wrapped steering wheel and red piping on the seats. There were also two green Quadrifoglio badges fixed on the rear quarter trim pieces above a badge with the "Balocco SE" designation. A plaque inset in the glove box door designated the number of the car out of the series of 350 (XXX of 350) And the GTV6 2.5 Maratona, of which only 150 were built. The Maratona model included a more aggressive aerodynamic trim package, lightweight Speedline wheels, clear engine view port, sunroof, wood steering wheel and shift knob, rear louvers and Carello fog lamps. All 150 cars were available only painted Silver and with a black leather interior; and came with "Maratona" badging on the rear decklid, front fenders and glove box door. (The most notable feature of the Maratona, its aerodynamic kit, was also available as a dealer-installed option on other GTV-6 models.)

Callaway Cars, famous for their modified Camaro, Impala SS and Corvette offerings modified between thirty and thirty-six (depending on whether one "counts" those cars with Callaway components which were not assembled by Callaway but, instead, had those components fitted by Alfa Romeo dealers) twin-turbocharged GTV-6s between 1983 and 1986, of which the first five (the cars produced between 1983 and 1985; these were sold and titled as 1985 model year cars, save for the first prototype which was sold and titled as a 1984) were prototypes. Callaway "production models" were otherwise listed as from the 1986 model year.[9] In addition to numerous small component upgrades, the Callaway GTV6's included a somewhat revised suspension (most notably eschewing the metric Michelin TRX wheel/tire combination—then standard on the GTV6—in favor of Pirelli or Goodyear tires on conventionally sized BBS, Speedline or OZ lightweight alloys), improved brakes and, most importantly, a twin-turbocharger system, boosting performance to exotic levels. A different twin turbo GTV was also built briefly for the Australian market.

Version Years Produced
Alfetta GT (1.8) 1974–76 21,947
Alfetta GT (1.6) 1976–80 16,923
Alfetta GTV (2.0) 1976–78 31,267
Alfetta GTS (1.6) 1976–80
Alfetta GTV Strada (2.0) 1976–80
Alfetta GTV 2.6 V8 1977 20
Alfetta GTV L (2.0) 1978–80 26,108
Alfetta GTV 2000 America 1979–80
Alfetta 2000 Turbodelta 1979–80 400
Alfetta GTV 2.0 1980–83 10,352
GTV 2.0 1983–87 7,296
Alfetta GTV Grand Prix (2.0) 1981–82 650
Alfetta GTV 2.5 1980–83 11,468
GTV 2.5 1983–87 10,912
GTV 3.0 V6 1984–85 200
GTV 2.5 Twin Turbo 1985–86 36
Total 137,579

GT, GTV and GTV6 racing versions by Autodelta[edit]

Racing versions of the Alfetta GT and GTV were built by Autodelta, initially with the normally aspirated engines from the earlier GTAm racer based on the 105 series coupe, for homologation under FIA Group 2. There were some variations ranging from the Alfetta GT 1800 cc engines with 8 plugs heads or even 16-valve heads to the powerful 2-litre GTAm engine. In this form they were rallied with moderate success in 1975, winning the Elba and Costa Brava rallies overall, as well as winning the Group 2 category in the World Rally Championship's Corsican event. The next year Autodelta shifted its focus to circuit racing the Alfettas, which won the under 2.5-liter Group 2 division of the European Touring Car Championship, scoring a remarkable second place overall at the 24 hour race at Spa-Francorchamps, as well as an overall win in the ETC race at Vallelunga. Despite such results, Autodelta's efforts with the Group 2 Alfetta were desultory and ended prematurely due to Alfa's budgetary constraints and heavy commitments to Formula One and the World Championship for Sports Cars.

At the end of the 1975 season, Autodelta also rallied an Alfetta GTV with a 3.0-litre V8 engine, derived from the 2.6-litre V8 of the Alfa Romeo Montreal coupé and sharing the same mechanical fuel injection by SPICA. This version was driven by Ballestrieri in the relatively minor Valli Piacentine Rally, but development of the V8 Alfetta as a competition machine was not pursued when the plan to produce 400 roadgoing versions of this model for homologation was abandoned. Around twenty 2.6-litre V8-engined Alfetta GTVs were built by Autodelta at the request of the German Alfa importer in 1977, where they were sold for DM50,000, considerably more than the DM20,990 charged for an Alfetta GTV2000.[10]

In 1980 the Alfetta GTV Turbodelta was already homologated in FIA Group 4, since the required number of production cars had been built. A racing version was campaigned in rallies. Despite scoring a win at the Danube Rally, development of the Alfetta Turbodelta was not pursued; introduction of the Giulietta Turbo and the GTV6 being imminent and the competition department being engaged in preparing to adapt to the 1981/82 change in FIA homologation categories for production-based cars from Group 2 and 4 to Group N and Group A. In the cases of the Group N and A GTV6, events would prove that Alfa was very well prepared.

In 1986 Alfa Romeo GTV6 was one of the fastest Group A rally cars.[11] In 1986 production of the GTV6 ceased and Alfa Romeo turned its Group A racing and rallying efforts to the 75/Milano sedans, which were based on the same rear transaxle chassis. However, 1986 also saw the GTV6 post one of its finest rallying victories when Yves Loubet's example won the Group A in the tragic 1986 Tour de Corse and placed 3rd overall among the monstrously powerful four-wheel-drive Group B cars.

Engines[edit]

Alfetta GT engine bay
GTV6 engine
Model Engine Volume Power Torque Note
1.6 I4 1,590 cc 109 PS (80 kW) at 5,600 rpm 142 N·m (105 lb·ft) at 4,300 rpm
1.8 I4 1,779 cc 122 PS (90 kW) at 5,500 rpm 167 N·m (123 lb·ft) at 4,400 rpm
2.0 I4 1,962 cc 122 PS (90 kW) at 5,300 rpm 175 N·m (129 lb·ft) at 4,000 rpm
2.0 I4 1,962 cc 130 PS (96 kW) at 5,400 rpm 178 N·m (131 lb·ft) at 4,000 rpm
2.0 Turbo I4 1,962 cc 150 PS (110 kW) at 5,500 rpm 231 N·m (170 lb·ft) at 3,500 rpm GTV 2000 Turbodelta
2.5 V6 V6 2,492 cc 160 PS (118 kW) at 5,600 rpm 213 N·m (157 lb·ft) at 4,000 rpm GTV6
2.5 V6 Twin Turbo V6 2,492 cc 233 PS (171 kW) at 5,600 rpm 332 N·m (245 lb·ft) at 2,500 rpm GTV6 Callaway
2.6 V8 V8 2,593 cc 200 PS (147 kW) at 6,500 rpm 270 N·m (199 lb·ft) at 4,750 rpm GTV8, Autodelta limited edition
2.0 Turbodiesel I4 1,995 cc 82 PS (60 kW) at 4,300 rpm 162 N·m (119 lb·ft) at 2,300 rpm saloon only
2.4 Turbodiesel I4 2,393 cc 95 PS (70 kW) at 4,300 rpm 196 N·m (145 lb·ft) at 2,300 rpm saloon only

References[edit]

  1. ^ Röthig, Gernot (July 1977), "Die 100 Träume des Herrn Reiff" [Mister Reiff's 100 dreams], Auto Zeitung (in German): 61–67 
  2. ^ "1979 Alfa Romeo Alfetta Sport Sedan". sportscarmarket.com. Archived from the original on 16 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  3. ^ "Automotive/Past vehicles/Alfa Romeo Alfetta". VM Motori. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  4. ^ a b Costa, André & Georges-Michel Fraichard, ed. (September 1981). Salon 1981: Toutes les Voitures du Monde. l'Auto Journal (in french) (Paris: Homme N°1) (14 & 15): 88. 
  5. ^ Mastrostefano, Raffaele, ed. (1985). Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1985 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. p. 34. ISBN 88-7212-012-8. 
  6. ^ Cars and Vehicle Magazine, May 1973
  7. ^ "Alfa Romeo Alfetta & GTV". carsfromitaly.net. Archived from the original on 31 July 2007. 
  8. ^ "1981 Alfa Romeo GTV 6 in Octopussy, Movie, 1983". imcdb.org. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  9. ^ "An Afternoon with Reeves Callaway". alfacentro.com. Archived from the original on 15 July 2007. 
  10. ^ Taylor, Bruce. "Montreal GTV". The Alfa Romeo Montreal Website. Retrieved 2010-12-15.  (click "Montreal GTV" in the Index)
  11. ^ "Alfa Romeo GTV6 Specifications & History". rallye-info.com. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 

External links[edit]