Alfa Romeo Alfetta

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"Alfetta" redirects here. For the racing car, see Alfa Romeo 158/159 Alfetta.
Alfa Romeo Alfetta
Alfetta FL1.jpg
Manufacturer Alfa Romeo
Also called Alfa Romeo 159i
Alfa Romeo Sport Sedan
Production 1972–1987
Designer Giuseppe Scarnati (Berlina)
Giorgetto Giugiaro/Centro Stile Alfa Romeo (GT)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
2-door coupé
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Related Alfa Romeo Giulietta (nuova)
Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
FNM-Alfa Romeo 2300
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]
Wheelbase 2,510 mm (98.8 in)
2,400 mm (94.5 in) (GT)
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)
Predecessor Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina (sedan)
Alfa Romeo 105/115 Series Coupés (coupe)
Successor Alfa Romeo 90 (sedan)
Alfa Romeo 916 Series GTV (coupe)

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 Alfetta name (Little Alfa in Italian) came from the nickname of the Alfa Romeo Tipo 159 Alfetta, a successful Formula One car which in its latest 1951 iteration paired a transaxle layout to De Dion tube rear suspension, like the modern saloon.[3][4]

Design and dynamics[edit]

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 suspension relied on double wishbones and torsion bars at the front and a De Dion tube at the rear. When leaving the factory all Alfettas originally fitted Pirelli Cinturato 165HR14 tyres (CA67).

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.[5] 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.


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

At launch in 1972 the Alfetta's only engine was a 1.8-litre, 16-valve DOHC four-cylinder. A 1.6 L DOHC base model was added in 1975, easily recognizable by its single round front headlights. Both models had two double-barrel carburettors. A 2.0 L DOHC joined the range in 1977, and received fuel injection in 1979.

The Alfetta was renewed in 1979 with a revised frontend, new wheel rims and new lights, as well as a turbodiesel version, whose engine was supplied by VM Motori.[6] 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.[7] Nonetheless, respecting Alfa Romeo's sporting heritage, it received a tachometer - very unusual in diesels of this era.[7] 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 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 organisation 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 called CEM (Controllo Elettronico del Motore, or Electronic Engine Management) was developed in 1981 in collaboration with the University of Genoa. The engine could use two or four cylinders as needed in order to reduce fuel consumption. An initial batch of 10 examples were assigned to taxi drivers in Milan, to verify operation and performance in real-world situations. After the first trial, in 1983, a small series (991 examples) was produced. 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, he Gold Cloverleaf (Quadrifoglio Oro) model was marketed as the Alfa Romeo 159i, with the fuel injected two liter engine.[8]

North America[edit]

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.


For information about the later front-wheel drive GTV (916), see Alfa Romeo GTV and Spider.

Alfetta GT and GTV[edit]

Alfetta GTV 2.0
Rear view of an Alfetta GT 1.6

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.[9] 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 (GT 1300 Junior and GT 1600 Junior and 2000 GTV), the Alfetta GT became a range; the 1.8 was discontinued in favour of the the 1.6-litre (1,570 cc) Alfetta GT 1.6 and 2.0-litre (1,962 cc) Alfetta GTV 2.0. At the same time some updates were introduced, such as a new front grille with horizontal slats and two series of vents beneath it. The GTV was distinguished from the 1.6 version by twin chrome whiskers in the grille and GTV scripts carved in the ventilation vents on the C-pillar.

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 introduced a limited edition 2.0-litre turbocharged model, named Turbodelta, of which 400 were made 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.

Alfetta GTVs C-pillar logo

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.

GTV 2.0[edit]

Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV

In 1980, the GT received a restyling. Outside there were new one-piece tail lights, grey plastic bumpers, C-pillar vents and side skirts; all bright stainless steel save for the Alfa Romeo triangular grille was changed to matte-black trim. The 1.6-litre version was discontinued and the Alfetta GTV became known simply as Alfa Romeo 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 disc-shaped alloy wheels were now standard, as opposed to the earlier cars' 14-inch pressed steel or optional 14-inch alloy.


Alfa Romeo GTV6
1986 Alfa Romeo GTV6 2.5 tipo 116.69 (US).jpg
1986 Alfa Romeo GTV6
Production 1980–1987
Body and chassis
Body style coupé
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 L-Jetronic 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 Gran Turismo body 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 very successful racing car; the 116 type chassis developed for racing since its first outing in the 1974 San Martino di Castrozza rallye. The racing successes included winning the European Touring Car Championship an unprecedented four years in succession (1982–85)[citation needed], the British Touring Car Championship in 1983 driven by Andy Rouse, as well as many other racing and rallying competitions in national championships as France and Italy.[citation needed] A Group A GTV6 driven by French driver Yves Loubet won its class four years in succession from 1983 to 1986 in the Tour de Corse round of the World Rally Championship.[citation needed]

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).[10]

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 8 2.6 1977 20
Alfetta GTV L (2.0) 1978–80 26,108
Alfetta GTV 2000 America 1979–80
Alfetta 2000 Turbodelta 1979–80 400
GTV 2.0 1980–83 10,352
GTV 2.0 1983–87 7,296
GTV 2.0 Grand Prix 1981–82 650
GTV6 2.5 1980–83 11,468
GTV6 2.5 1983–87 10,912
GTV6 3.0 V6 1984–85 200
GTV6 2.5 Twin Turbo 1985–86 36
Total 137,579

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. 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.

North America[edit]

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.

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.[11] 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.

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.[12]

In 1980 the Alfetta GTV Turbodelta was already homologated in FIA Group 4, since the required number of production engines had been built and fitted to Alfetta Turbodelta Stradale and Nuova Giulietta Turbodelta models. A racing version was campaigned in rallies and developed during 1979 and 1980 seasons: Cars, being backed by Jolly Club were driven by Pregliasco, Ormezzano and Verini. The last development of the Gp.4 Turbodelta featured wide arches, 15x11 Campagnolo rims shod with massive 290mm tyres, big brakes, light body and huge engine bonnet covering induction to intercooler and turbo system.

Despite scoring a win at the Danube Rally, development of the Gp.4 Alfetta Turbodelta was not pursued as Carlo Chitti, Autodelta chief engineer, had more interest in SportsCars and F1. Other consideration were the 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.[13] 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.


Alfetta GT engine bay
GTV6 engine
Model Engine Volume Power Torque Note
1.6 I4 1,570 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


  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". Archived from the original on 16 July 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2007. 
  3. ^ "Auto test—Alfa Romeo Alfetta". Autocar: 20–25. 20 April 1974. 
  4. ^ C. R. (June 1974). "The Alfa Romeo Alfetta". Motor Sport L (6): 576–578. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Cars and Vehicle Magazine, May 1973
  6. ^ "Automotive/Past vehicles/Alfa Romeo Alfetta". VM Motori. Retrieved 4 July 2007. 
  7. ^ a b Costa, André; Fraichard, Georges-Michel, eds. (September 1981). "Salon 1981: Toutes les Voitures du Monde". l'Auto Journal (in French) (Paris: Homme N°1) (14 & 15): 88. 
  8. ^ Raffaele, Mastrostefano, ed. (1985). Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1985 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. p. 34. ISBN 88-7212-012-8. 
  9. ^ "Alfa Romeo Alfetta & GTV". Archived from the original on 31 July 2007. 
  10. ^ "1981 Alfa Romeo GTV 6 in Octopussy, Movie, 1983". Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  11. ^ "An afternoon with Reeves Callaway". Archived from the original on 15 July 2007. 
  12. ^ Taylor, Bruce. "Montreal GTV". The Alfa Romeo Montreal Website. Retrieved 15 December 2010.  (click "Montreal GTV" in the Index)
  13. ^ "Alfa Romeo GTV6 Specifications & History". Retrieved 28 May 2007. 

External links[edit]