Alfa Romeo Sprint

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Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint
Alfa Romeo Sprint
1983 Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint (6981573552).jpg
1978–1983 Alfasud Sprint
Manufacturer Alfa Romeo
Production 1976–1989
Assembly Italy: Pomigliano d'Arco
South Africa: Brits, North West[1]
Designer Giorgetto Giugiaro at Italdesign
Body and chassis
Body style 3-door coupé
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
  • 1.2 L Boxer H4 (petrol)
  • 1.3 L Boxer H4 (petrol)
  • 1.5 L Boxer H4 (petrol)
  • 1.7 L Boxer H4 (petrol)
Transmission 5-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,455 mm (96.7 in)
Length 4,019–4,024 mm (158.2–158.4 in)
Width 1,610–1,620 mm (63–64 in)
Height 1,305–1,297 mm (51.4–51.1 in)
Curb weight 915 kg (2,017 lb)
Predecessor Alfa Romeo GT Junior
Successor Alfa Romeo GT

The Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint (later only Alfa Romeo Sprint) is a boxer-engined coupé produced by the Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo from 1976 to 1989, and based on the Alfa Romeo Alfasud. 116,552 units of the Alfasud Sprint and Sprint were built in total.[1] The Sprint was sold in Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.


1976–1978 Alfasud Sprint

1976–83: Alfasud Sprint[edit]

The Alfasud Sprint was prestented to the press in September 1976 in Baia Domizia (Caserta),[2][3] and shown at the Turin Motor Show in November.[4] Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro like the Alfasud, whose mechanicals it was based on, it had a lower, more angular design, featuring a hatchback (although no folding rear seats). The Alfasud Sprint was assembled together with the Alfasud in the Pomigliano d'Arco plant, located in southern Italy—hence the original "Sud" moniker, which means south in Italian. Under the Alfasud Sprint's bonnet there was a new version of the Alfasud's 1186 cc four-cylinder boxer engine, stroked to displace 1,286 cc (78 cu in), fed by a twin-choke carburator and developing 76 PS (56 kW; 75 hp) at 6,000 rpm.[4] Mated to the flat-four was a five-speed, all-synchromesh gearbox. The interior was upholstered in dark brown Texalfa leatherette and tartan cloth. Options were limited to alloy wheels, a quartz clock and metallic paint.

In May 1978 the Alfasud Sprint underwent its first updates, both cosmetic and technical.[5] Engine choice was enlarged to two boxers, shared with the renewed Alfasud ti, a 79 PS (58 kW; 78 hp) 1.3 (1,350 cc) and a 85 PS (63 kW; 84 hp) 1.5 (1,490 cc);[5] the earlier 1286 cc units was not offered anymore, remaining exclusive to the Alfasud. Outside many exterior details were changed from chrome to matte black stainless steel or plastic, such as the wing mirrors, window surrounds and C-pillar ornaments; the B-pillar also received a black finish, the side repeaters changed position and became square, and the front turn signals switched from white to amber lenses. In the cabin the seats had more pronounced bolsters and were upholstered in a new camel-coloured fabric. Just one year later, in June 1979, another engine update arrived and the Alfasud Sprint became the Alfasud Sprint Veloce.[6] Thanks to double twin-choke carburetors (each choke feeding a single cylinder) and a higher compression ratio engine output increased to 86 PS (63 kW; 85 hp) and 95 PS (70 kW; 94 hp), respectively for the 1.3 and 1.5.[7]

1983–89: Sprint[edit]

Alfa Romeo Sprint 1.7 Quadrifoglio Verde (1983–1987)

In February 1983 Alfa Romeo updated all of its sports cars; the Sprint received a major facelift.[8] Thereafter the Alfasud prefix and Veloce suffix were abandoned, and the car was known as Alfa Romeo Sprint; this also in view of the release of the Alfa Romeo 33, which a few months later replaced the Alfasud family hatchback. The Sprint also received a platform upgrade, which was now the same as that of the Alfa Romeo 33; this entailed modified front suspension, brakes mounted in the wheels instead of inboard like on the Alfasud, and drum brakes at the rear end.[1] Three models made up the Sprint range: 1.3 and 1.5, with engines and performance unchanged from the Alfasud Sprint Veloce, and the new 1.5 Quadrifoglio Verde—1.5 Cloverleaf in the UK. A multitude of changes were involved in the stylistic refresh; there were a new grille, headlamps, wing mirrors, window surrounds and C-pillar ornaments. Bumpers went from chrome to plastic, and large plastic protective strips were added to the body sides; both sported coloured piping, which was grey for 1.3 cars, red for the 1.5 and green for the 1.5 Quadrifoglio. At the rear new trapezoidal tail light assemblies were pieced together with the license plate holder by a black plastic fascia, topped by an Alfa Romeo badge—never present on the Alfasud Sprint. In the cabin there were new seats with cloth seating surfaces and Texalfa backs, a new steering wheel and changes to elements of the dashboard and door panels. Sprint 1.3 and 1.5 came with steel wheels with black hubcaps from the Alfasud ti.

The newly introduced 1.5 Quadrifoglio Verde sport variant was shown at the March 1983 Geneva Motor Show.[9] Its engine was the 1,490 cc carburated boxer, revised to put out 105 PS (77 kW; 104 hp) at 6,000 rpm; front brake discs were vented and the gearing shorter. In addition to the green bumper piping, also specific to the Quadrifoglio were a green instead of chrome scudetto in the front grille, a rear spoiler and 8-hole grey painted alloy wheels with metric Michelin TRX 190/55 tyres. Inside a three-spoke leather-covered steering wheel, green carpets and sport seats in black cloth with green embroidery.

In November 1987 the Sprint was updated for the last time; the 1.3 variant was carried over, while the 1.5 engine was phased out and the 1.5 QV was superseded by the 118 PS (87 kW; 116 hp) Sprint 1.7 Quadrifoglio Verde.[10] The 1,286 cc (78 cu in) engine was directly derived from the 33 1.7 Quadrifoglio Verde,[1] and could propel the Sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in 9.3 seconds; to cope with the increased engine power, the 1.7 QV adopted vented brake discs upfront. the coloured piping and side plastic strips were deleted, and the Quadrifoglio had alloy wheels of a new design. A fuel injected and 3-way Catalytic converter-equipped 1.7 variant, with an engine again derived from a 33,[1] was added later for dale on specific markets.

There were a total of 116,552 Sprints produced during its lifespan, which lasted from 1976 to 1989. 15 of these formed the basis of the Australian-built Giocattolo sports car, which used a mid-mounted Holden 5.0 group A V8 engine.[11] The Sprint had no direct predecessor or successor. In more recent times it found an heir in the Alfa Romeo GT, a coupé derived from the Alfa Romeo 156 and 147—or the grand granddaughter of the Alfasud.


The 4.02 metres (158.3 in) long coupe has a very low profile and is representative of late 70s and 80s Italian car design. A year earlier than the Sprint but from the same drawing board, although with slightly different proportions, another classic 70s design was created - the Volkswagen Golf.

Until 1983 the Alfasud Sprint had stainless steel bumpers, restyling in 1983 brought plastic and lower bumpers, a different grille, and some other upgrades like 14-inch (360 mm) Italspeed wheels with 8 circles and nonstandard Michelin 340 mm tyres. Depending on equipment, some Sprints had plastic side bumpers and rear spoiler (mainly Quadrifoglio Verde). The most common was the Zender pack add-in, with lower bumpers and sideskirts, sold mostly in the UK and a few other countries.


The Alfa Sprint is a 2+2, with two seats in front and two in the rear. The two front seats came in two versions, an ordinary version and sport version with elongated thigh bolsters. An uncommon feature is the ignition key, which is on the left side of the steering wheel (instead of the more common right). On the middle console there are a few switches for the front and rear fog lamps, the rear window defroster and rear window wiper. Next to this is an analog clock by Jaeger instruments; until 1983, after which it was replaced with a digital one. Underneath are the ventilation control levers, one for hot, a second one for cold air intake, a and third to distribute flow to upper or lower vents. The rear cargo area has a capacity of 425 litres (15 cubic feet), largely due to the high profile at the rear, and it has a leather cover to conceal items from view.


Initially the Sprint had disc brakes all around, the front ones being the inboard brake type. At the front there is independent MacPherson strut suspension, and at the rear a rigid axle with trailing beams and a Panhard rod. From 1984 all Sprints got the Alfa Romeo 33 floorpan and modified front suspension and front brakes (no longer of the inboard type). The rear end now had drum brakes.[1] This means that the Alfa 33 (1st generation) and Sprint 83-89 practically share the same mechanics.[12] This is helpful when finding parts for 2nd generation Sprints, since 10 times more Alfa 33s were produced.[13]


Model Years Displacement
Bore x stroke
Fuel system Peak power
PS (kW bhp)
Peak torque
N·m (lb·ft)
Top speed
km/h (mph)
Alfasud Sprint 1976–78 1,286 cc (78.5 cu in)
80.0x64.0 mm
twin-choke carburator 76 (56; 75) at 6,000 rpm n/a 165 (103)
Alfasud Sprint 1.3 1978–79 1,351 cc (82.4 cu in)
80.0x67.2 mm
twin-choke carburator 79 (58; 78) at 6,000 rpm 111 (82) at 3,500 rpm 165 (103)
Alfasud Sprint Veloce 1.3 1979–83 2 twin-choke carburators 86 (63; 85) at 5,800 rpm 119 (88) at 4,000 rpm +170 (106)
Sprint 1.3 1983–87
Sprint 1.3 1987–89 173 (107)
Alfasud Sprint 1.5 1978–79 1,489 cc (90.9 cu in)
84.0x67.2 mm
twin-choke carburator 85 (63; 84) at 5,800 rpm 121 (89) at 3,500 rpm 170 (106)
Alfasud Sprint Veloce 1.5 1979–83 2 twin-choke carburators 95 (70; 94) at 5,800 rpm 130 (96) at 4,000 rpm +175 (109)
Sprint 1.5 1983–87
Sprint 1.5 Quadrifoglio Verde 1983–87 105 (77; 104) at 6,000 rpm 133 (98) at 4,000 rpm +180 (112)
Sprint 1.7 Quadrifoglio Verde 1987–89 1,712 cc (104.5 cu in)
87.0x72.0 mm
2 twin-choke carburators 118 (87; 116) at 6,000 rpm 152 (112)148 (109) at 3,500 rpm 196 (122)
Sprint 1.7 i.e. Quadrifoglio Verde 1987–89 fuel injection 105 (77; 104) at 6,000 rpm n/a n/a
  • In a supercar called the Giocattolo built in Caloundra in Queensland, Australia, the Alfa 2.5 V6 (2,492 cc, 160 bhp) was mid mounted in a few prototypes.
  • The later versions of these Sprint-based supercars had a Holden 5.0 Walkinshaw group V8 as fitted to the VL Commodore group A cars along with a ZF transaxle, giving them a power-to-weight ratio on par with a Mclaren F1.

Alfa Romeo Sprint 6C[edit]

There were a few prototypes of 2.5 V6 rear mounted engine rear wheel drive Sprints built by Autodelta, but this vehicle never made full serial production (Sprint 6C).[14]


The Alfa Sprint used to be a very popular racing car in the late 70s until 1983. Sprint Trofeo was a well known European GT competition in those years. Still, Alfa Sprints are being used in significant numbers as racing cars, mostly in historic cups or hill climbing races, its popularity mainly due to its good handling capabilities.


The Alfa Romeo Sprint was one of the best handling small coupes of its time. Although of only average build-quality, they were fun to drive and very predictable. With the engine mounted over the front wheels and a very low center of gravity due to the flat (boxer) engine, it has a unique way of driving in curves.

The Alfasud Sprint has justifiably been criticized about rust and poor build quality, the rust being a result of both the quality of the cheaply bought Russian steel used for the Alfasuds at the time (which happened to contain quite some impurities),[15] and the method of transporting the unpainted bodyworks through any kind of weather on open trolleys, towards the painting-plant in a separate building[citation needed]. Word has it they often arrived already slightly rusty in named painting-plant, and subsequently still were painted anyway; and without any of the protectives so common nowadays[by whom?]. Alfa Romeo Sprint did not have the quality problems of the Alfasud.[15]

The Sud's penchant for rust gave Alfas in general a bad name in this respect, which until today haunts their reputation; even though their more recent and current cars are not more rust-prone than most other car-brands.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Alfasud International". Archived from the original on 30 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  2. ^ Fusi, Luigi (1978). Alfa Romeo—Tutte le vetture dal 1910—All cars from 1910 (3rd ed.). Milan: Emmeti Grafica editrice. pp. 779–782. 
  3. ^ Rogliatti, Gianni (28 September 1976). "Alfasud Sprint 1300, "napoletana" vivace". La Stampa (in Italian). p. 15. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Cinti, Fulvio (10 November 1976). "Le vetture dei giovani". Stampa Sera (in Italian). p. 10. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Villare, Renzo (20 May 1978). "Altre due Alfasud, e fanno otto". La Stampa (in Italian). p. 13. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Ancora più potenza per il coupé Alfasud". La Stampa (in Italian). 23 June 1979. p. 17. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Alfasud sprint, ora più veloce". La Stampa (in Italian). 19 June 1979. p. 13. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  8. ^ Fenu, Michele (25 February 1983). "Sempre più Sprint e sempre più veloce". La Stampa (in Italian). p. 15. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  9. ^ Fenu, Michele (24 February 1983). "Uno, «regina» anche a Ginevra". Stampa Sera (in Italian). p. 23. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "L'Alfa Romeo rinnova i coupé Sprint". La Stampa (in Italian). 13 November 1987. p. 19. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2007. 
  12. ^ "Alfa Romeo 33". Archived from the original on 31 July 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2007. 
  13. ^ "Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint". Archived from the original on 10 August 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2007. 
  14. ^ "Reaparece el misterioso Sprint 6C en el Rétromobile de París". (in Spanish). Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "Alfa Romeo Alfasud and Sprint". Retrieved 2 April 2012. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint at Wikimedia Commons