Here's a piece Malcolm van Coller wrote for my Berlina Register newsletter on the SA market.
More on South African Alfa Scene
by Malcom van Coller
Alfa Romeo entered the SA market in 1960 and cars were built (from knocked-down kits (CKD)) in a factory in Booysens in Johannesburg with Giuliettas. These little 1300s caused a stir on the racetrack and beat big V8s and even the Porsches on the track. Demand grew in leaps and bounds. Later production (still CKD) was moved to the CDA (Car Distributors and Assemblers) in East London, who also built the Mercedes Benz cars in SA. In the late 60s the the CKD production was moved to Nissan, near Pretoria, and production moved from CKD to completely built in SA cars. This included the 1750 Berlinas. All Alfas built in South Africa (SA) were RHD models, of course.
With the introduction of the Alfetta, Alfa had a factory built in Brits (30 miles west of Pretoria) and moved all production there. The 2000 Berlinas came from that factory. All SA sold cars were initially build there after 1972/73, with the exception of post 1975 Spiders and some Alfa Six Saloons (119i V6). These imported cars were all LHD. In this period, Alfa SA was run by an Italian engineer, Vito Bianco.
SA chassis numbers can be confusing. Most SA cars had the normal VIN numbers stamped on the firewall, numbers that tie in with the numbers on the Berlina Register list. However, some cars, such as both my Berlina and Giulia Super Nuova, had no number stamped there, but rather both have a little plate pop-riveted onto the inside of the mudguard with an 'alien' VIN stamped on it. So SA cars may have one or the other number or both.
Officially, these are the numbers of Berlinas sold in SA, prices are quoted in Rand (R). At that stage the exchange rate was R1.00 = US $1.40
1969 R2995, number sold: 805
1970 R3100, number sold: 976
1971 R3250, number sold: 1165
1972 R3550, number sold: 825
1973 R3499, number sold: 62
1972 R3995, number sold: 937
1973 R3999, number sold: 1189
1974 R4145, number sold: 558
1975 R4445, number sold: 557
1976 R4920, number sold: 282
1977 R4920, number sold: 166
Alfa SA had about 4 percent of the SA market from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s. This rose to 7 percent in 1980 to 1984, and was mainly because of the launch of the "new" Giuliettas (first in 1800cc and in 1982 in 2000cc models). Sales were further boosted when the Giulietta was voted the SA Car of the Year in 1981 or 1982. The Alfetta 2000 won the Towing Car of the year, every year from about 1976 to 1982 when the Giulietta 2000 took over until Alfa SA's demise in September 1985.
Alfa SA also built some strange cars, ones you will not find in any international publications. Examples of these are:
Alfa Giulia 1600 Rallye: a 1600 motor in a stripped down (lightweight) 1300 body. It is said that 50 of these cars were produced, but nowhere was there any record of these cars.
Alfa Giulia 2000 Rallye: a 2000 Berlina motor was fitted to a 1600 Super body. It is also said that 50 of these cars were produced, but nowhere was any record kept of these cars. It is unclear what the reason for building these cars was.
Note: The Giulia 1600 and 2000 Rallyes were fitted with oil bath air cleaners. These were very restrictive, it just could not let enough air through for the need of these motors, so most owners threw these off and replaced them with the dry paper element filters, as per the standard Alfas of the time. These air cleaners were similar as those fitted to the early 1960s VW Beetles, but unlike the Beetle's single oil bath unit, the ones fitted to the Giulia Rallye were triple units, with three oil baths and three lids. These were certainly less restrictive, but nowhere near what the paper element's through flow was.
Alfasud 1300 Rallye: a 1300 Alfasud with a 1300 four-cylinder horizontally opposed engine. These cars came in either red or white, with a satin black engine hood. It came with rally-style bucket seats up front and rally-style seat belts. It was also fitted with a rear tail fin and an adjustable map reading light for the front passenger. The big (and only mechanical) difference between this car and the normal Alfasuds of the time was that it was fitted with Autodelta-made inlet manifolds and two downdraught twin choke 44 Webers.The standard Alfasud had a single progressive 32/28 downdraught carburettor.
Alfetta GTV6 3000: Alfa built 205 of these cars in conjunction with Autodelta. 200 had to be built to be homologated to race in SA. They were built to race in the Group N series. The were Alfa's answer to the BMW 530i and later the BMW 535i and Ford's Sierra V8 (Mustang V8 transplant). The GTV 3000 beat the competition 90 percent of the time.
Alfetta 2.5 V6: There is no record of exactly how many of these were built, but about 5 or 6 are known to exist. These was rumoured to have been prototypes built for racing but was abandoned in favour of the Alfetta GTV6 3000.
Alfetta 2000 Super Executive Turbo: 100 bodies were prepared but only 51 were actually fitted with turbo motors. It was a locally developed motor and body and included many GTV6 parts, such as suspension, twin plate clutch plates, 3-pot brake calipers and vented brake rotors, radiators and 5-stud wheels and HR-rated 14-inch tyres. It was also thought that these were built with any eye on getting the Alfetta Turbo homologated for Group N racing. I had one of these cars, Serial no. 0005. By turning up the turbo boost to one bar (about 13.4 psi), the car was good for 240 kph and 165 kw (about 150 mph and 220 hp)
Giulietta 2.5 V6: There is no record of exactly how many of these were built, but about 5 or 6 are known to exist. These was rumoured to have been prototypes built for racing but was abandoned in favour of the Alfetta GTV6 3000.
Giulietta 2000 Turbo: Alfa had ceased production of the Alfetta Super but had some turbo motors left, so they whipped out the standard 1800 Giulietta motors and fitted the 2000 turbo motors they had left into these bodies. No other mods were made, they left the brakes and suspension standard. They even left the steel rims and 165/70SR13 tyres on these cars!! Can you imagine all that power and speed on those tyres and brakes! About 40 of these cars were built.
One of the saddest parts of Alfa's withdrawal from SA was the destruction of Alfa Romeo parts that were worth millions. All manufacturers had an agreement with the SA government about paying import duties on spares. This made it possible for them to import the spares but to pay duties (around 20 percent) on the spares only when sold. These spares sat in a bonded warehouse until sold. Once the spares were sold to motor dealers and left the warehous, duties became payable. When Alfa left in 1985, the whole thing fell apart. Alfa could not re-export the spares without paying some of the duties, they did not have the money to release the spares to sell to the public in such a short time, and dealers did not have the need or capacity to buy all the spares up. Millions' worth of spares were packed onto a concrete parking lot and customs brought in a tractor to drive over and destroy the spares, just so that no duties would be payable. Can you believe such waste?