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tdskip 02-23-2016 05:49 PM

How do the Alfetta Sedan's drive?
Hi guys - came across a lonely 1979 Alfetta Sedan and was wondering if anyone here has a link to road tests or can pass along what they are like to drive. I loved my Berlina, but don't want to assume the experience is similar.


Del 02-23-2016 07:13 PM

Better handling. Changing the rear suspension to what the Alfetta has made a big difference, IMO. You would like the Alfetta better all around I think. We put 180k miles on our 78 sedan, and my wife was sorry to see it go, replacing it with a new 89 Milano, similar but with the V6. It lives a nice life now south of Boston as far as I know.

tdskip 02-23-2016 08:08 PM

Thanks Del.

Let me poke at this one and see how she looks based on this.

Appreciate the info.

Del 02-23-2016 09:55 PM

Do keep in mind that the Alfetta drivetrain is a little more complicated, with foibles unique to that setup. Mainly the drive line from engine to transaxle, with it's rubber donut couplings, and the inboard rear brakes. Same as with the later Milano/GTV6, but at least, with the lower power of the Alfetta engine, the driveline generally has a longer lifetime than those V6 versions, the Milano and GTV6.

Clearly, the 79 would be the best of the Alfetta series, but still, you are looking at a very old car, so keep that in mind. You don't say where you are, but if the car has seen salty roads, be aware that Alfettas in general were not all that rust resistant. Look for rust around the front shock towers, for instance.

Our 75 sedan rusted like there was no tomorrow when we had it back east in DC, but the 78 didn't at all when we had it in the NW, with no salt worth talking about, the rain washing it all away quickly. Supposedly the 78/79 were better protected but still, well, you get the idea.

good luck

kcabpilot 02-23-2016 10:19 PM

Before getting the 164 I looked at and test drove an Alfetta Sedan. I always liked the looks of them. Unfortunately it was an automatic and that just didn't cut it for me.

I also looked at a '78 Coupe but the thing about them (and GTV6's) is you're hauling this useless back seat around with you all the time. I think they would have been perfect if they had eliminated the back seat and chopped about 3 feet off the length.

Del 02-23-2016 10:34 PM

That kind of ended up my feeling as well, even though I thought the GT body didn't look too bad otherwise. The Japanese would have put some doors back there ala the Mazda RX series. That would have made it much more desirable, IMO.

tdskip 02-24-2016 05:38 AM

Thanks for the responses. I live in SoCal and this is a SoCal car, only rust I can see is near the rear window trim which will be a glass out job.

I have two school aged kids so the idea is that this will be an around town fun car with occasional runs to the twisty bits on the Central CA coast. I was looking at a BMW 320i of the same vintage which might be a bit of a Starr choice but the design of the Alfetta has captured me.

Engine etc should all be familiar, correct?

tdskip 02-24-2016 06:25 AM

Safer, not "Starr" choice. Not sure where Siri pulled that from.

Q.V. 02-24-2016 03:11 PM

Hi tdskip,

I have an early Sedan and used to have a late one a few years ago.
Generally, it steers very easily compared to 105s; it's softer but rolls in corners a little uncomfortably unless you are used to it. No understeer though. Very predictable - again, if you are used to body roll. Restyled sedans should have stiffer sway bars and roll a bit less.

Here's Davide Cironi's review it 2 parts (hope he will translate the close captions to English sometime...):

The engine is the same 2000 with more smog devices like the air pump.


Originally Posted by tdskip (Post 6817937)
only rust I can see is near the rear window trim which will be a glass out job.

This is a common rust place. Be ready for holes behind the bubbles.

RobNH 02-24-2016 03:27 PM

Mine is rebuilt in terms of drive shaft, tranny, suspension, engine, shankle springs, interior dash, a/c... Calipers, lines, etc.... Engine got all new gaskets, carbs rebuilt, you get the idea...Nothing handles like it on our curvy, gully like New England back roads. I am stupid in love with the car.. Like a fool. When I drive it, I can't take the **** eating grin off my face!

Del 02-24-2016 03:39 PM

That blue 75 is just like the one we had. Came with the brown velour interior. Really liked it. We had the front end lowered down to the European as designed height, which made it look even better. Liked that hood design much better than the 78 we had, which was just too big and flat. The 78 was fine otherwise, being a metallic brown with gold pinstripe. Looked classy.

We drove that 75 all the way back to DC and a friend drove it back a couple of years later. All had fun both ways. Only trouble is, the darn thing rusted really badly while back in the salt roads. Those couple of years, 75, 76, and maybe 77 just couldn't take it. Granted, our 78 wasn't back there then but out here it just didn't rust.

tdskip 02-25-2016 07:06 AM

Thanks for the great discussion, info and videos. I need to work on my Italian but he looks like he is having fun.

I am going to see if I can rescue this car, will keep you posted.

sfalfa 02-25-2016 04:37 PM

I think I can chime in on this, having had a few of these as my daily drivers for about 20 years...
For the money, there isn't a better driving sedan out there. They are hugely satisfying when they're working. After my first Sedan, I purchased a '74 BMW 2002, I don't know if I had a bad example, but compared to the Alfa, it was a slug. I hated everything about it. I quickly sold it off and bought the second sedan. From there out, I never desired any other vintage sedan. I still miss driving mine tremendously, but it was really taxing to own as a renter in a densely packed city. If I owned my own house in the suburbs, and could afford to keep it off the road while fixing it up, I would have never let the last one go. They are sublime drivers. I only ever owned the first series, but the '78-'79 "second series" should compare evenly (except on looks, inside and out, in my opinion).
If you're buying a project, it will probably continue to be a project for a long time. The 116 sedans are not well supported in the spares aftermarket. Outside of the main engine bits, everything is unique, so you'll want to research what this particular car "needs" and whether or not you can easily get parts. Interior bits are especially difficult to locate in good condition. If you're good with Italian or Google Translate, eBay Italy will be your best friend, over any of the big American suppliers.
Hope that helps?

tdskip 02-25-2016 04:57 PM

Fantastic info, helps a great deal. Thanks

ckeen74 02-25-2016 08:54 PM

I'll add one final point based on my experience, though it sounds like you're already sold on the idea - many folks talk these cars down compared to other Alfas because of their reputation when they were new, and expected to perform as daily drivers. As weekend/occasional drivers, once you've sorted out the deferred maintenance issues they're quite reliable. If the handling/shifting leaves you wanting, rebuilding the suspension (including rear springs and torsion bars from a GTV6, I believe) and asking Larry at APE to do his improvements on your shift linkage will transform the experience. My car also felt quite sluggish until I did an ignition tune-up and set the timing properly, so don't assume low power is how it should be - they're not fast by modern means, but will comfortably cruise at 80-90.

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