I was born in Milan 1961, in the late sixties / beginning of the seventies my father used to drive a 1750 Berlina and later, after it was stolen, a 2000 Berlina, my mother (german) drove a BMW 1602 and after a BMW 2002 Touring, so, for those days, fairly good cars in my family.
The approach to these cars, we now define as sporty classics, not only Alfa Romeo, also Lancia, BMW etc. is very different today compared to the time those were on the market,.
Further, the differences between US and Europe regarding market, customer requirements, taste, way to drive, roads, petrol cost etc. were a lot bigger in the sixties - seventies than today in the globalized market.
So the discussion about quality of design and driving skills might become complex because there are so many aspects to consider (this might become a new interesting tread).
Cars like Giulia or Lancia Fulvia were cars for the middle class.
GT 1300 Junior or Lancia Fulvia Coupè were dream cars for young people, normally lucky to drive their mothers Fiat 500.
2000 Berlina or a Lancia Flavia were a cars for a lawyer or a boss of a small/middle company.
These cars were all daily drivers for italian roads, mostly driven by men, in some rare cases by women.
Automatic transmission was completely unknown in Italy at that time (in some way, even today), people knew how to operate a clutch because everybody learned to drive on cars with non synchronized gearboxes, to shift down they had to know how to make a “doppietta” (I don't know the english for that). I wonder how many of you are able to shift down a non synchronized gearbox, at those times also grandma knew how to do it.
Cars were designed to last >10 years and engines about 100.000 km; today a car is mature for the scrap yard after 4 - 5 years with not many more km. So, considering the different times, one could say that design isn’t much better today.
At that time a clutch had to be replaced after 40 - 70.000 km, depending from the driving style.
Shops had a lot of normal maintenance to do like oil change every 5000 km etc. and it was normal to rebuild engines more than one time during the entire life of a car. The work of a mechanic was very different from today.
Cars with poor design didn’t stay in business at that time like it happens today.
And regarding quality, I can remember my father, after the 2000 Berlina, bought a Volvo, I think a 244, a nightmare! No power, high fuel consumption, no brakes, bad suspension, parts falling off etc. Volvo is still in US, Alfa had to leave. So things used to be / are very different seen from the two sides of the pond.
Im looking forward to read your comments!
GTV 2000 - 1972, GTJ 1300 - 1970, Fiat 500 R - 1974 current project
Last edited by acalvi; 02-26-2015 at 07:34 AM.