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At the recent convention, I was immediately enamored by a splendid 1750 Berlina that was perfect in every way (photos in a little bit) , a car any Alfa gearhead would be excited to own. Seeing this car reminded me of past enjoyable drives in various Berlinas over the years and, in particular, it reminded me of a thought I had when I decided to look for a Super. What if I came across a truly nice Berlina in the course of my search for a Super? Honestly, it would have been a tough call.

Currently, first quality Berlinas seem undervalued relative to Supers and are trading at prices well below similar Giulia Supers. This is despite the fact that Berlinas have their own distinct and very "Alfa" charm. So, here's my question: Are Berlinas the Next Big Thing for Alfa enthusiasts?

Not too long ago Supers and TI's were the bottom of the Alfa heap in terms of price. People were buying them for little money and enjoying real Alfas at cheap prices. Now it looks like Berlinas occupy the spot formally held by Supers. So, if you are looking for a Super to buy, don't walk away from an excellent Berlina selling for about half the money.
 

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Ok, it is all about taste. For example, berlinas for me are a top choice among other 105 series. First of all, none of the others have THAT relaxing while still sporty feeling at the very high speeds. Then, there is the torque issue (especially for 2000cc motor) which makes Giulias out of the game. Finally, the cabin is by far more plenty and when I drive a berlina 2000 have always the feeling of better interior quality. Ohh...berlinas are better drift cars if you want to play too...
 

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That green Berlina at the convention was superb. It helped that it was the exact color scheme and year as my very first Alfa, the one that started this whole affliction for me.

Berlinas, nice ones, have been on the rise for a while now. It took me years to find a good quality one ('72, although I still prefer the dash of the '69-71). Glad to see them finally getting appreciated.

bs
 

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The beige cava one pictured above I brought back to life 2002/2003 after years sitting under a tree in Oakland; it's had a couple East Coast owners since then.

Berlinas are definitely pedaling hard, caught up in the draft of the Giulia Super, I think, where they've always lived as used cars. Giulia prices are well up, which brings them and Berlinas out of the woodwork. Folks who realize they can't afford a good Super start seeing the Berlina as 85% as good for 50% of the cost, or less.

I was thinking this concerning the $1200 79 Spider I talked my friend into buying last week. Had it been a Berlina in the same condition, it would have been a $5000+ car, especially with such a nice rust-free body. As always, it had faults we didn't detect in the pre-buy lookover, but it's turning out fine. I recognize a post-74 Spider is not a hot item, but still. Berlinas are having their day in the sun, I think. Who ever thought they'd be worth more than Spiders, and approaching GTV prices? Partly it's supply and demand; there are tons of Spiders, relatively a lot of GTVs, and very few Berlinas.

The red one on ebay is over $8000; it'll be interesting to see where it ends up.

Andrew
 

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What a great feeling car and practical driver

Resurrecting the ghost of '69 has been rewarding on many levels. The trunk and rear seat can accommodate 13 bags of garden soil without bottoming out!

Regards,

Jim
 

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I always like the Berlina. I own a 75 Fetta Sedan and for as small as it looks the room is enormous. 12 Bags of groceries in the truck, lazyboy chairs and plenty of leg room ( I'm 6' 4"). I can only imagine the room in a Berlina.
I've always wanted one and I'll get one someday.
 

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Are Berlinas the Next Big Thing?

I have always liked Berlinas and it is the only Alfa I still own of all the Alfas that Pat and I had. Pat preferred the Super as many have mentioned on this thread; however, when he needed a car to go pick up anything, including a 2 ton engine hoist --- which car did he take? Why of course, my Berlina. What a sight; the Berlina bumper nearly dragging on the ground from the trunk weight.

He could not understand why I preferred the Berlina over the spider that he bought for me, did the body work, and painted Honda metallic brown, which ended up being his. The more he drove it, he liked it. Possibly, his Berlina experience had been colored by the experiment he did with his first wife's '69 Berlina, which made it about as useful as an automatic diesel Mercedes Benz, waiting for it to accelerate before you were run over by the traffic behind you.

Pat Weberized my Berlina, which was his preference to SPICA, but it appears that its new caretaker has the opposite preference so it will probably be reversed back to SPICA, along with a paint job and a few other necessities.

"The Paint Car," as the kids identified it, when they asked which car we were going to take, has stuck. It's definitely a keeper.
 

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When push comes to shove in my driveway, I always choose a Super over a Berlina, but it's not always an easy choice. I've had 15-20 Berlinas, and liked pretty much all of them. They only thing they don't measure up to is a good Giulia. If I couldn't find a Giulia, I'd have a Berlina over any other car out there. I bought my first in 1995 after I foolishly sold a TI, then regretted it and couldn't find a replacement Super or TI. Bought a metallic olive 69 Berlina and am glad to have done so.
I've been a bore for years about how great they are and what a deal. For more info, if you haven't already seen it, go to the Berlina Register at Berlina Register.
Andrew
 

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Haig sold a nice Berlina here on the BB about two years ago for more than $20K. Here is a link http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/alfa-romeo-cars-sale-wanted/125270-1969-berlina-23-k.html Haven't seen any posts from him in a while. Anyone know if he's still driving Alfas?

Also, Cammisa Motors had one for sale with an asking price north of $15k a few months ago.

As for Super vs. Berlina... well, that is aestetics and certainly a personal choice. As they say "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". However, there is no doubt that each can offer a wonderful Alfa experience.
 

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BTW... There is a nice '74 Berlina (from AlfaBBer "keeterdenver") on eBay with one day left currently @ $8,100.
 

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A green 1750 in LA sold for $16,000ish a few months ago, and five years ago a number of cars, mostly in LA, were in the $15-20,000 range.
That's a long way from free, what I customarily pay. The beige car at the top of this thread I did pay $200 for, but that was 2001 or 2002.
Andrew
 

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The beige car at the top of this thread I did pay $200 for, but that was 2001 or 2002.
Andrew
Currently listed in ABB classifieds @ $10,300 as I know you are aware. Seems reasonable if it is in decent mechanical shape and complete.
 

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In the world of Supers, the 74-77 Nuovo is typically undervalued due to it's Berlina-like exterior (trunk and hood) and interior. It is only 4" shorter. Personally, I'd rather have a 69 Berlina than a Nuovo (had one in fact long ago) but not a 74 Berlina with that "CHP" rubber bumper stuff.
 

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Arthur is saying a lot there. He sold a very nice dark blue 1750 Spider and replaced it with the red Berlina. Giulias and Berlinas get more comments than just about any Alfa other than maybe a Giulietta or a really good GTV.
Andrew
 

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Andrew, no problem convincing me that sedans are a very welcome addition to any Alfa collection, but the sexy Spiders and GT's still get most of the attention. I was just pointing out a small distinction above. I had a Berlina before they were cool also. I posted this elsewhere:

"While Giulia Supers seem to remain the "B-stepchild" compared to their sexy brothers and sisters, at least here, with over 560,000 TI's and Supers made from 62-77 (but only a few hundred now in the US!!), they are the unsung workhorses, and the early ones are elegant at that as Gina Lolo demonstrated. The Dutch absolutely treasure them and may have over 1000 of 3000 cars at a SCARB gathering. Definitely an Alfa insiders car for the few who have them here, with only 3 at the Convention (only 5 105/101 sedans total at that and one Alfetta) of some 150+ cars.

Consider this: all the 105 chassis and mechanicals, near lazyboy home theater upright seating (not recumbant), 360 degree safe visibility, an insulated roof for hot sunny days, excellent ventilation for hot days, a lower CD than Spiders and GT's with excellent fuel mileage, enough luggage space for a safari, room for 4 adults. Mind you I love GT's and have owned a beloved roundtail Spider since 1975, but try and drive one on an 828 mile hot 4 day Pre-Tour or a 1136 mile 2-day hump. You will pay (not that it was easy for anyone)."


LINK.
 

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I keep hoping the Berlina's are the next big thing because it would validate Alfa Romeo's product strategy. As many folks have pointed out, the cars are roomy, functional, very fun, and get excellent gas mileage. My brother and I have customized this 1972 Berlina such that our work does not really show (we hope) but only adds to what Alfa Romeo began back in the late 1960's when they started designing the Berlina.

It has a mild John Norman Racing motor, mild Ingram SPICA pump, header, Merritt Carden GearLightened transmission, 4:10 rear end, mild suspension upgrades, and a Performatex brake system (bigger calipers, bigger master cylinder, SST flex lines, Brembo rotors) as well as some cosmetic stuff. We added the center console to route/hide the heater vent to the back seat footwells, Milano/75 three point belts for the rear seats, and made the dash match the steering wheel. Oh, and it has 15x7's in the back and 14x6's in the front. While it seems like a lot, the design of the car remains, IMO, a high water mark for all of humanity (not just cars).

So yea, I would love to see other folks enjoying Berlina's as many of us on this list have.
 

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Not sure how strategy Alfa had for the US at the time (wasn't it dictated largely by Milan?), though it seemed to make more sense in Europe, at least as to sedans. Alfa did make fewer than half as many Berlinas as Giulia sedans, so I'm not sure that was a successful transition. And then came the Alfetta...

Wait, the real point of this a thread is to feature former Andrew cars, right? Peter's green one was mine too, saved from a slow death in Palo Alto.
Here it is at the little Willow Springs track, Feb. 2008.
Andrew
 

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I keep hoping the Berlina's are the next big thing because it would validate Alfa Romeo's product strategy. As many folks have pointed out, the cars are roomy, functional, very fun, and get excellent gas mileage. My brother and I have customized this 1972 Berlina such that our work does not really show (we hope) but only adds to what Alfa Romeo began back in the late 1960's when they started designing the Berlina.
I may be with Andrew on that. Alfa gave us small sexy exotic high-performance sports cars. We already had roomy comfy family sedans here, just not tiny ones, but perhaps more practical for our size and geography. And some other marques seemed to beat Alfa to the small sports sedan niche. The numbers underlie both the market and strategy.

And I'd have to say that the Berlina development started in the early 60's with the first TI's in 62, designed in-house by Alfa. Bertone just stretched the Super a few inches and the Nuovo (74) then added some Berlina (&GT) features (hood, trunK-lid and console) near the end.

A modified Berlina/Super is a thing of joy. My Pino Verde '72 Super has an Alfetta Euro 2L engine with Euro cams and EI, a 4.30 LSD rear-end, GTA-style headers and exhaust (missing 2 resonators), mild springs and Bilstein B6 front/Koni Classic rear shocks, Brembo front brakes with 2L rotors and BMC/booster, and Heinbrand 15" alloy wheels. Fun cars indeed and so stealthy in sedan clothes. It has surprised the heck out of a lot of "big bucks" cars. :D:cool:

Now . . if I just had Jim's CR gearbox . . . . ;)
 
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