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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Lately I haven't been around here much, with all my attention focussed on my 2000 Alfa Spider. I bought this about a month ago for big money (roughly ten times the price of a 164 here) - it's in good condition. You can see it in the first picture below. It's like a distant cousin of the 164 - the Proteo concept spawned the GTV/Spider as a kind of 164 Coupe/Convertible duo... Mine, however, is more FIAT than Alfa since it has the same FIAT-based Twinspark engine as my 156. Lots of people said I should have got the more-common 3.0V6 24V version of the Spider. They were probably right. However, the Twinspark is a lot more efficient than the V6 - 50% of the fuel for 75% of the power...

No sooner had I got this than a second Alfa Spider arrived at my door for me to fix and sell. I haven't even started on that one yet, I've been working on respraying a FIAT Punto for a friend. That friend has owned the car since new - his parents bought it for him as his first car, and it has been his only car for 17 years... amazing.

Anyway - this week I decided I really had to get to the snow. My 164 came back after being out on loan as a courtesy car for six months - two different jobs - I hadn't seen it for some time. The Warrant Of Fitness was due, and there was only one advisory - front brake hoses perished. They weren't the originals but I had to agree they weren't in great shape. The female-female configuration is a little rare so I ended up with genuine Alfa 156 GTA brake hoses at NZ$50 each. Fitted perfectly.

Faced with the three-hour drive in patchy weather, I left the Spider at home and jumped in the 164. It slowly dawned on me why I like the 164 so much - it's a smooth ride (no shakes and wobbles), it's quiet (can enjoy the stereo), and the knockout blow is the high performance - it runs rings around the Spider. Hmmmmm. Yet again I have spent thousands and not bettered the old 164...

So the drive was delightful - not even a single false warning light as you can see. Mountain conditions are great - still good snow. Hardly any people! I've decided to stay in Ohakune, near the Turoa ski area. In this small village, I popped into the supermarket and just look what I saw in the carpark! Same colour, same spec, same year. Amazing.

You can even fit a snowboard in the 164's luggage compartment.

It's been a couple of years since I got this car on the road and the reliability/low maintenance continues to amaze me. How many cars over 20 years old could you lend out for six months with nothing going wrong?

I really ought to get around to respraying the outside and making it look nice, it was embarrassing to see a 164 in better condition than mine today. The clearcoat on my roof is now completely shot. I haven't even got around to taking off the 'Parents With Prams' sticker. As they say, the cobbler's children go barefoot...

Cheers!
-Alex
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
A few more pics of the day, all snapped with my iPhone.

The beautiful day was tinged with sadness, as I browsed Facebook - again on my iPhone, over lunch - and learned of the passing of Steve Jobs. A great guy who brought innovation, quality, and showmanship to the table, a fine American. He was the same age as my mother in her final year, life seems so unfair. I'm certain he will be greatly missed.

-Alex
 

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1990 164QV Euro spec & 1991 168B
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Alex, thanks for that wonderful story and pictures. Long live our beloved 164s. I, too was saddened by Steve Jobs passing.

The reason I still have my beloved 164B is that my first wife just months before she died at age 49 told me if I wanted it to buy it. But I could not bring myself to do it then. I even test drove a white 164L w/AT with intention to buy it instead in hopes she would win her fight with cancer. But alas it was not to be. She died in Oct 90 a few months after I test drove both white 164s my now owned 164B and the 164L. Jan 91 they still had my B and had long sold the L. Dave Murray the sales manager threw me the keys and said take it for the weekend. It had 29 miles on it and 1029 on it when in Feb 91 I laid my money down and got almost $5k off sticker since by my 1000 mile trip it has become a demo model and I was hooked. He knew a sucker fish didn't he.

It has been a long and winding rode since then with a few straights thrown in and just before Dave got me to sign the papers for the B I meet my second wife and our daughter is now almost as old as my B model. The B was born Mar 90 and our adopted daughter was born Mar 91. She is the daughter who thank GOD survived the snowy crash of her own 164B this past February.

She is driving my 164L Black Beauty now but gets the B model back on Friday. I need one more test drive today after my 6 year/35k maintenance job I finished on Tuesday.

Keep the rubber side down.

Life does go on!
 

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Thanks for the fascinating stories guys. Could be interesting thread on why we bought or why we’re going back to our 164s.
Hope for more stories along with pictures...

adio
 

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'78 Alfetta GTV, '59 Fiat 1200 Cabriolet, '97 Jaguar XJ6 Van Der Plas
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What a nice Spider! I am jealous. And a great example of a 164. It would take me quite a bit to drive a car on the right side though. I would like to give it a try sometime. Kind of like the one time I drove a 1923 Alfa RL. The gear box was non syncronized and the accelerator pedal was in the middle. You had to do a lot of thinking, Like double clutching and brake early.
 

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I am new to the world of Alfa 164. Bought my '91 just last August. I am lovin' it.
The interior room, trunk room, extremely good driver visibility and smooth ride have pleasantly surprised me.
My last three cars have been a '02 Maserati Coupe, an '05 Maserati QP (the other Pininfarina four-door) and an '06 Maserati GranSport (still own).
I can tell you I get just as much pleasure from the 164 (for different reasons) as I do from the newer, faster Italians.
I can understand why many of you have more than 1.
 

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A few more pics of the day, all snapped with my iPhone.

The beautiful day was tinged with sadness, as I browsed Facebook - again on my iPhone, over lunch - and learned of the passing of Steve Jobs. A great guy who brought innovation, quality, and showmanship to the table, a fine American. He was the same age as my mother in her final year, life seems so unfair. I'm certain he will be greatly missed.

-Alex
Yes, it was a very sad day indeed. My life would not be the same without Steve Jobs. I have been an Apple user since the late 1980s and their computers have enabled me to express my creativity in ways that would not have been possible without them. I think Apple products and Alfas are similar in that they are designed with the user in mind. As a result they are a joy to use and are aesthetically pleasing as well.
 

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It was a sad day today in the art department at the print shop I work at. We have all been Mac users for many years and huge fans. It was a long hard battle bravely fought. May Steve rest in peace.
 

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I am writing to you all from am iMac and love it very much. My third. Steve has brought a smile to the faces of many people with his innovations though out the years. May angels keep him in eternal peace.
 

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Steve has brought a smile to the faces of many people with his innovations though out the years.
That is the greatest accolade any person can have. If you can do that you are a successful person.

I do all my work on a first generation Macbook Air 1.8 ghz. I even edit movies in Final Cut Pro on it.
 

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Alex the other 164 even has a hitch just like yours now that also is a rear find. The first and second 164 I have ever seen with a trailer hitch!
 

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I bought a second hand towbar, (trailer hitch), for our 164, only to discover later that it already had one fitted. I hadn't noticed it because the tongue was missing and the bar is hidden under the bumper. I assume it was fitted by the dealer when the car was new. I haven't gotten around to fitting a tongue and wiring yet. What are 164s like for towing? I also have a towbar to fit one of our 75s that I took off a wrecked 3 litre car.
 

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I put a hitch on my 164B about 4 years ago and use a utility trailer on a regular basis. In fact, it moved all of my tools and parts stash from the greenhouse to the big garage n our new to us house.
 

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We’ve jumped a bit on a trailer hitch...sorry Alex...
The hitch I’ve had on my 164L was quite rusty and eye disturbing. Probably because of the rust and low sitting position. Painted it black and this is how it looks afterwards... although still bit crooked?!
Second photo is my usual load on “everybody is laughing at me in Home Depot” 4x4 trailer.
 

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Alex,

Those are beautiful pictures of your 164 and the local countryside....one day I will visit NZ as we have friends there and I always wanted to see down under.
So brace yourself when I whiz by in my rental Alfa....

The 164 is 20 years old....oldest car I have ever owned...previous being a trusty Rover 2.6 SDX which was 15 years old and forced to sell due to relocation.

Ta,

Neville.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Thanks Neville, PM me when you are coming to NZ, I'm sure I can help ;) The car rental companies don't do Alfas...

Trailer hitches - the ones in NZ are not the European detachable type but are instead locally-made out of very thick steel. The standard ball is 1"7/8ths rather than 50mm. Officially, for the towing capacity to be the limit stated in the handbook (1400kg I think, for the 164), the towbar must bear the original maker's plate stating the relevant NZ standard. Otherwise, for an unmarked towbar, the rating is 500kg if I remember correctly.

Lots of 164s (maybe half?) had a towbar fitted when new in NZ, made by a local company. I've never seen the detachable type here.

Now, towing with a 164... I've towed car trailers with mine - one problem is when stopping in gravel, going uphill, traction away from standstill can be a problem! Another limitation is the soft rear suspension of the 164 means that the drawbar weight needs to be 30-50kg. Otherwise the 164's back end will bottom out... One more thing, I've found that oil consumption increases under the extra load and it's worth topping up first.

Otherwise, the 164 does a great job of towing!

Thanks for the kind comments all, I had my first 164 in 2003 and didn't really dream they would reach bargain-basement level. It's just so much car for the money. Speaking of towbars (trailer hitches), to get a towbar fitted to my 156 would cost more than buying my latest 164 did.

-Alex
 

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Great pics Alex - one of your pics (the one of the car sitting by itself in an almost empty, stony snowfield car park) reminds me of some of the original 164 press photos. The Japanese van in the background is the only thing that spoils the illusion!!

My '92 car has a tow hitch too which I've used a few times. Am quite nervous about towing any weight though as it appears to be simply bolted to the spare wheel well. Am not 100% sure but I think it's a Hayman-Reece brand, not sure about the rating. Luckily it's not visible until I mount the lip itself.
 
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