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I agree totally on Alfa honing the handling of their FWD lineup, from the Sud on. I've never driven a Sud, but everything I've read and watched tells me they were (and are) phenomenal handlers. I recall the compliments the 916 series got also in the handling department after their introduction in the late 1990s, even though we never got them here in the US.
Our 164 LS with the OEM Goodyear tires was just as safe as your house in the wet, and very athletic in the dry. You could get lift throttle oversteer in a bend anytime you wanted to tighten your line, if you had enough speed of course. And a cushy ride and precise steering and 210 bhp to go along with all that. Probably the best handling FWD car I've ever had. The faster you went, the more solid and planted it felt, for a road car.
 

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Whenever I am backed into a corner on the FWD vs RWD question... I have to reluctantly resort to this argument:
All NASCAR racers are born as FWD models when on the showroom floor. Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Toyota. The builders chuck everything FWD and turn it into RWD for the race track. Must be some major benefits for them to start from scratch.
NASCAR stock cars haven't even vaguely been related to their road counterparts since the early 80's (and those were all RWD). Other than stickers they have 0 to do with their road going counterpart. 2 of the 3 current NASCAR models bodies are based on RWD cars.
 

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My bone stock 147 GTA isn't what I would call balanced however it is probably the best and certainly fastest alfa I have ever owned. If you can steer ok and made a road rally car out of one of these you would embarrass most cars of the same era.
Just don't crash one without a roll cage because their safety rating was really poor.
 

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Personally I don't think anyone can get a real indication of what their cars handling is capable of unless you get it on the race track. There is no other way you can push a car to its limits and beyond.
Club days are interesting because you have people that can drive very well, and people that probably shouldn't be in control of a performance vehicle.
A car that's a few seconds a lap faster will soon pull away and that was certainly the case when I tried to follow a 4C driven by someone I know is a very good driver. Both standard cars I was never going to keep up on the twisty Winton.
Modified I have no doubt the 147 would be faster than a stock 4C.
I have done enough events in a variety of alfa's with various levels of modification to know if the cars working well and your driving well you can put many another car to shame who's driver is maybe not as willing or able to explore the potential of their car.
Those who have never seen a 147 GTA I'll give a comparison of performance. Remember my car is stock on road tires. It has the Q2 and the larger standard brakes.
My mates twin spark 105, stock engine, fast road suspension professionally set up, corner weighted ect Sticky tires, LSD and a bunch of other goodies. We were within half a second of each other at Winton short and long track. I know my mates a good driver and I have a good go so I think its a fair indication. If the 147 had the same level of modification as his 105........forget it.
 

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"Personally I don't think anyone can get a real indication of what their cars handling is capable of unless you get it on the race track. There is no other way you can push a car to its limits and beyond."

:ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: Had you been riding with me as a young fellow, in my old Giulietta Sprint, as I attempted to disprove Newton's Laws, and outrun the local cops at 11/10's, you might have reconsidered those words! Thank God I learned those laws did indeed apply to me, before I wrote myself off. ;);)

But your point is solid... that the best way and safest way to learn your car, is on a track.
 

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I like the looks of some GM cars too (some Camaros, Corvettes), and then I remember why GM make cars ... and look at my refrigerator, and remember life is too short
Pete
Do you mean cars like the Chevy Citation, Cavalier, Celebrity, 80s Caprice Classic or Malibu, Pontiac T 6000, J2000, Sunbird, Pariesienne, 80's Bonneville, Catalina or Le Mans, Oldsmobile Omega, Cutalss Ciera, Cutlass Calais, 1980's Delta 88, 98 or Firenza, Buick Skylark, Apollo, Century, 1980's Le Sabre, Electra and my favorite, the Cadillac Cimarron!
 

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Do you mean cars like the Chevy Citation, Cavalier, Celebrity, 80s Caprice Classic or Malibu, Pontiac T 6000, J2000, Sunbird, Pariesienne, 80's Bonneville, Catalina or Le Mans, Oldsmobile Omega, Cutalss Ciera, Cutlass Calais, 1980's Delta 88, 98 or Firenza, Buick Skylark, Apollo, Century, 1980's Le Sabre, Electra and my favorite, the Cadillac Cimarron!
The so-called Malaise Era of the automobile; what a dreary period that was to be an auto enthusiast. Design, quality and performance hit rock bottom, and occupying the basement were the domestic brands. The Corvette, circa '80, could only manage 180hp (California spec) out of a 5.7 liter engine. Compare that to the same year Alfa GTV with an engine half that size still generating 158hp. The younger generation have no idea how good they have it today.
 

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Do you mean cars like the Chevy Citation, Cavalier, Celebrity, 80s Caprice Classic or Malibu, Pontiac T 6000, J2000, Sunbird, Pariesienne, 80's Bonneville, Catalina or Le Mans, Oldsmobile Omega, Cutalss Ciera, Cutlass Calais, 1980's Delta 88, 98 or Firenza, Buick Skylark, Apollo, Century, 1980's Le Sabre, Electra and my favorite, the Cadillac Cimarron!
You read the badge on the trunk wrong. It said Cimarron by Cadillac. Which if I remember correctly was a Citation with a fancy grill and interior.

A friend of mine back in the day had a Chevy Citation. We were out driving around when he did a rolling stop through a stop sign and got pulled over. The officer was nice. Goes back to his car then comes back and tells my friend he's giving him a citation. My friend says. No thanks officer. I already have one and its a piece of crap. The officer handed him the citation and laughed all the way back to his car.
 

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ALFA probably took their time to tune the handling on their FWD models. My very first car was an 850 Austin Mini (not a Cooper S, tho). I admit they carved the corners rather nicely. FWD, for the most part, is for the benefit of the car manufacturer, vs a fussy driver. Only so much HP you can ask of the front wheels that have to steer also. But the average driver wouldn't notice the difference. What ever driving skills I might posses were honed for RWD. Each one requires a different set of skills and inputs.

Whenever I am backed into a corner on the FWD vs RWD question... I have to reluctantly resort to this argument:
All NASCAR racers are born as FWD models when on the showroom floor. Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Toyota. The builders chuck everything FWD and turn it into RWD for the race track. Must be some major benefits for them to start from scratch.

I had a love affair with my 1966 Olds Toronado years back. First modern US car with FWD. Maybe the 1936 Cord 812 was the actual first here. None in between as I recall. Wasn't intended for carving corners on mountain roads, of course. But as a land yacht, it was gorgeous and an engineering triumph.
The original Mini was probably one of the best handling road cars ever. I used to believe that I would get through any corner no matter how fast I entered it

Pete
My family had a stock ‘65 850 Mini for many years, I think I’ve mentioned it here before, and it was a hoot to drive. Ran cross-plies and had no power but in the wet you could slide it around endlessly doing no more than 40-50 mph. Sadly it rusted away as many cars do in the salty Auckland climate.
 
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My Downton prepared Cooper S is now being restored after all these decades. Has no rust, everything there. Only thing that happened to it by the dreaded PO was that he destroyed/broke the original nitrided crank and somehow ruined the Downton prepared head. New but standard crank and head were later purchased. Pity.

Looking forward to seeing it again in all it's glory.
 

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"Do you mean cars like the Chevy Citation, Cavalier, Celebrity, 80s Caprice Classic or Malibu, Pontiac T 6000, J2000, Sunbird, Pariesienne, 80's Bonneville, Catalina or Le Mans, Oldsmobile Omega, Cutalss Ciera, Cutlass Calais, 1980's Delta 88, 98 or Firenza, Buick Skylark, Apollo, Century, 1980's Le Sabre, Electra and my favorite, the Cadillac Cimarron!"

Agreed! GM and the rest of Detroit pumped out a lot of crap during the '70s and '80s. During the '90s they seem to spend their time trying to catch up to the Japanese on reliability, but still seldom offered much that could be seen as really desirable for for a true driver. The exception might be the later Cadillac CTS (and even ATS) series. The first introduction was an Opel based RWD that opened a few eyes. Then they went the extra mile to create the next generation of CTSs. Which led to the CTS-V models. Before the CTS's emerged, I had asked a friend at GM if Cadillac was targeting Mitsubishi or Nissan with its FWD models as their direct competition. Certainly not BMW or Mercedes, as those both were exclusively RWD with performance models like the M-series. A couple of years later the CTS and CTS-Vs were in the showrooms. I have no allusions that my remark had anything to do with that. But Cadillac did offer, for a while, a RWD V-8 with 500+ and 600+ HP, and could be had with a manual transmission, and enhanced suspensions. The CTS-V Coupe was drop-dead gorgeous and could easily embarrass a BMW-M or M-B AGM for a fraction of the price. Finally, the US could claim an affordable world beater. No longer an object of desire now, tho. They scraped the option of the manual shift and the styling has deteriorated to a shape that might be mistaken for a Toyota from across the street.

I think the poor Cimarron might have been based on a Chevy Cavalier. That in itself does not bode well for a happy ending. The Olds Cutlass of the '80s was actually the best selling model in the US over its production span. But GM dropped the ball on that when they replaced it with lesser model updates.

Much of the GM line-up today seems to be cookie cutter models designed by the bean-counters. One basic layout multiplied by several size options. I presently have a 1999 Chevy S-10 Blazer as my work vehicle. It's treated me well, but may need replaced before too long. In researching my options on replacing it, I find that GM only offers 4 doors, zero with manual shift, based on a car chassis, and only FWD or AWD. I'd prefer a 2 door 4X4 with a 6 speed manual resting on a frame-chassis. The new Ford Bronco seems to meet my want there. As its sales have a long waiting list now, I have a feeling that GM may be forced itoto creating their own version of the Bronco soon.
 

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Peter, I also recall the 70s and 80s lineups from the Big 3 here, and I agree there were few standouts. Maybe the Mustang SVO, Pontiac Fiero and a handful of other select models that were original, broke new ground and were technically interesting.
But overall it was a pretty boring time in the American market. I bought a new Mustang GT 5 liter in 1986 that was a very attractive car, sounded great and was a hoot to drive, and thereafter a 1989 Ford Probe turbo that handled like a hog on ice and lost 50 horsepower if the ambient temperature was above 83 F.
Neither one was as reliable as my Alfa S4 spider has been over the years.
 
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I'm with you Loco. The Fiero came to my mind too, on there being a few that didn't fall into the 'crap' column. My understanding on the Fiero was that GM had assigned Pontiac to proposing a tiny utility city car to develop. The engineers and designers saw what they felt as a better plan, and quietly used their development budget and time to tweak it more toward a small sporty Pontiac. When they finally revealed their results to upper management, it became a headline over the more pedestrian version they had been assigned to. Probably more to the story than that tho.

The slick plastic body and mid-engine placement made it worth all the trickery on getting it into production, IMHO. They later offered a V6 as well as the inline 4. Both roof options were quite stunning. I had heard that they had some issues on overheating from the positioning of the engine. But maybe Pontiac worked to improve that problem over the production years.. not sure.

I felt a personal loss when they killed Oldsmobile and Pontiac. Both marques had some great cars over their histories. I actually wrote a letter to GM on the plug being pulled on Olds. Probably as a way to vent more than anything. As Olds had been around for over a century, and had survived the Great Depression and two World Wars... I mentioned that there should be a plaque in Detroit with their names on it, since they were at the helm when Olds took its last breath.
 

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Yeah, I agree on the GM decision to kill off Olds and Pontiac... two great old American brands. With proper management and market guidance, there was really no reason at all for them to go. None whatsoever, but what they lacked was competent management at the time, that could capitalize on their heritage and reputations. Having worked for tier 1 and 2 automotive suppliers over the years, nothing surprises me as far as those kinds of decisions go. Nothing could ever convince the mega-egos at the helm of the auto companies they might be making a fatal decision, such is their inflated view of themselves. With only a few exceptions, the late Sergio Marchionne and Lee Iacocca coming to mind.
 
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The so-called Malaise Era of the automobile; what a dreary period that was to be an auto enthusiast. Design, quality and performance hit rock bottom, and occupying the basement were the domestic brands. The Corvette, circa '80, could only manage 180hp (California spec) out of a 5.7 liter engine. Compare that to the same year Alfa GTV with an engine half that size still generating 158hp. The younger generation have no idea how good they have it today.
The term turd is appropriate! I think the 1982 Corvette came with a 5.0L V-8 (CA spec). The rest of the country got a 5.7L 350CI small block with "Cross Fire Fuel Injection". Funny thing, I still remember the firing order of a small block Chevy 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2. Not sure why it sticks in my head.
 

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"Do you mean cars like the Chevy Citation, Cavalier, Celebrity, 80s Caprice Classic or Malibu, Pontiac T 6000, J2000, Sunbird, Pariesienne, 80's Bonneville, Catalina or Le Mans, Oldsmobile Omega, Cutalss Ciera, Cutlass Calais, 1980's Delta 88, 98 or Firenza, Buick Skylark, Apollo, Century, 1980's Le Sabre, Electra and my favorite, the Cadillac Cimarron!"

Agreed! GM and the rest of Detroit pumped out a lot of crap during the '70s and '80s. During the '90s they seem to spend their time trying to catch up to the Japanese on reliability, but still seldom offered much that could be seen as really desirable for for a true driver. The exception might be the later Cadillac CTS (and even ATS) series. The first introduction was an Opel based RWD that opened a few eyes. Then they went the extra mile to create the next generation of CTSs. Which led to the CTS-V models. Before the CTS's emerged, I had asked a friend at GM if Cadillac was targeting Mitsubishi or Nissan with its FWD models as their direct competition. Certainly not BMW or Mercedes, as those both were exclusively RWD with performance models like the M-series. A couple of years later the CTS and CTS-Vs were in the showrooms. I have no allusions that my remark had anything to do with that. But Cadillac did offer, for a while, a RWD V-8 with 500+ and 600+ HP, and could be had with a manual transmission, and enhanced suspensions. The CTS-V Coupe was drop-dead gorgeous and could easily embarrass a BMW-M or M-B AGM for a fraction of the price. Finally, the US could claim an affordable world beater. No longer an object of desire now, tho. They scraped the option of the manual shift and the styling has deteriorated to a shape that might be mistaken for a Toyota from across the street.

I think the poor Cimarron might have been based on a Chevy Cavalier. That in itself does not bode well for a happy ending. The Olds Cutlass of the '80s was actually the best selling model in the US over its production span. But GM dropped the ball on that when they replaced it with lesser model updates.

Much of the GM line-up today seems to be cookie cutter models designed by the bean-counters. One basic layout multiplied by several size options. I presently have a 1999 Chevy S-10 Blazer as my work vehicle. It's treated me well, but may need replaced before too long. In researching my options on replacing it, I find that GM only offers 4 doors, zero with manual shift, based on a car chassis, and only FWD or AWD. I'd prefer a 2 door 4X4 with a 6 speed manual resting on a frame-chassis. The new Ford Bronco seems to meet my want there. As its sales have a long waiting list now, I have a feeling that GM may be forced itoto creating their own version of the Bronco soon.
Remember the Cadillac Catera - the car that zigs! I think that car was based on the Opel RWD sedan. A friend of mine was in Germany and they gave him an Omega rental car - he took it on the Autobahn and of course couldn't keep up with the other fast cars. He was very disappointed!
 

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Peter, I also recall the 70s and 80s lineups from the Big 3 here, and I agree there were few standouts. Maybe the Mustang SVO, Pontiac Fiero and a handful of other select models that were original, broke new ground and were technically interesting.
But overall it was a pretty boring time in the American market. I bought a new Mustang GT 5 liter in 1986 that was a very attractive car, sounded great and was a hoot to drive, and thereafter a 1989 Ford Probe turbo that handled like a hog on ice and lost 50 horsepower if the ambient temperature was above 83 F.
Neither one was as reliable as my Alfa S4 spider has been over the years.
The year was 1988 and I was in my first year of my first real job. I was making good money (so I thought - $29K/yr) and I wanted a new car. My friend just bought a Grand Prix SE and I went with him to go pick up his car. While I was there, I saw a Fiero GT with a stick. I almost gave the salesman a yes, when he made the ultimate mistake. He gave me a huge line of BS about the new Fiero GT being faster than my Camaro. At the time, I had a 1980 Camaro that my buddies and I made completely illegal - we put bigger valved heads, an Edelbrock intake manifold, Holley 650 carb, headers and "turbo" mufflers - and of course we pulled all the smog stuff off! A rear axle from a Trans Am 3.31:1 posi vs the 2.56 that was stock. The car was a beast and pretty quick, but it wouldn't pass a smog test.

The salesman was such an idiot, he didn't see that I no longer trusted him and I wanted nothing to do with him or the dealership.
 

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The year was 1988 and I was in my first year of my first real job. I was making good money (so I thought - $29K/yr) and I wanted a new car. My friend just bought a Grand Prix SE and I went with him to go pick up his car. While I was there, I saw a Fiero GT with a stick. I almost gave the salesman a yes, when he made the ultimate mistake. He gave me a huge line of BS about the new Fiero GT being faster than my Camaro. At the time, I had a 1980 Camaro that my buddies and I made completely illegal - we put bigger valved heads, an Edelbrock intake manifold, Holley 650 carb, headers and "turbo" mufflers - and of course we pulled all the smog stuff off! A rear axle from a Trans Am 3.31:1 posi vs the 2.56 that was stock. The car was a beast and pretty quick, but it wouldn't pass a smog test.

The salesman was such an idiot, he didn't see that I no longer trusted him and I wanted nothing to do with him or the dealership.
I just pulled down the specs for a Fiero GT. Fiero GT specs
My Camaro had 230 ish HP, top speed 135 mph (I got it there a number of times), 235-60-15 tires all around and big anti roll bars with urethane bushings - it made the car squeak (I think it was the roll bar squeaking as it rotated in the bushing).
 

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I'm with you Loco. The Fiero came to my mind too, on there being a few that didn't fall into the 'crap' column. My understanding on the Fiero was that GM had assigned Pontiac to proposing a tiny utility city car to develop. The engineers and designers saw what they felt as a better plan, and quietly used their development budget and time to tweak it more toward a small sporty Pontiac. When they finally revealed their results to upper management, it became a headline over the more pedestrian version they had been assigned to. Probably more to the story than that tho.

The slick plastic body and mid-engine placement made it worth all the trickery on getting it into production, IMHO. They later offered a V6 as well as the inline 4. Both roof options were quite stunning. I had heard that they had some issues on overheating from the positioning of the engine. But maybe Pontiac worked to improve that problem over the production years.. not sure.

I felt a personal loss when they killed Oldsmobile and Pontiac. Both marques had some great cars over their histories. I actually wrote a letter to GM on the plug being pulled on Olds. Probably as a way to vent more than anything. As Olds had been around for over a century, and had survived the Great Depression and two World Wars... I mentioned that there should be a plaque in Detroit with their names on it, since they were at the helm when Olds took its last breath.
A bit of worthless trivia. The reason GM kept Buick is that Buicks are considered luxury cars in China.

My though on the subject. I think GM should've kept the Pontiac name and made special low production cars. A real high performance GTO, Can Am, Trans Am, Formula and GTA. They could've used these cars to fight Dodge with the Scat Pack, Hellcat and Demon.
 
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