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Discussion Starter #21
Thanks again for the replies! I thought the cloth seats in the automatic actually looked pretty nice. I might be getting ahead of myself, but they almost looked kind of similar to the cloth seats in a Japanese luxury vehicle like a Toyota Century, in that the Japanese consider high quality cloth/velour to be more luxurious than leather for a variety of quirky japanese cultural reasons.

Can anyone here point me to a resource that delineates exactly what the different trim levels came with from the factory? I'm finding it hard to find this info and can't really tell the difference between a 164L or 164S. I know in 94 and 95 that LS was the base model and the QV was the top of the line, but for the earlier ones it's hard for me to tell. I know that L stands for Lusso and is the luxury version, but I don't really know exactly what all of the differences are between that and the base model. Going off of wikipedia it just talks about the L vs the S but doesn't really state what the difference is besides the S having slightly more power.

The one I'm looking that is a 91 automatic just has 164 badging on the rear. It doesn't say 164S or 164L
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Pretty much what I can find online says that in 1991 there were three trim levels, Base, Sport, and Lusso. It says the "base" was discontinued after 91. However...I'm not really able to find what makes the Base different from the sport or Lusso besides the engine, I know the sport has an upgraded engine, right? So is the only difference between Base and Lusso the leather seats? Hard for me to tell from photos exactly what the difference is. I've seen some with sunroofs/moonroofs, and that does not appear to be on this one I'm looking at which now I'm guessing is a Base model since it just says 164 and not 164L or S
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Also, when the cars get to be this old, how important is mileage as opposed to overall maintenance? At this point, if I was going to buy one today, I'm torn between two that I found online. One is the 1991 automatic base model with the cloth seats. It has 99k miles, everything looks to be in great condition, seller says they have recent service records with timing belt and spark plugs changed etc. The other one is 1992 Lusso trim level with the 5 speed manual, and the owner is an alfa enthusiast who has an old spider convertible and also has recent service/maintenance records, however the 92 has 135,000 miles and the moonroof opens but does not slide back. Also it is about twice as far from me as the automatic, however the listing price is $1000 cheaper than the automatic, and the seller said thus far I am the only person to inquire about it, so I'm sure I could get quite the bargain (but then we're factoring in a plane ticket of a few hundred dollars, and either a rental car or ubers...so it would probably be a wash either way)

Still, if I only had these two to pick from, I'd be inclined to go with the automatic just because it has much lower mileage and the purchase itself would be easier because it's only 600 miles away as opposed to 1700 miles away. I'd be okay driving the automatic 600 miles, but if I had to buy a 135k mile car I'd be afraid to put nearly 2000 miles on it immediately. I'm leaning towards the automatic, and I figure if I really want leather I can always buy leather seats or have them reupholstered, but cloth doesn't bother me.
 

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Search function can be your friend.

The main diff between real base model Base and L is Base had no ABS, antitheft, or sun roof and has steel wheels and plastic hubcaps. However COMMA any option on a L could be had on a base except ABS and antitheft with remotes. See this link: Alfa 164 91-95 USA specs and window stickers
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Thank you Steve! Those window stickers are super helpful. I'm not really big on sunroofs anyways so it seems like the only thing I would truly be sacrificing is the anti-lock brakes
 

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Thank you Steve! Those window stickers are super helpful. I'm not really big on sunroofs anyways so it seems like the only thing I would truly be sacrificing is the anti-lock brakes
Here's additional buyer research links that could be helpful if you haven't already seen (by AlfistoSteve and John/Roadtrip within his post): Alfa 164 Buying guide

They are found in the stickies for Downloadable Maintnence Guides and also Alfisto Steves Maintenance Tips sticky, both of which also contain a invaluable wealth of information.
 

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I would be very surprised if the anti-lock brakes still worked on the 91L.

I bought a 91L automatic from Steve a number of years ago. Both my daughters drove it and I thought it was a lot of fun to drive. But not quite reliable enough for young ladies with no mechanical sympathy. Its ABS never worked.

I also have a 95LS manual with the chip, larger trumpets and GTA cams, as well as real Recaro seats. I believe the ABS does work on that car.

There is no comparison. The 91L just went to meet its maker. The 95LS is in the shop for new belts and some paint repairs. But it is now just a plaything, as I bought a Giulia TI Q4 last year. Love that car too!
 

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There is a nice looking white (holds up better then red or black) '164-S' on eBay now. It may be a Canadian import, according to others here. It does not have the typical (US spec.?) headlight washers like most:

It seems like most 'nice' 164-S' will bring $6,500 -8K or so these days. Maybe a couple grand more for one that is super clean, low mileage, with recent timing belt, tensioner and water pump changes. The 'Q' replaced the 'S' in or about 94-95, will bring even more. You will find mostly two extremes at this point: high mileage daily drivers with modifications and needs or well maintained garage kept examples that tend to have lower mileage.

Check Autotempest.com and enter your zip code (where are you anyway?) to find several options. I always recommend that you test drive any car you are considering and have a pre-purchase inspection done, if you are not intimately familiar with it.

Mark
 

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There's no reason the ABS would stop working from age. The systems are very durable. Wheel sensors are the usual weak spot, the magnetic sensors fail. The trigger rings also can get clogged and mislead the sensors. The distribution block can seize up if proper flushing was not done and that can be expensive to repair. ABS is not particularly valuable for a skilled driver.

The S engine did develop a bit more power and a tiny bit of additional torque but the main difference between S and L drivetrains is the L has a 10% taller final drive with the same gear ratios so has a higher top speed than the S in North America you can't use top speed in either model.

The big drawback for me for the S was the more sculpted rear seats which do not seat three children comfortably so I did not consider buying the S. I believe the S were all manual shift.

The B model is very rare and quite desirable if the price reflects the lack of options.

Finally, condition of the car determines value at this age of vehicle. Mileage and model year are not relevant. These cars deteriorate alarmingly rapidly if not maintained properly. If looked after they last and last no matter how hard they are driven.
 

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"These cars deteriorate alarmingly rapidly if not maintained properly. If looked after they last and last no matter how hard they are driven"

Certainly my experience.
 

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I bought my '92 164-S when it was brand new and with 135,000 miles, still love it. I considered a 164Q that my brother-in-law, Todd took in on trade at PSA, 20 years ago but for sentimental and other reasons, kept the 'S'. Maybe I am one of the 'younger guys' here (just turned 60 today) and want to say "Thank you" to Steve and Del and all you guys that have helped keep 164's going, all these many years!

A good friend gave me a running 164L auto, with a 'few' needs. After spending $4,000 restoring the car to normal driver level, my son drove it for a year or so and then decided that he 'needed' a manual transmission car (I sold the 'L' for $1,800). My daughter loved driving the 'L' with its sporty Auto; some folks are just meant to drive an auto but I sure prefer shifting when I want and the extra power a manual provides. The only time an automatic makes sense to me is in stop and go (Atlanta) traffic. There is a learning curve with a manual and you have to use the parking brake or the car may just roll away when you park.

If resale value matters much to you; I've noticed an increase in people looking for 164 'S' and 'Q' models. Sure they cost a bit more but they are worth it. They will "out Alfa" most of the Alfas I have ever driven. As a hopeless Alfaholic, I hope to keep the (more then a few) Alfas I have now, for a long time. The 164-S offers about 90% of the performance of an Alfa Romeo Montreal, for about 10% of the price -and it seats four adults!

We may never see a $100,000 164-S but when driving this unicorn, it is more rare and more unique then most of the cars around, many that cost 100K or more. OBTW, make mine red with dark grey leather!

Mark
Car looks amazing!
 

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I had a ‘93 164L auto and a ‘91 164S. Do you drive the wheels off your car and attack corners, or like to cruise and drive quickly but not too aggressively? If you are the former, get a manual S or L

Regarding the 12v or 24v, I would stay 12v...they run strong once off the line and are easier and cheaper to keep on the road. the 24v cars are sublime but you will not miss the Alfa experience with a 12v 183hp 164L auto. The auto box is reliable if fluid has been changed often and the cooling fan working for the tranny cooler. The S model adjustable shocks are unobtanium but some folks do rebuild. The 1993 S with the special seats are very cool and rare.

Rules for buying any 25-30 yr old 164:

Have the car inspected by a 164-knowledgeable professional.

A stellar maintenance record is way more important than mileage.

Don’t buy a modified car unless you really understand what was done and who did it. Especially electrical!

Buy the best car you can find,. 164 are not that expensive to buy, but expensive to fix.

If you don’t do your own work, ensure you have a mechanic close by that knows these cars and knows where to find parts.

the BB is a great resource!
 

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And the 12 valve is the real deal, the Busso engine. The 24 valve was massaged by other engineers. It's a great engine but not the real Busso. The world will never see another engine like the Busso V6.
 

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Car looks amazing!
Looks can be deceiving. That S was at auction in FL in Jan and I talked to my hardcore friend in March at Amelia C&C who went to look it over at the auction.
 

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Funny thing. Car salesmen can change dohc to twin cam and then call any engine having two cams a twin cam. The Busso engine is not a twin cam engine it is a sohc. It may have two cams but it doesn't have twin cams.
 

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There is a black 164-Q, with a broken timing belt, in the classified section. The asking price is $1,500 or best offer. It will need some work but the body does not look too bad. It will need head work, valves, timing belt, tensioner, water pump...plus whatever else it needs.

Mark
 

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Since 1997 i have had 3 164s and couldn't go into all of my adventures with them on this post, but
  • would certainly recommend manual transmission - a good bit of the fun of driving them requires shifting gears
  • have had a L & 2 Qs, there's really not a lot of difference in performance
  • unless you have a really well equipped shop with loads of tools & a lift and lots of time you won't be able to fix
all the things which may go wrong
- if you don't - unless you have a local reliable shop that can do big work like suspension, steering etc you
will have difficulties keeping it running
- you will also need good advice from a shop that knows 164s for occasional 164 specific capabilities - the
timing belt (+ water pump) is a good example of maintenance requiring it or serious engine work,
i once had to ship a 164 to DiFatta Bros. in Baltimore & my problem baffled even them for a while !
- you will typically have bizarre electrical & body & interior issues that will drive you crazy until
you decide what really needs to be fixed & what you can live with.
 

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So, I recently learned about the 164 and like all of you, I've decided that I must own one at some point. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Since I can't find very many for sale, I realize that some sacrifices may have to be made and I might not get the ideal 164. Obviously for me that would be a 95 QV but I know that is unlikely. I guess here is my hypothetical question for the enthusiast.

Would you rather have a 94/95 with the 210 horsepower 24v engine, BUT it's an automatic. Or would you rather have an earlier model with the less powerful 180ish HP engine but you get a manual transmission?

This seems to be my dilemma. I can find 164s with a manual transmission, but they are all earlier models with the less powerful engine. And I can find 94/95's with the upgraded engine, but they are all automatics.

For what it's worth, I am not really an enthusiast driver, though I aspire to become one. I've only ever owned cars with an automatic transmission, but everyone says manuals are more fun to drive and it seems like the Alfa Romeo 164 is a special car and would be fun to drive if a manual. Still, these cars seem so hard to come by that I realize it might be pointless to be picky about things besides quality and maintenance history
 

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@Michael Smith ?

Anecdotally I have been told by my mechanical shop EuroTec motors in NJ that the non-S v6 pulls very hard in producing torque, that the cam specs and Motronic tuning is really good. Such a fun car to drive, if you learn how to drive the ZF four speed and use the manual shift feature, performance is very good once you get off the line with the 3.0. Yes I preferred the S but have driven both stock and auto L and enjoyed both. L was a tremendous highway car.

Pizza pan wheels and tires notwithstanding. LOL. I put 215/60-15 p6000 N3 (Porsche spec 180 tread wear) on the 91s and it looked great, stuck to road, but steering feel not so good and suspension didn’t really like the weight. You can get those p6000 tires still 195/65, tremendous tire but now $300+ each and the 164 will eat them up. Before I bought the Stelvio I thought about re-doing a 164 but decided not to make a 25+ year old car a 30k mikes/year daily driver including winter. It would always kill me to salt down a 164 driving NJ to Boston a lot. But the car is that good!
 

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Wow, had 4 '91s, first, new out of the showroom 5 speed and put on 150,000K in two years. Traded for another with auto and really low miles. Running over a deer at 70 did it in. Then another 5 speed that a fallen tree in the middle of a curve in the road exacted revenge. Finally a higher mileage '95 5 speed, in like new superb condition. Brought the car up to 175+K and decided to part ways two years ago and save my bank account. All of these cars had great power, road manners and handling. We participated in several national conventions and local rallies over the years. At a local upstate NY Italian car rally the leader pulled over at one point and explained that she needed to give the 164s time to catch up. Then she looked and realized that on her bumper was a Ferrari, a Pantera and then me. "Whoops!, what did I say said she?." I'd take the '94/'95 stick any day but keep in mind they are expensive to maintain and some parts are getting hard to find. At 83 I've personally reached the Honda era. (But still the sport models.)
PS..need to part with my '85 Veloce, 105K, one owner, me.
 
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