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For the usual slope of the steering wheel a useful distance guide is provided by draping your wrist over the top of the rim, at the 11 or 1 position opposite handed. Your arm can be almost straight at that point and you will be able to perform that essential safety maneuver: swinging the wheel from right to left and back again, or vice versa as may be required, without moving your hand position on the wheel. Adjust the driver's seat accordingly. At the same time you should be able to press your right foot onto the floor of the car under the brake pedal with knee still slightly bent and full muscle strength applied (that way you can still achieve maximum force on the brake pedal even with completely faded brakes, not as big a concern nowadays but you never know).

That's it. Don't try to copy the driving position of any F1 drivers since the rear engined car era began, or that of any racing driver in a purpose built racing car. They adapt to the configuration of the car required by other engineering concerns. Emulate top rally drivers instead, especially from the old days when road cars were rallied. I got my information from Pat Moss' excellent driving book (Art and Technique of Driving, 1965, and, no, her husband Erik did not actually co write, his name was added to sell more books. Even he regarded Pat to be the better driver of the two) . She was and remains correct in her advice.

Shuffling the steering wheel is technically the only correct way to change your hand position while driving. Your knuckles, including those on your thumbs, should always remain outside the inner circumference of the wheel. Always. You would be wise not to wrap your thumb around any part of the inside of the wheel, especially the spokes which are there only because a spokeless wheel is not yet possible, Citroen came closest. The final movement of the wheel should be done with arm movement only, not hand movement, so as to retain the ability to instantly reverse rotation direction, although that is only essential if you aren't driving a fwd vehicle. Fwd rear wheel skid recovery is best done with your right foot only, on the gas pedal, unless you really have screwed it.

If compromised by poor vehicle ergonomics you can get away with the pedals a bit too close but the steering wheel is a different matter. You need to be able to turn the wheel in either direction without moving your hands until your arms cross in front of you. Anything less and someday you will hit something very hard and you won't realize why.
 

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"You would be wise not to wrap your thumb around any part of the inside of the wheel, especially the spokes "

I like to just rest my thumbs on the horn buttons of the 164 wheel. Convenient and safe, which is why Alfa put them there. My thumbs couldn't wrap around the rim or spokes that way. I dislike wheels with the horn button in the middle.

"You need to be able to turn the wheel in either direction without moving your hands until your arms cross in front of you"

Yeah, always. People who drive crammed up against the wheel, hanging from it so to speak can't do this (my brother's Austin Healey 2000 was actually almost designed that way). Used to be fun autocrossing the Mini, when you had to very quickly turn the wheel enough to end up with crossed arms one way and then the other. Always banged my left elbow on the inside of the door, lol, it being so close in that small car. We usually installed a smaller dia steering wheel.
 

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Driving too close to the wheel is by far the bigger error for seat position. Nowadays those drivers are also putting themselves at risk of being killed by their own airbag. Women drivers in particular frequently sit too close to the wheel. I'm not sure what induces that. Some women mention that they like to sit higher and feel safer if they do, often mentioning seeing out of the car (moving the seat forwards also raises it) which leads me to remark on another very serious driving error, looking at things that are already too close to your car to matter, you're going to hit those. One of the factors making SUVs so popular is this vision illusion. At highway speeds you're going to run into anything you see in front of you that is closer than a couple of hundred feet unless you can swerve to avoid it. In order to swerve effectively it's a good idea to understand what it is you may need to swerve around and where it is going or likely to go....which means looking further down the road than 200 feet. As long as you can actually see out of the front windshield it doesn't really matter how high up you may be sitting. If what you're looking at is important enough to look at it has to be a long way down the road. So that low roofline on the 164 is not a drawback from that perspective.
 

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I'm 6'1" and didn't have an issue with my '95 164LS when it came to fitting. It's really a leg v torso length ratio issue, so everyone is different.

For 750 miles I had one of the most enjoyable drives of my life bringing that car down from Washington, hugging the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Unfortunately, I had to go 850 miles. The belt slipped when I started the car up in Chico, after purchasing fuel. Limped it home and have procrastinated my way through a timing belt change.

I previously had a running '91S. It was fantastic, started me down the 164 rabbit hole.
 

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My new to me in 91 brand new 164B model without sun roof and with velour seats had the best head room for my 6' frame. Did not buy a new L back then with sun roof and leather seats because the way I seat fully upright there wasn't enough headroom.
My recently sold 164S was almost a ballcap button touching headliner headroom car. It had leather seats and sunroof.
My 91L with sunroof and softer leather seats has better headroom for me.
 

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I sent mbommari164 a "private message" now known as a conversation. Let's see if he responds.
 

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An alfasud is on my list of cars I'd love to own. Never imported here and now they are quite rare everywhere. But what a little firecracker of a car.

To ensure you have enough leverage to turn the wheel as quickly and as far as possible without your hands having to change position on the steering wheel you just need to be able to hold onto the wheel as your hand crosses over the 12:00 position and begins descending with your arms beginning to cross. I find if I can drape most of my hand over the rim of the wheel at that 11:00 opposite handed position then when my fingers are curled around the wheel rim at that same position my arm is still bent at the elbow. That's enough with power steering. With no power assist you will need to sit a tad closer to ensure you have enough leverage without having to lift your shoulders off the seatback. It is in fact the position of your shoulders relative to the wheel that matters. One reason those racing seats all have shoulder wings. Road cars generally don't because they make turning around to slap the kids in the back seat upside the head too difficult....
 

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Thou shalt not slap kids around especially when driving an Alfa Romeo.
 

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Got to drive a couple of Suds during an Alfa Track Day celebration, accompanied by an Alfa test driver, at a race track which was located between Glasgow and Edinburough, Scotland, this in 75. Don't remember the race track name now, probably doesn't exist anymore. We were told that Jackie Stewart used to practice at that track when he was young. Was fun to toss the cars around, coached a little by the Alfa rider. They wouldn't let us drive the Montreal which they also had there. We were driving a Junior Z we had bought in Glasgow ("Braino" now owns that car).
 

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My first experience of an Alfa was the 1.5ti Sud I was 'racing' against, just for fun in my mum's little 1.3 Opel Kadet, on a country road he knew and I didn't but tried to keep up anyway. I almost did, rather sideways, which he saw in the mirror and came back to say Hi and lent me his spare wheel to get me home as had ripped two tyres off mine. We became friends and he took me out a few times in his Sud and was a truly fun thing. Why I ever even considered being able to keep up with it remains a mystery to this day.
 

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This thread has become an Alfa stories thread :)

Here is a more balanced experience (?): Many moons ago I went to an Alfa club meet, and for some reason got a lift in Toyota Corolla rental car with a club member. In our little convoy was an Alfa Sud or 33 (yes can't quite remember, which shows how long ago it was). Anyway we ended up stopping at a traffic light, and of course ended up beside each other with no other cars, a few blips and laughs between the 2 cars ... lights went green and we had a little race up to not much over the speed limit. Embarrassingly the Toyota blew the Alfa away. There was little conversation for the rest of the trip and all 4 of participants never spoke about what happened for the rest of the evening ... lol
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #73
You haven't mentioned where you live, or maybe I just missed it. If in the Puget Sound area, you would be welcome to try sitting in one of my 164s, and I'd take you out for a drive, virus restrictions permitting, of course. Would probably have to wait on that.
Thank you for the offer but I am located in Kansas City, Missouri. Unfortunately it seems that whatever interesting cars I find, whether an Alfa or something else, few are located anywhere nearby. I've still been searching for a car. Not 100% if the 164 is the right car for me right now, but if I found one in good condition relatively close I would certainly take a look and consider it. Just hard for me to justify traveling over 1,000 miles right now just to check out a car. But I will certainly try to keep this thread updated and let you guys know if I end up getting one, or even if I just end up test driving one
 

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Well, my 164L is 1167 miles from you and 825 miles from me and it looks like neither one of us close to being able to get to it now.
 

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I guess ill throw my observances about 164 ownership in here as well even though I'm thoroughly late to the party. I don't personally own a 164 but at the rate things are going I might just have to find one because they are intoxicating to drive and be around. Back to the point, my good friend does own a 92 164S 12v manual, Remelo on the forum, and he loves the thing. Seating wise, i'm nearing 6 foot 5 and can comfortably drive it with no problems, I also fit in the back seat behind another normal sized human albeit with a little less headroom than I'd like. Working on the car can be quite a chore however if you don't know what you're doing, we fumbled our way through installing a new fuel pump (through the trunk) and getting it running, but the fsm is very easy to access online once you find it. Figure any maintenance you will have to do on one of these will take 3-5 times longer than on an Asian or american sedan but it is doable in your own garage or driveway. I'd like to think we are the only 18 year old idiots to have pulled and completely rebuilt one of these engines and other than the price of parts (I think it was about 800 usd to rebuild it sans bearings) and the intake valve stem seals I was very impressed with it. Then engine hasn't blown up yet so we must have gotten all the important parts back in their places I guess. Overall though don't be afraid of doing your own work, this forum is a goldmine of information about these cars and is surprisingly active, Steve's posts have saved me hours of hair pulling over the last two years and for that I thank him. I guess to wrap this up I'd say don't buy one because then you'll want many more, but do buy one because if you don't you are missing out on one of the most amusing cars to own and operate.
 

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Which of both to choose depends very much on how you will use the car. Nowadays I own two 164 Super 24V (European LS), one as manual, the other as automatic. The both are totally different. While the manual is a agile sportscar, good for going at highspeed at German Autobahn, I learned to appreciate the automatic as a cruiser first of all in city traffics. The automatic feels so much "Americano".

My 1st 164 was a Super V6 12V. If you don't drive the 24V in parallel to the 12V there are not so much differences between both. Indeed, the 24V feels more aggressive as the 12V, but is not so much more powerful. Only if you are going faster as 140mph the 24V is ahead of the 12V.
 
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