1991 Alfa Romeo 164
Many Americans were likely surprised to see Alfa Romeo ads in last weekend’s Super Bowl. Our non-auto-enthusiast friends who can even recall the brand in this country most likely remember their sportier offerings. While we certainly appreciate raucous Italian sports cars, we know that the Milanese company has a long history of performance coupes and sedans, like this 164.
This was the last model that Alfa Romeo offered before abandoning the U.S. market in 1996. Unlike the new rear-wheel drive Giulia, this model was front-wheel drive and shared its platform with the Saab 9000 (along with Fiat and Lancia models never offered for sale here). Unique to the Alfa, however, was the spectacular 3-liter V-6. I drove one of these extensively when they were new and I still recall the sound of that engine… and those chrome intake runners, che bella.
Fairly rare, only around 6,000 164s were sold in the United States from 1990-1995. This example, a base L model differed from the sportier S by 17 horsepower (183 vs. 200), less bolstered seats and add-on body cladding. This car appears to be in amazing original condition and who could argue with red?
The Pininfarina-designed body was cleanly styled in all of its square-edged purity. The interior was equally interesting and bespoke, marred only by a Chrysler-sourced stereo head unit and an automatic shifter.