The range Alfa Romeo which at the beginning of the 1970s was preparing to welcome the compact Alfasud, destined to occupy a new slice of the market, was represented by two authentic cornerstones such as the Giulia and the 1750. These were two much loved and long-lived models that nevertheless began to feel the weight of time and competition.
Replacing them was not an easy task, above all it was not understanding which of the two would fall first in the public’s approval by requesting the replacement. For this reason, already at the end of the previous decade the project of a sedan had been started that could virtually replace each of the two or both, positioning itself halfway between them. This project, signed 116, was the one that gave life to the new one Alfetta.
Classic name, modern substance
The name Alfetta belonged to a true glory of Alfa Romeo’s past, the single-seater 158/159 remembered as the winner of the first F1 world championships in ’50 and ’51 and over 40 races (which made it one of the most victorious cars in history) affectionately nicknamed “Alfetta” by the public for its small size.
The sedan that picked up this spiritual heritage did not pretend to be small, on the contrary, it was proposed as a medium-superior car with its About 4.30 meters (4.28 at launch) which placed it halfway between the 4.15 of the Giulia and the 4.40 of the 2000.
Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1972
It was distinguished from these, however, by the mechanical approach that led to the debut of the renowned scheme at Casa Alfa Transaxle, with gearbox mounted at the rear in block with the differential, and the De Dion rear axle with Watt’s parallelogram, an interesting middle ground between independent suspension and rigid axle. Plus the rear brakes mounted inboard, close to the differential, to further reduce the unsprung masses.
The innovations continued with the front end with wishbones and torsion bar springs and with the rack-and-pinion steeringanother novelty completed by the adjustable steering column.
Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1972 – The chassis
It starts from the “Bialbero”
The Alfetta should have made its debut at the end of 1971 at the Turin Motor Show, however the management decided to reserve that stage for Alfasud and focus on it, thus moving the launch of the higher average to the following spring, to be exact. to the May of ’72choosing not a car show but the suggestive setting of the city of Trieste.
The first engine, which remained the only one for the first years of production, was the updated version of the 1.8 twin-shaft version of the 1750 (which at that time received the latest evolution passing to “2000” in name and in fact), revised and brought from the originals 118 up to 122 CV a 5.500 giri and combined with a 5-speed gearbox.
The latter was at the center of one of the few criticisms leveled at the new car, which convinced for the design, the interior space and also the behavior, but which due to the rear gearbox and related linkages was less direct and manageable than those customers were used to. For the US, the engine was proposed with Spica mechanical injection (also used on the Giulia and the Montreal V8) instead of carburetors.
Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 1975 – front
The 1.6 and the 2.0
The first evolutions came in 1975, along with the updated grille with the larger Alfa Romeo logo. Due to the oil crisis it was decided to propose, in addition to a downsizing of the 1.8 power to 118 HP, a more “small” and thrifty 1.6 to 109 CV (which, however, had to be “squeezed” more in lively driving and therefore ended up not consuming much less) accompanied by a simpler set-up, recognizable above all for the single rather than double headlights and the cheaper finishes.
Alfa Romeo Alfetta 2.0 1977
In 1977 Giulia and 2000 left the scene almost simultaneously and the Alfetta definitively took the place of the second. To succeed the Giulia, the new Giulietta was introduced, which took up the technical approach of the Alfetta itself. The latter, to seal the role of flagship, expanded the offer upwards this time with the new engine that gave life to almost a model in its own right, the Alfetta 2.0.
This was in fact distinguished by a redesigned front, longer than about ten cm (in total, with approx 4.4 metersreached the 2000 also in terms of footprint), rectangular headlights and new bumpers with integrated cornering lights, and was fitted with a 2.0 derived from the 1.8 with a power of 122 HP raised the year after to 130 HP with the arrival of the 2.0 L designation (” Luxury “) and richer finishes.
Alfa Romeo Alfetta 2.0 Turbodiesel 1979
Alfa Romeo Alfetta 2.0 Turbodiesel 1979 – engine
Another year and the price list changed again, the 1.8 resumed the original 122 HP and extended its set-up even to the more modest 1.6, but above all the first diesel engine arrived, a 2.0 supercharged 82 HP produced by the VM of Cento (FE) which made the alfetta the first Italian car with turbodiesel engine.
Aesthetically it was not immediate to distinguish it, except for the additional air slits in the front, but on a technical level the installation of the gritty 4-cylinder diesel engine required suspension revisions, steering changes, rewarded by good performance (155 km / h) and fuel economy.
Alfa Romeo Alfetta 2.0 Quadrifoglio Oro 1982
The two restylings and the “Quadrifoglio Oro”
With the 1980s, the Alfetta received two aesthetic updates: the first, from 1981, essentially unified the whole range under the more modern body of the 2.0, still refreshed with black plastic side strips and other touches. It also brought changes to the gearboxes, with longer ratios to lower consumption which, however, limited the grit of its most powerful.
In mid-1982, to spice up the model a bit, the version was added Four-leaf clover Goldpowered by the 126 HP 2.0 “American” mechanical injection and fitted with a new front with double headlights, specific alloy wheels and brown finishes.
The second restyling came in 1983, but focused on plastic details such as the wider fascias and bezels. However, he brought with him the latest mechanical innovation, the 2.4 turbodiesel engine always 95 HP VM that flanked the 2.0.
Alfetta’s career ended in 1985 after 476,000 units of which over 180,000 with the 1.8 engine, the only one left on the list for the entire life of the model.
Source: Motor1.com Italia – News by it.motor1.com.
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