Which sedan has the looks of a BMW, but without all the tedious reliability that comes standard from the Bavarian offering? Why, it’s the Alfa Romeo Alfetta, from 1979.
Launched in 1972, Alfetta was the midsize sedan offering in Alfa Romeo’s lineup, designed to replace the old 1750 and 2000 sedans. The new offering drew its name from the Tipo 159 Alfetta, a Formula One car from the 1950s. Like the Alfetta racer, the sedan version featured a transaxle layout and a De Dion tube rear suspension. Both of these features were departures for the company’s road-going models. The developments lent themselves to a better weight distribution, which in turn meant the Alfetta had better handling.
Pleased with their technological development, Alfa endowed the later GTV, 90, and 75 models with derivations of the same setup.
The Alfetta was only available in four-door, notchback sedan format — “Berlina” in its home language. Only one trim level existed for the first few model years, with one engine: a 1.8-liter inline-four. Trim offerings expanded in 1975, when a 1.6-liter engine entered the lineup and Alfetta gained a new base model. Further enhancements to the model lineup occurred as the years went on, with the addition of a sporty 2.0-liter version called the 2000, as well as an upmarket turbodiesel trim called Turbo D. That type of power plant was a first in any Alfa Romeo passenger car. Throughout its life, the Alfetta offered only inline-four engines paired with a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic.
Alfa offered the Alfetta to customers in the United States, just not for very long. Available between 1975 and 1977 in its original format (called Alfetta Sedan), for 1978 and 1979 Alfa rebranded it as Sport Sedan. That latter offering was a version of the 2.0-liter model sold throughout Europe.
Alfetta continued with frequent revisions for a few years as Alfa Romeo prepared its successor. By 1984 the new 90 made its debut, and Alfetta production wound down at the end of the year. Over the 12-year life of the model, Alfa produced over 450,000.
It proved too difficult to find an American-market Alfetta with usable pictures, so today’s Rare Ride is from Italy. It’s a base 1.6-liter example with a manual transmission. With just under 75,000 miles, the sporty blue sedan asks $9,900.