Saturday, February 25, 2012

1980 Alfa Romeo 90 - Damn, I Want This Car...

I had every intention of coming home early tonight and writing a post for tomorrow. I left work, went straight home, cooked a great dinner, had a glass or two of wine, brewed a pot of coffee and sat down at the computer.

I decided to check my email before writing the post. That's when I saw this...

I could search all night and most likely would not find a car as cool as this one. Plus, this is written better than anything I could write, so I figured why bother? I'll just go with this.

I want this car. Yeah, it's in Belgium. And yeah, parts for cars Alfa actually sold here can be a pain in the ass to get, nevermind trying to get parts for ones they never imported, but still...

This is from "guest writer", Sam Andrews...

Probably one of the rarest Alfa Romeo sedans ever. Certainly in this condition.

1986 Alfa Romeo 90 V6 Manual Transmission. It was only produced from 1984 to 1987, when was replaced by the infinitely more popular Alfa Romeo 75/Milano (U.S.).

It was never sold in the U.S. If brought here, like the seller says, hands down it would be 1/1 in the U.S.

I like these. I had a eyes-only infatuation with 80s Alfas a month or two ago, which basically involved scouring the net for any low mile survivors, salivating over stock factory photos, and learning from wiki all of the different models the company sold from the late 70s to the 80s (there were a lot, it seems).

The compact and handsome shape of the 90 is owed to Bertone, not Pininfarina for a change. It's still crisp, minimal and appealing. Italian designers have an eye for mod interiors, especially door designs (see the Allante, 780 Bertone and Ferrari 348) and this is also true for the 90. The dashboard is clean, angular and straightforward. The exterior looks great in gunmetal grey.

According to the seller (whose description is very informative and seems 100% honest) adding to the vehicle's scarcity is that fact that of the 56,428 built, only 6,912 came with the V6, and only 1,000 came with a 2.0-lite 6 for the Italian market only.

With figures that low, not only could this be the lowest mile 90, it could the only one of it's kind left in the world.

Available on ebay in Belgium, with a starting bid of $10,000, a reserve, no bidders, and 5 days left. Find the listing here.
Thanks Sam!


Christopher King said...

Nah, it's not as cool as a Milano.

I will never forget the sounds that the Milano made when I heard them opened up in traffic. How is it that Italian cars sound so goddamn good and entirely different than anything else.

Mind you old BMWs sound great too just not quite as cool or exotic.


Charles Gould said...

I read and enjoy your post regularly, but just felt that I had to comment on this recent post.
First of all, although your "intentions of writing a post" were good, it is obvious that you just didn't feel like writing anything for this week, and chose to "lift" a classified ad for the post.
Second, while I enjoy guest writers on occasion, it certainly seems like they are now writing more often than you are lately, and it would be nice to know whether this is a short deviation from your regular philosophy about this blog, or if you just needed a little break, or if your heart is just not into it anymore.
Finally, I have to state that while I appreciate all cars, and recognize that the vast variety of the offerings is what makes car collecting so fascinating for most enthusiasts, I have to disagree with your "dream Alfa".
I also recoiognize that we all tend to lust after what we wished that we could have afforded in those teen years shortly after we got our licenses (which I imagine explains your appreciation of early 1980's foreign and American cars), I just can't wrap my endorphins around this genre of cars. They all seem so boringly rectangular, even down to their ridiculous rectangular headlamps (as opposed to headlight).
The exterior lines are drab and totally uninspired, and actually suck all of the mechanical enthusasm out of these cars.
The interiors are sterile and void of any visceral pleasure or excitement. The instrument cluster could be mistaken for a Renault LeCar or a 1980's Chevy Celebrity.
There is just nothing to get your juices flowing except the engine on this Alfa. Sure, it is rare, and unusal, but so is a Cadillac Cimaron. That doesn't make it exciting.
This (and all 1980's offerings) are especially disappointing when one considers the sensually sculpted Alfa cars of the 1950's and 1960's which were all inspired designs which made one lust to own such an Italian creation, even in the four door sedan models.
These 1980's Alfas, like all manufacturers of the period, were designed to allow each body panel to be stamped out of a flat piece of sheet metal with the least amount of distortion, design, thought or hand forming, which may have been economically necessary, but which cannot be called exciting in my opinion.
Frankly, this period of car designs was a very embarrassing time for all automotive manufacturers in all countries (especially here in America), and I really can not understand how anyone can get excited about collecting these cars, except for the fact that they are still reasonably inexpensive, which I do understand is a compelling motivation. However, maybe they are so inexpensive because they are totally devoid of the passion of earlier designs.
I really do not wish to burst your (or other collectors in your generation's) bubble, but it just sucks to have these cars imprinted on your brains as the ones to lust after. I get that these may be attractive to many people, but it is just sacrilege to consider them as interesting or exciting as the automotive offerings from the 1950's and 1960's and most of the decades before that time period, when actual designers had a hand in how the car would look, as opposed to a CADCAM programed to minimize production costs.
Just my two cents worth. I hope that I have not offended anyone.

Just A Car Geek said...

Hi Charles...

Thanks for commenting.

I'm not sure what you meant by "lifting a classified ad". This was submitted via email and I published it. As most of the cars I write about are for sale somewhere, I guess it could be said that all I ever do is "lift" classified ads.

I had the "guest writers" do the writing for the past 2 weeks. As I've mentioned in the past, I make no money from this blog, it's a labor of love. (OK, that's not 100% true... I did get a $100.00 check from Google for the AdWords box you see on the right side of the blog - The only money I've received in 3 years) I am self-employed and there are changes coming to my business and personal life. I needed to focus on them for a bit. I could have just posted nothing, as I've done in the past, but idea of the "guest writer" came to me and I decided to give it a try. Personally, I think it worked out really, really well.

Believe me, if I could figure out a way of making a living with this blog - without whoring it out - it is what I'd be doing for a living. Unfortunately, I haven't figured that out, so I have to work for a living.

As for the Alfa...

I got my license prior to 1980.

My first Alfa Romeo - bought in the mid-1980s - was an Alfetta sedan. I loved its looks. And while it was no slouch, I wished it had more power. This car, which strongly resembles the Alfetta sedan, has the power my car lacked. Yes, in many ways, that makes it a "dream car". (One of a few hundred I have in my mind.) I later bought a Milano - new - which had an unbelievably great engine and often thought about finding a V6 to transplant into the Alfetta.

There are hundreds of good to great websites out there that point out the great cars of the 1950s and 1960s. I try to make this blog a little different and point out some of the cars that get little attention. Are they all great cars? No, of course not. But, I try to make them interesting.

You mentioned the Cadillac Cimmaron. I think I wrote about one once. It was a terrible car. But, it's a historic car. It is the car that almost ruined the Cadillac brand. It was also GM's low point when it came to badge engineering. If I saw one today on the street, I would certainly stop and check it out. Do I want to own one? Hell, no. Do I think it's interesting and worth writing about? Hell, yeah.

You also mentioned the Renault LeCar. Have driven one often back in the day, I like them. They were not perfect cars - more power and a starter that didn't damn near require you to remove the engine to replace are two things I'd have wished for - but it had personality and character in spades. As JaCG reader, Alden, once commented, "The things that gives cars character, are their character flaws". I've often thought about using that as a motto for this blog.

I will agree with you that there are some beautiful cars from the 1950s and 1960s, but, as I mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of blogs and websites covering them. The cars that I find fascinating are the lesser known, lesser regarded cars. If there aver comes a time where I see hundreds of sites writing about them, I'll probably pull the plug on this blog. For now, however, I'll keep doing what I'm doing.

Someone once wrote to me and called this blog "a dog show for mutts". I think he was insulting me, but I took it as a compliment. I love mutts.


Anonymous said...

It won't be the first one in the USA.
I imported one many years directly from Italy. It was equipped with the
wonderful 2.0l V6 as well. I displayed it a couple of times at Concorso Italiano in Monterey.
I sold it about two years ago to a gentleman in New York.
It was a very interesting car, like an Alfetta with a 6cyl. engine. Incredibly, fantastic sounding engine.
It had the usual electrical glitches other than that a pretty reliable car.

Sam said...

Charles, this is Sam, the guest writer of the post. JACG did not lift a classified ad. I wrote the post, it was inspired by the ebay listing, and I sent it to JACG and he liked it so he posted it, and I greatly honored. So please don't insult something just because you don't like the way it's written. It's rude to come on here and make accusations like that.

Second, you have to "get" boxy 1980s cars and the history behind them to understand the appeal of this wonderful Alfa.

As we are starting to look back critically on the 1980s now, about 30 years later, the designs from that era are also coming into consideration, and it turns out a lot of people really like them for what they are: efficient, ergonomic, simplistic but still compelling.

But why? Well, the fuel crisis of 1974 forced designers to create cars that would be smaller, more efficient and less wasteful than the cars of the 50s, 60s and early 70s. But when the shortage ended, gas prices remained relatively low, the economy rebounded, and tastes changed, automakers found themselves left with stark designs but consumers in no mood for frugality. So, they focused on performance again. They invested in making vehicles as sporty and fun to drive as possible, while also being built to last. The results are now famous and adored the world over: the BMW E30, the Mercedes W124, Volvo 240, and numerous Japanese cars of that era as well.

Understated and conservative sheetmetal with strong but efficient engines was the formula for successful cars of the 1980s and frankly it's a damn good formula that Americans and Europeans love as those cars sold very, very well. It's something companies could learn from today as they struggle with the same problems of the 1970s all over again.

Just A Car Geek is a great blog because unlike other sites, any car is worthy of consideration, especially the new classic cars from the 80s and 90s. And that's what makes it a great forum for discussion about these interesting and un-appreciated vehicles.

Thank you JACG and keep up the good work and the dialogue.

midelectric said...

The 2.0l is an especially cool version of the V-6 as it has individual throttle bodies and a sophisticated Spica engine management system. From reading the alfabb, it sounds like there is one 90 on the west coast (it may have even been listed for sale once) but this certainly must be the nicest one