Tuesday, February 25, 2014

1985 Alfa Romeo Alfa 6 Turbodiesel - In the US and on eBay

This is unusual...

Contrary to popular belief, the Alfa 6 was not a fancy Alfetta. They shared some parts, but the 6 was a larger, different model. One of the biggest differences was the 6 having a conventional rear differential, while the Alfetta had a transaxle. Alfa's truly wonderful 2.5 liter V6 made its debut in the 6. (Originally with 6 carburetors. I can only imagine what great sounds it made. I can also only imagine how tough it was to keep it running properly. Later cars were Bosch injected.)

The basic design of the Alfa 6 was completed in 1973. Alfa didn't launch the car until 1979. They never sent it to the US. The 4 cylinder Alfetta sedan wasn't setting any sales records here, and Alfa felt there wouldn't be enough sales here to justify the costs and efforts involved in certifying the Alfa 6 for the US market.

A few Alfa 6s have made their way here, now that they are over 25 years old. This one is different, however. This has the optional 2.5 litre 5 cylinder turbodiesel, built by VM. VM Motori S.p.A. is a well respected Italian manufacturer of diesel engines. Besides the Alfa, VM built diesels have found their way into vehicles built by Chrysler, GM, Toyota, Rover / Range Rover, Hyundai, Daewoo and many, many others.

This is the first time I have seen a diesel Alfa 6. The seller believes it is the only one in the US, and I have no reason to doubt that.

The diesel engine makes 107 HP. The gasoline powered V6 makes 156. The diesel sounds like a diesel. The V6 sounds like a symphony. Despite that - and, really, because of the better mileage and lower cost of diesel vs. gasoline in Europe - Alfa sold around 2700 diesel equipped Alfa 6s.

The seller found this one for sale in Italy in 2005. He had it shipped to a friend's shop in Germany, where it had some minor work done to it. It stayed in Germany for a few years and then made its way to the US.

Overall, this car is in good shape. It has some minor rust (it's an Alfa!) that should be addressed soon. It is said to run well.

As long time readers of JaCG know, I am an Alfaholic and have owned several. I would love to own an Alfa 6. I won't be bidding on this one, however. I'm not a huge diesel fan and absolutely love Alfa's V6. But, this is a really cool, rare car. If you're a diesel fan, or already have enough V6 equipped Alfas in your garage (Although, I'm not sure you can really ever have enough ;-) ), this would be a really cool car to own.

Located in Riverside, CA, click here to see the eBay listing.

A big thanks to Michael for sending me this link.


Sam said...

Yeah this is really cool. Tough call on the diesel engine though. There are better RWD diesel cars - any Benz from the same era for example - but the rarity of this almost tops the practicality. Nice find.

Hansjorg said...

Mercedes Diesels from that era are really fantastic cars. I had many of them. Right now I have an Audi 5 cylinder Diesel which is fun also. Sam, how would you know
if a Mercedes is better than
the VM engine in the Alfa?
AFAIK VM Diesels in the 70s and 80s never came to the USA. Just curious.

Fred said...

Well ... Turbo-diesel Alfa are far from uncommon in Europe (especially here in France where we have a stupid policy that made diesel way cheaper than gazoline : 80% of the cars are diesel), my car is a 2003 Alfa 147.

Not the sexiest car Alfa ever made, but I fell in love with Alfa buying my car ! It has some quirks (otherwise it would not be an Alfa !), but what a pleasure driving it on a mountain road !

Back to the topic, this Alfa 6. Well, of course THE 2.5 V6 would be better ! :)

Mike I. said...

When I first saw this listed I went to bed thinking, "I am going to buy this". Given where the bidding is already, I am out of the running.

I've owned Older Mercedes diesels but much prefer the bmw 524td which performs very close to a modern tdi. I owned three 524's over the years.

Not at all familiar with the VM but have read good things about it.

Getting parts for this in the USA will certainly be a pia. Bad enough getting parts for an Alfa 164. I also imagine that anyone in Europe is watching in disbelief as these probably have scrap value over there.

Chris Keen said...

Looks like it has Alfetta-style suspension, interestingly - front torsion bars and rear DeDion. So perhaps calling it a lengthened Alfetta with a front-mounted transmission is accurate? Wonder if the brakes are out- or inboard... off to do some reading.

Just A Car Geek said...

Chris - The rear brakes are inboard, like the Alfetta.

pickles said...

Just a Car Geek posted this car Tuesday, Bring a Trailer: Wednesday. Well done, as usual. Early bird gets my respect.