Alfa Romeo Alfasud - Classic Alfa Romeos

Hmm. The Alfasud

Oh, dear. The Afasud. Where to start? Actually the Alfa Romeo Alfasud, like so many Alfas, had a pretty good engine and was, again, a sweet handling car. Unfortunately they also had a habit of dissolving into a pile of rust before they had made it out of the factory gates.

There is a rumour I have read that the left-wing Italian government of the day were buying recycled Soviet steel in an attempt to help the ailing Communist state's economy, but who knows if it is true. They then had Alfa Romeo build a factory in an area of high unemployment, near Naples, in the southern half of Italy to build their new car. Hence the name, Alfasud, meaning Alfa South.

Rather than ending up with another classic Italian car they ended up with an 'Alfadud'.

An Alfa Romeo Alfasud - a public domain image
An Alfa Romeo Alfasud - a public domain image | Source

A Giugiaro Styled Alfa

It has to be said the car looks pretty enough, styled by Giugiaro, and the flat-four engine was quite reasonable. And the handling was well up to Alfa standards, which were often well ahead of everybody else's, even though the car was front-wheel drive - a major break for Alfa Romeo. But build quality was terrible. I get the feeling that the Alfasud was the Italian Hillman Imp, with government intervention messing up the normal running of the business and leaving Alfa with an inexperienced labour force in a new factory with poor quality materials and it is hardly a surprise that the car had major problems.

Not only did Alfasuds rust like they were going out of fashion, the electrics could leave more than a little to be desired as well. It was a great pity, as with reasonable looks, good engines, and great handling it could all have been so different.

The later Alfa 164 executive saloon showed how it could be done, but neither car matched one of my favourite Alfas, the 1750 GTV.

Technical Specifications: Alfa Romeo Alfasud

Engine: Flat-four-cylinder, 1490cc

Power: 95bhp

Brakes: Disc all around

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Suspension: Struts front, rigid axle rear

Top speed: 107mph

Acceleration: 0-60mph in 11.5 seconds

A Rally Alfa Romeo Alfasud

An Alfa Romeo Alfasud

An Alfa Romeo Alfasud
An Alfa Romeo Alfasud | Source

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