In a class of its own. One of the best cars I’ve ever driven.
My first Alfa Romeo ever (so I’m probably not all that objective, but):
An iconic no-nonsense driving experience, which I can only describe as a mix between a go-cart and a racing trimmed Lotus Elise, giving you superior steering, feedback and balance.
Pretty fast as well. The Alfasud 1, 5 L engine produced between 85 -105 BHP for a car weighing only 850-900 Kg. Having the weight distribution of the flat-four engine low down in the car, made the centre of the gravity lower, and added significantly to the perfection of the handling.
Saw a lot of Escort XR3s through my Alfasud rear view mirror, back in the days.
This was the time without all the modern day “girly stuff”,
like power steering, ABS, airbags, aircon, central locking, drivers side beauty mirror, cup holder (Doesn’t belong in any proper Alfa Romeo, anyway), electrical windows, etc., which only spoil the handling by adding more weight to the car.
Like the much later Alfa 156 (Berlina) the hinges for the boot lid were attached below the fixed rear window (in spite of the hatchback shape of the Alfasud). This made taking luggage in and out of the oven shaped boot rather difficult.
Focusing on handling only, Alfa had chosen this solution, because it would provide more stiffness for the chassis, in order to improve the drive.
In the latest modification (1981/82) , this design was, however, changed into “a proper” hatchback (now either a 3-door or a 5-door version)
As most Alfaisti would know, the first Alfasud was launched in 1973. It was designed by Giogiaro of ItalDesign.
Alfasud was Alfa Romeo’s ever first FWD. The model was developed totally from scratch. Even the factory in Pomigliano d'Arco had to be built on an open field in the southern part of Italy in order to fight the very high rate of un-employment in the region. The Alfasud didn’t share one single component with any of the excising Alfa-models, build in Milano.
“Don’t mention the war”, John Cleese shouted in “Faulty Towers” once (so we won’t talk about the guy in charge of both developing the factory and the car model, the Austrian, Rudolf Hruska. During WW2 he was working for Porsche at the time Porsche was making the blo… Tiger tanks.
Later working for Alfa Romeo, Hruska was involved in the first mass-produced Alfa, the 1900 Berlina, launched in 1950, and (as I recall), also in developing the first Giulietta, which was launched in 1954,))
“A yard stick for car handling”, several car magazines wrote about Alfasud back in the days. If memory serves, this statement was first made by the UK magazine “Car”, which later even appointed the Alfasud “Car of the decade”.
Even Topgear agreed, as seen on Youtube, (see link below).
On the photograph we see the Ti “Quadifoglio Verde” (=“Green Clover Leaf” in Italian) in the last and 3’rd series of the “ordinary” Alfasuds (meaning, not the Alfasud Sprint-models, which was produced up until 1989).
The characteristics of the TI-models is the 2 or 3-door version (the picture is most likely the 3-door version), it has the twin-headlights, and that the indicator lights are build into the front bumper (whereas on the “standard” Alfasuds the indicator lights were placed next to the single headlight units)
Other characteristics are the more significant front spoiler, together with a rear spoiler on the boot lid, as you see on the photograph.
This one is fitted with the late model Quadrifoglio Verde “telephone dial” rims, and aftermarket fog lights. The TI was powered by a twin-carb. 1.5 L engine.
Drove my 1,5 4-door L-model for 8 years, loving every second of it, until some idiot crashed into it.
You can See further on YouTube :
Old Topgear :
Danes at Nuremburg Ring, overtaking modern day BMW 3-series, Sciroccos, superbikes etc. :