Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
In April 1979 Alfa Romeo introduced their new flagship model, the Alfa 6. The four-door, three-box body used a similar style to the existing Alfetta model, although the considerably larger boot and bonnet made it a much more imposing vehicle. The drag coefficient was a respectable 0.41.The engine was an all new V6 with a capacity of 2492cc, which generated 158bhp at 5,600rpm using a total of six carburettors and a single, belt driven camshaft in each cylinder head. The drivetrain was conventional, with the engine and gearbox at the front and a limited slip differential at the rear. The suspension was similar to the Alfetta, with a de Dion system at the rear and independent front corners, but the gearbox was located in a more conventional position, aft of the engine (rather than at the rear like the Alfetta). A three speed automatic transmission from ZF was available as an option, whilst a hydraulic power steering unit, also from ZF, was the first to be fitted to an Alfa Romeo.
In 1983 the second series was launched. A minor (no changes to the metalwork), but noticeable facelift was conducted, with single square headlights replacing the twin round units, new bumpers, the addition plastic rubbing strips along the flanks, a new grille and new trim around the rear lights. Internally minor detail and trim changes were executed, whilst mechanically the engine received Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection to replace the six carburettors, the power remaining at 158bhp.
For tax reasons, a 1997cc version (135bhp, still with carburettors) of the 2.5 V6 engine was introduced, and at the same time a 2494cc 5-cylinder (105bhp) turbodiesel engine (by VM) was also offered.
See also our Alfa Romeo Concept Cars page for pictures of the pretty 1983 Delfino Alfa 6 based coupe.
Total production (which stopped in 1987) was as follows :
first series :
2.5 V6 : 6,385
second series :
2.5 V6 : 1,168
2.0 V6 : 1,771
turbodiesel : 2,746
total : 12,070
Driveline longitudinal engine at front with rear wheel drive Engine 2492cc (88x66.3mm) V6 with 158bhp @ 5,600rpm
1997cc (80x66.2mm) V6 with 135bhp @ 5,600rpm
2494cc (88x82mm) in-line 5 cylinder turbocharged diesel with 105bhp @ 4,300rpm
Suspension front : wishbone with telescopic dampers and torsion bars
rear : de Dion axle with telescopic dampers and coil springs
wheelbase : 2600mm
track (front/rear) : 1408mm/1365mm
Brakes front : discs, ventilated
rear : discs, mounted inboard
handbrake operating on the rear via cable
dual hydraulic circuit with servo assistance
Gearbox 5 speed manual
3 speed automatic
Steering Rack and pinion with power assistance Kerb weight 2.0 & 2.5 : 1470kg
2.4 TD : 1580kg
Click here for a cutaway picture of an Alfa 6
model max speed standing km 2.5 V6 (1979) 195 km/h 30.3 sec
1. The engine.
Before modifying the engine it is worthwhile filling it with a good quality synthetic oil and fitting new spark plugs. An engine oil additive may also be used.
The first improvements are relatively simple. The air filter can be replaced for an aftermarket item which will help the engine breathe more freely, the type which completely replace the original unit are best, and the exhaust can be replaced for one which will restrict the exit of the gases less. The complete system should be replaced, not just the rear section.
There are two options for increasing the power of the engine, through bigger jets and chokes, or by using the injection system from the GTV6 with an aftermarket module. It is possible to use the 164 camshafts which will provide a good hike in power whilst retaining excellent driveability. The ultimate option is to fit a 3.0 litre unit.
Other things to do should include fitting a cold air intake, a large diameter pipe (minimum 5cm) to provide air from outside the engine bay to the air filter. The exhaust manifold(s) can also be lagged with thermal cloth or tape to keep the exhaust gases hotter (and thus reduce back pressure) and also to keep the underbonnet (and hence intake and fuel) temperatures lower.
The high tension leads can also be replaced with performance ones.
Further modifications require the machining of the cylinder headand/or cylinder block (which will not be dealt with here since it is not normally a DIY job) after which it may be worth fitting an oil cooler. If overheating is a problem due to the increased power output then a small hole can also be drilled through the plate in the thermostat.
Regarding the transmission the main requirement is to uprate the clutch to handle the increase in power and torque achieved though the engine modifications. Friction plates can be purchased with improved materials and heavier duty pressure plates are also available. Whilst doing this it is worthwhile lightening the flywheel.
2. The brakes.
Initially it is relatively easy to replace the brake discs with drilled and grooved items, and the pads for a harder compound. The latter should not be too hard (ie no race pads on the road) or they will not function effectively at the normal 'road' operating temperatures. Stainless steel braided flexible hoses will improve the pedal feel and reduce the chance of damage whilst DoT5 fluid (not silicon) will increase the temperature at which it can operate effectively. If the brakes are getting too hot the dustguards can be removed and/or ducts fitted, taking air from behind the front bumper.
If more serious braking is required the next modification would be to increase the disc size. It is possible to use larger discs with a bracket allowing use of the production callipers, or alloy four pot callipers can be fitted.
In order to improve the balance of the car under braking it is desireable to be able to adjust the balance of braking from front to rear (and vice versa). This can be accomplished by fitting a bias valve in the line to the rear brakes, usually in a position so that it can be reached from the drivers seat.
3. The suspension.
The easiest improvement,and the one which will probably bring the single most noticeable change, is to lower and stiffen the suspension. The car can be lowered about 50mm by fitting shorter springs at the rear (around 140lbs/in) and adjusting the torsion bars at the front. Top adjustable dampers are compromised, but are good for road and track day cars since it allows the suspension to be adjusted between these two, rather different, requirements. The anti-roll bars can also be replaced with thicker items.
There are then two other main suspension aims; to reduce the flexiblity in the suspension and to increase the stiffness of the car, both of which aim at more accurate control of the wheel movement. To reduce the flexibility it is possible to fit nylon bushes instead of the normal production rubber items, or if perfection is desired the suspension can be fitted with metallic bearings (rose joints / rod ends). Spherical bearing top mounts can also be used. To stiffen the car it is most popular to fit strut braces. These can be fitted to the front and rear. For more extreme cases a rollcage can be fitted.....
Into this category also fall the choice of wheels and tyres. With an increase in power it can be necessary to fit larger tyres (thus requiring larger wheels) but the temptation to fit the biggest possible should be resisted. Consideration should be given to fitting a wider tyre on the rear (since they provide traction) but keeping the standard, or a wider but not as wide as the rear, tyre at the front. This will improve the balance of the car and not make the steering too heavy.
4. other things.
Other modifications worth considering include fitment of a shift light (and rev limiter if there is not one as standard), higher power bulbs in the headlights (if you are going to go faster you need to see further) and installation of a quicker steering rack.
Model No. Details Engine No. variants 119A 2492cc V6, manual, from 1979 AR01913 119A1 2492cc V6, automatic, from 1979 AR01913 119.32 1997cc V6, from 1983 AR01932 119.28 2492cc V6 injection, manual, from 1983 AR01928 119.29 rhd 119.30 2492cc V6 injection, automatic, from 1983 AR01928 119.31 rhd 119.20 2494cc 5cyl turbodiesel, from 1983 5HT/2.5
The most common problem with the 6 is the hydraulic cambelt tensioner. This should be checked by removing the left timing belt cover, especially if there is any oil under the front of the car !. It can be replaced with a 164 unit which preforms better and lasts longer.
The front brakes are also prone to problems - they should be regularly checked and cleaned to prevent seizure. Preventative maintenance is worthwhile here.
We always recommend the use of original parts where available.
Buying / Selling
Some tips to do before selling : (they may seem obvious, but most people don't do them and thus are in a weaker bargaining position)
Tidy inside the car thoroughly : hoover the floor, empty all pockets, ashtrays (wash), glove compartment etc..., wipe the trim with a damp cloth, give the cockpit a good airing to get rid of any odours ! Reset the trip meter to 00000 - it is a pleasant (subconcious) surprise.
If the car has been standing give it a good run - this will clear out the engine (reduce exhaust smoke), put a shine on the brake discs and loosen up any joints that may otherwise make some noises.
'Back to black' products are very effective at temporarily restoring bumpers and trim. This makes a big difference to any car. Do it a week before you expect people to view the car, otherwise it may be a bit too obvious !
Jetwash under the car, especially under the engine and in the wheelarches. The prospective buyer may be an enthusiast, and this makes it easier for them to see what they want to check.
Obviously wash the car and clean the windows !
If you are going to buy a car always check the following :
To start with, check the bodywork. Pay special attention to the wheelarches (inside if there is no plastic splash guard), suspension and engine mounts, sill, door pillars (check for sagging doors), scuttle panel and the floor (doors, bonnet and boot/hatch are also susceptible, but are more easily replaced). If a sunroof is fitted check around the edge for signs of rust.
Check that there are no mismatching panels, large areas of discolouration or signs of fresh paint. Compare the paint colour in the engine bay with that of the exterior.
Check for a damp carpet or the presence of mould - if the carpet is damp then the floor is almost certainly corroded.
Check the main electrical functions - wipers, windows, etc... try putting the main beam and wipers on at the same time. Check the headlight reflectors for rust.
Check for excessve wear in the rear suspension bushes.
Check the brake pedal does not go to the floor if pressed hard for a long time and check the gearchange for clean engagement.
The engine should be run up to temperature, check the exhaust for smoke, the condition of the breather (look for mayonnaise), the condition of the oil filler cap (again white deposits can indicate head gasket or other serious problems) and the colour of the coolant (preferably not brown!). If the car has an oil pressure guage this should not drop below 1 bar at idle, and should be around 3 to 4 bar at speed. Listen to the noise of the engine, then depress the clutch and engage first gear. Whatever noise has disappeared was coming form the gearbox, what remains is from the engine. Check the colour of the oil using the dipstick. A golden-brown is best, darker brown is ok, but thick and black should be avoided.
Check tyre wear, uneven patterns could imply a bent chassis.
Always take it for a test drive. Check that the car tracks in a straight line with no steering input and remains in a straight line under braking. Find a large open area and complete several lock to lock turns (also in reverse), listening for any noises. Try the handbrake when moving - seized rear callipers will mean uneven braking or no braking.
For books on Alfa Romeo see our Online Bookstore
There is also a list of all our picture galleries (including museums, motorshows and various events).
Wallpapers/Desktop Backgrounds of numerous Alfa Romeo's also available to download.
There are also various statistics regarding production and sales.
Alfa 6 comment form
My name is Norul. I am writing this comment in Malaysia. I have a 1984 2.5L automatic 6carbs Alfa 6. The car is a lot better than 1984 1.8L Honda Accord which I owned before. This is why I replace my Honda Accord with Alfa 6 last month.
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