Alfa Romeo Alfetta & GTV
Introduced in 1972, the new Alfetta (or Alfa Romeo Sports Sedan in the US) introduced a completely new drivetrain layout to production Alfa Romeo's. It utilised a de Dion rear suspension with the clutch and transmission housed at the rear together with the differential to give a good weight distribution, as used on the 159 Grand Prix cars. The front end utilised double wishbones and torsion bars. The body was a conventional three-box, four door saloon designed by Giugiaro and it was fitted with a modified 1750 engine, now with a capacity of 1779cc and producing 122bhp.
1974 saw the introduction of a two door coupe, the Alfetta GT, designed by Giugiaro and Alfa Romeo. It shared the same chassis, with a shortened wheelbase, and engine, but was much more sporting in appearance with a drag coefficient of 0.39. One of its quirkier details was the positioning of the instruments, the revcounter was directly in front of the driver, whilst the speedometer and other guages were in the centre of the dashboard. This layout drew much criticism and later the speedo and rev counter were exchanged. In 1976 the 1800 engine was dropped and two models, the Alfetta GT, now with a 1600 engine (1570cc and 109bhp), and the GTV2000 (1962cc and 122bhp) were introduced.
In 1974/5 the range was revised. The 1.6 Alfetta was introduced, powered by the old 1570cc engine with 109bhp whilst the 1.8 was mildly facelifted, mainly internally. The two models were easy to differentiate from the outside since the 1.8 continued with four round headlights, whilst the 1.6 had only two. In the same year the US market got a 2000 engine, with fuel injection.
It took until 1977 for the 2000 engine to become available in the Alfetta in Europe. The 1962cc with twin carburettors produced 122bhp as installed in the 'Alfetta 2000'. The interior was also mildly revised and the base models received square headlights. In the following year the 2-litre unit in both berlina and coupe was mildly re-tuned (new camshafts) to give 130bhp. The following year saw the arrival of another addition to the range with the introduction of the Alfetta Turbo D which used a VM 1995cc turbo diesel engine generating 82bhp.
The arrival of the Alfetta GTV 2000 Turbodelta, also in 1979, gave the range a serious performance model. Developed for rallying (Group 4) by Autodelta, the engine was turbocharged to produce 175bhp (compression ratio down to 7.1:1, 9psi boost, KKK turbocharger, blow through carburettors), the suspension was modified and they all had matt black bonnets.
1980 saw the range revised with modernising touches such as black plastic bumpers replacing the chrome one's of earlier cars. The GTV gained a 'normal' instrument layout, with everything in front of the driver, and the power rose slightly to 130bhp.
1981 saw a new, more potent, addition to the range, the GTV6. This used the 2492cc V6 engine from the Alfa 6 in the Alfetta GT bodyshell. The engine was fitted with the Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection system and produced 160bhp and 220Nm torque. The mechanicals remained basically the same as the 2-litre cars, with various modifications to cope with the additional power. These latter included the adoption of a twin-plate clutch. From the outside the GTV6 is easily recogniseable due to the large bulge in the bonnet. At the end of 1981 the whole range was mildly revised with small detail changes to trim and equipment.
The final version of the saloon was the 'Gold Cloverleaf', launched in 1982, with fuel injection, electronic ignition and, from 1983, variable valve timing (two position). 1983 also saw the arrival of a 2393cc Turbodiesel (95bhp) and minor revisions to all of the range.
See our Alfa Romeo Concept Cars page for the Zeta 6 (GTV6 based coupe) and Alfetta Spider prototype, or our pictures from the Alfa Romeo Museum which also includes the Alfetta Spider plus the later Alfetta based Eagle Spider.
The Alfetta chassis (already used for the Giulietta) later evolved into both the 90 and the 75, the latter really succeeding the Alfetta in the model range. Production of the Alfetta continued until 1984. Total volumes were :
1.8 Berlina 183,427 1.6 Berlina 82,512 Diesel 29,951 GT 1800 21,948 GT 1600 16,923 GTV 2000 74,816 GTV6 21,695
Driveline longitudinal engine at front, gearbox, clutch and differential mounted at rear with rear wheel drive Engine 1779cc (80x88.5mm) dohc 4 cyl with 122bhp @ 5,500rpm
1567cc (78x82mm) dohc 4 cyl with 109bhp @ 5,600rpm
1962cc (84x88.5mm) dohc 4 cyl with 130bhp @ 5,400rpm
Turbo : 1962cc (84x88.5mm) dohc turbocharged 4 cyl with 175bhp @ 5,500rpm
GTV6 : 2492cc (88x68.3mm) sohc V6 with 160bhp @ 5,600rpm
Suspension front : double wishbones with telescopic dampers and torsion bar plus anti-roll bar
rear : de Dion with transverse link, coil springs and telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar
wheelbase : 2510mm (GT/GTV/6 : 2400mm)
front track : 1360mm (GTV6 1374mm)
rear track : 1358mm (GTV6 1351mm)
Brakes front : discs, diameter 261.6mm
rear : discs, mounted inboard, diameter 248.9mm
handbrake operating on the rear callipers via cable
hydraulic circuit with servo assistance
Gearbox 5 speed manual
disc diameter : 215mm (1600 from 1979 200mm)
GTV6 had twin disc, diamater 190mm
Steering Rack and pinion (optional power assistance on some models)
3.7 turns lock to lock
Kerb weight GTV : 1000kg; GTV6 : 1210kg
Click here for a cutaway drawing of the Alfetta saloon.
model max speed 0-60mph Standing km Alfetta 2000 113 mph 9.4 sec GTV 2000 L (1979) 186 km/h 9.7 sec (100km/h) 31.26 sec GTV6 128 mph 8.9 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 a number of modifications possible depending upon which model you have.
For the four cylinder carburettored models, larger carburettors (45 DCOEs) will work well with improvements to the breathing and exhaust. A camshaft will also provide a noticeable gain, especially if fitted in conjuction with the carburettors. For those fuel injected versions an aftermarket programmable module is one option, the other is to replace the fuel injection system with carburettors. The latter is popular due to the 'primitveness' of the early Bosch systems which have limited tuning potential.
For the V6 engines, the options are similar. The carburettors from the Alfa 6 can be used and will allow, through bigger jets and chokes, a significant increase in power. Alternatively, an aftermarket module will allow the injection system to be retained and improved. In the V6 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 the 3.0 litre unit, the one from the 75 will drop almost straight in.
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. The GTV6 has a special twin plate clutch which can be replaced by a standard 75 3.0 V6 item (these are cheaper and easier to find). 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. Stainles 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. At the rear it is possible to fit the vented discs from the SZ with an adaptor plate to mount the original callipers.
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, around 27mm and 24mm at the front and rear respectively.
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 116.08 Alfetta, berlina, 1779cc, 1972-75 AR01608 116.09 rhd 116.10 Alfetta GT, coupe, 1779cc, 1974-75 AR01608*S 116.11 rhd 116.00 Alfetta, berlina, 1570cc, 1974-81 AR01600 116.42 Alfetta, berlina, 1779cc, 1975-80 AR01608*X 116.09 rhd 116.54 Alfetta, GT coupe, 1779cc, from 1975 AR01608*X 116.05 rhd 116.04 Alfetta, GT coupe, 1570cc, from 1976 AR01600 116.02 rhd 116.36 Alfetta, GTV coupe, 1962cc, 1976-78 AR01623 116.37 rhd 116.55 Alfetta, berlina, 1962cc, 1977-78 AR01623 116.56 rhd 116.55C Alfetta, berlina, 1962cc, 1978-81 AR01655 116.58 Alfetta, berlina (for USA), 1962cc, from 1978 AR01615 116.36A Alfetta GTV, coupe, 1962cc, 1978-83 AR01655 116.36D Alfetta, GTV Turbodelta coupe, 1962cc, from 1979 AR01655 116B Alfetta, berlina, 1995cc turbodiesel, 1979-83 4HT/2 116.42A Alfetta, berlina, 1779cc, 1980-81 AR01678 116C GTV6, coupe, 2492cc, 1980-83 AR01646 116B1A Alfetta, berlina, 1570cc, from 1981 AR01600 116B2 Alfetta, berlina, 1779cc, from 1981 AR01678 116.55F Alfetta, berlina, 1962cc, from 1981 AR01655 116.55M Alfetta Quadrifoglio, berlina, 1962cc, from 1982 AR01334 116.58C Alfetta Quadrifoglio Oro, berlina, 1962cc, 1982-83 AR01674 116.36C GTV, coupe, 1962cc, from 1983 AR01655 116CA GTV6, coupe, 2492cc, from 1983 AR01646 116B3 Alfetta, berlina, 2393cc turbodiesel, from 1983 4HT/2.4 116.55N Alfetta Quadrifoglio Oro, berlina, 1962cc, from 1983 AR01713 116BA Alfetta, berlina, 1995cc turbodiesel, from 1983 4HT/2
Note that also the Giulietta (1977 to 1985) had the model number 116.
Regarding the GTV6, one of the most frequent problems is with the timing belt tensioner - use a 164 item. They perform better and last longer.
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 :
Checking the bodywork is the starting point. Pay special attention to the wheelarches (inside if there is no plastic splash guard), front wing tops, inner wings and suspension mounts, jacking points, sills, door pillars (check for sagging doors), scuttle panel and windscreen surround 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 and look for staining of the rooflining indicating water ingress.
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, lights etc... try putting the main beam and wipers on at the same time. Check the headlight reflectors for rust.
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 from the gearbox, what remains is from the engine. Listen for thrashing coming from the front of the engine, indicating a worn timing chain, or a clattering from the top end, indicating excessive valve clearances. 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. Check for the gearbox jumping out of secong or third gear, indicating worn synchromeshes, but don't worry about a sloppy gearlever since the bushes can be replaced inexpensively. 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.
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Alfetta/GTV/GTV6 comment form
My first car was an alfetta GTV coupe and I swear by it it is the best car to learn in and also to drive as a first car due to its characteristic in communicating with the driver of what is happening to the car and also the car takes corners like it was on rail tracks. I love it !!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Julian, Australia)
In some ways overrated because it is so uneven in quality, but gorgeous to look at ,the V6 is torquey and fantastic to hear, and the chassis is so dependable. Feels exotic too when you sit in it ( emphasised when the engine is revved) But trim and way body put together lets what would have been an absolutely brilliant car down. Don`t believe stories about the gear change-although varies from car to car- it`s not that bad just slower than 99% of contempories. You`ve got to at least have a drive of one in your life though if you love cars. (Richard, New Zealand)
1979 alfetta sedan fully restored and fitted with 14by 6 inch chromadora five star pattern offset 17mm. the interior has been updated with gtv6 rearseats and corbaue racing bucket seats. it has a fuel injected 2 litre with about 118 bhp at 5000rpm.. however if shifting correctly you can manipulate the tork well. interior was further more taken to a restoration facility and done in black w/new leather gtv6 steering wheel. all in all she is a head turner in the San fransisco area and last but not least a bora exhaust gives the classsic alfa hum. this is by far the nicest one in town but not the fastest. yes it is a daily driver and dependable...dependable as an italian car can be when you do nothing but take care of its needs. (yes it's dependable) (Nate D, USA)
I own a GTV6 and I think it´s a one of the best italian cars that ever made.
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