The Sedan had a body designed by Centro Stile Alfa Romeo, and the Alfetta GTV coupé (not to be confused with the more recent 1995 Alfa Romeo GTV, or the classic Giulia GTV), was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The Alfetta introduced a new drivetrain layout to the marque. Clutch and transmission were housed at the rear of the car, together with the differential for a more balanced weight distribution, as used on the Alfetta 158/159 Grand Prix cars. The Gold Cloverleaf (Quadrifoglio Oro) model was actually sold as the Alfetta 159i in some markets. The suspension relied on double wishbones and torsion bars at the front and a de Dion beam at the rear. The Alfetta was renewed in 1979 with a revised frontend, new wheel rims and new lights, as well as a diesel version.
It was available with two four-cylinder DOHC engines with two valves per cylinder and a turbodiesel engine supplied by VM Motori. The 1.6 and 1.8 L base models had two double-barrel carburettors, while the 2.0 DOHC received fuel injection in 1979. The diesel initially had 2.0 L, but was increased to 2.4 L in 1982.
The four-door Alfetta was sold in the USA from 1975 through 1977 under the name Alfetta Sedan. From 1978 to 1979 a mildly restyled version was sold under the name Sport Sedan. The four-cylinder coupe was available from 1975 to 1977 under the moniker Alfetta GT, renamed the Sprint Veloce for the final two years of production in 1978 and 1979. Finally, the V-6 version was marketed from 1981 to 1986 as the GTV-6.
The Alfa Romeo Alfetta became well known throughout the world since it was Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro's official escort car, when, in 1978, he was first kidnapped, then killed, by the Italian Terrorist left-wing organization The Red Brigades. A fictionalised account of these events was produced as a critically well regarded Italian film, The Advocate, which also heavily featured Alfettas of all types, from Carabinieri 'Short Nose-Round Light' through to the Prime Minister's own 'Long Nose-Square Light' 2000 Super Saloon.
A special semi experimental version of CEM (Controllo Elettronico del Motore) was developed in 1981 in collaboration with the University of Genoa, it was made 10 examples derived from the "2.0", this engine could use two- or four-cylinder as needed in order to reduce fuel consumption. The cars were assigned to taxi drivers in Milan, to verify operation and performance in real-use situations. After the first trial, in 1983, was produced a small series (991 examples), which were entrusted to a select clients. Despite this second experimental phase, the project had no further developments.
Design and dynamics
The rear de Dion transaxle found on the Alfetta and derivatives- GTV, 90 and 75- provided these cars with excellent weight distribution. The advantages to handling were noticed in contemporary commentaries by motor testers such as Vicar. The transaxle design, in combination with inboard rear brakes and a well-located de Dion rear suspension, resulted in excellent traction and handling. The front suspension design was also unusual in that it incorporated independent longitudinal torsion bar springs acting directly onto the lower wishbones and with separate dampers.
GT, GTV and GTV6
For information about the GTV (916) see Alfa Romeo GTV & Spider The Alfetta was the base for the GTV, a fastback coupé version of the saloon, introduced in 1974 as Alfetta GT, initially available only with the 1.8-litre (1779 cc) version of the Alfa DOHC four. These engines featured a chain driven 8-valve twin overhead cam cylinder head of cross-flow design. For 1976, with the final phasing out of the earlier 105 Series 1.3 and 1.6-litre coupes (GT 1300 Junior and GT 1600 Junior) and the 2.0-litre 105 series 2000 GTV, the Alfetta GT became a range, also available with the 1.6-litre (1570 cc) and 2.0-litre (1962 cc) versions of the same engine as the Alfetta GT 1.6, Alfetta GT 1.8 and Alfetta GTV 2000. The GTV designation was initially reserved for the 2.0-litre top version.
In 1979, some minor revisions, including a revised engine with new camshaft profiles and a change to mechanical-and-vacuum ignition advance, saw the 2.0-litre redesignated the Alfetta GTV 2000L. Autodelta also produced a limited edition turbocharged model, named Turbodelta, for FIA Group 4 homologation. This version used a KKK turbo which pushed power up to 175 PS (129 kW). The car also received a modified suspension layout. This was the first Italian production car with a turbocharger.
The styling of the GTV, while distinctive, can be seen to share many design features derived from the Montreal supercar, as translated down to a simpler and thus more marketable vehicle. Examples of this are the bonnet line, which while briefer, still has 'scallops' for the headlights, and the tail light clusters which resemble those of the Montreal. The door shape is similar, and in a sharing of parts, both vehicles employ the same door handles.
In 1981, the GTV received a restyling, with grey plastic bumpers and all matte-black trim replacing bright stainless steel, the 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre versions were discontinued and the Alfetta 2000 GTV became the base coupé model as the Alfa GTV 2.0. The Alfetta name was dropped, but the two-litre coupé retained its type designation of 11636 for left-hand drive and 11637 for right-hand drive. 15-inch alloy wheels were now standard, as opposed to the earlier cars' 14-inch pressed steel or optional 14-inch alloy.
Later in the same year, the GTV-6, a version of the GTV with the SOHC V6 2.5 L engine from the Alfa 6 luxury sedan, was released. As a result the hood received a bulge to clear the top of the intake and became its most pronounced feature. With Bosch fuel injection instead of the six downdraught Dell'Orto carburettors in the early Alfa 6 installation, the V6 was much easier to start and retained its state of tune much better. The V6 received rave reviews from the motoring press, which had previously lambasted the same engine in the Alfa 6 because of the carburettor problems. It found its true home in the GTV-6 where it could stretch its legs better than in the less sporting Alfa 6 sedan. The fuel injection installation eventually made it into the second series of the Alfa 6 as well. The GTV went through a number of revisions, including a new gear ratios and an updated interior in 1984.
The GTV6 was a successful racing car, including winning the European Touring Car Championship an unprecedented four years in succession (1982–85), the British Touring Car Championship in 1983 at the hands of Andy Rouse, as well as many other racing and rallying competitions in national chsmpionships as France and Italy. A Group A GTV6 driven by French driver Yves Louvet won its class in 1983,1984, 1985 and 1986 Tour de Corse Rally, showing the superb capabilities of the Alfa coupe in tarmac rallyes..
A GTV6 was driven to victory by Greg Carr and Fred Gocentas in the 1987 Australian Rally Championship.
Motor magazines have quoted the Busso V6 engine as one of the best sounding engines ever. The British Classic & Sportscar noted it as "The best sounding engine, this side of a Maserati V8".
A grey GTV6 is featured for a short period in the James Bond movie Octopussy. Bond (played by Roger Moore) steals the parked car in West Germany while its owner uses a pay phone booth and makes haste towards Octopussy's Circus, where he de-fuses a bomb planted by the villainous Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan).
South African models were first assembled at Automaker's Rosslyn plant, located outside Pretoria. These early, 1973 models, were manufactured alongside Datsuns. From 1974 South African Alfetta's were manufactured at Alfa Romeo's own Brits plant. South Africa was one of two markets to have a turbocharged GTV6, with a Garrett turbocharger and a NACA intake. An estimated 750 were assembled before all production ceased in 1986. The South African market also introduced the 3.0 L GTV-6, predating the international debut of the factory's 3.0 L engine in 1987. Approximately 200 were built in South Africa for racing homologation. To this day, the GTV-6 remains the quintessential Alfa Romeo for South Africans.
For the U.S. market two limited production GTV-6 models stand out. The Balocco (named after the famous Balocco test track in Italy) in 1982 with a production run of only 350 cars. The Balocco was available only in red with sunroof and black interior, leather-wrapped steering wheel and red piping on the seats. There were also two green Quadrifoglio badges fixed on the rear quarter trim pieces above a badge with the "Balocco SE" designation. A plaque inset in the glove box door designated the number of the car out of the series of 350 (XXX of 350) And the GTV-6 2.5 Maratona, of which only 150 were built. The Maratona model included a more aggressive aerodynamic trim package, lightweight Speedline wheels, clear engine view port, sunroof, wood steering wheel and shift knob, rear louvers and Carello fog lamps. All 150 cars were available only painted Silver and with a black leather interior; and came with "Maratona" badging on the rear decklid, front fenders and glove box door. (The most notable feature of the Maratona, its aerodynamic kit, was also available as a dealer-installed option on other GTV-6 models.)
Callaway Cars, famous for their modified Camaro, Impala SS and Corvette offerings modified between thirty and thirty-six (depending on whether one "counts" those cars with Callaway components which were not assembled by Callaway but, instead, had those components fitted by Alfa Romeo dealers) twin-turbocharged GTV-6s between 1983 and 1986, of which the first five (the cars produced between 1983 and 1985; these were sold and titled as 1985 model year cars, save for the first prototype which was sold and titled as a 1984) were prototypes. Callaway "production models" were otherwise listed as from the 1986 model year. In addition to numerous small component upgrades, the Callaway GTV-6s included a somewhat revised suspension (most notably eschewing the metric Michelin TRX wheel/tire combination—then standard on the GTV-6—in favor of Pirelli or Goodyear tires on conventionally sized BBS, Speedline or OZ lightweight alloys), improved brakes and, most importantly, a twin-turbocharger system, boosting performance to exotic levels. A different twin turbo GTV was also built briefly for the Australian market.
GT and GTV racing versions by Autodelta
Racing versions of the Alfetta GT and GTV were built by Autodelta, initially with the normally aspirated engines from the earlier GTAm racer based on the 105 series coupe, for homologation under FIA Group 2. There were some variations ranging from the Alfetta GT1800cc engines with 8 plugs heads or even 16-valve heads to the powerful 2-litre GTAm engine. In this form they were rallied with moderate success in 1975, winning the Elba and Costa Brava rallies overall, as well as winning the Group 2 category in the World Rally Championship's Corsican event. The next year Autodelta shifted its focus to circuit racing the Alfettas, which won the under 2.5-liter Group 2 division of the European Touring Car Championship, scoring a remarkable second place overall at the 24 hour race at Spa-Francorchamps, as well as an overall win in the ETC race at Vallelunga. Despite such results, Autodelta's efforts with the Group 2 Alfetta were desultory, and ended prematurely.
At the end of the 1975 season, Autodelta also rallied an Alfetta GTV with a 3.0-litre V8 engine, derived from the 2.6-litre V8 of the Alfa Romeo Montreal coupé and sharing the same mechanical fuel injection by SPICA. The car, named as La Bomba (The Bomb) was tested in some French rallyes by Jean Claude Andruet, and proved the car was trully powerful (320 bhp) but not suited for rally as power delivery was too much brutal and undrivable.
It had been suggested to produce 400 roadgoing versions of this model for homologation but this plan was abandoned as well after the engine production line was disassembled too soon. Around twenty 2.6-litre V8-engined Alfetta GTVs were built by Autodelta at the request of the German Alfa importer in 1977, where they were sold for DM50,000, considerably more than the DM20,990 charged for an Alfetta GTV2000.
In 1980 the Alfetta GTV Turbodelta was already homologated in FIA Group 4, since the required number of production cars had been built. A racing version was campaigned in rallies, but once more the effort was abandoned after a single season, despite scoring a win at the Danube Rally. The twin double choke carburettered engine, boosted by KKK turbo proved troublesome. Engines developed more than 320 bhp, but suffered failures, fires and lots of DNF results. Mauro Pregliasco, Maurizio Verini and Federico Ormezzano drove the Turbodelta Alfettas in 1979 and 1980 European Rally Championship seasons.
In 1986 Alfa Romeo GTV6 was one of the fastest Group A rally cars. At the end of 1986 the FIA re-assessed the GTV6 homologation and found it to be unsuitable for Group A and it was moved into group B and subsequently banned from the sport. After that Alfa Romeo turned its Group A racing and rallying efforts to the 75/Milano sedans, which were based on the same rear transaxle chassis. However, 1986 also saw the GTV6 post one of its finest rallying victories when Yves Loubet's example won the Group A in the tragic 1986 Tour de Corse and placed 3rd overall between Group B cars.