100 Years of Alfa Competition: We Pick the 5 Best Alfa Romeos
This year Alfa Romeo is releasing 100th Anniversary versions of its Stelvio SUV and Giulia sport sedan. It’s not the 100th Anniversary of Alfa, that was in 2010. Instead, the new editions celebrate its first foray into motorsports competition in 1923 when the company first put its four-leaf clover or Quadrifoglio on cars. The new anniversary editions are supposed to hark back to that 1923 racer that started the company on a path to success in Formula 1 and other series.
Other than the green paint and some trim details, the 100th Anniversary Giulia and Stelvio don’t change from their non-anniversary models.
Alfa Romeo has a long history of making cars, and racecars
It’s hard to pick five in Alfa’s long list of cool cars. While we get that the Alfasud economy car may have saved the company during its long run in production from 1971 to 1989, it’s not a cool or even a good car. The Brera was just weird. The Montreal sports car from the mid 1970s did its best to look like a mini Lamborghini.
If those names don’t mean much to you, we’re not surprised. Most Alfa’s were European-only cars, so we never got them in the U.S. Also, they were simply rare. Alfa only made a few Montreals, despite that car’s cool factor. But in the Alfa world, there a few standouts that even us in the U.S. we will know.
What’s cooler than the original Spider?
Who can forget Dustin Hoffman driving along the coast in his 1966 Alfa Romero Duetto Spider in “The Graduate?” If ever there was an iconic Alfa Romeo, this is the best Alfa Romeo. The Duetto and the later Series 2, Series 3 and finally Series 4 convertibles were sold until 1993. They were cute and not very fast, but they oozed cool, class, sophistication, and often oil. The 124 Spider is a different model, but it looked very similar to the Spider and Duetto.
While the 1.6-liter to 2.0-liter powerplants in the Duetto didn’t have a lot of power, the car didn’t weigh much. The Alfa convertible was revived as the Fiat 124 Spider in 2016. While it sold through Alfa dealerships, underneath it was basically a Mazda Miata.
Fiat 8V, or in Italian Otto Vu, was a dramatic racing success
The 8V was a Fiat, mostly, but the body was designed and installed on the chassis by Ghia. Ghia, a coachbuilder, called this one the Supersonic and it’s easy to see why. The car is notable not just for its styling, but also for the fact, according to Fiat, that it’s the only Fiat ever to come with a V8 engine. Different versions saw competition success in the 1950s. The car came is several body styles built for different uses by coachbuilders who put their own spin on this classic chassis.
The 8C Competizione could be art on wheels
The guys from the old “Top Gear” are right: the 8C Competizione is a piece of art. From 2007 to 2010, Fiat made the 8C, and you can bet pre-teen boys had posters of this car on their walls next to Ferrari’s. Speaking of Ferraris, it shares the 4.7-liter engine with Ferrari, under its full carbon fiber body. Sure, it’s fast, it’s fun, it’s loud, it looks perfect in red. But, for modern Alfa Romeos, it’s hard to beat the 8C for looks and panache.
The 4C came after this, the best Alfa Romeo. The Alfa Romeo 4C looked like an 8C that was left in the dryer too long, but it had a fun small engine and weighed very little.
The GTV screams 1990s
Call us suckers for weirdness, but the GTV strikes us as cool. From the phone dial (remember those?) to the strange angles, and the weird cockpit. Yes, there are a few of these in the U.S., but you’ll have to look hard to find one – though almost 80,000 were sold worldwide. GTV stands for Grand Touring Veloce, and it was fast with the ultimate to-dog engine being a fully chromed 3.2 liter V6 with 240 horsepower.
The weird design came from Italian styling house Pininfarina. But, it was a bit of a modern take on previous versions of the GTV badge. The company made svelte coupe versions of its Giulia sedan, and Alfretta and called them GTVs as well.
The Alfa Romeo FP Tipo 159 Alfetta is the best Alfa Romeo race car ever
The Alfetta is the most successful Alfa Romeo race car. In 1938, the cars were so good that they finished one, two, three at the Tripoli Grand Prix in 1940. The cars were hidden from the Germans during WWII and then after the war were responsible for helping Giuseppe Farina win the Formula 1 Word Championship in 1950 and 1951. These cars inspired others, like Enzo Ferrari, to race their cars. Alfa has worked in F1 for decades, providing engines for Mclaren in the 1970s, running a team from 1979 to 1984, and today with star drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu driving for Alfa in 2023.