During its 110 years of business, Alfa Romeo has created several stylish and sporty classic cars. In the 90s, it had the wedge-shaped SZ. In the 70s, the Lamborghini Miura’s designer penned the Montreal. And the modern Giulia takes its name from an athletic 60s sedan and coupe. But most of these cars are either expensive, somewhat impractical, or both. However, if you’re after a classic car with a touch of practicality and racing technology at a reasonable price, you should consider the Alfa Romeo GTV6.
The Alfa Romeo GTV6’s history
The Alfa Romeo GTV6 is technically called the ‘Alfetta GTV 6,’ Hemmings explains. And the name helps explain its history.
The Alfetta sedan came out in 1972 as a replacement for the Giulia. Styled by famed designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, it came with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, Super Street Online reports. Then in 1974, a coupe version followed called the Alfetta GT, later dubbed the ‘Sprint Veloce,’ Autoweek reports. That’s the ‘V’ in ‘GTV,’ Evo explains.
However, although the four-cylinder Alfettas are fun in their own right, it’s the Alfa Romeo GTV6 that most people remember. And it’s mostly because of what’s under its hood.
What makes the Alfa Romeo GTV6 special?
As its name suggests, the Alfa Romeo GTV6 has a V6. Specifically, a 2.5-liter fuel-injected V6 from the non-US Alfa 6 sedan, Hagerty reports. It’s rated at 154 hp and 157 lb-ft, which, in a 2700-lb coupe, is a decent amount. It’s enough to make a few air-cooled Porsche 911s nervous, Petrolicious reports. And it doesn’t hurt that it sounds simply incredible.
But the rest of the Alfa Romeo GTV6, which is identical to the four-cylinder Alfettas, is arguably just as impressive. In 1980, this Italian classic car had ventilated front discs, inboard rear discs, and independent front suspension.
To give the Alfa Romeo GTV6 close-to-perfect 50:50 weight distribution, it has a rear-mounted 5-speed transaxle. Basically, it’s a 5-speed manual transmission built into the rear axle. And the rear suspension is a De Dion tube, which is mid-way between a live axle and independent suspension. It’s literal Formula 1 tech, Petrolicious reports, in a 4-seater coupe with a decent trunk and leather upholstery.
Speaking of F1, the Alfa Romeo GTV6 was a fairly successful race car in its time. It won the 1983 British Touring Car Championship outright, and the European Touring Car Championship 4 years in a row. It also raced in WRC’s Group A, winning its class at the Tour de Corsica 4 times in a row. Perhaps that’s why James Bond drove a GTV6 in 1983’s Octopussy, Petrolicious reports.
However, a few individuals took Alfa Romeo GTV6 even further. To homologate the coupe for South Africa’s local touring car championship, a limited number received 3.0-liter carbureted V6s, Roadster Life reports.
Then there’s the Callaway C3, created by the famed Corvette tuner, CarsGuide reports. It has upgraded brakes and suspension, and a V6 equipped with 2 turbos, 2 air-to-air intercoolers, and an upgraded fuel injection system. The result is 230 hp and 245 lb-ft.
Getting one of your own
Produced from 1980-1987, relatively few Alfa Romeo GTV6s made it to the US, Hagerty reports. Roughly 22,000 were made, and fewer than 5000 were imported. Sprinkled among that group are a few special-edition models, which mostly feature graphics packages and a few interior trim pieces. The C3 is even rarer: Callaway only made 35.
If you’re interested in getting an Alfa Romeo GTV6, there are a few things to keep in mind, Classic Motorsports reports. Firstly, it’s an Italian classic car, meaning there will likely be rust and possible electrical glitches. Secondly, early models are prone to head gasket leaks, Hemmings reports. And despite the transaxle’s handling benefits, it doesn’t shift particularly smoothly, Autoweek reports, and the synchros are prone to wear.
Also, the driveshaft’s rubber couplings do break down over time, as do any rubber components, Hagerty reports. And that amazing-sounding V6 is an interference engine, meaning timely timing belt changes are vital. Plus, early models’ had oil-pressure-operated belt tensioners, rather than mechanical ones, so they can leak, Hemmings reports.
However, although Alfa Romeo GTV6 prices have been on the rise recently, the classic car is still fairly affordable. It’s possible to find a good-condition late-model-year example for $15k, Hagerty reports. Most GTV6s on Bring a Trailer typically go for $10,000-$20,000. And as of this writing, there’s a 1985 model listed for $4100.
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