Published on August 28th, 2017 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Why we still want to own an Alfa Romeo Alfasud
Famously known for its handling and also its rusting abilities, the Alfasud was the the dream car of many young Malaysians in the 1970s. Today you will be hard pressed to find a mint unit running and collectors who have restored the Sud will have them sitting dry and clean in their garage waiting for that warm Sunday drive. Yes, the early Alfa’s were a dream to drive…for the day and some still surprises modern day basic cars.
A little history to share. The Alfa Romeo Alfasud was a compact car made by Alfa Romeo of Italy from 1971 to 1989. It was considered one of Alfa Romeo’s most successful models. A common nickname for the car is ‘Sud.
It was built at a new factory at Pomigliano d’Arco in southern Italy, hence the car’s name, Alfa Sud (Alfa South) and developed by Austrian Rudolf Hruschka.
It was shown at the Turin Motor Show in 1971 and was immediately praised by journalists for its styling (by Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign) and handling. It featured a 1186cc Flat-4 engine.
Despite its two-box shape, it did not initially have a hatchback. The first production Alfa Romeo Alfasud were four-door sedans, with a sporty two-door TI (Turismo Internazionale, or Touring International) model following at the end of 1973.
In 1974, Alfa Romeo launched a more luxurious model the Alfa Romeo Alfasud SE. The SE was replaced by the ‘L’ (Lusso) model in 1975. The Lusso model was produced until 1976, by then it was replaced with the new ‘5M’ model, the first four-door Alfasud with a 5 speed gearbox. A three-door station wagon model called the Giardinetta was introduced for the 1975 model year.
In 1976, the Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint was launched. On the same platform, it was a lower, more angular sports model. The Sprint did feature a hatchback, a more powerful 1286cc 75hp (56 kW) engine and a five-speed gearbox. The engine was later fitted into the standard Alfasuds, creating the 1300 TI models, and the five-speed gearbox found its way into the basic Alfasud, creating the 5M (5 Marce) model.
A 1490 cc engine was soon made available to all body shapes, originally developing 8 hp (63 kW). By the end of the Alfa Romeo Alfasud’s life, there was a tuned version of the engine developing 105hp (78 kW) in the Green Cloverleaf model.
Despite strong engineering, Alfasud’s (especially the early ones) had a strong reputation for suffering from rust, possibly due to sub-standard steel traded with the Soviet Union and/or the storage conditions of the bodies at the plant. The car was also famous for overheating easily in tropical climates. This was further worsened by the need for air conditioning systems in these environments.
All Alfa Romeo Alfasud were upgraded in 1980 with plastic bumpers and other revisions. The Alfa Romeo Alfasud was replaced by the Alfa 33 models in 1983. The 33 was an evolution of the Alfasud’s floorpan and running gear, including minor suspension changes and a change from four-wheel disc brakes to rear drum brakes in an effort to reduce costs. The Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint was renamed into Alfa Sprint, this model was continued until 1989 by sharing the 33’s running gear.
Today the value of the Alfasud varies from RM2,000 for a running condition rusty car from a small town to RM15,000 for a mint restored unit that is being sold because the owner is in his late 70’s and his children do not want to have anything to do with this classic hot hatch.