Used Car Profile: Alfa Romeo 164
Before we get this feature kicked off, I wanted us all to be on the same page: I know virtually nothing about Alfa Romeos. I know that the B.A.T. concept cars are absolutely beautiful, the Spider was featured heavily in the Dustin Hoffman classic The Graduate, the 8C supercar is a completely lustworthy piece of forbidden fruit to the U.S., and everyone on Top Gear loves them.
In fact, I was under the impression Alfa left the U.S. marketplace in the early 1990s after the production of the Spider ceased. I was proven incorrect a few years ago; as I walked through the parking garage of my alma mater, I spotted a black sedan whose shape I did not recognize, although I knew the badge that adorned its trunk. It appeared to be relatively modern, although when I looked up the Alfa Romeo 164, I was shocked to find that the model last saw dealership floors in 1995. Somebody had kept a car at least 15 years old (and an Alfa at that), looking brand new all this time.
Alfa Romeo 164, from aaat.com
Legendary Italian design house Pininfarina created the body, and galvanized steel was used extensively in the the chassis and body panels to combat the infamous corrosive rust problems that had plagued Alfa for years. The engine was a 3.0L V6 producing 200hp in the 12-valve configuration (1991-93) and 210-230hp, depending on spec, when another 12 valves were added (1994-95). A five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission was standard, while buyers of the 4WD version had a six-speed manual by Getrag available to them. The car isn’t exactly a beast on the drag strip, with 60mph coming in 7.6 seconds (a four-cylinder Honda Accord is quicker), but the rigid chassis and available AWD certainly make it a sportier choice compared to the midsize sedans of its time.
In the secondary market, the 164 can be had for under $5,000. The leather, two-tone seats and trim are beautiful, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a sedan from the early ’90s with this much character. Anybody looking to buy a used car with a little bit of substance would do well with the 164, but make friends with a mechanic, just in case.