History of the 1976 - 1980 Alfa Romeo Alfetta
The Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT was in production from 1972 to 1980. It is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe styled by Giugiaro, which utilises a transaxle.
The Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT was launched alongside its sister saloon the Alfetta. Unlike the saloon, the GT was styled by Giugiaro at Italdesign, much like the later Alfasud Sprint.
The Alfetta was named after the nickname of Alfa Romeo’s Type 159 Formula 1 car, which like the new car had used a transaxle to improve weight distribution. At launch, all Alfettas used a 1.8-litre variant of Alfa Romeo’s twin-cam engine so as not to compete with the larger Alfa Romeo 2000 saloon and 105-series GTV.
In 1976, Alfa Romeo discontinued the 1.8 in favour of the smaller Alfetta 1.6 GT and the larger engined Alfetta GTV 2.0. At the same time a new nose was designed, with horizontal grille slats and additional cooling vents beneath the grille. The larger-engined car can be identified by a pair of silver whiskers in the grille, also by GTV badging on the rear quarter vents.
In 1979 a new camshaft and ignition system were deemed sufficient to rebrand the larger engine car as the Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV 2000L. At around this time, a tuning company called Autodelta modified 400 GTVs by fitting a KKK turbocharger which boosted power to 175bhp. These Turbodelta GTVs were produced to homologate the GTV for FIA Group 4 racing.
In 1980 the Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT and GTV were replaced with the extensively updated GTV 2.0.
The Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV shared its mechanicals with the Alfetta saloon. This meant it was front-engined with rear-wheel drive and a five-speed manual gearbox as part of a transaxle. Original Alfetta GTs used a 1.8-litre Alfa Romeo twin cam of 1779cc, though this was replaced with a similar 1570cc 1.6-litre engine. The GTV always kept a 1962cc derivative, though with detail differences through its life.
The long arm/short leg driving position shouldn’t deter you, because you’d miss out on one of the best-balanced cars of its generation. That transaxle allows 50/50 weight distribution, and Alfa’s twin cam is a lovely engine to punt along. Turn in is sharp, and when you’re on a good road the Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT is one of the best companions you’ll have. The one criticism is the remote gear selector -– it hates being rushed.
Rust can be an issue, as with most cars of this era. Particular areas to check should include the inner wings near the strut top mounts, the bulkhead, and the area around the rear hatch. Sills and arches are obvious rot spots too, though if there is rust here there is sure to be worse rot neglected beneath the surface.
Electrics can be a little flaky on occasion, though most problems can be traced to earthing. We recommend a thorough inspection and cleaning of all earthing points before any more advanced faultfinding work.
The Turbodelta cars are the most valuable, though with just 400 made finding one is tricky. The purity of the early 1.8s means they will always attract buyers, as will the additional performance of the 2.0 engine in the GTV. Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT 1.6s are rare in the UK, so while less desirable overall a 1.6 in good condition may not be worth much less than a 1.8 or 2.0.
Alternatives to the Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT might include the BMW 2002, Ford Capri V6 or even the Vauxhall Magnum. The later GTV 2.0 offers a more sporting take on the same theme, while the smaller Alfasud Sprint may now appeal to those considering the Alfetta GT’s charms.