Last post on Apr 01, 2002 at 3:14 PM
You are in the Classic Cars - Archived Discussions
This discussion is ARCHIVED. To reactivate the discussion, post a request in the Lost In The Town Hall... discussion.
What is this discussion about?
#14 of 23 The Italians
Dec 17, 2001 (1:14 pm)
Why are the Fiats, Lancias, and Alfa Romeos so maligned and underappreciated in this country? Is it because they're too fragile and junky to keep running properly? I have been in a couple of Alfa Spiders from the '90s, and they certainly do not come close to the fit and finish of my '93 Volvo 850. (No offense to the Italian car owners out there)
Dec 17, 2001 (2:18 pm)
Italy has had 60+ governments since 1945. How do you expect them to design a decent car?
Dec 17, 2001 (2:29 pm)
Alfas never had a good service or parts network for one thing. Also, their quality control wasn't the best in the 80s and 90s, that's quite true.
Nonetheless, this is an old company with a fantastic racing heritage and a reputation for many technological breakthroughs.
Look at it this way. In about 1956, Alfa brought over a lovely two seat, 4 cylinder, overhead cam, five speed roadster to the USA. This is the very configuration that everyone is buying today. But Alfa figured all that out 45 years ago, when most other cars had flatheads and three speed column shifters mated to big heavy ladder frames supported massive steel bodies.
In 1980, they put variable valve timing on their cars, which was quite a few years before Honda did it.
In terms of styling, they are among the most attractive cars around I think (well, they have had a few turkeys, but not many).
Probably the best thing about Alfas is that every Alfa made is absolutely fun to drive. They may not have always made the best car or the prettiest, but they never made a dull car.
#17 of 23 Lancia Beta Coupe
Feb 07, 2002 (5:44 pm)
I had a white 1978 1300 cc Lancia Beta Coupe in Italy when I was stationed there. It was the most exicitng car I ever owned. Those 1300 cc felt more powerful than the 2500 ccV-6 on the car I have today. But it had its weak points: 1) Within a few days of ownership, I went over a rather large pothole on the Via Critoforo Colombo, a Rome dual carriageway. The glass of one of the four head-lights fell out. It was easily and cheaply replaced with a new Hella sealed beam unit the next day at an "elletroauto" shop. 2) The fuel lines near the carburettor would seem to leak and there would be a strong smell of the "benzina" in the the car occassionally. Trips to an independant mechanic in Rome could not solve the problem. 3) Then on a trip to Sardinia in 1985, I put the foot down on the accellerator (on a new and deserted "autostrada" - toll freeway) just to see how much the car would do. The needle soon climbed to 170 kph and was still going up when I hear a loud band. I came off the autostrada and found that the car was jerking wildly at low speed and would not idle at traffic lights. I nursed the car back to port of Olbia and went straight to a Fiat-Lancia dealer. The dealership mechanic took the car in immediately took off the large air-cleaner and blew compressed air down the throat of the carburettor. This fixed the problem (which never re-occured, it also took care of the problem of leaking fuel from the feeder lines to the carburettor). He then turned his attention to the loud noise I had heard on the autostrada. He told me, not without some mirth, that I had lost half my rear exhaust system including the muffler! The next day I drove back to Rome with a loud and growling exhaust note like a race car. I loved it! The following day a non-Lancia exhaust was fitted. I had no more problems with that car till I had to regertably sell it to a cruiseship pursor as I was being posted elsewhere. A few days later I noticed that he had left the car on the road (in Rome most cars are left parked on the road) and had taken off on one of his cruises! I would buy a Lancia again, If I was in Italy (where "specialista mecannicos" are to be found at every corner. These mechanics think nothing of stripping an engine down and doing a valve jon after only 30 miles on your new Fiat or Lancia! Here in the U.S. lancias and FIATs have a "Fix It All the Time" reputation. I too know of a mechanic in Sacramento you will do Fiats, Alfas, and most other European imports, BUT he swears he never want to touch a Lancia! The reason: too many disgruntled customers and the damage of his reputation!
By the way: Vincenzo Lancia was the first to design a workable V-6 engine that was fitted to a Lancia sports car, the Aurelia in 1959. Up to that time, nobody could make a successful V-6 engine for a commercial car that it not vibrate terribly. Today we take the V-6 engine for granted in our Hondas, Toyotas, and waht have you. But remember that it was Lancia who came out first with a V-6 in a production car. There were other first too. If anyone want to know more about Lancias contact me. <bigbozeryahoo.com>
Feb 07, 2002 (9:12 pm)
The only thing I remember about Lancias from my youth was that they rusted and rusted.
Feb 13, 2002 (2:00 pm)
They rusted because they were primarily built for the Mediterranean climate. Wherever they applied salt to the roads during winter they rusted badly. In 1977 there appeared an article in a newspaper in England in which it was alleged that the engine mounts on Lancia Betas rusted so badly that the engine actualled moved 2-3 inched while the car was in motion. That sealed Lancia's fate in UK for more than 2 decades. Thay have never caught on in England ever again, even though Lancias made sure that their cars were thoroughly rust proofed in the early 1980s.
Mar 31, 2002 (1:02 pm)
SORRY FOR THE LONG TIME LAPSE BUT I JUST READ YOUR POST FROM OCT, 2001. I WONDER IF MY LANCIA WAS YOURS. I HAD A 1979 BETA COUPE AUTOMATIC WITH BEIGE PAINT AND BEIGE WOOL. I DONT HAVE ANY RECORD OF THE VIN # UNFORTUNTELY.
#22 of 23 Shifty,I drove a dull Alfa once....
Apr 01, 2002 (10:11 am)
In 1990 I was looking for a sports car or convertible and saw an ad for an '85 Alfa (2000?)
Soyder. I test drove it, what a disappointment. I thought it would make my old '71 Fiat 124 spider look slow but it sucked, the engine had zero pepiness to and didn't rev past 4800 or so. Did I get a bad car or a poor year. It really set my opinion of
Alfa back, after all those years of thinking of my Fiat as "the poor man's Alfa".
Apr 01, 2002 (3:14 pm)
No, they aren't very fast cars in the 1980s. The early 1750s with Weber carbs could really scream compared to the 2000s with Bosch injection and catalytics. They are pleasant cars, the 80s Alfa Spyders, and quite reliable, but not terribly exciting to drive.