For $3,550, Coo Coo Ca Choo Mrs Robinson

In The Graduate, an Alfa Romeo Duetto whisked Dustin Hoffman's Ben Braddock character between boning Mrs. Robinson and contrite confessionals with her daughter. With today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe 164 he can bring the whole family along.

Had The Graduate been made a quarter century later, Hoffman - in place of his red Alfa with the GOT MILF? bumper sticker - may have shuttled between LA and Berkeley in yesterday's 1991 Isuzu Impulse. Its 68% Nice Price win indicated that a good number of you would like to have Garfunkeled along with his Simon to do so as well.

Of course the movie wasn't made that recently, and back in 1967 the Duetto, as a supporting player, made a perfect mount for the randy and generationally indiscriminate graduate of the title. But sadly all things must pass, and while bumping uglies with the wife of your dad's closest friend may beat even X-Box for 20-something shenanigans, it can't last. You'd eventually have to grow up, and she'd go into a nursing home. While that would make trysts a lot more convenient, the general downer vibe of an old folks' home, along with your mistress turned matron's dentures and incontinence, would really spoil the mood.

But alas, I digress.

Another factor for a graduate growing up is the need for a vehicle that carries more than just two. It may be family responsibilities, or business requirements, but that Duetto might not cut it anymore as a daily driver. Don't worry though, because for a while there, before they turned tits up in America, Alfa Romeo made a four-door front driver that was almost as sexy as the spider. A fine example of that family man's Italian is today's claimed nearly restored1991 164L, a black beauty powered by Alfa's legendary 3.0 six - the Guiseppe Busso-designed one that sings road opera like a Ducati. In 1991 the 3.0 six sported but 12 valves total, a fact that didn't keep it from producing 180-bhp and giving the 164 a zero to sixty time of under 8 seconds. Part of that magic was accomplished by pairing the sweet six with a Getrag five speed manual. The 164's handling is equally impressive as well. That 5-cogger's a pretty rare check box to have been ticked on any executive Alfa sold here in the states, and raises this 164's desirability quotient by at least a clutch pedal's worth.

Alfas, like our current economic recovery, could be best described as fragile, and the 164 proved to be no different. Even though its basic structure was a shared development between Fiat (Chroma), Lancia (Thema), and Saab (9000), the 164 feels an Alfa through and through, including the bit about parts falling off. The biggest and most expensive part being the engine, you'll be glad to know that this one has had a rebuild no more than 8,000 miles ago, if the seller is to be believed. Add to that reskinned leather seats and brass geared stepper motors in the A/C and you can consider this a 164 so fresh it might ask your mother out to lunch.

For many people, an affair can be a taxing endeavor. Alfa Romeo ownership is equally demanding, and like a relationship with a menopausal MILF, throwing money at an Alfa may, in the short term, keep the magic alive, but as a long-term investment, well, even God doesn't have that kind of bank, or that many gin and tonics.

One of the pivotal scenes in The Graduate is when, at a party, a sotted guest advised Hoffman's Braddock that plastics are the future. While that didn't pan out as prophesy for Ben, it could be all it takes for you to graduate to Alfa ownership. The seller, investment be damned, is asking $3,550 for this 164, a price that might easily fit on the plastic in your wallet. The question is, would this Alfa be considered seductive at that price? Or, for that much, is there no way you'd be standing outside the seller's window shouting ALFA! ALFA! ALFA!

You decide!


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