For $3,200, Is This Alfa Prime?S

Rossi are Red, Veloce are too, today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Alfa è bello, but does its price say screw you?

When the Alfa Romeo Milano appeared for the first time at the Los Angeles International Auto Show, I dutifully visited the display to check it out, new U.S. models from the beleaguered Italian brand being a rare event. That was about the same time that automakers began installing mega-wattage fluorescent lights in their display cars, luring unwary passersby like giant bug zappers.

Unfortunately the lights also seemed to generate a great deal of heat in the cabins, and while I was sitting behind the Milano's wheel, ogling its Frankenstein switch hand brake lever, and noting the clunky gear-change feel, the trim from the A-pillar suddenly detached and landed in my lap. Exiting the car, I handed it to the Alfa rep who looked nonplussed by her show car denuding itself of interior bits, perhaps having previously seen the cars valiantly attempting to overcome the efforts of assembly-line workers to put them together.

For $3,200, Is This Alfa Prime?S

The tenacity of Alfa Romeos to maintain cohesion rivals that of the Italian government. That's why owning one is an on-going battle against corporeal dissolution, and the reason you should always buy the best, most complete one possible. Today's 1976 Alfetta GT appears to fit that description to a T.

There's this thing about Alfa's saloons and coupes, the former being the rosso-headed stepchild and the latter being lavished with fancy clothes. In the Alfetta's case, the boxy and somewhat frumpy sedan was the in-house work of Centro Stile Alfa Romeo, while the lithe GT received its lines from Giorgetto Giugiaro's Italdesign. Visually, the difference between them is striking. Mechanically, they are pretty much identical.

For $3,200, Is This Alfa Prime?S

Alfa put a tremendous amount of technology into the Alfetta, as a peek up this red coupe's skirt will demonstrate. There you will find a rear-mounted transaxle and de Dion axle, while up front a torsion bar and double wishbone setup allows for a low hoodline. Also while down here we can see that this car is notable for an apparent lack of significant rust, something almost unheard of on Alfas of this age.

Back up top you'll note the simple and elegant body shape, unmarred by the plastic accouterments and body bulges that were appended to the later GTV models. Again, the condition of the car is remarkable, the seller noting that the hatch has been donated by another car, the original being sacrificed to the gods of ferrous metals. The ad also notes some rot at the base of the windscreen.

For $3,200, Is This Alfa Prime?S

Popping the forward-hinged hood ahead of that reveals Alfa's glorious all-alloy DOHC four, albeit still saddled with the de-SPICA-ble fuel injection. Of note is that while this does appear to have at one time been an A/C-equipped car, the bulky York compressor seems now to be MIA.

Inside, the A/C controls remain, tantalizingly teasing on blisteringly hot days, but as the 1,962-cc four put out only 115-bhp, maybe that's for the better. A five speed gear change helps a bit, but contemporary tests pegged zero to sixty times of over 10 seconds. Remember after all, this is s ‘70s ride. Fast it may not be, but the GT's handling should more than make up for it, and the tach-centered dash, and three-spoke wheel at least look purposeful. The wheel is missing its horn buttons, and the old school radio has likewise been denuded of its knobs, but the upholstery and carpet look to be in fine shape.

For $3,200, Is This Alfa Prime?S

The seller says that the car starts and runs, but as it has been in storage, a good idea would be for its new owner to go over it with a fine-toothed comb to ensure it continues to do so. That in itself has appeal to any car nut. No mention of mileage is made in the ad, but the odo in the picture reads 7,597, so it must be broke.

If you happen to be broke, you probably wouldn't be in the market for an old Alfa, likely being more concerned with what Top Ramen three times a day is doing to your body. However, should you actually have a few bucks in the bank then who doesn't want to own an Alfa at least once in their lives? This one looks like a pretty good candidate, but what about its $3,200 price? Do you think that makes this Alfetta Al-fordable? Or, are there too many Roman numerals in that price?

You decide!

Palm Springs Craigslist or go here if the ad dissapears.

Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a fixed-price tip, and remember to include your commenter handle.