The Alfa Romeo 75 (Milano in the US) was so named in celebration of the company's 75th anniversary. It was also, coincidentally the last model released before Alfa was absorbed by Fiat. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Milano is only 26, but is its price still worth celebrating?
Teddy Roosevelt famously ascribed to speaking softly whilst carrying a big stick, a maxim which he claimed was originally a West African proverb. Yesterday's rare and raring to go 1943 Grizzly tank was a big enough stick that you could conceivably remain completely speechless. Fortunately, that wasn't the case in the vote, the Canadian-built WWII-era tank coming away with a solid 57% Nice Price win.
Italy's role in WWII was complicated - part of the country falling under Nazi occupation, the other part fighting alongside the Allies, and everyone complaining that you just can't get a good gelato during wartime. The city of Milan sits in the North, in the part of Italy that was at one time under Germany's thumb. Its namesake, the Alfa Romeo Milano, proves by reputation that everything from that occupation has been expunged, even the German aesthetic for bank vault-like build quality and durability.
Despite that history, this 1987 Alfa Milano Gold seems to in some ways buck the trend. Oh sure, the seller notes that not everything on the 126,000 mile car works - little things like the power steering and air con are on the fritz (see what I did there?) - but overall this Milano appears to be in remarkably good shape.
You're all aware of Jeremy Clarkson's admonition that one may not be a true automotive enthusiast until one has lived through the ownership of an Alfa. And, if you happened to catch Top Gear's Worst Car in the History of the World video, you'll know that Clarkson himself once owned a GTV6 that was such a dog it probably licked its own balljoints.
This Milano shares the same basic layout with the GTV6 - jewel-like V6 engine (here in 2.5-litre form) and a rear-mounted 5-speed transaxle ensconced within a De Dion rear end. Torsion bars spring the front, and overall the Milano maintains a reputation for handling and aural pleasures that is to be envied.
Looks on the other hand are not necessarily the Milano's strong suit, and it's good that it has a nice personality because these cars came from the era when Alfa equated styling with black plastic trim and discordant angles in the bodywork.
The overall look was never pretty, and hasn't aged all that well, IMHO. You may not concur, but one thing we can all agree upon is that the body on this one seems to perfectly serviceable with all of its trim intact and none of that rust that Italians typically love to dress their products in as a matter of course.
On the inside, things are also looking up, although if you do actually look up, you may notice the rip in the moon roof cover. Additionally, there's a crack in the dash and a tear in the center console, but the rest of the interior looks amazingly neat and tidy.
On the mechanical front there are those two looming issues with the A/C and the now Armstrong power steering that may require addressing if you don't want to spend your time with the car sweatin' to the oldies. The ad claims the car runs great, the 154-horse six and 5-speed transaxle apparently evidencing no significant issues as its promoted as a daily driver.
Sure there's probably a number of things you'd want to look at before purchase - the infamous driveshaft guibo, gearbox synchros, and valvetrain racket being notable pain points - but at least you won't have to worry about the breaks, as the seller notes those have been recently renewed.
The Milano represents a notable milestone in Alfa history, it being the last rear-driver the company released here in the States before packing their Gucci bags and bidding arrivederci amico mio. This Milano Gold may not be one of the 800 or so Verdes that came over with the 3.0, but then it's unlikely that you'd find a Verde in this condition commanding only $2,300.
Considering this particular car, what's your take on that $2,300 price? Does that make this as tasty a Milano as the ones that come from Pepperidge Farm? Or, does it just make this an Alfa dog?
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