1991 Alfa Romeo 164L

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Welcome to Down On The Street, where we admire old vehicles found parked on the streets of the Island That Rust Forgot: Alameda, California. Not a lot of Italian machinery on the island these days; we've seen two Alfa Graduates (an '85 and an '89), three Fiats (a '77 124 Spider, an '81 Strada, and an '82 X-1/9), and a Ferrari Mondial T. Today we're adding another Alfa to that list, with a daily-driven 164L.

Looking up the Wikipedia entry for this car, I learned a really cool Alfa fact: in Chinese, "164" sounds like "all the way to death." For that reason, the 164 was badged as a 168 in Hong Kong. Of course, Alfa Romeo's profits from North America still went all the way to death by 1995, so this car is one of the last Alfas you could buy here.


In 1991, you could buy a brand new 164L for $27,500. That was about 7 grand cheaper than the least expensive BMW 5 series that year, but 5 grand more than a new '91 Cressida. The Cressida was probably faster, more comfortable, 4000% easier to service, and had an expected lifespan approximately 50 times longer than that of the 164, but who cares? Look at how pretty the Pininfarina car is! Come on, life's too short! Yes, such were the thoughts that doubtless went through the mind of the car shopper who purchased this car back in the days of Gulf War I. And look- it's still running 18 years later!

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