Jeremy Clarkson is quoted as saying that to be a true auto enthusiast you must have had at least one Alfa in your life. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 164 is one Alfa. Could its price and condition mean that it’s “the one?”
Winter is the best time to consider buying a convertible since nothing shows how tough you are as does driving alfresco in the falling snow. That opportunity arose with yesterday’s candidate, a 1991 BMW 318i that looked tidy and had a top that you could drop. Two issues might just scuttle the plan, however. One of those was the seller’s ominous note that the car had a “salvage history.” The other was its $5,995 price tag which 54 percent of you deemed too high, dunning the car with a Crack Pipe loss.
Speaking of losses, there was a time, a good couple of decades or more ago, in which American was almost totally at a loss for new Alfa Romeos. Shocking, I know. The company is back now, and up to its old tricks making cars like the Giulia that are beautiful to look at, rapturous to hear, and that can go like stink. They also suffer from the occasional electrical gremlin, and no one knows how they will fare once the new wears off.
One of the last Alfas to hit the market before the company packed up its Vino Rosso and Grana Padano and left the U.S. was the 164, a Pininfarina-designed executive saloon that shared its underpinnings with the Saab 9000, Fiat Croma and Lancia Thema. It was also one of the very first Alfas to enjoy corrosion protection right from the factory rather than the more traditional factory-installed rust, so it’s a little less surprising to see one on the road these days.
This 1993 Alfa 164 S is appropriately enough Rosso over a black leather interior and sports aftermarket O.Z. wheels. The latter are only 17-inches high which means they can’t ride the roller coaster but on this old-school Alfa, still seem to overwhelm the wheel wells. The paint seems to hold a decent shine and this being tho hot shoe ’S’ it sports rocker panel extensions below the grey lower quarters and a spoiler on the deck lid.
The engine here is a 3-litre edition of the legendary Giuseppe Busso-designed Arese V6. That sits sideways and looks pretty bad-ass with its chrome intakes and Alfa Romeo script cam cover. That cover could use some new paint, but aside from that and a warning label that’s been scratched to oblivion, it’s all pretty tidy in here. The seller says that most everything works as it should, which sounds about right for any old Alfa.
The ad also notes the addition of an Ansa exhaust, anti-sway bars and what is described as a “Ferrari style long shifter” for its five-speed stick. That’s joined in the cabin by a wood-rimmed steering wheel that dresses the place up nicely.
The rest of the interior is clean and evidences only light use. Those of you with koumpounophobia might want to avoid the car, however, since the dash is awash in poorly identified buttons. I mean seriously, it feels like Alfa thought the key to the 164’s success was for it to have more buttons than any other car on the planet, and that they would all be nearly indecipherable.
Those buttons, along with the rest of the car have done 140,000 miles and there doesn’t seem to be any malarkey with the title here so registering and insuring shouldn’t be a problem.
Buying the Alfa may be problematic though, as the seller closes his ad by saying:
Not dying to sell but have not driven much the last couple years.
It is a total niche vehicle and I get that. Many a gearhead don’t even know what it is, or tell me they have never seen one in person if they do. I am willing to listen to reasonable offers. But I will not sell to the dreamer or someone who does not have a garage, knows how to turn a wrench or has a mechanic that can. She deserves better.
Well, I think anyone of us could fit that bill, don’t you? I mean, if you didn’t appreciate a car like this 164 you wouldn’t be reading these words I am writing right now. So, with that out of the way, let’s get to the price. The seller is asking $5,200 for the car and as is noted in the ad, there’s no impetus to sell it quickly.
With all that in mind, what’s your take on this 164 at that $5,200 asking? Is that a price that a real car enthusiast would—or should—pay? Or, does that make this an Alfa Roll-my-eyes-o?
H/T to MustacheCashStash for the hookup!
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