Having never been officially imported, today’s Nice Price or No Dice Alfa 155 is a rare bird in the U.S. According to the seller, it has all its papers and, being an Alfa, a few problems. Let’s see if one of the latter is its price.
I was a little shocked at the response to yesterday’s 1973 De Tomaso Pantera. Admittedly, it was presented in serviceable but scrappy condition, and per the seller that was represented in its $89,000 asking. In today’s market, that is at the extreme low end for a driver. Few of you felt that drive, though, and the Pantera plummeted to a 67 percent No Dice loss.
Well, seeing as you didn’t like the price on Thursday’s rather pricey Italian, let’s see what you think of an uber-rare but noticeably cheaper one.
This 1997 Alfa Romeo 155 was the company’s mid-sizer for most of the ’90s. Built on Fiat’s Type Three platform that also underpinned the Lancia Dedra and Fiat Tempra, the 155 was the replacement for the 75, which had been sold in the U.S. as the Milano. The 155 was never officially sold in the State. That’s because, at the time of its launch, Alfa had already pulled up stakes and left the market entirely. As we all know, it was decades before the company, led by parent Fiat, made a semi-triumphant return to our shores.
Much as with the 75 that preceded it, Alfa took the 155 racing. Unlike the 75, which used a front-engine/rear transaxle chassis derived from the Alfetta, the 155 was standard for the time transverse-engine/FWD or, with a system co-developed with Lancia, AWD. Matched with a 2.5-liter V6, that latter layout carried Alfa Corse driver Nicola Larini to a record 11 wins and the series title in the 1993 DTM series, edging out a team fronted by AMG-Mercedes.
Sadly, this privately-imported 155 lacks both the sweet V6 and the AWD chassis, offering a Twin Spark DOHC four and FWD instead. The seller doesn’t say whether that engine is the 138 horsepower 1.8-liter or the 148 horse 2.0, but does note a recent timing belt change regardless. The underhood sticker for that service indicates it was done at 87,400 kilometers, which if my math is correct, equates to about 55,000 miles. According to the ad, the car now has 68,000 miles on the clock.
Surprisingly for an older Italian car, there’s no rust to be seen, and the car overall presents in a fairly clean fashion with reasonable paint and decent-looking Speedline alloys. Perhaps unsurprisingly for an Alfa, the seller does note a number of issues, including some topcoat popping, a loose corner on a door card, a bad glovebox latch, and a recalcitrant window motor. Other “issues” pointed out in the ad: there’s no headliner, the boot lid has holes drilled into it for an aftermarket spoiler, the front turn signals aren’t connected, and the front lip is cracked and scraped. Phew!
On the plus side, the seller claims the car to have been legally imported and says it will come with all its papers. It’s also claimed to run and drive great and offers working A/C. The interior is serviceable, although it does show some tearing in the upholstery on both the back bench and the driver’s bucket. Those could be easily repaired by a competent upholsterer. The shifter and steering wheel are both rouge elements and neither does the interior any favors. Based on those and the foreign license plate shown in the pics, the 155 may have been imported from Japan.
The seller has posted the Alfa on the Los Angeles Craigslist, and the pictures in that ad do seem to indicate it being somewhere around the City of Angels, however, that’s a bit of a ruse. The truth is, the car cannot be registered in California in its present state. What would be required to do so would be a pricey update bringing the engine into smog compliance and then an official BAR certificate noting that achievement. That’s crazy expensive, so Californians should consider just sitting on their hands for this one.
For the rest of you, it’s time to start thinking about what this super-rare-in-the-U.S. car might be worth. The seller asks $7,350 for its sale, and claims that the “PRICE IS FIRM.” Is that firm like Captain America’s buttocks, or firm like Trader Joe’s Tofu? There is a difference, you know.
Regardless, let’s hear what you have to say. Is this Alfa 155 worth the $7,360 asking, as presented in the ad? Or, does that price turn any DTM dream into a wallet-emptying nightmare?
H/T to RevUnlimiter for the hookup!
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