The seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice Alfa Romeo 164 S boldly claims the car to be in “mint condition.” We’ll just have to see if it takes a mint to buy it.
Man, you guys really like to make my life difficult, don’t you? I read the comments on yesterday’s 1988 Porsche 924 S and thought we had a pretty strong consensus for the car being a winner at its $13,750 asking price. That got me all excited, but when I went to the votes I saw them pile up in what turned out to be a 53 percent No Dice loss. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
I think “fun while it lasted” must have been the mindset at Alfa Romeo in 1995 when the company pulled up stakes here in the U.S. and sailed back to Italy. It was either that or a Terminator-esque “We’ll be back.”
The company did eventually return to the North American market, almost two decades later, with a handful of models that are pretty intriguing. We’re more interested today in one of the last models Alfa sold before that hiatus.
This 1991 Alfa Romeo 164 S comes from four years prior to the company’s tent-folding, but it is representative of the final model that would see the company out the door. The 164 was a cooperation car, built on the Tipo Quattro platform that Fiat co-developed with Saab and that also saw duty under the Lancia Thema, Fiat Croma and Saab 9000. All of the disparate models shared the same basic dimensions, though the Saab and Fiat were initially five-door hatches while both the Alfa and Lancia went the more traditional three-box route.
None of the other brands got Alfa’s lovely “Busso” V6 engine. Beautiful to look at and rhapsodic in action, the three-litre, 183-HP engine gave the 164 its Alfa brio. The five-speed manual in this one allows the driver to play maestro to the Busso’s orchestra, and it just feels like the right way to go in these cars.
This one is appropriately red with gray lower cladding. As it’s the S, or Sport version, that cladding is accentuated by ground effects extensions that go all the way around. Other S attributes include unique alloy wheels, an electronically adjustable suspension and Recaro buckets. Of greater importance, perhaps, the engine in the S was boosted to an even more raucous 200 ponies.
As noted at the outset, the seller describes the car as being in “mint condition.” That’s not exactly accurate since there seem to be issues afoot. One of those is an omnipresent airbag light. The other is non-functioning air-conditioning. Both are issues you’d want to address as quickly as possible. After all, you don’t want your demise to come as a result of an errant airbag deployment while covered in sweat.
Other than those issues, this 124,000 mile Alfa looks to be in tip-top fighting form. The bodywork displays no obvious problems, and both the paint and trim appear to be in excellent shape. The “slicer” wheels exhibit no evidence of curb rash and wear tires with reasonable tread.
The interior presents well, too, with intact stitching on the instrument binnacle and with only minor wear evident on the bolsters and piping of the Recaro seats. On the flip side, the leather looks like it could stand some rejuvenation, and there appears to be a missing lumbar knob on the driver’s seatback, both minor issues.
The view under the hood is just as nice, with a decently clean engine bay and no shenanigans evident. The seller says the car comes with “lots of service records” but doesn’t note in the ad when major work like the timing belt was last undertaken. The car is claimed to run “perfect” and comes with a clean title.
The seller also requests interested parties to “Please do your homework and research this car before you contact me, as my time is very limited.” Hey buddy, like we have all day? No sir, we have to get to the voting on this sweet-looking Alfa, and more important, its $8,500 asking price.
What do you think, could this sporty 164 get that much? Or, does that price mean it’s all over for this Alfa?
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