For $4,500, I Sing The Berlina Electric

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

The best part of Alfa Romeo’s 164 was its melodious six. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe edition exchanges that for the sounds of silence and a far shorter range. Will you find its price to be equally short sighted?

While the second generation Camaro became ever more lugubrious with each ensuing year, that's not to say that yesterday’s ’79 was without its attraction. With its whale tail trunk lid and inevitable Foghat cassette under the seat, its price and condition conspired to give the mullet machine a respectable 67% Nice Price win. Yee-haw!


While that American pony may yet experience a second life through reintarnation, today’s Alfa 164 is more like a subject from the Island of Dr. Moreau, had the good doctor’s bent been along the lines of electrical engineering instead of animal husbandry.

Priced at the same forty-five hundred as yesterday’s sleeveless tee shirt, this Italian stallion couldn't be more different. The Camaro will certainly require frequent fill-ups owing to its thirst, but this Alfa sedan demands that you rock down to Electric Avenue for its modus operandi.


Coming a day late and potentially a dollar short circuited to make yesterday's 10 shittiest electric cars, this 164 is still amazing for its mere existence. You'd have to be pretty nuts to look at nearly any Alfa Romeo, a marque renowned for being the Motel 6 for electrical gremlins, and think hells-yeah that'd make a baller electric car.


But that's just what some dude did, and to a manual gearbox 164 too! Still, since we're here, let's check it out and see if it's worth what he's asking now that he apparently no longer gets a charge out of the car.


In place of the Alfa's sweet six there now resides a 120-volt electric motor, rated at 24KW. That's like what, 30, 35 horsepower? That runs through the stock 5-speed gearbox so there's no fancy shenanigans required to make the motor go backwards for reverse. Power is provided by seven trunk-mounted lead-acid 12 volt batteries, wired in series.

Now, car batteries are great for that little bump needed to get the engine turning over, and they do recharge via the alternator in a regular car. What they're not all that hot about is sustained draining and tons of discharge cycles. That's a sure fire way to age one faster than picking the wrong cup at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.


Luckily, these still have 8 months left on their pro-rated warranties. On the downside, trunk space is severely compromised. Also, range isn't really all that great. In a comment response from the seller's noir-ish YouTube video he says that range is super limited when the car is 'driven like an Alfa should be.' Considering that for most Alfas driving means sitting in the driveway with the hood up and puddles of various fluids below, that's not all that much.

It turns out it's not quite that bad, as the seller claims 15-50 miles depending on a bunch of factors. That's a wide enough disparity that it might make sense to keep a cab company on speed dial on your phone. This is extremely limited range - seriously, this wouldn't get me to a single titty bar in town on a single charge. Perhaps I need to move to a more accommodating neighborhood.


On the plus side, the ad says that the car costs but $0.15 to charge and aside from having had its heart ripped out, this 164 looks to be in damn-fine shape. It's also quieter than a ghost's fart which should allow for the unique experience of actually hearing the car rust and its trim pieces intermittently popping off while driving it.


I also note that the tunes in this Alfa appear to be provided by way of an old iPod suppository and wired cassette adapter. That's the kind of technological savvy that I want to see in my electric car builders.

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that this is 164 is an eleven on the weird-o-meter. I can't think of too many people that might want something with so limited a range other than for the uniqueness factor. The seller says that he can make the same changes to just about any car so perhaps he knew what he was doing building this one, and you should now consider yourself forewarned to keep you cars' doors locked.


Still, it is for sale and we're here to decide if the seller's price is well considered, or if he's living in a fantasy world. What do you think about $4,500 for this 120-volt 164? Does that price give you a charge? Or, is this an electric Alfa dog?

You decide!


Milwaukee Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to CrashRedHot for the hookup!

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