This Plucky Little Alfa Romeo Hill-Climb Car Deserves A Few Minutes Of Your Attention

Gif: Youtube

This buzzy little Alfa making its way up an Italian hillside is the perfect way to start your day. What better way to get going than with a little “I think I can” energy?


You might have already gleaned, but I’m a big fan of hill-climbs. They’re races that seem to actually go somewhere. The goal is clear, the challenge of tight bends and massive changes in elevation. when the world outside is topsy-turvy, a good way to stay grounded is to watch someone achieve their goal. And here, it’s this little Alfa.

What makes this hill-climb so impressive is that the little Alfa making its way up faced a lot of adversity over its model run. This is an Alfasud, one of Alfa Romeo’s best-selling models but also one of its more infamous blunders.

Built-in Naples in a new factory supported by the Italian government to develop industry in the historically less-developed south of the country, the Alfasud was a new kind of Alfa Romeo. Small, front-wheel-drive, and with flat-four engines inside a body designed by none other than Giugiaro, the car seemed perfectly suited to the Italian market, which needed more small, affordable domestic cars.

But while the car seemed well-matched to the market, there were some problems. Rust, caused by production delays and poor manufacturing processes, plagued early Alfasuds, giving the line a reputation for particularly shoddy quality. If you’re interested in some more facts about the Alfasud, check out this video from our friend Matteo Licata that busts some myths about the model and explains how Alfa Romeo, a bastion of northern Italian industrial might, got down to business down in Campania.

Later, the car got a funky two-door wagon version as well as a coupe, the Alfasud Sprint. But what we’re really interested in here is the Alfasud Ti Trofeo, the car climbing that hill in the video above. Built for a one-model series that ran for a. few years in the mid-seventies, the Trofeo Europa Alfasud, this car has the 1.3-liter flat-four inside, but in this case, it makes 180 horsepower at a screaming 8000 RPM. Weighing only about 800 kilograms, this car is the same kind of lightweight hill-climb beast we saw a few weeks back with that blue Alpine. Only this one is a front-wheel-drive family car, not a rear-engined purpose-built racing machine.

Interestingly, though the car itself was built in Southern Italy, it’s climbing a hill closer to where the rest of its Alfa siblings were built. This Alfa is climbing the side of a mountain about halfway between Verona and Bergamo, just a bit east of Milan, where Alfa got its start and remains based today. The company doesn’t make a car like the Alfasud anymore now that the little MiTo is gone, but don’t worry. It’s still got some hill-climb contenders around. Check it out.

Max Finkel is a Weekend Contributor at Jalopnik.


Comment Box Sanitation Dept. - never sticks to cars

What event is this, any idea? It looks like a really cool technical course and the roads are beautiful. I’d love to try hillclimbing one day, it’s not my favorite motorsport to watch but it seems like the most fun by far.

I shouldn’t confess to this, but sometimes when I’m driving uphill, if the conditions are absolutely perfect (a road I’m very familiar with, good visibility and weather, no traffic, etc.) I will go full throttle in my 1998 VW Polo (base model, 1L 50hp), really sending it hard in the curves. Again, to be clear, I only do this when it poses danger to no one else but me, and I do it in a car that’s slow and underpowered enough that it feels fun at relatively low speeds.