CC Outtake – Alfa Romeo 164

Walking back from the post office at about 13:00, I was rushing home to escape the 30c degrees heat that was on the day. But I couldn’t pass on the Italian luxury that was on the other side of the street. I’ve seen it  before at the same spot, but I never had my phone with me to take photos. Well, now I have.


You will recognize this, of course, as the (then) prestigious Alfa 164, one of four cars sharing the same “Tipo 4” platform produced by Saab, Lancia, Fiat and Alfa. You could refer to the 164 as the first real modern Alfa, using CAD and galvanized steel for the first time in the manufacturer’s history – but so that you won’t forget you were driving a problematic Italian mark, owners still had to contend with runaway electrics due to the (then new) computers the 164 was using.

But now let me cross the street for a closer look:

It looks fantastic for its age, certainly for a series 1 car. The license plate tells me its from the early 1990s rather than the late 1980s. And note the Mazda 626 Hatchback, photo-bombing this and the opening post’s photo, as well as a Citroen Xsara further up the street! My my.

As you can see, at some point in its life it had to pull something behind. And not so apparent in this photo are the rusty wheel nuts.

Front looks OK much like the rear. Even the Pininfarina emblem is still attached, and I think it looks quite right in white.

Final look at this specific 164 is from the front. I used to moan about the looks of these “modern” Alfas back in the day, but funny what difference almost 30 years can make. Now I actually think it doesn’t look bad at all, especially with this two-tone paint “scheme” created by the lower-bodied plastic the early cars had.

As you’d expect, the numbers these sold in Israel were very handful, by then the German alternatives were taking on as earlier resentment to those marks was waning. Later series 2 cars sold better, as the importers tried to lower prices but never got as good as any rival BMW or Audi (itself a rising manufacturer at the time). Now, however, there’s a very strong following of classic Alfas in Israel, mostly due to a flourishing classic Alfa club I wrote about here. So at least three or more 164s can be seen at these meetings. Here are photos of such cars:

This is a series 2 car, with looks that almost want to mach its German rivals, smart alloys and silver paint.

Note the license plates of the two 164s above – that’s as close as you’re gonna get from two old cars.

The two photos above are of the same series 2 car. That engine top is another very familier sight to any Alfa follower, not to mention enthusiast.

Yet another series 2 car, this is a bit modified with modern Alfa wheels and probably lowered as well. As for the rear wing and Nurburgring sticker – well…

I’ll finish off with this series 1 car, made to look as a QV but is certainly not one. And even though it sports fresh paint and wider, more modern wheels, I think it’s nowhere near as nice as the featured white 164 of this post.