You may have seen the CC and appreciation of the Alfa Romeo 75 (or Milano) and preceding Alfetta Tipo 116 series of cars that came before and donated so much to the 75, and looked at its place in Alfa Romeo mythology. But as a bonus and addition to build on the Alfa-iste mythology around these cars seems a good idea, and I managed to find this, a classic CAR magazine road trip of the greatest kind, from July 1987. Just driving a great car home. In fact two great cars.
The premise of the article is very simple – fly to Milan, pick up examples of two of the then new Alfa Romeo 75 derivatives – the 2 litre four cylinder Twin Spark and the 3.0 V6 – and drive them back to London, with permission to take the long way hone. This was not a new format for CAR – most who read Convoy! in February 1977, bringing three Lamborghinis to London, will have it etched on their mind.
The longer form used here, in a monthly magazine and now with full colour printing, allows more depth and colour to be added than you’d find in the usual road test format. There aren’t the stats pages or direct competitor comparisons, but an absorbing, involving entry into the journey, the cars, the people and places.
The V6 is red, obviously, the four cylinder in a more discreet silver. Interestingly, Green suggest the less powerful but lighter 2 litre car is perhaps the better for daily use.
However, that does not mean the V6 engine is lacking. Anything but. “The new 3.0 litre is a pearl of a motor“, “as fine a six cylinder production engine as there is” and will “sing exultantly“. Tunnels and gorges will therefore have featured in the route planning..
Some aspects are criticised – the interior layout and finish, the styling and the gearchange, a common Alfetta family issue.
The chosen route went south from Milan to the Mediterranean coast, into France, across the mountains and gorges of Provence and then up the Rhone valley, stopping to buy wine and demonstrate the knowledge of it all CAR journalists seem to have, and then across north eastern France to Calais and the ferry port (no tunnel in 1987).
This was a longer than truly necessary route, but a scenic option across driver’s roads in an Alfa rarely sounds like a bad idea.
And any option would have needed to cross northern France at some point, which is a bit of anti-climax after Provence or the Alps.
And back home, off to Millbrook (Vauxhall’s test centre at the time), to not quite match Afla’s performance claims.
But who cares – just listen to them, and take in the journey and the history.