Snort Sedan Makes Me Smile.

10 Mar

One week ago, I wandered to South Seattle to pickup another Alfa Romeo to add to my yard.  Over the years, I’ve owned a variety of models and styles from a ’76 Alfetta GT, ’74 Spider,  4 GTV6s, to a ’91 164s.  When I heard about a 1978 Sport Sedan that was for sale my imagination quickly pictured the polar opposite conditions that these cars can be in today.  I’ve seen a number of this era Alfa that have succumbed to the rust gods and have little or no hope of driving across town, or the well kept or restored versions that look like new.  It could easily be  either option or lost somewhere in between.  Though some people like a project, that isn’t right for me.  A good car is always my starting point.

As I approached the house, the car was parked out front.  Though the black paint had plenty of dust or dirt hiding it, there was only a couple small flaws or dents.  There on each side, just as Alfa Romeo made it was the script that read Sport Sedan.  The funny part is that the font used doesn’t define or close the bottom of the p very well making it appear a lot like an n instead.  Oh well…   The interior looked a little dirty and the front seats were covered by older sheepskin covers, put on by someone who never read the instructions.  Removing the covers revealed brown leather seats in good shape, including the stitching.  The rear seats were almost as nice with only the threads getting a little loose on the very top back edge from the sun through the back window.  The steering wheel was a nice wooden Momo wheel but I was assured the original wheel was in the trunk.

The car had started life at Alfa of Tacoma, then owned by an elderly customer, then returned years later to Alfa of Tacoma.  Now I was buying it from the family with only 60,000 miles on the odometer, and “everything working like new”.  Though not cared for as a garage queen, it sure looked like a good cleaning would yield a great looking car.  Now if it would simply run as nicely.

The owner handed my the keys and I sat down behind the wheel.  The car is not a low slung sports car or cramped in any way.  The steering wheel is the only clue that the car could be a little sporty, until the engine starts up and you hear the exhaust note.  The car started quickly and idled nicely.   The stiff clutch felt very much like the feel of the Alfas I love.  The motor sounded very nice as the revs came up.  The brakes felt good and the car rolled very nicely.  It pulls strongly away from a stop but won’t shock you since it is probably around 150 HP at best.  The engine is the 2000 cc 4 cylinder with the twin cam head.  It has the original Spica injection and nice Euro headers.  Those headers and the aftermarket tailpipe help produce that distinct Alfa Romeo sound as it drives. The 5 speed trans-axle (it sits in the rear of the car helping to create a nice 50 Front/50 Rear weight ratio) is smooth and quiet, even surprising me with good condition synchros in 2nd gear.  That is almost unheard of in an Alfa Romeo.  The gear ratios are for a hwy cruiser, not a track car but that seems fitting for this sedan and will be a bit better on gas mileage.

The car is now in my driveway and will be enjoyed on Alfa club event days, and any other excuse I can find.   No haggling or bargaining was needed since I felt the price asked was fair.  I was surprised when I went to leave and he gave me a few other extra parts, brochures, and even an extra bike he had in his garage.  What a pleasant transaction and clearly a win for both people.  The only issues with the car is the rear window defroster doesn’t work, the brake rotors and calipers need replacing, the park brake mechanism needs cleaning, and the starter motor needs shims.  It could use new tires, but not immediately.

The best part is that when you drive, it sounds like an Alfa Romeo.  It feels more fun than a Honda or VW.  It has a unique look that already stopped one teenager on his way towards his dad’s Mercedes prompting him to ask, “What kind of car is that?”   I told him, and he responded that it was really “cool”.  It’s nice to drive “cool” as long as I can get used to the idea that it appears to be a Snort Sedan.

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3 Responses to “Snort Sedan Makes Me Smile.”

  1. You know who I am . . . March 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    I know a good place to go when you want to replace the tyres.!!!
    Thanks for giving a lot of love to an underloved and underappreciated Alfa Romeo model. No telling where I would be now if my first Alfa had been an Alfetta Sport Sedan.

    A friend of mine would say, “Well bought”. 😉

    Enjoy

  2. Alex Sándor Csank March 11, 2012 at 4:48 am #

    Great score!

  3. Benny the Horrible March 11, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Fred… with your seemingly unlimited parking arrangement, you can become the king of all the snort sedans. Afterall, one does need parts cars.

    Nice to see you back into a proper REAR wheel drive Alfa. Snort on.

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