The Alfa Romeo Alfetta is an Italian rear-wheel drive executive saloon car and fastback coupé produced from 1972 until 1987 by Alfa Romeo. It was popular due to its combination of a modest design with powerful engines, selling over 400,000 units until the end of its production run. In the final years of its production, sales sharply declined due to Alfa Romeo’s reliability problems that plagued the company through the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The Alfetta GTV coupé was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. A new drivetrain layout to the marque came with the introduction of the Alfetta. Clutch and transmission were housed at the rear of the car, together with the differential for a more balanced weight distribution, as used on the Alfetta 158/159 Grand Prix cars. The suspension relied on double wishbones and torsion bars at the front and a de Dion beam at the rear.
The Alfetta was the base for the GTV, a fastback coupé version of the saloon, introduced in 1974 as Alfetta GT, initially available only with the 1.8 litre (1779 cc) version of the Alfa DOHC four. For 1976, with the final phasing out of the earlier 105 Series 1.3 and 1.6 litre coupes (GT 1300 Junior and GT 1600 Junior) and the 2.0 litre 105 series 2000 GTV, the Alfetta GT became a range, also available with the 1.6 litre (1570 cc) and 2.0 litre (1962 cc) versions of the same engine as the Alfetta GT 1.6, Alfetta GT 1.8 and Alfetta GTV 2000. The GTV designation was initially reserved for the 2.0 litre top version.
The styling of the GTV, while distinctive, can be seen to share many design features derived from the Montreal supercar, as translated down to a simpler and thus more marketable vehicle. Examples of this are the bonnet line, which while briefer, still has ‘scallops’ for the headlights, and the tail light clusters which resemble those of the Montreal. The door shape is similar, and in a sharing of parts, both vehicles employ the same door handles.
In 1981, the Alfetta name was dropped. The GTV received a restyling, with grey plastic bumpers and all matte-black trim replacing bright stainless steel, and 15 inch alloy wheels were now standard. The 1.6 litre and 1.8 litre versions were discontinued and the Alfetta 2000 GTV became the base coupé model as the Alfa GTV 2.0.
Later in the same year, the GTV-6, a version of the GTV with the SOHC V6 2.5 L engine from the Alfa 6 luxury sedan, was released. As a result the hood received a bulge to clear the top of the intake and became its most pronounced feature. With Bosch fuel injection instead of the six downdraught Dell’Orto carburettors in the early Alfa 6 installation, the V6 was much easier to start and retained its state of tune much better. The V6 received rave reviews from the motoring press, which had previously lambasted the same engine in the Alfa 6 because of the carburettor problems. It found its true home in the GTV-6 where it could stretch its legs better than in the less sporting Alfa 6 sedan, including winning the European Touring Car Championship an unprecedented four years in succession (1982–85), the British Touring Car Championship in 1983 at the hands of Andy Rouse, as well as many other racing and rallying competitions.
For the U.S. market two limited production GTV-6 models stand out. The Balocco (named after the famous Balocco test track in Italy) in 1982 with a production run of only 350 cars. The Balocco was available only in red with sunroof and black interior, leather wrapped steering wheel and red piping on the seats. There were also two green Quadrifoglio badges fixed on the rear quarter trim pieces above a badge with the “Balocco SE” designation. A plaque inset in the glove box door designated the number of the car out of the series of 350 (XXX of 350.)
The GTV-6 2.5 Maratona, of which only 150 were built, was the other US standout. The Maratona model included a more aggressive aerodynamic trim package, lightweight Speedline wheels, clear engine view port, sunroof, wood steering wheel and shift knob, rear louvers and Carello fog lamps. All 150 cars were available only painted Silver and with a black leather interior; and came with “Maratona” badging on the rear decklid, front fenders and glove box door. (The most notable feature of the Maratona, its aerodynamic kit, was also available as a dealer-installed option on other GTV-6 models.)
Follow the link for more photos of the GTV6 Maratona.