SHED OF THE WEEK: ALFA 164 TWIN SPARK
An Italian executive express for the price of return flights to Rome; Shed swoons over an Alfa 164
Did you know that '164' in Chinese means 'all the way to death'? The importers got Alfa to rename it 168, which means 'all the way to prosperity'. Some Alfa owners might argue with that but, for £250, where's the risk?
Try telling that to Mrs Shed though. She was predictably sniffy on being told the reason for all the triumphant shouting coming from Shed's man-cave. 'Yes, well,' she muttered darkly into her beard, 'as we all know, people don't buy old Alfas, because they're unreliable. Also, it's bound to be rusty... er... well, there's bound to be some on it somewhere..."
What happened next is unrecorded, but according to the curtain-twitchers over the road it apparently involved a V-sign, a loud reference to Specsavers, and the unmistakable clang of a lightweight frying pan hitting a bony mass.
The view through a pair of Shedly spectacles is of course decidedly rosier. The 164's perceived failure is a bit of a mirage. It actually found over a quarter of a million customers over its 11-year lifespan. The whiff of negativity surrounding the 164 was more a reflection of the quality of that German opposition than a condemnation of the car. Bad timing had a lot to do with it too. Many exec buyers preferred to wait a year for BMW's groundbreaking E34 rather than spring for Alfa's effort, an unknown quantity in this market, when it went on sale in 1987. 164 build quality was actually pretty decent. Alfa used the car as a shapely clothes-horse for a goodly quota of galvanised chassis and body panels. This one here is from bang in the middle of the run.
Normally we'd give you chapter and verse on what goes wrong with 164s, but at this price such considerations seem churlish. All we'll say is that Alfa was very proud of the complexity of its wiring system, and of the delicacy of the lightweight plastic cogs clattering around in its ventilation system. Fret ye not though, there are enough 164 enthusiasts around to make this car worth buying just as a scrap donor - but hopefully not before you've had ten months of Barolo-flavoured fun out of it.
Here's the ad. Credit cards oot.
BLACK, Next MOT due 22/05/2014, Tax expires 30/11/2013, Grey Velour Interior - Good Condition, Tyre condition Excellent, Right hand-drive, Average Bodywork, last owner had it 14 yrs, £250