Updated: May 10, 2020
The Alfetta is a model whose importance in Alfa Romeo's history cannot be understated, as its sophisticated transaxle architecture formed the basis of many more successful Alfas over two decades.
Introduced in 1972, the Alfetta saloon had a long and distinguished career itself, and these are five things you may not know about it.
1 - The two-door The popularity of the two-door saloon format on significant export markets like Germany led Alfa Romeo to consider offering such a body style alongside the traditional four-door saloon, but the idea never went beyond the prototype stage. 2 - Station Wagon Station wagons started being seen as fashionable in 1980s Italy. The motoring magazine Auto Capital went as far as sanctioning the construction of a one-off Alfetta Station Wagon, to gauge the public's reaction and, hopefully, convince Alfa Romeo into making it a production reality. The aesthetic result of the conversion, based on a brand new Alfetta 2.0 and carried out by Zagato, left much to be desired, though. The fact that Alfetta production by 1983 was nearing the end didn't help either, and the project went nowhere. 3 - CEM 1983 saw a limited run of very special Alfetta 2.0 made available to select Alfa Romeo customers. Their twin-cam four-cylinders came equipped with a state-of-the-art electronic engine management system able to deactivate two cylinders at light engine loads and seamlessly switch back to four-cylinder whenever needed. Unfortunately, the high costs of this brilliant piece of proprietary technology severely limited its market potential. To know more, check this article! 4 - Stopping bullets The 1970s were, unfortunately, a very violent decade in Italy: political terrorism, organized crime, and high-profile kidnappings created a healthy demand for armored cars among wealthy individuals and public institutions alike. Those customers could buy a specific version of the Alfetta 2.0 saloon directly from the company, which sent between 20 and 25 brand-new vehicles a month to specialized contractors for conversion. Although details could vary between the cars, the "Alfetta Blindata" was indeed a series-produced variant, the only one of its kind in Italy at the time. 5- What's in a name The name "Alfetta" came from the single-seaters that won the 1950 and 1951 Formula One championships for Alfa Romeo. Designed before WW2, those 1500cc supercharged racers were affectionately nicknamed "Alfetta," which literally meant "little Alfa," because of their small size.