• Matteo Licata

Alfa Romeo's Greatest Hits

Alfa Romeo sold less than 70.000 cars globally in 2019. The lack of any significant model launch since 2015, among other factors, have stalled the brand's revival promised by then-CEO Sergio Marchionne. But it's not always been this way...

10) Giulietta (1977-1985) - 379.692 units

At the bottom of the chart, we find a big favorite of mine, the 1977 Giulietta. Its sharp, minimalist design gave the Giulietta a very distinct personality from the Alfetta it was based on. Very successful in its day, the Giulietta is still kind of underrated now. One of the reasons why I chose it as a subject for my very first book, back in 2018.

9) Alfa 75 (1985-1992) - 386.767 units

The last rear-drive Alfa Romeo saloon until the current Giulia came along, the 75 is a perennial favorite among the Alfisti.

Developed on a shoestring budget from older components by a company on the verge of bankruptcy, not many would have given the 75 a chance.

Yet many did, especially in Italy. The 75's blend of sweet handling, lusty engines, and aggressive design made it a strong seller during its seven-year lifespan.

8) Giulietta (2010-2020) - 417.922 units

The sun is about to set on the Giulietta, after ten long years on the market. This makes the production figure I'm quoting here provisional, as cars are still being made this year. However, the final tally isn't likely to grow much, given only 15.690 Giuliettas were made in 2019, with 2020's output likely to be lower still.

7) 145/6 (1994-2000) - 454.332 units

Given that both models replaced the 33 and only the rear end differed between the 145 and 146, I thought these two models could be considered as one for this video's purpose.

6) Alfetta (1972-1984) - 472.868 units

The Alfetta introduced the transaxle configuration that would underpin two decades of Arese production. Despite the growing threat of foreign competition and patchy build quality because of turmoil at the factory, the Alfetta sold very well throughout its 12 years lifespan.

5) Giulia (1962-1977) - 572.626 units

The original Giulia needs no introduction. Over half a million of these boxy saloons left the Arese lines over a 15-years production run that's often hailed as the Marque's finest hour.

4) 147 (2000-2010) - 651.823 units

I believe the 147 still is one of the prettiest hatchbacks ever designed, especially in its original, pre-restyling form. Combined with excellent handling, the generous TS 16v, and "common rail" JTD engines, it made the 147 an irresistible proposition for many.

3) 156 (1997-2007) - 673.347 units

I still vividly remember the huge sensation the 156 caused in 1997. Upon launch, the local Alfa Romeo dealers were swarmed with people who could hardly believe their eyes. But the 156 was much more than a pretty face. The first automobile on the market with powerful, yet refined "common rail" diesel engines, the 156 handled as beautifully as it looked, thanks to its sophisticated suspension design. Small wonder it proved one of Alfa's greatest hits.

2) Alfa 33 (1983-1994) - 989.324 units

You didn't expect this one, huh?

Yet the humble little 33 went tantalizingly close to breaking a million sales, creating a new generation of Alfisti in the process. Its design certainly played a big part in the 33's success. Under the direction of Ermanno Cressoni, the Centro Stile Alfa Romeo managed to give the 33 a more upmarket presence than the Alfasud it was based on.

1) Alfasud (1972 - 1984) - 1.017.387 units

It may be rarer than most Ferraris nowadays. Yet, the Alfasud still holds the record as the most successful Alfa Romeo of all time. Given the Marque's recent track record, the Alfasud is likely to retain its place for a long time.