Five Alfa Romeo limited editions you didn't know existed
Limited edition models are one of the oldest tricks in the industry's book when it comes to reviving a car's fortunes amid flagging sales.
Alfa Romeo certainly is no stranger to such practices, having released a plethora of limited-run models over the last few decades with varying degrees of success.
Here are five limited-run editions of Alfa Romeo models that you probably didn't know existed.
Alfasud "Valentino" (1980)
By 1980, the Alfasud was getting old, and, despite its sales success, the model's image had undoubtedly been tarnished by the numerous quality issues that plagued the early cars.
So, in an attempt to sprinkle some much-needed glamour onto its smallest model, Alfa Romeo called no less than fashion legend Valentino Garavani.
The Alfasud by Valentino was launched in 1980 and was available exclusively with the four-door body style. Finished in a rather attractive metallic bronze color with a contrasting black roof, the Alfasud Valentino was further characterized by gold and black striping on the sides and the steel wheels painted in gold instead of the usual silver.
As you'd expect, Valentino's involvement was more evident inside, where the Alfasud's interior ambiance was lifted via a plush black velour upholstery with gold piping, brown carpets, and a wooden steering wheel.
Between 1980 and 1982, nearly 4000 (3989) Alfasud Valentino left the Pomigliano d'Arco factory, the vast majority equipped with a 68 HP 1.2 liters engine with a five-speed manual gearbox. While this remained the sole powertrain option available to Italian customers, the Valentinos built for export got the larger 1.3 (898 cars made) and 1.5 liters (872 units produced) boxers instead.
Giulietta "Vivace" (1984)
The Giulietta "Vivace" was a limited edition created in 1984 by Alfa Romeo's French subsidiary, reportedly made in 200 copies. Buyers could opt for either the 1.6 or 2.0 liters engine, which, as you'd probably expect, were not modified in any way.
The Giulietta "Vivace" could only be had in white with color-coded bumpers and grille. The latter was an aftermarket item housing four round headlights in place of the standard two rectangular units.
A nice set of 14" Ronal alloy wheels and adhesive graphics of dubious taste completed the package, while the interior remained unchanged.
Arna "Jubilee" (1985)
1985 marked the 75th anniversary of Alfa Romeo's foundation in 1910.
To celebrate, the company's Swiss subsidiary created the "Jubilé," a limited-run model based on the infamous Arna.
It's estimated that around 200 examples were made, all finished in silver with color-coded bumpers, grille, and rearview mirrors. The Arna "Jubilé" was also characterized by quite brash adhesive graphics, whose design differed slightly between the three-door Ti and the five-door SL models.
Regardless of the body style, the interior and technical specifications did not change from the respective base model.
145 "Limited 500" and "Edizione Sportiva"
Alfa Romeo's German subsidiary released a special edition of the 145 sold in 500 individually numbered units in the year 2000. The 145 "Limited 500" could be had with the 1.4 or 1.6 liters Twin Spark engines or the 1.9 turbodiesel. All cars were finished in black and came as standard with Zender "Le Mans" alloy wheels and a rear spoiler.
The 145 "Limited 500" came with a fake-aluminum console sporting each example's progressive number, an aluminum gearknob and pedal covers, leather steering wheel with red stitching.
Alfa Romeo Deutschland repeated the trick shortly after with the "Edizione Sportiva," identical to the "Limited 500" except for the exterior paint color, this time Alfa red instead of the previous black.
Mito and Giulietta "For Maserati" (2010-11)
Between 2010 and 2011, Alfa Romeo built two very tastefully-specced limited editions, based first on the Mito and then on the Giulietta, for use by the Maserati European dealer network as "courtesy cars" for their clientele.
About 100 examples of the Mito "For Maserati" were made, all painted in the beautiful Maserati color "Blu Oceano" with a plush Poltrona Frau leather interior and equipped with the most powerful engine then available for the Mito: a 1.4 liters turbo four-cylinder rated at 170 HP.
A year later, Alfa Romeo repeated the trick with the Giulietta "For Maserati," based on the top-spec Quadrifoglio Verde model equipped with a 235 HP 1.8 liters turbocharged inline-four engine.
Elegantly finished in a specific shade of metallic gray with brown leather upholstery inside, the Giulietta "For Maserati" was produced in 100 copies that, just like the Mito before it, were exclusively destined for Maserati's European dealer network.
Due to their rarity and very tasteful specification, these models are my firm favorites among the various versions of the Mito and Giulietta.