• Matteo Licata

The Lost Alfas

Sometimes the most fascinating Alfa Romeos are those never made: projects that got tantalizingly close to production but, for one reason or another, were denied their chance to shine.

Three such prototypes, preserved in the Alfa Romeo Museum's collection, give us a rare glimpse into different futures that never happened.

1 - Alfa 75 Sport Wagon Presented on the Alfa Romeo stand at the 1986 Geneva Motor Show in prototype form, the Alfa 75 Sport Wagon was an attempt at repeating the success of the 33 Giardinetta in a higher market segment. The 75 Sport Wagon, just like the saloon, was designed by the Centro Stile Alfa Romeo, headed by Ermanno Cressoni, but the construction of the prototype cars was contracted out to the coachbuilder Rayton Fissore. Period sources indicate that up to six different 75s were converted. Yet there's photographic evidence just for four, and only the two in the Alfa Romeo Museum are known to survive with certainty. As we all know, in late 1986, Alfa Romeo was taken over by Fiat, and one of the first "victims" of this transition was the 75 Sport Wagon project. Fissore presented again a red 75 Turbo Wagon in 1987, at its own motor show stand, possibly to renew interest in the project, but to no avail.

2 - Tipo 148 Alfisti know well the successful four-wheel-drive variant of the Alfa 33, launched in 1984. But almost nobody knows that its engine and driveline were the basis for a fascinating small off-roader project identified by the internal designation "148". Due to enter production in both civilian and military spec by 1987, the "148" became just another museum piece because of the Fiat takeover, just like the 75 Sport Wagon.

3- Tipo 103 The plucky "Tipo 103" prototype, was nicknamed "pidocchio," which is the Italian for "louse," by someone not exactly enamored with its looks. Yet what sits underneath the baby blue body panels is very interesting indeed... A 900cc inline-four cylinders engine, with two overhead cams in the best Alfa Romeo tradition, but mounted transversely and sending power to the front wheels.

The prototype preserved in the Museum's collection was built in 1962, but the project was abandoned before any serious testing could begin. Had the "103" been put into production, the story of Alfa Romeo would have changed forever, putting it in direct competition with Fiat at the low end of the market.