• Matteo Licata

Things You Didn't Know About The Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT

The Alfetta GT has been the first derivative model from the original Alfetta to reach the market in 1974, and it wasn't going to have an easy life. The mid-70s were times of political turmoil, rising fuel prices and the widespread imposition of motorway speed limits. On top of that, the Alfetta GT was to gradually replace the much-loved "105" Bertone Coupés, cars that had done wonders for Alfa's image and bottom line over the previous years.

Over 45 years on, we can safely consider the Alfetta GT and GTV as a success story, and these cars are now rightfully gaining appreciation from collectors. Still, there may be five things you don't yet know about the Alfetta Coupés, let's go through them!

1 - The GTV8 While the name Alfa Romeo may typically be associated with circuit racing, Autodelta ran a quite successful rally program with the Alfetta GT between 1975 and 1979. For 1976, Carlo Chiti prepared an absolute monster, to challenge the Lancia Stratos in Group 4: an Alfetta GT equipped with a three-liter V8 derived from the Montreal, which produced between 320 and 350 horsepower in race tune. Sadly it raced only once, and the program was canceled on cost grounds, as the Montreal's V8 engine was already out of production. This made the construction of the 400 cars required for Group 4 homologation uneconomical for Alfa Romeo, especially so given the company's increasingly dire financial situation.

2 - Homologation Special Back in the early 80s, South Africa was an important export market for Alfa Romeo, which assembled its cars locally with parts shipped from Italy. The GTV6 needed more power to better compete with the BMW 535 in the local touring car championship, so a limited run of 200 special GTV6s was made for Group One homologation in 1983. The V6 engine was enlarged from 2.5 to three liters, and the Bosch fuel injection replaced with the pack of six Dell' Orto carburetors from the Alfa 6. The need to clear the carbs mandated the model-specific glass fiber bonnet that's the key aesthetic giveaway of these unique cars.

3 - The 1983 Restyling The Alfetta GT received only one significant styling update, in 1980: all brightwork became black, and a new set of plastic bumpers replaced the outdated stainless items. But the Centro Stile Alfa Romeo was preparing another major update for 1983: While the big bumpers arguably weren't much of an improvement, the new dashboard with the instrument cluster integrated with the steering column looked much, much better than the production item, in my view. Anyway, it was not to be, as Alfa Romeo's scarce resources were directed to other, more pressing projects. 4 - Callaway Turbo The name Callaway isn't normally associated with Italian machinery, yet the American company designed a factory-sanctioned twin-turbo conversion for the GTV6, known as Callaway C3, in 1983. These 230HP cars were intended as Alfa Romeo's answer to the Maserati Biturbo, which debuted in the US market that same year. It's believed around 36 Callaway C3s were made between '83 and '86. 5 - Zagato 3.0 Precious little is known about this red 1985 GTV6, wearing a truly OTT body-kit designed by Zagato. Over the years, many enthusiasts speculated about its purpose and technical specification, with the most reliable sources agreeing on 3.0 liters V6, as photographic evidence suggests. Apart from that, there's next to nothing documented about it. Fortunately, this unique GTV6 survives to this day in the Alfa Romeo Museum's collection, so there's hope it'll be displayed to the public in the future, and its story will finally be told.