Built in limited numbers for the US market, and being fun to drive, is the Alfa Romeo GTV6 a future classic?
Growing up close to the Beach in Southern California in the late 80s and early 90s, the Alfa Romeo GTV6 was right up there with the BMW e30, M3, 535i, and Porsche 911 in my social circles. However, while all other vehicles within the same group as the GTV6 have shot up in value, it begs whether the Alfa Romeo GTV6 is destined to become a future classic?
What is the Alfa Romeo GTV6?
The Alfa Romeo GTV6 was based on the Alfa Romeo Alfetta, or Tipo 116 or “Type 116”. The Alfetta is a front-engine, five-passenger fastback coupe and sedan manufactured by Alfa Romeo between 1972 and 1987. Manufactured by Alfa Romeo in Italy and South Africa, over 400,000 units were produced worldwide over its 15-year production run.
I remember driving the Alfa Romeo GTV6 several times many years ago. I recall the GTV6 as fun to drive, full of character, and very spirited, much more than it was fast. This experience was memorable because of the transaxle and suspension, specifically the rear suspension, creating a near-perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
Whereas most front-engine vehicles have transaxles, specifically clutch and transmissions paired with the engine, the transaxle of the Alfetta was located on the rear axle. Combined with the De Dion tube rear axle, the result was a near 50:50 weight distribution, making for a memorable driving experience.
What is a De Dion Tube suspension?
A De Dion Tube is a sophisticated form of a non-independent suspension and a considerable improvement over existing rear axle technologies. It features a universal joint at both wheel hubs and a solid tubular beam to hold the opposite wheels in parallel.
On a conventional vehicle with a De Dion tube suspension, u-joints would mount to the differential. In the case of the Alfetta, they were connected to the transmission. A de Dion tube suspension is not intended to flex, nor is it attached to the chassis. Because of the use of universal joints at each rear wheel, the technology adds to the vehicle’s complexity, cost, and weight.
How many GTV6s were sold in the United States?
While over 400,000 Alfettas were built globally over its 15-year production run, around 22,000 were GTV6s constructed between 1980 and 1987. Of the 22,000 GTVs produced, 5,000 made were for the American market.
What was the engine powering the GTV6?
Sold between 1981 and 1987, the GTV6 was powered by an all-aluminum single overhead cam 2.5-liter V-6 engine producing a spritely 154 horsepower and 157 lb-ft of torque. Through a Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection system, fuel management was a vast improvement over the carburetors it replaced.
With its near-perfect weight distribution and 2,700-pound curb weight, the GTV6 was not fast. However, its de Dion tube rear suspension made for a memorable driving experience, especially on winding mountain roads.
Were any special edition versions of the Alfa Romeo GTV6 ever produced?
During its 6-year production run, there were two special editions produced. However, the distinguishing characteristics were limited to cosmetic upgrades. The GTV Balocco, named for Alfa Romeo’s test track in Italy, was built in 1982 and limited to 350 units. Later, Alfa Romeo sold the GTV6 Maratona, which was limited to just 150 units.
Special editions were not just limited to the factory. The famous turbo expert Reeves Calloway of Calloway Cars created a twin-turbo kit for the GTV6. Called the Calloway C3 for the company’s third project, the C3 increased output to 230 horsepower at 5,500 rpm, a fifty percent increase in output over the production version. Stopping power was also increased to compensate for the added performance.
What was the Alfa Romeo GTV6s racing pedigree?
The GTV6 did fairly well competitively. Racing successes included winning the European Touring Car Championship for four years in a row between 1982 and 1985. In 1983, it won the British Touring Car Championship and participated in many other racing and rallying competitions in France and Italy.
The GTV6 was also competitive in rallying, having won its class four years a row in the Tour de Couse round the World Rally Championship between 1983 and 1986.
Did Alfa Romeo produce a 3.0-liter GTV6?
In South Africa, Alfa Romeo produced a 3.0-liter version of the GTV6 for racing homologation in 1987. A total of 212 units were made, at least six of which were fuel injected. The 3.0-liter GTV6 produced 184 horsepower at 6.700 pm and had a top speed of 139 miles per hour.
Is the Alfa Romeo GTV6 a future classic?
With only 5,000 units produced for the United States over a six-year production run, combined with unique driving characteristics, make the Alfa Romeo GTV6 a likely future classic. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design fame, the Alfa Romeo Alfetta coupe and GTV6 have a uniquely Italian shape and character, increasing their desirability.