Thursday, October 16, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
The Alpha 156 is as much a sports model as family car. The Italian maker seems incapable of designing one that's mere transport, injecting a special flavour into even machines that would be built as “ordinary” cars by others.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Alfa in China will make its 166, a difficult thing for Alfa fans to digest even though the 166 hasn’t had shades of brilliance throughout its long career. The car will be manufactured by Guangzhou Auto, a Fiat and Nanjing partner in Perla production (derived from the world car Palio and Siena ed Albea project).
Friday, September 12, 2008
And yes, you can still put a bike in there, just take the wheels off first.
Friday, July 25, 2008
OK, I got it out and got the rubber boot off as well. The boot was tough to shift and I was worried about tearing the "tabs" that I pulled on. Make sure it goes back on properly, to keep the weather out.
3 screws matter. Top left screw (left as in the picture) holds everything in place. Top right adjusts (or aims, if you prefer) the headlamp, as does the bottom screw. Don't move these, or if you do ensure you set then as they were. There's a clip on the top-right screw that holds the lamp. And the bottom screw conceals a hole into which the lamp unit sits via a locating "prong".
It's the lowbeam that blew, the centre single-spade connector. The other connector is for the parking light. I changed that 10 years ago so it should be fine ;-)
So here are a few pics on the subject of removing and replacing a 1982 GTV (Aussie spec) halogen headlamp. Bear in mind this is a low beam unit with parking light - not a sealed beam. I think the sealed beam unit fits on and is aimed in the same way though.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Just beware, it's full of idle rubbish like: Let’s face it: Alfa is not what it used to be. With the exception of the 159, 156, Giulietta and a handful of Quadrifoglio or GTA models, the brand has sadly been scarred over the last 30 years by a long and steady decline.
Obviously not a fan of the amazing Alfasud sedan, ti and Sprint Veloce, the wolf-in-sheep's clothing Alfetta sedan, the Alfetta GT and GTV, the GTV6, the lovely Nuovo Giulietta, the 75 (AKA Milano), the 33ti or almost anything since! OK, the ARNA was a bit sad, and the 145 wasn't all that it could have been, but honestly...! ALFA Romeo must surely wonder what they have to do... isn't the latest crop, the 147, 156, 159 and Brera enough?
Apparently not. Most shocking of all was to find that Alfa had gone soft since its brief mid-’90s renaissance. Steering got dopey, gearchanges sloppy and ride mushy.. "Dopey" steering must refer to the 147's turning circle, not sure what else it could be. Sloppy gearchanges? Has this guy driven a rear-transmission Alfa? That is sloppy. And a mushy ride? Alfas soak up the bumps, and roll. Not as bad a French car, but obviously so. Only the hardened-edge of the GTAs truly eliminates the bodyroll and high-speed comfort of the classic Alfa. Yet they still run fast and corner hard. That is the essence of it.
I can remember swapping from a stiff-as-a-post Ford Escort with "Rally Pack" to a stock 1982 Giulietta and being amazed at the body roll. It put me off until I realised I was going 5-10kmh faster around sharp corners in the dry, twice that in the wet -and much faster again over bumpy roads that I had previously had to slow down on... simply a better suspension setup.
Yet most people when given a car to drive are clots and clods with no finesse and can't see or feel what they have... which is why we shouldn't trust anyone else's opinion, certainly not mine, just your own.
WHAT do you get if you cross a Mini with an Alfa Romeo? No it's not a joke, Mini owner BMW really is joining forces with Alfa Romeo maker Fiat to build cars together.
We just don't want another ARNA debacle, Alfa Romeo ;-)
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Anyway it's a look underneath my 1982 Alfetta GTV showing the rear mounted transaxle, de Dion tube, Watts linkage and inboard disc brakes. Most cars of course don't have de Dion tubes, so that's a bit special. The Watts linkage is more common. The rear mounted transmission is much more rare and gives the car better weight distribution (ie 50:50) and a polar moment of inertia that lends the car stability rather than twitchiness.
The inboard brakes are also unusual on a road car, but were an Alfa specialty in the late 70s and throughout the 80s, both with their rear and front drive cars. On this car it meant that even the rears could overheat a tad on mountain descents... but OTOH the rear wheels didn't have to carry the extra unsprung weight so an Alfetta could menace much more powerful cars around corners. (The Alfasud from this era had inboard front brakes, which probably worked better than the Alfetta's rear brake arrangement and helped to make the 'Sud a great handler - but suffered from the occasional accidental ill-placed drop of engine oil... ooops.)
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
- Not a lot of Alfa content, but just enough to satisfy, and a great pictorial blogpost focused around Mugello...."Aloha and Welcome to *Liam's Wild Ride* , the Official Website of Liam Shubert. This is the chronicle of my travels, adventures, and experiences while I'm busy working in MotoGP! Please enjoy the places, faces, and especially, the Races!"
- An Alfa Montreal 'company car'? And a secret test track (not!)
- Oh please no, Alfa, don't do it..."Alfa will built its first SUV : the Alfa Romeo 149 SUV
The new project will come alive in 2010 and it will be in the same class as the Audi Q5, Mercedes GLK and Volkswagen Tiguan. The 149 SUV will be a sporty car with the Alfa branded design. The engine is thought to be a 2.0 l 300 hp engine"
- In 2 minds - a Brera ruined or improved? "Prodrive decided that while the Alfa Romeo Brera was an excellent supercar in its own right they would be able to turn it into perfection. Thus was born the Alfa Romeo Brera S."
- We'll believe it when we see it: Marchionne believes the only way to sell Fiats profitably in the U.S. is to build them in North America. He said he's "having discussions with everybody," though he also didn't rule out building a factory. While Fiat has an existing partnerships with Ford (F), another potential alliance partners is Mercedes-Benz (DAI), which is interested in building passenger cars in North America in addition to the SUVs it builds in Alabama. Nissan (NSANY) has excess plant capacity at its Mississippi plant, and seems interested in replacing some of the SUV capacity it has there with passenger cars. Fiat already shares engineering with Ford on the U.S. automaker's Ka minicar in Europe. Ford is expanding its small car manufacturing in Mexico to build the Ford Fiesta, and would also be a logical partner.
- Everyone wants to know us now: "GM, the UAW, state and local government should take the initiative to begin a dialogue with Alfa's parent company, Fiat. Fiat already does business in Wisconsin with its Case-IH business in Racine. State tax and development incentives should be offered to secure the Alfa factory and align with this premium global brand. A Janesville Alfa Romeo plant could be a high-tech infused facility with a forward-thinking, attractive product -- but the city and state will have to lobby for it, and not a moment should be wasted." But GM and FIAT, again? This guy has no understanding of recent history. eh?
- How about Canada then? "With bad news of auto plant closures spreading across the province, Queen's Park retains a glimmer of hope that Ontario is in the running to land an Alfa Romeo factory. Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sandra Pupatello called a May 21 meeting in Turin, Italy, between Premier Dalton McGuinty and executives from Fiat, Alfa Romeo's parent company, a positive step."
- And lastly, the MiTo photoshoot and a cabrio...
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Once out of BP you pick up speed (on the GP circuit) and the 1.8 litre Giulietta was good for 160km/hr (in my hands) by the kink. Then hard braking, hard left, mind the concrete wall all over again and into the twisties.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
It looks like a P3, and the description fits, so I'll assume that to be the case. More on the P3 here:
The P3 was first genuine single seater racing car, and was powered by a supercharged eight cylinder engine. The whole car weight just over 1,500 lb (680 kg), very light for the period. Had it not been for the engine block being cast in iron the car would have been even lighter. The P3 was introduced in June 1932, halfway through the European season, winning its first race at the hands of Tazio Nuvolari, and going on to win 6 races that year driven by both Nuvolari and Rudolf Caracciola, including all 3 major Grands Prix in Italy, France and Germany. 1933 brought financial difficulties to Alfa Corse so the cars were simply locked away and Alfa attempted to rest on their laurels. Enzo Ferrari had to run his breakaway 'works' Alfa team as Scuderia Ferrari, using the older, less effective Alfa Monzas. Alfa prevaricated until August and missed the first 25 events, and only after much wrangling was the P3 finally handed over to Scuderia Ferrari. P3s then won six of the final 11 events of the season including the final 2 major Grands Prix in Italy and Spain.
Friday, April 04, 2008
Full story on another blogger's site (ITSky, I think it was?):Case New Holland, which is actually owned by Alfa, makes agricultural machinery and construction equipment. It already has 11 plants in the U.S., and Alfa could simply expand one of them to make cars. The plant, a location for which will be selected in May, will begin churning out Alfas in 2011 or 2012. At capacity, production is expected to be around 150,000 cars for the North American and European markets. Alfa Romeo will decide on the distribution network and particular vehicles to be made within three months, which makes it sound as if the Italians are definitely coming.
Friday, March 28, 2008
You can see the in-board discs on either side of the transmission. Yes, they are out of the cooling wind but for road applications the rear brakes don't do a lot of work anyway. And this arrangement lessens unsprung weight in the suspension.
Most cars compromise with rear wheel movement, mounting brakes on the hubs and allowing wheels to easily lift off the deck or go to extreme angles to the road surface, compromising contact with the road surface. This Alfa solution (used in Alfa's earlier 159 GP cars and several other road and race cars from the 50s and earlier) does result in a bit of understeer as the rear end can be hard to break free.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I had just written this, elsewhere: An iconic powerhouse like Ford is dumping its prestige brands one by one, raising cash for a last gasp attempt at survival, or just getting rid of failing brands. Does this say anything about the US economy, or US car companies in general, or US car company management vision? Probably a yes in all 3 boxes. From Fairfax: US automaker Ford has agreed to sell its luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover to India's Tata Motors for more than $US2 billion ($A2.2 billion), a source familiar with the deal says. So what does this say about India's economy, or the growth of Tata (a company that has fingers in many pies and plans to sell a super-cheap small car around the world)?
So Ford sells off its prestige brands to an up-and-comer in India, who presumably sees profit in the deal (hoping to buy street cred and brand awareness, perhaps?). Ford shrinks back to core competencies, like building gas-guzzling fat cars that will sink like a stone when global warming really kicks in. And FIAT? Well for starters they could do with a big real-wheel-drive platform like the big Jag's, and a 4WD platform like Landrover's for Alfa. Maybe.
Maybe what they really want are dealerships in the US, through which to sell US-bound Alfas? And maybe it ties in somehow with this idea: According to the Financial Times, Fiat Group's chief executive says the company is discussing potential build of Alfa Romeo cars in North America with GM, Ford and Chrysler but as yet, no partner has been selected.
Or maybe not: Fiat SpA could choose BMW as partner to produce its Alfa Romeo model in the US as of 2011, the daily MF said, citing sources close to Fiat.
What a prospect. The Alfa Mi.To is launched into head to head US sales competition with the BMW-built MINI... and Alfa team up with BMW to manufacture cars in the US. Maybe even the Mi.To...
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
- Autoblog:All the big rollers came out for the game this year in Geneva, but Alfa Romeo raised the stakes yet again with the unveiling of the production version of the breathtakingly curvaceous 8C Spider. Take the term "production" with a grain of salt, though, as only 500 examples of the roadster will be built, making this one of the few chances we'll have to see and bring you this exemplary piece of exotic Italian machinery first-hand.
- Carsguide rewrites the media release:Alfa Romeo 8C Spider What is it?: A soft-top version of the 8C Coupe, Alfa's first supercar in eons and homage to some of the brand's signature models from the 1950s. Similar in design to the 8C Coupe, it will also become a flag-waver for the brand while Alfa decides whether to return to the US. The power and the glory: Under the bonnet is a 336kW 4.7-litre V8 driving the rear wheels via a six-speed robot manual gearbox, while the body is carbon fibre over a steel frame. In the cabin, two sports seats and loads of lovely Italian leather. Can I buy one? You'll need to have at least $360,000 handy and even then you'd better be quick. Only 500 will be built, all in left-hand drive, and many will already have names against them. Deliveries of the Coupe, also limited to a production run of 500, have begun and five Australians are among the select group of owners. Most will garage their cars overseas.
- TCC on 'showstopper':The word “showstopper” is used too frequently by lazy journalists, but in some cases it is genuinely true. A case in point is the new Spider version of Alfa Romeo’s stunning 8C Competizione, which had its world debut at the Geneva motor show.
- TCC on specs:Under the hood is the same 4.7-liter 450-hp V-8 that’s in the coupe. Power is channelled through a six-speed paddleshift gearbox to the rear wheels. The Brembo brakes are carbon-ceramic, measuring 15 inches in diameter at the front wheels and 14.2 inches at the rear. The whole package rides on 20-inch alloy wheels. The Gran Turismo machine has been created by the Centro Stile Alfa Romeo. The convertible roof is made from two layers of fabric, and folds back at the touch of a dashboard-mounted button. The outer layer is designed to protect the occupants from the elements, the inner layer is key to sound-proofing. The top can be personalized in various colors to suit the finish of the vehicle.
- The Ateco Australia Media release: Alfa Romeo has used the 2008 Geneva Motor Show (4 March 2008) to take the wraps off the Alfa Romeo 8C Spider, the open top version of the 8C Coupe that has stunned drivers and enthusiasts around the world thanks to its superb styling, breath taking performance and its inheritance of all of Alfa Romeo performance traditions.
- Images via Google
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
So here's a similar quote from an Aussie pro-bike-racing Tour de France green jersey winner and Maserati owner, Baden Cooke: "It kept losing power. I was coming into Milan, on the freeway. I know what to do when it happens; you have to turn it off and turn it back on again," he spoke with some concern. The issue was his dark green Maserati, but the automotive ailment is similar to the leg problems he has had for the last two seasons.
I'd check the relays, mate. By the way, when the trusty 4-cylinder engine died under the harbour I switched the ignition off and back on and started it again in gear. I was on the downhill section but nearing the bottom, so I still had some momentum. It did give me a moment's slight panic, yes.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I think you've seen this, but here it is again... Amaroo Park... nice racing GTV. Here it is apexing at what I call 'Volvo corner', the hard right into the short 'main' straight before the uphill to the blind left hander into 'The Loop'. But where is it now?
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
What was a little unexpected was the increasingly noisy exhaust. I've been taking it to local bike races (criterium bike in boot) at Wyong, an 80km round trip. It's been sounding a little too good lately and it all came to an end on the overrun down Kariong hill into West Gosford. You know that hollow pop-pop-pop sound that you get with a rich mixture on overrun? Well I was enjoying that down the hill when it went pop-pop-crack-bang-rattle instead. It proceeded to rattle and rasp with a metallic twang all the way home. Oh well, a baffle has broken, I thought.
Indeed it was the centre offset silencer. Cheap and quick to fix and another adventure for this Alfa owner. Muffla-Fit at West Gosford is a crazy Dante's inferno of showering sparks in a tiny factory unit but Steve did a good job and - gasp - it sounds like new again. Well like a GTV4 with a slightly bigger diameter exhaust, anyway.