Unique Cars - - CONTENTS -

With just a hic­cup from the front-run­ning XR GTs at Bathurst in 1967, Aus­tralian mo­tor-sport his­tory could read very dif­fer­ently. Snap­ping at the Fal­con’s heels and less than a lap be­hind at the fin­ish were two 1.6-litre Alfa Romeos – fore­run­ners to the mod­els that would take the brand to star­dom in the Aus­tralian sporty car mar­ket.

In 1968 the 1600 GTV was su­per­seded by a more pow­er­ful, (by 5kW ) and slightly restyled 1750 model.

The 1750 looked more sub­stan­tial than the 1600 due to re­shaped wheel arches, a new nose panel and re­vised grille in­cor­po­rat­ing driv­ing lights. Wider 14-inch wheels re­placed the 15 inch rims used by ear­lier 105 Se­ries cars.

New in 1969 the 1750 GTV cost $5295, or $1300 more than a GTS 350 Monaro, how­ever the lo­cal V8 and Euro twin-cam sold into very dif­fer­ent mar­ket seg­ments.

With 100kW from its dou­ble over­head-cam en­gine, the 1750GTV de­liv­ered enough per­for­mance to keep six-cylin­der Monaros at bay and even give the new Ford Capri V6 a tough time. Top speed with the stan­dard five-speed gear­box was 185km/h and 0-100km/h came up in 10.6 sec­onds. But straight roads and drag-strips were not the GTV’s favoured ter­rain.

Stan­dard fea­tures in­cluded all-in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion, ra­dial-ply tyres and four-wheel disc brakes mak­ing th­ese cars dev­il­ishly quick in twisty ter­rain. In­side were well-shaped seats with adjustable back­rests, wood-grain dash trim, a full se­lec­tion of in­stru­ments and a clas­si­cally-Ital­ian woodrim steer­ing wheel.

The ul­ti­mate 2000GTV vari­a­tion ar­rived in 1971, with 112kW and 22 per cent more torque than the orig­i­nal 1600 GT. Ac­com­pa­ny­ing the per­for­mance boost were big­ger brakes, a lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial and in­te­rior changes which elim­i­nated some of the at­trac­tive tim­ber ve­neer.

More torque made the five-speed more ef­fec­tive in high­way mode, with a con­se­quent im­prove­ment in fuel con­sump­tion. Away from the city, fig­ures around 9L/100km are achiev­able and even around town the 2000GTV gets close to 13L/100km. Ac­cel­er­a­tion was im­proved too, with the 2.0-litre car reach­ing 0-100km/h in around nine sec­onds. With only 1060kg to con­trol, GTV brakes were be­yond re­proach. Testers at US Road & Track mag­a­zine man­aged to stop a 2000 from 96km/h in 48 me­tres and recorded no fade at all af­ter five 0.5g stops in quick suc­ces­sion.


Cars bought maybe decades ago for very lit­tle money of­fer ven­dors the op­por­tu­nity for a quick cash grab while leav­ing the pur­chaser in a deep fi­nan­cial hole de­pend­ing on the mag­ni­tude of work re­quired. If such a thing as a good, cheap Alfa ex­ists we are yet to see it. Cars that have un­der­gone a com­plete and prop­erly doc­u­mented re­build are more vi­able but may also be un­ten­ably ex­pen­sive. Own­ers who have se­ri­ously over-cap­i­talised their cars will un­der­stand­ably try to re­coup all of their resto-cost out­lay. Best strat­egy is to delve be­tween th­ese ex­tremes. There it is pos­si­ble to find cars in me­chan­i­cally ex­cel­lent and rust-free con­di­tion. A pro­fes­sional in­spec­tion to con­firm con­di­tion is es­sen­tial. Spend­ing in the $60-80,000 range should see the buyer com­ing away with an at­trac­tive, us­able car and some value growth still to come.

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