f you were to perform an Internet search on the worst cars of all time, you’ll probably notice one car cropping up with disturbing frequency — the Alfa Romeo Arna.
To be fair, it’s quite easy to heap the hate on the Arna. It was a car built with the worst bits of Italian and Japanese knowhow, in that much of the engineering came from the former and much of the design came from the latter.
Of course, these days, the Italians have more than proven they can engineer a good car with functioning electrical systems, and the Japanese are more than capable of styling a beautiful car.
Produced in the 1980s, the Arna’s name is an acronym of Alfa Romeo Nissan Autoveicoli, or Alfa Romeo Nissan Automobiles in English. Some might say the Arna was doomed from the get-go.
You see, it was a marriage of (in) convenience and desperation. The union, cemented in late 1980, was borne out of the then state-run and ailing Alfa Romeo wanting to break into the booming massmarket compact hatchback segment, a result of the 1970s energy crisis necessitating a pivot towards smaller cars.
On Nissan’s part, the Alfa Romeo deal was its way of getting its foot in the door to enter an increasingly protectionist European car market and establish a beachhead, should restrictions one day relax. Like all hasty marriages of convenience, serious errors of judgement