Friday, March 6, 2015

3k: Best of the Four: 1991 Alfa Romeo 164S

The Alfa Romeo 164 was a Pininfarina styled executive sedan built in Milan from 1987 to 1998.  It was one result of the Type Four joint venture between Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Saab, which also produced the Lancia Thema, Saab 9000, and Fiat Croma.  Personally, I think the Alfa is the most desirable of the crowd, but don't take my word for it, I'm just some faceless talking head on the internet -- go buy one of each and let me know how it works out.  Start with this 1991 Alfa Romeo 164S offered for $2,800 in Fremont, CA via craigslist.  Tip from Kaibeezy.

The 164 was the front-drive replacement to the 90 (and earlier Alfetta) executive sedan, and slotted above the 75 (known as the Milano in North America) platform.  The 3.0 liter V6 is rated at 200 horsepower and 189 ft-lbs of torque.  Power heads to the front wheels via a 5-speed gearbox and should be an entertaining drive.

See a more fun car with wrong wheel drive?


  1. I had the same car, but it was that fabulous Eye-talian red that only they can do so well. I'd still have it, except I sold it. Ha ha! Didn't see that one coming, didya?!? They should have sold these with an invisible hood, that engine was so gorgeous.


    1. That's the 24 valve of the 164LS and Q.good for 210 with the LS and 240 in the Q. The car in the picture above appears to have been crashed since the black front cross member is missing two yellow warning stickers. The one for sale on CL is the 12 valve S, as DT says god for 200 in S trim and 180-ish in L and base trim. The CL car has been for sale for quite a while. I've run across it a few times in my perusal of west coast Alfa's for sale on CL.

      The 164 is the only Alfa I ever purchased new. I bought a '91 164L and ran it for 10 years. At the end only the Ferrari dealer in town would work on it. Seemed like they had a $1000 cover charge.

      Sold the car to a young guy who showed up to look at it in a Milano. I ran a carfax on it a few years later and saw that it was totaled about 6 months after I sold it. What a sad end to a great car...

    2. My experience with independent service was very similar to yours, Gianni. Mine was a local place that specialized in Italian cars, so it wasn't quite as bad as a Ferrari-only shop. The fun policy they had was to just do any and all repairs to my car without ever bothering to call me; "It-a need-a to be-a fixed! Here's-a your bill-a. Why you fall-a to the floor-a?" I originally bought my S from the owner and I'd been a longtime customer, so I was looking for special treatment I guess. Silly me.

    3. Back when I owned my 164, the indy Alfa shops would only work on stuff as new as the Milano, I know later on the shop I used for my GTV worked on a couple of 164's but only for long time, special customers. The other big pain with the 164 that led me to sell was that if it needed parts, you either needed to wait for it to come from Florida, where Alfa NA had their parts warehouse or from Italy. It got to be a drag, bumming rides while the 164 sat waiting...

  2. The idea of the 164 was kinda tempting, but I already had my share of big FWD sedans and the build quality didn't seem quite up to the Saab.

    1. Never owned a Saab, but my 164 was spectacularly built. Really. Like a rock. I've had plenty of other cars *cough German cough Japanese cough American* that had nowhere near the build quality.

    2. cough cough---climate control stepper motors (this submission brought to you by the local chapter of German car defenders of America).

    3. I have yet to find any car that's bulletproof, and what the 'net has taught us more than anything is that if yours breaks, a thousand others have broken first. Misery loves company and all that.

      My first rule of automotive purchase: I won't buy any late-model anything for which I cannot buy (or steal, if purchase isn't an option) a fully-functional diagnostic system.

    4. FTB - I will see your stepper motors and raise you BMW plastic cooling system parts... :-)

    5. Here is an extensive and thorough (hey, you know me) top 10 list of things that went wrong with my 164S. I've listed them in order of expensive to cheap.


      I'm pretty sure I'm not missing anything.

  3. Too bad I gave all the paperwork to the buyer of mine. 15 years on, it would have been interesting to see what all was done. The only one that stands out is an alarm system issue that drove me nuts when I first purchased. The alarm disables the starter. The connector between the alarm and starter wasn't made all the way and would lose contact if the car was parked in the sun (heat caused the connector to expand). I had it towed to the dealer 3x when this occurred and the car wouldn't start under warranty. It drove poor Pasquale crazy trying to repro it.

    1. Poor Pasquale. I hope you bought him a nice bottle of Chianti or something.

    2. He now owns Ferrari of Seattle with his sons, so he's OK.

    3. That's the saddest thing I've heard in a long time. Ha ha! I'm sure he's good on the wine front.


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