Monday, October 12, 2015

Pre-FIAT: 1987 Alfa Romeo Milano

We keep hoping, those us who live in the U. S. of A and call ourselves Alfisti, for the overlords at FIAT to return Alfa to the U.S. Yes, there is the 4C and the 8C before it, but those are limited editions for those with unlimited budgets.  Alfa was a ward of the Italian Goverment since Musolini's early days until 1986, when it was sold to FIAT.  FIAT withdrew Alfa from the US in 1995 and has been telling us they will be returning "next year".  The Milano (or 75 in Europe) was designed without any FIAT influence, and is thought by some to be "the last of the real Alfa's." Find this 1987 Alfa Romeo Milano for sale in Santa Rosa, CA for $7,200 via craigslist.  This feature is a part of DT's Columbus Day celebration.

The 75, as it was called in Europe, was named to celebrate Alfa's 75th birthday in 1985.  Unfortunately, a year later, Alfa was sold from the Italian government holding company to FIAT.  Some say that Alfa was gifted to FIAT when it looked like Ford would buy it, and that wouldn't do.  Named the "Milano" in the U.S., it came powered by an all aluminum 2.5 liter V-6 and later a 3.0 V-6.  This car is powered by the 2.5 liter and has had a fair bit of money spent on maintenance, and under hood it is really clean.  One thing not mentioned in the ad is when the last time the timing belt was changed.  Conventional wisdom is 3 years or 30K miles.  The Giuseppe Busso-designed V-6 is an interference engine, so one should be religious about the timing belt.  A friend had one go in his GTV-6, and he spent the equivalent of a Hyundai to have it rebuilt - and this was in the 1990's.  Also, this car is missing the timing belt cover.  I would replace it as Ingenere Busso put it there for a reason, and I wouldn't play the odds with an interference engine.  Other than the t-belt maintenance, the V-6 can rack up high mileages.

Inside, the Milano came with interesting deviations from conventional practice including a basket handle parking brake and electric window switches that were overhead.  The inside of this car is very clean with a non-stock wood wheel and shift knob - the originals are included with the same.  The Alfa Romeo Computer, or ARC is working with no lights (or black electrical tape) and everything else works except for the trip odometer.

The Milano was the last of the RWD Alfas until the limited edition 8C of a few years ago.  It used a transaxle and DeDion rear suspension.  This car has had some suspension and brake work taking it from stock.  One question to ask would be about the Guibos in the rear transaxle, another maintenance item.  The Milano was designed in house at Alfa Central Stile by Emmano Cressoni.  The most distinctive styling element is the up swept beltline at the trunk.  Polarizing in its day, I think it has aged well and is refreshing in our age of design strangeness (especially for sedans).

See another example that marks the end of an ownership era? Email it to us here:

Gianni is Daily Turismo's guy in the Pacific Northwest.  He's running out of witty things to write in the third person.


  1. In 2004 - 2006 these things were all over the place in south-German lemon lots (un-sanctioned used car lots on US military bases). I was very tempted then, however the lack of working... well... anything on the interior prevented me from picking one up. This one is priced sentimentally.

    1. The Daily Turismo Dictionary defines 'sentimentally' as 'The decimal point's in the wrong place'.

      Example: 'Fourth-grader Maddie's dad suggested that she'd sentimentally made a mistake in her multiplication homework'.

      Seriously, though, an earlier Giulia in that condition would be gone in a nanosecond at that price.

      And it looks like present-day Alfa may be on the verge of getting one right:

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Here we have another sentimentally-priced Italian car:

      Though this one's been given the Iso/Griffith/Intermeccanica/De Tomaso treatment

    4. The above vehicle, at least, seems to have run well enough to get past the BAR referee.

    5. The problem I have with the new Giulia is that it looks like a German car with an (oversized) Alfa grill grafted on. It doesn't look like an Italian car. The 75 and its Alfetta ancestors looked like an Italian car.

    6. The Giulia looked like an Italian car. The Alfetta was attractive but a bit anonymous, it looked like every Giugiaro effort of the '70s. The 75/Milano took that to the next level, it was a bland shape that came from the factory already rear-ended, and the blocky interior decor was...well, it was the kind of shopping-mall-pasta Italian embraced so thoroughly by GM.

      Then they went FWD and hired Chris Bangle, and we don't talk about that.

      The new one has hints of 3-series but, unlike the Germans, this time it was the Italians who knew when to stop on the detailing, and the interior looks wonderful. It may not FEEL wonderful once we actually get to try it, but it certainly LOOKS right.

    7. That Maserati is priced so wrong... but it looks so right. Much want.

  2. All of the money in the world, and then some, for a 2.5-powered car.

  3. That's what's scary. The end of cheap cars.
    That and 30k belt changes would keep me away from this and what kept me from a GTV 6


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