Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Patience Prudence: 1995 Alfa Romeo 164 Q4

The Alfa Romeo 164 was the last of the Type 4 Project cars developed jointly with FIAT, Lancia and SAAB.  It was North America's first experience with a FWD Alfa, as the Alfasud was never sold here.  Another Alfa never sold here was the all wheel drive version of the 164, the 164 Quadifoglio 4 or Q4 for short.  Find this 1995 Alfa Romeo 164 Q4 sale in Victoria, BC for $24,000 via craigslist.


The 164 was the last car to be developed by Alfa Romeo as an independent ward of the State company prior to being given away to FIAT by the Italian government, so it shares less with its FIAT Croma and Lancia Thema Type 4 siblings than you might think.  Powering the 164 Q4 was the ultimate evolution of the Giuseppe Busso designed V-6, the 3 liter with 24 valves, producing 230 hp.  As with the 12 valve V-6, religiously replacing the timing belt and inspecting the tensioner every 30,000 miles is critical as the engine is an interference design.  Some say this is even more critical in the DOHC 24 valve motor.  American market 164's came with various yellow warning stickers on the black front cross-brace above the radiator ("Careful, the coolant you are about to enjoy is hot!").  I would do a little research on whether European Q4's came with similar stickers as there are none on this car.


The interior looks good with its space age dash and Recaro seats.  The Recaros were optional on the non-Q4, 164Q and some American magazine testers complained about them being tight (vs. admitting their BMI was high).  Another thing to look out for with a 164 is the infamous stepper motors and gears that control the automatic climate control.  The plastic gears eventually strip, and its a big job to dis-assemble the dash to replace them.  Also, the 24 valve cars has an LCD display that looses segments over time.


The AWD system on the Q4 was co-developed with Steyr-Puch. The system consisted of a viscous coupling unit, central epicyclic differential and Torsen differential in the rear. It was connected to the ABS and Motronic engine management computers, which managed the torque split front to rear and side to side.  The Q4 was never sold in the U.S., so this car being a 1995 is just a couple of years short of the 25 year exemption (those lucky Canadians and their 15 year rule).  The central question is: peel the "4" off the rear badge and sneak it in as a 164Q or rent a garage in Canada for the next 4 years?


See another piece of forbidden fruit? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com

Gianni is Daily Turismo's pacific Northwest correspondent and resident Alfista.

15 comments:

  1. Very. Very. Cool.

    But-damn!-someone knows what they got. 24k?!?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. $24k CAD is only about $18k USD. ;-)

      Delete
    2. Yeah, true. Also the AUD is at near-parity with the CAD, which while not as tourist-friendly as the $0.59USD that it was at the first time I went down there, is a whole lot better than 1-to-1.

      Delete
    3. It must suck to be a Canadian or an Aussie and go to the UK on holiday right now.

      1 Canadian Dollar equals
      0.53 British Pound

      Delete
    4. NZD is $0.66USD. Just sent my wife some winter vacation suggestions.

      Delete
    5. And UKP at $1.42USD is better than at any time I've actually been there.

      Still waiting for the Euro to hit $0.95 before I fly over and figure out how to ship bach that C5 Audi Avant Recaro interior that's been on eBay forever...

      Delete
  2. Regarding your debate about whether to rent a garage in Canada, I will offer another option: I will look after (and exercise) this car for the next four years, for free! All you have to look after is ownership, maintenance costs, and insurance. After four years, what's left of it is yours. It's just what friendly neighbours do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't want to assume you'd be open to the idea...

      Delete
    2. So you're basically volunteering to play surrogate mom to a 20-year-old Italian fetus?

      Sorry, you pay your own gas and insurance.

      Delete
  3. Oh man, this thing is sweet, I didn't even know they made a 4WD version of the 164 -- it's like the sexy (and less reliable) version of the WRX I've always wanted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And larger. More like a better-sounding, roomier (and less reliable) version of the C5 Audi A6 2.7T you've always wanted.

      Delete
    2. The WRX analog would be the 155 Q4 with the Delta Integrale powertrain. Be assured it's on my 25-year possibility list.

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    3. Everyone I know that ever owned a WRX (zero exceptions) has had their engine blow up. I'm not actually convinced an Alfa would be less reliable.

      Delete
  4. I have to admit this thing's attractive, in the sense that my modal car seems to be a 3500lb sedan and this is definitely an interesting 3500lb sedan.

    On the other hand, if I wanted a medium-big Euro product with horrid parts availability waiting to get past NHTSA like some 20yo Syrian at the Macedonian border, I'd probably be inclined to hunt down a Lotus Omega or at least an E34 M5 wagon.

    ReplyDelete
  5. As much as I loved the 164, 2 bought new and 1 used, the time came when ever higher parts prices and scarcity made me throw in the towel on all V6 Alfas. A shame as these are great drivers even though FWD and 4WD would seemingly make it even better, especially if it could be programmed for RWD bias.

    I will miss the big Alfas but the sedan world has moved on. Their value will continue to go down and the 4 cyls will continue to go up.

    ReplyDelete

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