Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Ich bin ein Berlina: 1970 Alfa Romeo Berlina

Alright, the post headline is tortured, but stay with me, it gets better, I promise.  Say the word platform sharing and dirty words are muttered.  I think this comes from the GM badge engineering era of the 70's and 80's.  Alfa Romeo did it's version of platform sharing in the form of the spider (roadster), GTV (coupe) and Berlina (sedan).  They all shared the same basic goodness and it is said real a Alfista drives a Berlina. Find this 1970 Alfa Romeo Berlina for sale in Bellingham, WA for $12,000 via craigslist.

The 5 digit Alfa type or Tipo stamped on a plate on the firewall is the identifier of the model of Alfa.  For some reason partway thru the production run of the Giulietta, Alfa adopted a 5 digit type designation of: 3 numbers, a decimal and two numbers.  The Giulietta in 1959 was identified with 101.XX.  When the Giulietta became the Giulia in 1962 it retained its 101 prefix.  In 1965 when the second generation of Giulia debuted, the prefix changed to 105 and in 1970 when the 2 liter Giulias debuted, the USA regulations caused Alfa to designate US cars with a 115 prefix.  This Berlina is a 105.48 which translates to a Euro model 1750 Berlina.  A USA 1750 Berlina would have a type 105.71.  Confusing, but Italian.  This car was a German market 105.48, hense the Duetsch on the ID plate (and the Ich bin ein Berlina silliness).

Another interesting item of trivia is that no model year 1970 Alfa Romeos were sold in the US, only 1969 and 1971's due to changes in emission laws and Alfa's readiness.  Euro cars would come equipped with carburetors instead of the SPICA mechanical fuel injection and Euro cams.  The interior looks pretty nice on this Berlina for a 46 year old car.  The ad mentions "Euro seats".  Not sure what those are, but they look a bit like seats from the downmarket Juniors that we never got in the US.

Being a 1750, this car should be powered by the 1750cc version of the venerable Alfa-Nord DOHC four.  Some say this is the sweetest of the Alfa four family, what it lacks in the torque of the later two liter, it makes up for with more rev-y-ness.  Yet more useless Alfa trivia that you can use to scare away party guests is that the 1750 was named as such to hark back to the illustrious Jano designed 1750's of the 1930's, but the engine really displaced 1779cc's.  Unfortunately, this car has had it's engine replaced with a later 2 liter engine with Webers instead of Dell'Orto's.  It would be interesting to see if it had the correct Euro intake, but no engine shots are included in the ad.

This car looks like it has been in Washington for quite a while with the old pre-1989 Washington license plates and long out of business Alfa dealer Grand Prix Motors plate frame.  Or someone has been visiting garage sales...

Sellers last words:  "Price reflects the fact I don't want to sell her. Please, be serious if contacting me about car, if you're not sure what it is, than this car is probably not for you."

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Gianni is Daily Turismo's Pacific Northwest correspondent and Alfista in Residence.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. just the thing for a quick turismo down to the Rocket, eh?

    [image src="" width="400px"/]

  3. I so love these cars. The lack of the money shot engine is heresy. Alfa played the stodgy, upright sedan look perfectly. You always know it is going to scream and slice through corners.

    A nice Alfa sedan has always brought a premium as they were consistently rare here and those who knew Alfa wanted one. Still do.

  4. The Berlina 1750 was offred for the first time in 1968, along the Series1 Spider Veloce 1750 neither of which were imported into the US until '69. I was lucky enough to own both the '69 Spider and 2 1969 Berlinas. The Berlinas had the 2 liter transplants both with SPICA injection. For daily driving, which I did in one of the Berlinas for about a year or so, the 2 liter is actually a better alternative.

    Alfa sold many more Spiders in US than any of its other models, including the Berlina. Up until few years ago Berlinas were dismissed by the market, as many of the other 105/115 cars and the Berlina population dwindled into obscurity. With a sudden jump in Giulia prices starting about 5-6 years ago, the Berlina was looked upon as a much cheaper alternative if one wanted a 4 door sedan (that's what Berlina actually means) from Alfa. As the saying about the rising tide goes, the ever soaring prices for Giulias affected the Berlina market. 6 years ago, this car would have been lucky to sell for $3k a it does have issues. Clean ones had a hard time finding owners at $5k.

    Forget the price because you are not going to drive your wallet. The Berlina is a great car. I prefer the Series 1 (1968-1971) due to their interior design (dual shotgun pods for speedo and tach) as well as stacked gauges on the center console. 1968-1969 cars had the standing pedals, 1970 and on went to hanging - there's a whole lot of argument which style facilitated better heel-toe. These are considered a much better track car than the Spider when compared in stock form. I raced mine the Malibu canyons surprising myself and quite a few others.

    Inside this is a pretty spacious 4 seater with very good trunk space. Those seats look good, mine were more flat, but that could have been from wear. Another neat feature was the rear center console with storage under the armrest. The Berlina is an easy car to live with. Parts are plentiful and you don't need a$20k chest full of snap-on tools and an ASE certification to work on these. I had a leaky heater hose on one and it took me less than an hour to replace using basic tools. Still miss 'em


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