Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cheap A.L.F.A.: 1988 Alfa Romeo Milano

 As late model European sports cars of various questionable pedigree start to take off in value (driven by the investor/collector) there is money to be made in keeping one step ahead of the crowd.  Most everything with an M badge or the Stuttgart crest is already overpriced, so perhaps it is time to look at something from one of the oldest Italian marques -- Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili.  Like this 1988 Alfa Romeo Milano offered for $1,500 near Raleigh, NC via craigslist.  Tip from Hunter.

The Alfa Romeo 75 was sold as the Milano in North America, but it used the same front-engine rear-drive setup with a torsion beam up front and a de Dion tube out back.  With a set of sticky tires and smooth pavement, these things are fun to toss around.

European buyers could get various inline-4 gasoline and turbodiesel engines, but the US spec Milano only came with 2.5 or 3.0 liter Busso V6...which isn't a bad thing at all.   The fuel injected V6 puts out 156 horsepower and 152 ft-lbs of torque into a 5-speed manual transaxle mounted in the rear.

See a better good luck charm for cheap?


  1. This is an example of a car I know I'll be kicking myself for not trying at least once. Italian build quality notwithstanding, all I ever hear is praise about these frumpy looking things. And, apparently, are startlingly quick on the LeMons circuit. Is this one too nice to LeMoninze?

    1. And you should kick yourself for not trying one if you don't. Mine was the epitome of Alfa ownership, and I wouldn't trade the experience for the world. They're just brilliant vehicles to drive, and they're really not bad to work on other than changing the goddamned starter, which is the single worst job I've ever performed on any vehicle ever.

      Too nice to LeMonize? As a former Milano owner I say absolutely not too nice. This looks to be a car with nice bones, but it's *never* going to make sense to do the work to put this thing back into proper working condition. Strip it of the unobtanium parts (interior and exterior trim pieces, mostly) and sell that off to keep other Milanos on the road and in great shape, plus make a little money back, and then go to town. I think it's a great choice, and now you have me considering it myself...

  2. "Timing done under 20,xxx miles ago."

    That means it's more than time for a new timing belt and water pump, hombre.

  3. I wonder what gremlins exist that push the price down that far. If I weren't currently over my own car capacity and buried in projects, I'd be headed down there with my hauler this weekend. 80s European cars are the best. They're modern enough that people only give you a slightly weird look for daily driving one (then again, I give them a weird look for making payments on a soulless appliance), and while I don't see as many at track days as I used to, they're still a valid choice. Parts are (mostly) cheap for cars of this age, and the fuel injection is only slightly more needy than the stuff they're putting in cars today. I highly recommend living with a car from this era. I've got 3.

    1. Where to start..
      Crazy a$$ wiring hanging out of the dash...
      Chewed on door seals...
      Cracked (no duh) and rashed dash...
      Dent in driver's door...

      At the auctions, this is what's known as a roach coach. For everyone else... LeMons time!

  4. So...are those his donuts in front of the car (first pic)...?

    1. Or the remains of the Guibos.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Alfa owners out there - am I wrong to say "How could I go wrong for that price?"

    1. Just go in with your eyes open that it will need some things:

      Timing belt, rule of thumb is 3 yrs or 30K miles + you will need to rebuild the tensioner if it still has the oil fed or replace if it was changed to the dry.

      Probably needs new guibos in the drive line.

      Inboard rear brakes are a PITA to service.

      Clutch is a PITA to change if it needs it (transaxle car).

      Shift linkage probably needs its bushes refreshed.

      But, for 1,500 and if you can do your own work, it's a pretty good deal.

  6. Wow....I know this particular car....all I have to say is it's a crying shame what happened to it over the last 10 years. I guess someone who hadn't seen me in 10 years would probably say the same.


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