The cars we loved.
Way before the 3 series BMW was known as the “Ultimate Driving Machine”, there was the Alfa GTV series of cars to take the crown of serious affordable European Sport/GT luxury. The GTV6 came from a long line of small rear wheel drive 4 cylinder Alfetta coupes sold in the US during the 70’s.
The GTV6 represented the cutting edge of (nearly) affordable Italian sports car technology. The 2.5l SOHC V6 made 160hp. That was an impressive number for a V6 at the time. Many American V8’s of ’80s vintage had this much power, but at double the displacement. This was my teen dream car until the Pontiac Fiero GT fastback caught my eye (just before it was canceled). Like the Fiero the GTV6 was flawed. It’s mechanicals were often prone to reliability problems and poor fit/finish, but that did not stop die-hards (then) and mechanics (today) from owning them.
The car was known for well balanced handling, something expected in an Italian car that was almost $30K in the ’80s! There were many variations and special editions sold in the US during the short time the car was available here. Most notable of them was the Callaway version with it’s aggressive aero components and twin turbo with an impressive 230hp.
The Japanese and American competition was heating up, and the GTV6’s small sales, high price and scattered dealer network help doom the car here (like the rest of Alfa’s US ambitions). Eventually, the Alfa brand in the United States was gone by the early ’90s with the GTV not even making it to those final years.
Today used GTV6s are hard to find and are likely to appreciate in value because they were classic examples of what was good (and bad) about Alfa Romeo and because they are so rare. The GTV remains a car I sometimes dream about owning, although a unmolested 88 Fiero GT would give it a run for its money.