Friday, December 31, 2010

Never Say Never Again: 1982 Alfa Romeo GTV6

In the auction description of this car, the seller evokes images of James Bond's Octopussy and the famous chase scene which used a similar GTV6. Given my experience with this model, my reaction is sadly closer to Never Say Never Again.

I don't normally feature Ebay auctions or offers by dealer but this car seemed noteworthy. So many of these cars have turned to dust in such a relatively short time that it is great to see a clean example 29 years on.

The flaws for GTV6's were numerous. Pervasive rust that started in the inner fenderwells, crept up the A-pillars and encompassed the whole car. The engine had a lag off the line that facilitated clutch slipping for sporty starts; said clutch was an expensive twin-disc unit that had to be replaced as a balanced assembly in the rear transaxle. Rear inboard disc brakes were a bear to service. Metric-sized rims limited tire choices to 400mm diameter. An ungainly shifter throw and vague linkage that played havoc with fussy 2nd gear synchros. The ergonomics of a vinyl-covered bathtub; the Italianate driving posture even more accentuated than usual- straight armed, splayed-knee and peering out over a high dash binnacle. Faulty ignition switches, disintegrating plastic heater control valves and weepy head gaskets. And on and on.

Having said all that, I really like this car.

Perhaps it is the ubiquitous silver and blue scheme, which seems to account for nearly 2/3 of the GTV6 production. Or the new basecoat/clearcoat paint- which goes without saying given that the inferior original paint would have checked and faded long ago. Or that the interior- which on its best day offered all the warmth and richness of a New York Taxicab- seems tidy and intact.

This auction should set the market price for good GTV6s. Despite this being a less-desirable early car, the condition should compensate in the valuation. I'll be watching it with interest-but sitting on my bidder's paddle.


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