Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Buy Direct: Alfa Romeo Giulia TI 1300

Unless you've already owned one, it is hard to describe the allure of the seemingly-utilitarian Alfa Giulia TI sedan. Arguably the world's first sports sedan, the boxy Giulia is really rather svelte; its sublime shape gracefully honed in a wind tunnel until it actually achieved a lower drag coefficient than period Porsche 911's.

But finding a good one in North America is tough, and prices are on the rise. Expect to pay $13k-$15k for a good club car, and up to $25k-$30k for a show car. Right now these are one of the few models where the price difference and scarcity makes sense to import.

The downside is that many of the cars in displacement-taxed Italy are the 1300 c.c. version. These are a bit tedious to drive on American roads. 1600 c.c. cars, or "Bisciones" in Italian, tend to be the later cars and give up some of the nicer trim found on the earlier, cleaner models.

The car featured here looks identical to a car shown at the big Padova Mostra Scambio this past fall. It was listed as sold on the floor at Padova, which was a shame as it attracted lots of admiration. The light greyish/blue color was attractive -and like a lost puppy- there would be no way your wife could say no to this one.

The asking price is 6500 Euros, which today stands at around $8550. Despite what some freight forwarders will tell you about shipping cost to the U.S., figure on $4000 as a safe number. Shop around for a direct referral. I would still personally inspect the car in Italy and make a nice vacation for yourself out of the experience. Generally, I find that most old cars in Italy seem to run very well and are very clean, but usually have a bit of orange peel to the paint and are perhaps just a notch below in aesthetics.

My experience is that Italians do not like to negotiate very much. They seem to take offense to such things. However, as this car is offered by a dealer, it is his business to negotiate. This particular car has been available for some time; feel free to make a lower offer. Otherwise, check Unlike the U.S., there are always a variety to choose from.

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