Cruel Fate, or is it Priorities… 1969 Alfa Romeo Berlina

Occasionally, looking around at cars results in a stronger attraction than originally expected. I first saw this car probably late last year, was interested (as often happens), but this time actually emailed the seller, since his ad was not terribly detailed. It turned out the car had a burned/broken valve, but came with another engine out of a late-70s spider. If you’re an Alfa-anorak, you’ll know the ’69 Berlina came with Alfa’s 1750 engine, also featured in ’69-’71 GTVs and Spiders. Rumor has it 1750s are hard to find, due to their use for restoring the more valuable siblings of the Berlina, and (I think) their popularity for some sort of racing application. The 1750 Berlina also got a distinctive grill, as well as a two-pod/bug-eye dash set up for the speedo and tach, and a center console holding 4 gauges (clock, oil, fuel, water).

Anyway, back to the example at hand. Normally, I’d prefer to feature running cars, but I’m making an exception for this one since my fantasy is that this one is not too far from driveable. It’s in one of the better colors for this model (Rosso Amaranto), with a tan interior. Other listings over the months have shown the car has the rare rear-set armrest/console. You can follow the history of my interest in the car, or see the listing for it, currently at $2500 in Long Beach, CA.

1969 Alfa Romeo Berlina nose

The nose is remarkably straight… there are no visible wrinkles in the bumper, and the grill assembly is intact. Since the trim was only produced for a couple of years, these are the kinds of things you want to look out for.

1969 Alfa Romeo Berlina right

So let’s start our walkaround of the car. There aren’t too many pics on which to base this, but let’s look at this side. What you can see of the shutlines looks pretty straight, although the hood seems mounted a bit low in the first picture. This was a daily driver until 2005, so while the engine is out of commission, there’s room for hope that the other systems are still functional.

1969 Alfa Romeo Berlina left

The left side looks equally clean. A friend who ran down to pick up an old BMW 530i checked out the car on the way home, and it seems the only rust is in the front quarter panel and inside the trunk. It’s apparently also had some body work on the rockers and behind the left rear passenger door, which has been roughly finished and may still need improvement. For a Berlina, most of which led hard lives as daily drivers, this isn’t bad at all.

1969 Alfa Romeo Berlina interior

Even the interior looks pretty clean. It’s certainly suffered from sun exposure, in that the dash is cracked. My friend also mentioned the rear seat back has been sunburned, but that’s nothing you wouldn’t expect on a car with faded paint that’s lived in southern California.

At this point, the car’s been on the market for 3 months, and it looks like the owner is considering this the end of the road for this car. So, speaking as someone who was unable to give this one a new lease on life, my appeal to you is to save one of the few remaining 1969 Alfa Berlinas. Get it running easily with the low-mile 2-liter the seller provides, or pick up a 1750 from a dead ’71 spider, and you’re already on your way.

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