Archive for April, 2011

Italian Berlinas – Alfa vs. Lancia

April 28, 2011

A lot of things have changed in the car market since 1978. For one thing, there was a vast selection of now-absent marques available… Peugeot, Renault, Lancia, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Mercury, Isuzu, and probably more I am forgetting. Two of these in the foreign sector, but not directly competing with one another, were the Alfa Romeo Sport Sedan and the Lancia Beta sedan (to describe them by their US-market names). While both are Italian and share some the intrinsic qualities of Italian cars, they seem to have been targeted against entirely different competitors. You could say the Alfa was designed to face off against the BMW E21 3-series and Fiat 131, while the Lancia was a better competitor to Mercedes W123, Volvo 240, and Peugeot 505.

Let’s take a look at what they share, and how they differ. Having personal experience with both, I can give some insights. But first, let’s take a look at the Sport Sedan, which is listed here on the AlfaBB for $1000. However, the seller has included the old “if it doesn’t sell in a month, it’s going to the crusher”, so I’d imagine as you get closer to the deadline (May 12), negotiations would work out in your favor. Our other car, the Lancia Beta sedan, is a bit more rare, but in no small coincidence, one of those is for sale out of the Rusty But Trusty fleet for $1975.

1978 Alfa Romeo Sport Sedan front



Cheap Auntie – 1957 Rover P4 90

April 21, 2011

Not only is this the oldest car featured here, I believe, but it is also arguably the most elegant. Featuring a beautiful chrome waterfall grill, all-wood dash, and leather interior, it’s quite a luxurious vehicle that has some of the features people most strongly associate with British luxury sedans. No doubt it also smells like a 50-year-old British car: oil, fuel, leather, and who knows what other chemicals.

This particular car appears to be a top of the line model originally sold in New Zealand, judging by the front plate. The 2.6-liter six-cylinder engine puts out 90hp and pulls the car to a top speed of around 90mph. Even better, 0-60 took an epic 19 seconds. What the heck was that car geared for? Any modern 90-hp car will better that – I’d even wager my 83hp Lancia Beta is quicker. Back to the car, it’s also finished in an elegant silver/black two-tone paint job. You can find it for $2900 in Monterey, CA.

1957 Rover P4 90 front left