Questionable – 1979 Alfa Romeo Alfetta Berlina

In the continuing quest to chronicle all the surviving scruffy Alfettas in North America, not many have gone unnoticed. And for a long time, this poor little orphan was left out, since it’s got even more issues than the average Alfetta. But let’s remind ourselves of the positives – a tried and true four-cylinder engine, rear transaxle for excellent balance, and handsome, square late 1970s styling. Check out this 1979 Alfa Romeo Alfetta Berlina for sale for $1750 in Santa Cruz, CA.

1979 Alfa Romeo Alfetta Berlina 2 left front

The list of problems is long, so let’s look at the pluses first. The seller seems to be knowledgeable enough about Alfas, as he lists the chassis code for the Alfettas, and includes some shots of typical rusty areas. Also, the car seems to not have major rust in the usual places, like around the windshield and rear window, and in the door bottoms, rockers, and areas behind the sweet Campagnolo wheels.

1979 Alfa Romeo Alfetta Berlina 2 right rear

But that’s about it for pros. The car is not running – the seller purchased it as a project, at which time it ran poorly and went into gear, but not much else. You’ll want to spend some quality time with the SPICA troubleshooting guides, as this could mean a failed pump. This car also features the famous Alfamatic, a 3-speed ZF unit that no doubt shares a lot with the automatics on period BMWs and Peugeots – a drawback if you like to shift, but a plus if you’re handicapped, either physically or by a stop-and-go commute. There’s plenty of sun damage to both the interior and exterior, with faded and flaking paint, split seams, dried leather, and more cracks in the dash than a dried-out lake bed.

1979 Alfa Romeo Alfetta Berlina 2 interior

All that said, the body looks pretty straight and dent-free. The last part of the story might be your greatest (and first) challenge – the car comes with multiple bills of sale, and is said to have botched paperwork. So, do you like dealing with disinterested bureaucrats to perform a full restoration on car that needs paint, interior, and engine work *at least*? Or was the recently listed $8500 Alfetta Berlina Alfamatic accessible enough for you to look past this one?

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One Response to “Questionable – 1979 Alfa Romeo Alfetta Berlina”

  1. Gary Thorvaldson Says:

    I’ve been actively looking for a replacement for my Alfa Sport Sedan for awhile now. They are few and far between. I’d probably be more interested in this car if the owner actually had the pink slip in hand. Plus, the Alfamatic changes the car’s character a lot – what was sweet is now somewhat mundane. I’ll probably end up buying one in Europe.

    btw, thanks for all the great columns. I like your choice of cars and comments!

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