Distant Cousins, Part 1 – 1991 Alfa Romeo 164S

This has been said elsewhere before, but you don’t even need to squint to see that Pininfarina was a prolific design-daddy, spreading his, ahem, genetic influence all over the automotive industry. He was pretty active in 1987, siring both the Alfa Romeo 164 and the Peugeot 405, and a couple years later produced another offspring with Peugeot, the 605. And while new Alfa buyers might have been concerned about buying a car that had stunning similarity to its cheaper cousin, 25 years on you can just say they’re two very smart looking sedans that obviously share some DNA. Let’s start on the Italian side first with this 1991 Alfa Romeo 164S for sale for $2800 in Fremont, CA.

1991 Alfa Romeo 164S Peugeot 405 Mi16 left front

Unfortunately, the angles aren’t quite right for an exact comparison, but the curvature of the sills, the swage line down the length of the car’s sides, and the shape of the front and rear are all strikingly similar. And funny enough, both turned out to be rather competent cars that also became their manufacturers’ American curtain calls. This Alfa is said to only have 67,000 miles, and is said to run well.

1991 Alfa Romeo 164S engine

Unlike many of the write-ups here, this one was actually a candidate for the RustyButTrusty fleet – a car that looked to be a good deal when it was listed at $3400 in January. However, the long-expired registration, lack of service records, non-functional HVAC, and other minor service items were enough to discourage a purchase. That’s too bad, since the pictures do justice to the car’s good condition and low miles – this was purchased at a charity auction, and has been a California car since new.

1991 Alfa Romeo 164S interior

All the paint maintains its original gloss, except on the spoiler, and the body is in overall good condition. The seat leather is in nice shape, if needing some cleaning and feeding, and the seat motors are fully functional – even the heaters are said to work, though the day of the test drive was pretty warm, so testing was not easy. The car had good power, and the classic V6 a nice growl, though there was a little flat spot on acceleration. If you had some time to spend catching up on preventive maintenance, this car could easily give another 100K+ miles of service. Would you go for this, or for the smaller, lighter, less powerful Peugeot? Stick around to hear the case for la 405.


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