BMW’s E30 and E10 sedans are great, balanced cars, but while they are great cars with nice engines, what if you wanted something a little more, um, niche-y? Around the same time as BMW was selling their E30 sedan, Alfa Romeo offered the 161 sedan, with a 154hp 2.5-liter V6 as seen in the GTV6, or a 188hp 3.0-liter V6 for the top-of-the-line Verde version. While it’s not recognized as such, this car, by numbers and performance, is a viable alternative to an E30 M3 or Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 at a fraction of the cost of entry. Of course, let’s not mention the divisive styling, timing belt and tensioner changes, or the ARC, basically a renamed idiot light display panel. Check out this 1988 Alfa Romeo Milano Verde for sale for $4000 in Seattle, WA.
The seller has also listed the car on the AlfaBB, where he acknowledges that he’s a BMW fan who wanted the Alfa experience, but is now moving on as he’s lost some storage space. The price was dropped by $500 a week ago, so there’s likely some urgency – perhaps your opportunity to negotiate. The listing is well-written and gives plenty of detail about the car’s condition, and even includes some video walk-arounds focusing on specific areas like corrosion and receipts.
The car has plenty of new parts including tires, polyurethane caster bushings and rear engine mount, the driveshaft center support bearing, battery, and various other minor pieces. The ARC has been serviced and is working properly, but critically, while the timing belt tensioner has been replaced, there is no mention of the actual belt. The odometer is also said to occasionally turn too quickly, the oil pressure sender has failed, and there are moderate cosmetic issues inside and out. There is not very much rust, and the most significant corrosion is beneath the left taillight – could that be a remnant of previous accident damage?
Here’s the engine – notice the missing timing belt cover. Perhaps this is to facilitate keeping an eye on the thing so it doesn’t slip, but the risk may be debris getting in there and causing the same issue. On the Busso V6, the water pump is typically replaced at the same time as the timing belt, so you’ll want to ask about that as well. Given good maintenance, this engine should go much further than its current 107,000 indicated miles, and is said to run strongly; the transmission is in good condition too. The air conditioning compressor is disconnected, and you’ll want to ask about the ABS condition, as these do tend to fail – on this car, the accumulator is still present, so hopefully everything is in working order.
That wonderful oh-so-1980s Recaro interior with its angular dash, funky handbrake grip, and roof-console-mounted window switches, is most likely plasticky and rattly, but still fun in a period way. The oft-worn armrest cover is in good shape, while the seats show typical wear on the special Recaro fabric. Searching online should turn up some replacement material, but it’s not the cheapest fix you could make. All these things considered, between the purchase price of this and a similar condition M3 or 190E 2.3-16, there’s several thousand dollars to bring it up to good driver condition.
Be sure to check out this 1988 Motorweek review of the Milano Verde. Surprisingly, while John Davis (and his silent, beard-and-aviator-sunglass-wearing, suitcase-tossing friend) comment on some of the typical ergonomic issues, they make very little mention of other stereotypes like propensity to rust, or the need for careful regular maintenance. Would you check out this alternative sedan for its strong performance and loyal enthusiast base?