There were certainly many interesting compact sedans on the market in 1972 – Datsun, BMW, Fiat, Opel and others had compelling options that were either naturally sporty, or could be made so with some minor modifications. Arguably, the closest competitors at the higher end of that range were BMW and Alfa Romeo, with the 2002/2002tii (or a lightly used 2000 tilux if you were willing to go that route) and the GTV/Berlina, respectively. Performance-wise, the 2002tii and Berlina were near equals, the Alfa claiming a slight edge in speed and power, as well as luxury features, and the BMW coming out ahead in weight and fuel economy. Of course, there are also the subjective values in choosing between Italian and German cars, but for reasons that are best left to a long, boring dissertation, BMW came out ahead, and we all know how Alfa’s been doing the last 10 years. So let’s flash back to when we could choose for ourselves and have a look at this 1972 Alfa Romeo Berlina for sale in Flanders, NJ with bidding at $3700, reserve not met and about 4 hours left to go.
As supported by the California plates and posts on the AlfaBB, this is likely Moxie, a rough-looking but functionally good car well-known in the San Francisco Bay Area. It looks to have been sold last in 2013 when the owner passed away, at which point it still wore a faded white-on-red two-tone paint scheme. Rosso amaranto has always looked good on these cars, though, but for a 3-year-old paint job this looks pretty rough, with chipping on some door edges and a trunk lid that is bent/stuck. The seller calls it a running project, and has owned the car for two years – with any luck, it hasn’t been so long that you couldn’t bring it back to being a driver-condition car.
The missing grill is immediately noticeable, and the wheels could use refinishing. The car is also said to need new tires, electrical work, a new windshield, and attention to the brakes and suspension. There’s no mention of any missing pieces being included, so budget accordingly – you’ll need to search diligently, but the parts are out there. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the secret is out about Berlinas, especially since the Giulia sedans have taken off, so you’ll want to bid aggressively.
The engine looks reasonably clean and complete for a driver, and items like the battery and plug wires look fresh in this shot. The two-liter was said to have somewhere around 132hp in period, a pretty impressive figure when compared to other similar cars. On the Alfa-vs.-BMW question, both are pretty fun to drive, and both quite willing, but the Alfa’s engine seems more willing and asks you to go faster, while the BMW’s powerplant is no less capable, but not as eager.
The interior looks pretty decent as well – it certainly needs a cleaning, and the driver’s seat needs attention to splits and to its stuffing, plus some parts like the ashtray are absent. The dash and door panels also show holes from previous stereo installations, but this leaves space for you to figure out a clever installation of period-looking components with modern sound. If you’ve been looking for a driver Berlina at a reasonable price, this might be one to jump on.