1991 Alfa Romeo 33 Boxer 16V 1.7 16v


No easy coffee break, but a real drivers' car!


The first 6 months everything was working just fine. The electrics, even the Alfa control, gearbox, engine, just everything was fine.

As this was my first car and I didn't really thrust myself on the technical side of the car, I brought it to the closest garage to take a look at it. I knew the brakes needed replacement and maybe, just maybe the exhaust. Turns out the exhaust was fine, but the steering house needed replacement. This was an expensive repair of about 300 euro. But together with the brakes, that was all.

After about 9 months the cable of the front brakes turned out to have a hole. This was not a mistake of the car, but the mechanic who changed the brakes left this cable hanging against the drive shaft by mistake!

General Comments:

First of all, this is technically definitely not the best car in the world. It needs a lot attention and not just normal maintenance, it needs to ne understood just right.

On the other hand, to me this is the most awesome piece of equipment I've ever had! This car is a great piece of machinery! In order to keep the the car performing as great as it does, this needs good care and all of it's regular maintenance.

I bought this car as my first car. Many people were trying to stop me, but I was unstoppable of course. I just couldn't resist the rather abnormal looks of this car. I wanted a black one, but found a red 1.7 16V which looked like a normal Imola from the outside. It had been taken good care of and it had done only 88000 km at the time. I often got amazed looks, given the car was red and the paint was almost like new given the car was 14 years old already! Red of course needs a lot of maintenance and I polished it about every 1,5 months.

There are many things why I love this car. The Boxer engine is probably the best of it all, especially when it gets to high revving at 7000rpm. Another thing I like is the low front end of the car, you really find yourself in a racy-like car, especially when you're behind another car it makes you love the drive. I think the dashboard is a really good design: no unnecessary stuff on the main panel, just right.

A nice detail is the digital clock above the front window. The seats give you good comfort especially during high-speed cornering, but maybe after a 2 or 3 hour drive you might wanna get out for stretch as the space for the legs is not that superb. The seats are quite low, so your legs are almost on the same level.

I had some other kind of problems with it too besides what I wrote above. I always loved the huge amount of grip it had during cornering. It just gives a nice feeling of safety, even though it has no airbags whatsoever. Once I took a roundabout for 3/4 of the turn. I was going slow as the road was bad and wet. Almost at the end of the corner, I started turning out of the corner to the road, when the back of the wanted to get there quicker than the front! That was a serious spin. It happened once again after that, this time with a friend with me.

Turns out the rear tires were very old, not worn out, but the tyre just couldn't do a proper job anymore.

I sold the car after about one year, with pain in my heart. (as a student it became impossible to have a car of any kind) The funny thing is, when I sold it it was the first time I actually saw how beautiful it was.

After a while I needed a car again, I happened to spot a beautiful 1994 black Q or QV or whatever for sale. Looked very different from any other 33 I'd seen before. The owner was busy with maintenance to make it just right again befor selling it. As he didn't had much time and I wanted to have an all ready to drive car when buying, I couldn't wait the other 2 months he needed. So I found myself driving a 1990 Nissan Micra with heating problems. You really can't call that a car after driving an Alfa 33 at all, but what the heck, it got me from A to B easily.

After about 4 months I accidentally spotted that black 33 Q or QV again. This time at a car dealer. It was all ready to drive, just waiting for it's new owner. I couldn't resist it and after a test-drive (this car drove way better than my previous 33) I didn't think twice and took it home. I now own it for about 2 weeks and so there is not much to say about anything else, but as the 33's are really getting rare and hard to find, I feel like never selling this one!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th February, 2007

31st Jul 2009, 18:07

Please let me know what about feeling the black one, different than the red one you used to have. I`m about to test a 33 1.7 16v in a few days. Thanks!

9th Aug 2009, 21:54

Hi there.

I own a trophy winning 1991 33 Boxer 16v QV, if anyone needs help with any questions, I would be happy to help.

1993 Alfa Romeo 33 sportwagon 1.7ie


Fun for petrol-heads and italofiels on a budget.


Electrical malfunction of the right indicator.

Electrical malfunction of the interior lights.

Malfunctioning right window. (electrical problem aswel)

Second gear is wearing.

Engine went dead om motorway caused by bad electrical connections.

Cat replaced.

Dashboard is falling apart. (glove compartment)

A bit of rust here and there.

Red paint gets pink or purple. And the blank paint is getting off here and there.

Usual wear.

Ehm, that was it.. for now. I am awaiting an engine blow up.

General Comments:

The Alfa 33 is the successor of the Alfa Sud. The 33 has a bad reputation with the general public, inherited from this rusty Sud. And that is why this car is so cheap to buy secondhand. Hurray! (bought mine for 1000 euro's)

I think this car is very good looking. My car is of the 'sportwagon' type. It looks never bores me. Considering the paint is getting old and rust is showing. This means the car itself is pretty?

The engine is the best bit of the car. It sounds like a proper race engine. How it changes its tune climbing the rev-band is addicting. With full throttle at low revs it grumbles deep. (In which the 1.7ie engine sounds different from the 1.7 16v type engine). At high revs it sings like a Ferrari (I suppose). A pity the fun stops at 6300rpm.

It has plenty power for this sub 1000kg car; 107hp . It seems to accelerate to 100kmh in slightly less than ten seconds. Unfortunately you will have to change to third gear just before arriving the 100kmh benchmark.

In city traffic it has enough power down under to stay in third gear almost all the time. Only just before a halt it is recommended to change down to second. Third gear reaches to a sufficient 130-140 kph if required. If forgotten to change down at trafficlights it is possible to drive away in third.

On the motorway the boxer engine is rather quit. Above 150 kph it begins to spin like a happy cat. Very cozy and assuring. And it does so at his top speed of 190 kmh (200 on the counter).

Well, what else to say.

I have some praise about the big boot and general space in the cabin.

Dashboard looks nice. Seats are o.k. Heating is sufficient. It comes standard with central locking, electric windows and power steering. Essentials most affordable Germans of that age do not posses.

In general this car is mechanically reliable. 1.7ie engine is capable of 300.000km without overhaul. Gearbox is not though. Brakes are o.k.

Then there are some drawbacks too. Build quality is poor. Electrics are rarely completely reliable. It rusts a little (not as bad as the 33's used to do in the eighty's). Paintwork is poor. Gearbox is fine, but its second gear wears out quickly. With me behind the throttle it uses 10L/100km of fuel. And worse in the city. It seems to dislike cheap fuel, and likes the high octane stuff (only on his birthday). It does not accept cheap lubricants.

Though I'm still very happy with it, I will make some adjustments to the car in the coming year. I do that myself, can't afford professionals. Next up is an 1.7 16v engine (132hp) and fresh gearbox. Then some slight lowering and suspension mods. Body and paintwork should be done too. Parts are cheap (only buy second hand), very cheap.

I would recommend this car to nobody except me and other petrol-heads or italofiels. When you have more money to spend look elsewhere.

Hey, did I forgot to mention it corners good too?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th February, 2004

1984 Alfa Romeo 33 1.5


Everything! One of the first 33s, so rust all over and on places where never rust had been seen. Under the doors, in the trunk, windows, suspension, etc etc.

Technically no problems... but the wiring was very bad. Problems with the left powered window (slam the door: open; slam again: closed).

Brake claws sounded like the end was near.

General Comments:

This car made me poor as a student. Just 1 liter to 8 kms; a lot of repairs and no value at all when I bought another car.

The rust was terrible. Rubbers fell from the doors because their construction was rotting.

The engine sound was very nice. The seats and 'Italian smell' were good as well. But I haven't drive Alfa again. I should have had a newer one, as their owners are full of joy (?)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 12th September, 2000

1989 Alfa Romeo 33 S Sportwagon 1.3 boxer


Bad head gasket replaced, carburettors needed to be adjusted several times, and of course the usual: new clutch, front disks, waterpump, cambelts.

Front seats could be better.

General Comments:

It has done 168.000kms, and uses a little oil. Otherwise it is a good car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th November, 1999

19th Feb 2001, 22:52

The Alfa 33 had optional racing front seats which are worth the extra in terms of comfort.