1990 Alfa Romeo 33 iE 1.7 from UK and Ireland


Needs commitment and I didn't have it


"Alfa control" warning light system had a mind of its own - blinking and flashing at random.

Fuel gauge would deviate from empty to full on every roundabout and could not be relied upon. Don't know if this was a fault, or a design intention, but annoying nonetheless.

Indicator switch packed up. Dealer wanted £69 + VAT, but luckily found one in a breaker for a fiver.

An absolute pig to drive in traffic when it would stall and be reluctant to restart. Temp gauge nudged the red on the M25 during rush hour so I pulled over and killed the ignition. Left it half an hour to cool off, and it repaid me by refusing to restart. Towed in and checked out by the local dealer and everything was as it should be. The problem never reoccurred.

Hated the damp - would cough and run on 3 cylinders in the rain and it was an utter pig to start if it had been left out overnight when wet. Always carried a can of WD40.

Clutch started to slip at 50,000 miles. Then found out that nobody wanted to touch it apart from a main dealer, and they wanted (wait for it) £495.00. The clutch on my Astra (at 95,000 miles) cost £110 fitted! You expect some difference between Vauxhall and Alfa repair costs, but nearly 5x the cost?? Come on!

General Comments:

Acquired from a family friend who had owned it from new and had it religiously serviced. But that's no guarantee of trouble free motoring with an Alfa. Despite being mollycoddled by its previous owner, it cost me over £1,000 in maintenance and repairs, and broke down three times in just 6 months / 6,000 miles of running. Lost patience and sold it.

Good points:

Engine - goes like a 2.0, not a 1.7 and sounds the absolute business.

Handling and steering - as good as front wheel drive gets.

Comfort - it surprised me too. Nice seats, reasonable driving position.

Bad points:

Pretty much everything else: Reliability, niggling faults, knitting needle in bag of marbles gearbox, criminal repair costs, poor build quality.

I remember thinking if only the same care and enthusiasts attention lavished onto the engine and chassis had gone into the whole car, it would have been as close to an affordable dream car as it gets. As it was, engine, chassis and badge apart, I found very little to like about it.

I've never sold a car on so easily though. 7 calls within a day of advertising it and first guy bought it - slipping clutch and all. They obviously got the bug that I failed to catch. There is a fine line between character and unreliability, and for me, this crossed it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 5th August, 2003

12th Nov 2004, 01:57

You got ripped off with your gearbox, I can replace the clutch myself and it's a 100 times easier than a japanese car the clutch would have cost them 150 max for a good valeo.

24th Oct 2005, 02:55

I didn't get ripped off, that was the whole point. I sold the car on.

If it's that straightforward, can you tell me why nobody was interested in doing the job apart from an Alfa dealer (hence the rip-off quote)? The car repair industry isn't exactly known for turning down work.

The clutch was just the final straw in a long list of faults though. The car was a dog, and that was it really.

1990 Alfa Romeo 33 ie 1.7 from UK and Ireland


A fantastic racer for the road!


The drivers door mirror adjustment mechanism (wires) broke, leaving the glass unpositionable.

Windscreen cracked for no reason.

Rear screen heater occasionally blew fuses.

The inner edges of the front tyres wore very fast, although the suspension had been lowered.

General Comments:

I loved my Alfa 33 1.7ie - I bought it for a song through a very well known internet auction co expecting to find a 'slightly rough' car.

I was rewarded with a good car that had had 2 owners, the most recent of which has lavished love and money on the car for the last 3 years.

He had lowered the suspension with specialist springs and dampers, replaced belts, fluids, bought alloys and new windscreens. A top bloke who missed his alfa as much as I did when I sold it, 12000 miles later.

The handling was fabulous, the acceleration was great, the braking average.

The car was rust free (garaged and cosseted from new) and had been dealer serviced for the first 6 years, only synthetic oil used, genuine Alfa parts used and generally loved loads.

The lowered suspension sharpened up the handling to fabulous levels - this car was FUN to drive, but purgatory on a long run, but I can't blame Alfa for that, can I?

The cabin was unremarkable if a little cramped, (I'm 1m82 tall, 100kg!) but my wife & kids never complained about the car. It didn't have a sunroof, but that's usually good if you're tall!

Loved it, but sold it for a change and Bought a Lancia Dedra instead.

My Lancia is back on the market and I'm looking for another 33, but this time a 16v - can't wait to return to the fold!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th May, 2003