1981 Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint / Sprint Reviews

1981 Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint / Sprint 1.5 Veloce 1.5 flat four 'boxer' from Australia and New Zealand

Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership1991
Most recent year of ownership1997
Engine and transmission 1.5 flat four 'boxer' Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 4 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.8 / 10
Distance when acquired160000 kilometres
Most recent distance230000 kilometres
Previous carFord Escort

Summary:

Modified it is a serious performer

Faults:

Wheel bearings replaced.

Front calipers replaced.

Heater rotted away.

Continual rust.

Electrical faults.

Clutch replaced.

Lights were very poor at speed.

General Comments:

This started out as a mild-mannered, slightly tired silver sprint.

I got bored quite quickly, and rang up the local Alfa agent, and spent some serious (well for me anyway) cash.

He had a wrecked 33 1.5 twin carb, very low mileage, and offered me the engine.

The engine ended up being ported, polished, balanced. The carbs were re-jetted. The emission gear disappeared (I would not do that today). The exhaust system was significantly opened up, as was the air filter box. A upgraded distributor and points were fitted with an 8,400 rpm rev limiter. It was fitted with a Koni fully adjustable suspension and progressive rate springs, lowered 3 cm, 185/60/14 Yokohoma A509 tyres on Alfa alloys (you don't need any wider tyres... they lose their balance and scrub). Interior stripped of any unnecessary trim.

It went like an absolute rocket right up to 8,400 rpm. It could seriously out handle many more expensive cars, and used to scare many of my friends because it was surreal through tight corners.

My top speed was 192kph - from memory it ran to around 7,500 rpm in 5th gear. It sat at that speed for about 15 minutes before I got scared (this is Australia, and there are kangaroos and other furry critters that do hop / walk / run out in front of cars now and then)...

I think it ran from 0-100 in about 6.9 seconds - but I never did a real drag run...

In truth I would rather have a 33 1.7 IE... the sprint was fast, fun but ultimately an uncomfortable, noisy and expensive to maintain, car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th April, 2003

1981 Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint / Sprint Veloce 1.5 petrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1981
Engine and transmission 1.5 petrol
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10

Faults:

Clutch, handbrake ratchet, rusty brake pipes, headlights, wipers and just about every other electrical device you can think of. It's also rusting on just about every panel...

General Comments:

Despite the above list of woes, the car has been very reliable and entertaining to own. Parts availability is becoming tricky and expensive although the Alfa owing community is very supportive. The car is a blast to drive with a rorty engine note and excellent roadholding. Brakes superb (when they work) but fiendishly difficult to maintain. Driving position comical - just try driving one for more than an hour continuously...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th October, 1999

Average review marks: 5.8 / 10, based on 2 reviews