m4ff3w Dork
8/11/09 3:29 p.m.

I've been offered a clean (very clean) 91 Alfa 164S as a trade for my XR4ti. If it were a Milano in this condition, I wouldn't be asking about it here, I'd be driving it.

The bad: "Steering rack needs replacement" "Needs one strut"

I know the struts are the electronic ones and I can convert to regular with Base or L strut housings. The steering rack, while not cheap, and looks to be a pain in the rear doesn't scare me a bunch.

He said the T-Belt was changed 2 years and 15k miles ago, so I'd need to add that to my list.

I'm not so sure I want a FWD car, but I really want a V6 Alfa and no good Milanos or GTV6s have came along.

What say you, the great minds of GRM, on the virtues/traps of the 164S?

RexSeven HalfDork
8/11/09 3:45 p.m.

Jalopnik recently had a story that included the 164S. Check out some of the comments for some Jalops' impressions:


pinchvalve SuperDork
8/11/09 3:46 p.m.

I never owned one, but I drove one a whole bunch. IMHO, a great car and worth every busted knuckle to get it on the road.

Capt Slow
Capt Slow Reader
8/11/09 4:15 p.m.

But as a trade for an X1/9 ???

Isn't the X1/9 ranked third to the miata and E30 BMW in the unoffical GRM must have list?

m4ff3w Dork
8/11/09 4:18 p.m.
Capt Slow wrote: But as a trade for an X1/9 ??? Isn't the X1/9 ranked third to the miata and E30 BMW in the unoffical GRM must have list?

Oops. Trade for my XR4ti.

I miss my X1/9, but need room for the kids.

Travis_K HalfDork
8/11/09 4:19 p.m.

If its going to be a daily driver, keep in mind a windshield is about double the cost of one for a milano (about $1k). Other than being harder to work on (since the engine is sideways), i dont think they are that much worse than a milano to keep running. I havent ever driven one (or actually ever seen a 164s i dont think), so other than that i cant help. Milanos supposedly handle alot better though, and have alot larger selection of aftermarket suspension parts. There are actually a couple of good milanos for sale here right now, one has been for sale for months for $1200, I kinda hope someone buys it soon so i wont be tempted to anymore.

m4ff3w Dork
8/11/09 4:25 p.m.

I'd much rather have a Milano (or GTV6) but they just don't seem to pop up down here.

Travis_K HalfDork
8/11/09 4:31 p.m.

Actually if you need a 4 door, a 164 would be better. Have you seen how small the back seat of a milano is? I have had 4 people in mine before, and it handles like crap scrapes on driveways, etc too. 3 normal sized people is about all it can easily carry.

m4ff3w Dork
8/11/09 4:36 p.m.

My kids are 8 and 6, they can fit in small spaces.

ddavidv SuperDork
8/11/09 4:37 p.m.

The 164 is a really nice car. They feel a little bit heavy, but I'd compare them to a BMW 5 series instead of the 3 which is what the Milano is more comparable to. If you can stand the terrible engine bay access, I think they are every bit as nice of a car to own/drive as a Milano. The fwd really isn't that horrible of a thing. Stunningly terrible resale value means you may have a tough time moving it when you tire of it.

TreoWayne New Reader
8/11/09 5:50 p.m.

Are you guys aware you are talking about a less reliable version of the Saab 9000?

I would definitely pass on this car.

White_and_Nerdy New Reader
8/11/09 7:52 p.m.

A friend of mine had one he was very proud of - a daily driver to compliment his '74 GTV. He absolutely hated Saabs. The joke was on him.

Travis_K HalfDork
8/12/09 2:29 a.m.

Its actually as much a lancia as a saab, we didnt get them in the usa, but there is a lancia that actually looks way more like the saab 9000 than the 164 does. I dont think one that is taken care of is any less reliable than a 9000, but it will certainly take more maintance (mostly the timing belt and related parts every 30k miles), and any body parts (and engine parts that arent part of normal maintance) will cost alot more if you buy them new. Id drive a 164, but id prefer the milano by far if given a choice. Honestly, of the alfas I could afford, the milano is the only one I like very much.

ddavidv SuperDork
8/12/09 5:23 a.m.
TreoWayne wrote: Are you guys aware you are talking about a less reliable version of the Saab 9000? I would definitely pass on this car.

Keep living in that world. When these cars were new I worked in a dealership that sold both brands. Most of us were puzzled why anyone would pick the Saab over the Alfa. The driving experience and power are completely different. We had surprisingly little trouble with the Alfas...one of the biggest failure items was the junk Chrysler radio they were saddled with. I don't believe the Alfas were any worse than the Saabs other than they were more difficult to work on because of the V6. Far more 9000s came in on the tow truck than 164s (and we sold pretty many 164s for a small city dealer).

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
8/12/09 9:30 a.m.

I've never driven one.....but that V6 is one of the prettiest engines ever made.

81gtv6 Reader
8/12/09 10:04 a.m.
  • 1000 on the pretty engine, those chrome intake runners are stunning. That was one of the last engines designed that the engineers cared about what it looked like and did not just cover it up with plastic to hide the mess.

My GTV-6 never left me stranded in the 4 years that it was my DD and it was over 20 years old at the time. Any of the cars that have been talked about here can be reliable, it just depends on how well they were taked care of.

I say go for it, you only live once.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
5/4/11 6:15 a.m.


mike Reader
5/4/11 7:50 a.m.

Dang it, I hate it when the board gets canoed up like this.

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