Besides nice little convertibles, if there’s one thing that Alfa Romeo is known for, it has to be unreliable cars and shoddy quality control. Of course, no one was more aware of this problem than Alfa Romeo itself, but they didn’t feel like they had an obligation to fix the problem. What they did, instead, was try to dilute the bad news by offering new, glitzier models. Besides the Alfasud, one of the more affected models was the Alfetta; this lead to the introduction of the 1981 Alfa Romeo GTV6, basically the same little car fitted with a V6. By all accounts, it was a complete success, offering performance, handling and comfort that were nearly unequaled. Visually, the car was based on Guigiari’s Alfetta design, with a bump in the hood to accommodate the V6.
Powered by a 159 horsepower, 2.5-liter V6, the V6- fitted Alfetta GTV6 was a serious driving machine. In professional hands, it performed very well on the Rally circuit, and was a four-time winner of the European Touring Car Championship, from 1982 to 1985. In street trim, it could accelerate to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, and reach a top speed of 132 miles per hour!
Fast, stylish and classy, the 1981 Alfa Romeo GTV6 helped divert attention from Alfa Romeo’s atrocious reliability record, and propelled sales with a race-winning car. It’s a good strategy. Not as good as making reliable cars, but you work with the hand you’re dealt!