Ask The Best And Brightest: What Ten Alfa-Romeo Designs Should Define Its Future?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

We recently asked our Best And Brightest to help Chevrolet look back through its past and find the designs that should inform the brand’s future design direction, an assignment that touched off a number of fascinating conversations. Now, with news of Alfa’s US launch being delayed at least in part due to problems with the design of its all-important D-segment sedan, we reckon it’s time to help Alfa navigate its current design crossroads. Only this time, it’s even more important. Though once-famous for its crackling V6s and flat-fours, Alfa’s have become increasingly dependent on their non-mechanical attributes: style, flair, and Italian-ness. And unlike Chevrolet, the brand has more recent design heritage to draw on as it approaches a US launch just as automotive designs are becoming increasingly emotive. But whereas Chevrolet lacks design identity, Alfa suffers from too much identity: though the 8C is a gorgeous car and a sublime halo, its design cues are becoming something of a crutch for Alfa’s designers.

And so we ask: if Alfa is looking for a new design direction to help launch it as a global premium/sporty brand, what past designs should it turn to? My personal top choice, the Alfetta GTV6, may not be the most beloved design amongst true Alfisti, but it’s a distinctive design at the crossroads between old- and new-school Italian brio. If Alfa is to succeed, it needs designs that reference both heritage and modernity, and to my eyes, the GTV does just that. But that still leaves nine more choices…

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  • Djn Djn on Apr 12, 2011

    The GTV6 corrected the mechanical issues of the alfetta and will surely be the post Giulia collectable Alfa. I really can't add much to the already posted lists but I didn't see the 101 series Sprint Speciale. One of Bertone's most beautiful designs. Alfa has a long history of ugly sedans, think Milano and Giulia TI. The 164 was stunning break from tradition. While sharing Saab/Lancia shell, the car looks more like a Ferrari 400i or even a 4 door Allante. Pininfarina should design the next Alfa sedan. When it went to market in the US, your only choices were the 164 or the Spider. Alfa really needs 2 sedans in the showroom, think 3 series / 5 series. Spiders are nice, but not volume models.

    • One-eyed snake One-eyed snake on Apr 12, 2011

      The Alfa Romeo 164 did not share any part of its cabin with the Fiat Croma, Lancia Thema, or Saab 9000. It was a unique design by Carrozzeria Pininfarina. See my reply to gottacook above.

  • One-eyed snake One-eyed snake on Apr 12, 2011

    The Alfa Romeo 164 did not share any part of its cabin with the Fiat Croma, Lancia Thema, or Saab 9000. It was a unique design by Carrozzeria Pininfarina. See my reply to gottacook above.

  • Ruspa Ruspa on Apr 21, 2011

    The 8c, 4c, MiTo and Giulietta are simply perfect on my opinion. Talking of historical models, I love the 1964 Spider, the one that Al Pacino drives in the movie S.I.M.O.N.E. Anyway alfaromeo exterior design is almost a step ahead under any circumstances. For 90% of people (except for Audi fanboys, which prefer a 3rd hand A3 :P ) Alfa Romeos exterior is always brilliant, so racy, so badass.. Just take a look on google for "alfa romeo polizia" or "alfa carabinieri" and see how alfa romeos really look good in uniform eheheh. I tend to believe that our police cars are the best looking ever (and scary, when you've got them in your rear mirror). Well, since taxation and petrol cost is very different in your country, USA had different models of AlfaRomeo in the past than rest of the world. The legendary 75 TurboAmerica (75 was the last AlfaRomeo RWD, and got many Alfisti angry because it was not available with the Boxer engine, very beloved by everyone in particular for the sound and lateral strong vibration, very racy) was available only in u.s.a. with its 3.000cc Turbocharged O__O we never had such impressive motors here in Italy. Anyway, for the disserting over Alfa and Dodge let's say that those brand will save each other: since AlfaRomeo was bought by Gianni Agnelli (FIAT founder & Juventus FC manager) Alfa lost almost completely his soul. Alfa were famous for being low-cost (and components low-quality as well) very fast race cars. The point was: why to buy a BMW or Mercedes (Audi was null at the time) when you can have an AlfaRomeo that is twice badass looking, twice faster and half price? 70's - 80's Alfa were going rust quickly, creaky and unreliable (except for the perfect motor) but the emotion once the engine was turned on was unique. Then with Fiat acquisition market-laws had to be taken, so Alfa lost his traditional rear wheel drive, gained those awful 80's fiat motors and the exterior design (another total WIN of alfas among other makers) was no racy any more. Let me get to the point: if Chrysler is so bad (and consequently all its sub-brands as Dodge) on business and Fiat is fast growing since its greatly greatly increased quality of both exterior and motors, then AlfaRomeo can escape from the savvy politics and get benefit from the Dodge RWD chassis and manufacturing system, which Alfa lost since ages and is not profiteable to reimplement from scratch. So you in the end, let's hope you will have better-looking Dodges in USA, cheaper, faster and more technological as Fiat can push in these things, and Alfa can get back its traditions and get also bigger engines. I have a Mito, and I'm very very satisfied with. But Fiat has to face Wolswagen in world-markets, and AlfaRomeo (& Lancia) used to be in the same category of Bmw and Audi, but they got systems to produce 300hp engines, while Fiat can't risk that much. So Alfa is losing ground, and it's not fair, not for the first car maker that ever won an international car race. We want back our redneck-ferraris :D and besides, you'll love those 500's and Mitos sneaking in narrow lanes fast as missiles in NYC ^___^ I'm entushiastic about this italy-usa join venture.

  • Djn Djn on Apr 21, 2011

    Ruspa, We never got an Alfa 75 (Milano) with twin turbo. The hottest version was the Verde with a 3.0 Ltr v6 replacing the 2.5. Not very successful and Milanos (75) are very difficult to find today. The best thing about the Milano Verde is that when wrecked, you could swap the 3.0 into a GTV6. Now thats a nice ride.