This car has been haunting me. It keeps showing up in searches, rearing its attractive Italian face whenever I start meandering about Craigslist and SearchTempest.com. I think it’s following me.
I should preface the rest of this missive with the admission that I don’t subscribe to coincidence but I do respect an ineffable higher force which directs energy and meaning, punctuated with a strong shot of karma. As Hunter S. Thompson said, “All energy flows according to the whims of the great Magnet.” I believe this.
Alfa Romeo offended hordes of Alfisti when the 164 debuted. A sidewinder engine powering the front wheels? Sacrilege. Though a more cohesive folded-paper design than the Milano/75 before it, the 164 wasn’t what you’d call a pretty car in the classic Italian sense. Handsome? Certainly. But it was no Duetto. And the dashboard – with its double-DIN Chrysler stereo and center stack chock full of gray flush-fitting plastic buttons – was straight-up 80s Japanese cockpit porn (the 1994-95 dashboard were a modest improvement).
I’ve loved these monsters since their US debut in 1991. The quirky interior, the boxy design, the visage of six chrome intake runners greeting you as the hood opens. I never got a chance to drive one until 1995, and that was the 230 horsepower 164 Quadrifoglio. This 1991 164S is not a “Q” car, nor could it be. But its recurring appearance on my screen is lulling me into a false sense of attraction.
To be clear, this one has needs. While the engine has been rebuilt by the seller, there is apparently some valve noise from the rear bank of the V6 stemming from “chatter from closing too fast.” Which
sounds like bullshit to me the seller claims can be fixed with a valve adjustment. Lord knows what other demons are lurking in the drivetrain.
There are no pictures of the interior, the trunk, the chassis, or the rust. The ad doesn’t specifically mention rust, but it’s an Italian car in Minnesota. Two plus two isn’t that hard, people. But it comes with a complete parts car! I have this fantasy I could strip the parts car and recoup the $2200.00 the seller is asking for the whole package.
My only real gripe with this car is the front wheel drive. I know; it’s old news. And I’d get over it the first time I heard that magical V6 sing to redline. Did I mention it’s only 45 minutes away from my house?
The rest of the Hunter S. Thompson “all energy” quote goes on to say, “What a fool I was to defy him.” A debatable point, to be sure. But as I said before, I don’t believe in coincidence.