HappyAndy SuperDork
Sept. 22, 2013 8:28 p.m.

So I spotted this on CL the other day and now I can't get it out of my head!

I've always loved the sound of alfa V6 engines, I don't know if this is one the spine tinglingly awesome sounding ones or not, but I want to find out. I also dig the look, they look like a SAAB 9000's muscular Italian cousin. (I know there is another Alfa that actually is a SAAB 9000's cousin, but I don't want that).

Tell me that they are soul destroyingly miserable to keep running. Tell me that GM J bodies are more fun to drive. Tell me that it will make me want to never want another project car as long as I live.

Or play the devils advocate and convince me that I need a need a nearly vintage pasta burner. Tell me where to find the parts and knowhow to keep it on the road, and even long distance road trip worthy. Tell me everything that I can do with a car is more fun in an Alfa.

But seriously, I need this like I need another hole in my head. But I do sort of need a fun fairly decent weekend/project car.

What I really need is to find a cheap, rust free, SAAB c900 turbo, '88 or later, even a rolling shell would be OK. Mine broken more than it isn't. If it didn't have rust issues I'd feel a lot more confident in going all in on it.

.

fanfoy HalfDork
Sept. 22, 2013 8:38 p.m.

They dominate in LeChump, so they gotta be good right?

I had an 87. I was too young, and didn't know anything, but it didn't break me. The only things I had problems with were the old Italian rubber (transaxle mounts, hoses, etc) and German parts (Bosch sensors, switches and ignition and the ZF steering rack leaking). It left me stranded once (ignition), but for the rest it was OK.

Great handling, gorgeous engine, funky ergonomics, crappy transaxle (the shift is vague and the syncros weak) pretty roomy. Surprisingly good in winter, as long as it wasn't too cold.

I don't think I was any help

m4ff3w UltraDork
Sept. 22, 2013 10:09 p.m.

Great cars. I miss mine dearly. I bought mine in need of a clutch, swapped it, and did the timing belt/water pump.

The only issues I had were a popped fuel pump fuse - no big deal, right? Except the fuse wasn't labeled in the panel for it. I think it was listed as "optional auxiliary fuse" and I needed to replace a motor mount.

Buy it, you won't regret it.

Travis_K UltraDork
Sept. 22, 2013 11:01 p.m.

Parts are really easy to find actually, the only important things that I can think of that are NLA are window regulators, clutch throwout bearing, and stuff like the heater blower. There are actually a lot of suspension upgrades available too, like shocks, spring and torsion bars, swaysbars, brake upgrades, etc. Very simple and easy to work on, even with the inboard rear brakes. They drive similar to a miata with more room inside, and sound much better. The only things you will have to do right away to drive it are the timing belt, water pump and tensioner (or just the tensioner bearing if it still has the original kind), and all the fuel lines.

As far as bad things, the interior is made out of material that reminds me of Styrofoam plates and potato chips, the headlights are really bad, the heater box is likely full of leaves, and if you try to take it apart to clean it the mount for the heater blower will fall apart (because it is made out of plastic that has the structural integrity of potato chips after 25 years), they have very little ground clearance, and they seem to all leak quite a bit of oil from various places. The only other not so good thing is that you could buy it and do all the maintenance work it needs to make everything perfect, and it wouldn't be worth too much more than you paid for it. I would own another one if I wouldn't ever need to drive it in the dark or on days when I would care that the heater didn't work, they can be a perfectly fine daily driver if you have another car to use if needed.

kanaric
kanaric Reader
Sept. 24, 2013 4:56 a.m.

I don't see how they can be used for something like chump car or $20xx challenges when every milano I see is like 944S2 prices now. It's insane like in the past year they went up by 2000%. Were they in the recent fast and the furious movie?

Hungary Bill HalfDork
Sept. 24, 2013 5:22 a.m.

Alfa

To quote Andy from Performatek: "There's nothing unreliable about Alfa's except for the fact that the previous owners probably tried to do everything in their power EXCEPT spend money to keep it going..."

There's lots of aftermarket parts and enthusiast support on the interwebs. I say get it and drive it like an Italian should be driven.

wbjones PowerDork
Sept. 24, 2013 6:57 a.m.

keep in mind that this IS NOT THE PLACE to come when trying to be talked out of a car purchase

RexSeven UltraDork
Sept. 24, 2013 9:27 a.m.

I own an example of the Saab 9000's Italian cousin (Alfa 164). I'm not too familiar with the Milano but I can give some general Alfa advice since the Milano and 164 use variants of the Busso V-6.

Timing belt: Change it every 30,000 miles or 5 years, NO EXCEPTIONS. The Busso V-6 is an interference engine and you don't really want to be replacing the pricey bent valves. Use only OEM belts and tensioners. This is even more imperative on my 24 valve engine, which BTW can be swapped into a Milano if you're feeling brave.

Lighting: Look into headlights from a European model. They might be better than the USDM headlights (this is the case with the 164). The Milano is called the Alfa Romeo 75 in Europe.

Parts: There are quite a few websites that cater to Alfas in the US. Alfissimo.com is my go-to site for 164 parts and they also stock Milano parts. Other sites I can think of are Centerline Alfa, DiFatta Brothers, International Auto Parts, and Vick Autosports.

pinchvalve UltimaDork
Sept. 24, 2013 9:32 a.m.

Travis_K UltraDork
Sept. 24, 2013 10:14 a.m.
kanaric wrote: I don't see how they can be used for something like chump car or $20xx challenges when every milano I see is like 944S2 prices now. It's insane like in the past year they went up by 2000%. Were they in the recent fast and the furious movie?

I think part of it is that only the 3.0 ones are expensive, and yeah they have gone up a lot. The 2.5 ones still go for almost nothing. I have seen 4 for sale in my area lately, $400, $1500, $1800 and $3600, and one 3.0 for $8500. There were a little over 300 3.0s and a little over 3000 2.5s. They aren't all that much different, but it seems like a lot of people would like every 2.5 parted and scrapped and only the 3.0s to survive.

HappyAndy SuperDork
Sept. 24, 2013 10:37 a.m.

In reply to pinchvalve: I have a slot car version of that

m4ff3w UltraDork
Sept. 24, 2013 10:37 a.m.

I paid $600 for my Milano, it really only needed a clutch, but I was able to nurse it back from Houston.

I sold it a few years later for 1900, after the insurance company paid me $900 to fix side swipe damage from a hit and run (I didn't fix it, beyond replacing the mirror)

I want another, but I want a Verde.

SlickDizzy UberDork
Sept. 24, 2013 10:45 a.m.
pinchvalve wrote:

That's a 155, not a 75/Milano. (Much prettier car, IMO)

ncjay HalfDork
Sept. 24, 2013 5:57 p.m.

Alyssa Milano or an Alfa Milano?

turboswede PowerDork
Sept. 24, 2013 6:27 p.m.

Well, they are both batE36 M3 crazy, exotic and will drive you to drink as well as the poor house.

However, Ms Milano at least has some money of her own...

Hungary Bill HalfDork
Sept. 24, 2013 6:33 p.m.

Alyssas tend to get mad if you bring another Alyssa home...

Point: Alfa

kanaric
kanaric Reader
Sept. 25, 2013 1:17 a.m.
Travis_K wrote:
kanaric wrote: I don't see how they can be used for something like chump car or $20xx challenges when every milano I see is like 944S2 prices now. It's insane like in the past year they went up by 2000%. Were they in the recent fast and the furious movie?

I think part of it is that only the 3.0 ones are expensive, and yeah they have gone up a lot. The 2.5 ones still go for almost nothing. I have seen 4 for sale in my area lately, $400, $1500, $1800 and $3600, and one 3.0 for $8500. There were a little over 300 3.0s and a little over 3000 2.5s. They aren't all that much different, but it seems like a lot of people would like every 2.5 parted and scrapped and only the 3.0s to survive.

I think you may be right, because I only look at Verdes. I don't even consider a 2.5 car in Milano form only GTV6 so I hardly have looked at them.

GTV6 have gone up a lot as well. Wish I kept mine.

IMO if you want to consider a 2.5 car why not just look for a GTV6?

Travis_K UltraDork
Sept. 25, 2013 1:34 a.m.
kanaric wrote:
Travis_K wrote:
kanaric wrote: I don't see how they can be used for something like chump car or $20xx challenges when every milano I see is like 944S2 prices now. It's insane like in the past year they went up by 2000%. Were they in the recent fast and the furious movie?

I think part of it is that only the 3.0 ones are expensive, and yeah they have gone up a lot. The 2.5 ones still go for almost nothing. I have seen 4 for sale in my area lately, $400, $1500, $1800 and $3600, and one 3.0 for $8500. There were a little over 300 3.0s and a little over 3000 2.5s. They aren't all that much different, but it seems like a lot of people would like every 2.5 parted and scrapped and only the 3.0s to survive.

I think you may be right, because I only look at Verdes. I don't even consider a 2.5 car in Milano form only GTV6 so I hardly have looked at them.

GTV6 have gone up a lot as well. Wish I kept mine.

IMO if you want to consider a 2.5 car why not just look for a GTV6?

A GTV6 usually costs more, more rust problems, and other stuff like the shifter linkage, clutch, etc are a lot more primitive. I like them too, but I dont consider them the same car as a milano.

I don't think there is that much difference between a milano verde and a 2.5 one, I actually like the 2.5 better in some ways, like the lack of ABS (on the silver and gold), seats that dont disintegrate like the verde seats do, and less rust problems without the plastic cladding. Honestly, I like them all, but I cant agree with the 2.5 being good for nothing but a verde parts car.

dbgrubbs
dbgrubbs New Reader
Sept. 25, 2013 6:02 a.m.

I've owned a gtv6 and two Milano Platinums. I like the Milano driving position much better than the GTV6. It's also a much more modern car.

I paid $600 for one Milano and $850 for the second one. Neither of them needed much to get them up and running. I'm still driving the second one. It only needs occasional maintenance. BUT, you must stay on top of things and not let things go until the car breaks. Don't put off things like the timing belt, brakes, etc. Mine has never let me down. Great car and I won't be parting with it anytime soon.

93EXCivic MegaDork
Sept. 25, 2013 8:32 a.m.

I am considering one as a daily driver.

LuxInterior New Reader
Sept. 25, 2013 8:59 a.m.

If it comes with Alyssa Milano, then yes definately buy! Otherwise, save yourself Time, money, and headaches.… By sending your entire wallet to me.

Travis_K UltraDork
Sept. 25, 2013 9:13 a.m.
93EXCivic wrote: I am considering one as a daily driver.

As long as you get one with a working heater (or don't care if it never works at all), and budget for euro headlights (or don't drive in the dark), there is no reason not to just do it. The only time mine broke badly enough to no longer be drivable was when the throw out bearing broke, and that wasn't even hard to fix.

dbgrubbs
dbgrubbs New Reader
Sept. 25, 2013 9:28 a.m.

I put euro lights on mine and it was a drastic improvement. Still marginal compared to newer cars.

Seriously, once you work out a few bugs, they become very reliable cars.

m4ff3w UltraDork
Sept. 25, 2013 9:44 a.m.
93EXCivic wrote: I am considering one as a daily driver.

Mine was a daily, worked great. I really miss it.

93EXCivic MegaDork
Sept. 25, 2013 9:49 a.m.
Travis_K wrote:
93EXCivic wrote: I am considering one as a daily driver.

As long as you get one with a working heater (or don't care if it never works at all), and budget for euro headlights (or don't drive in the dark), there is no reason not to just do it. The only time mine broke badly enough to no longer be drivable was when the throw out bearing broke, and that wasn't even hard to fix.

Well my current daily has a tinted windshield so I doubt it is worse then that. Also I have a F150 as a backup and the Civic sometimes.

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