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Alfa Sud

Alfa Sud Published: 7th Nov 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Alfa Sud
Alfa Sud
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£3500-£10,000, Rarity and exclusivity, Mini-like driving thrills, Cute Coupé range, Fairly good specialist support

It’s vital that an all new car from the ground up lay a marker for the rest to follow. BMC did it with the Mini – and Alfa Romeo followed suit with its sensational Sud. Designed to be a budget Alfa, it became the blueprint for the today’s front-wheel drive family ferrier – except it did it in such a style and verve that even the more logical VW Golf couldn’t compete! Today, Suds are becoming collectible starter classics and justifiably so; penny-wise classic motoring has rarely been so sporting and satisfying!

Driving

Sud rewrote the rule books of how a family car can perform and laid down the template for today’s repmobile. Even now, almost 45 years on, the Sud’s tenacity and tactile nature is pure joy – a bit like a grown up Mini! – so long as the suspension’s still good and quality as opposed to budget tyres are in contact with the tarmacadam. The flat four engine loves to rev and that’s a blessing as you have to rev them to get most out of it; 1.5 and 1.7-litre units have more guts in this respect and five-speeds make the going a bit more peaceful.

Best models

The Sud’s brilliant road manners always resulted in cries for more and more power and when production ended in 1989 the 1.2 Boxer engine grew to 1712cc with 118bhp making the Sprint a sort of mini GTV. The 1.2 was a flat performer so the 1.3 and 1.5 upgrades are more pleasant, as is the five-speed transmission offered from 1977.

Ti models are usually zippier, care of twin carbs but they can be tricky to start up and pricey to overhaul. The more practical three-door hatchback range was launched in 1981 and only the Sprint (now dropping Alfasud name at this stage) survived after 1984, the same year more orthodox brakes were installed. Cloverleaf and Gold trims lifted the austerity of the original interior – but trim stamina is wanting. Never offered here was a boxy, practical estate model called Giardinetta.

Values

Most wanted Suds are the Sprint Coupé (pictured) and the three-door Ti and coverleaf models, but even these should barely break the 10K barrier unless concours; otherwise expect to pay £5-£7000 for the rest and well under £5000 for average cars. You can’t be too picky over specific models and a top Ti is a wiser punt than a so-so Sprint. Indeed, basic original Sud saloons are finding favour for their purity of design whereas some later models wore unnecessary and unbecoming bling.

Buying advice

While Suds are gaining in popularity and support is pretty good, it’s still less than other classic Alfas. Projects should be viewed with suspicion as scarcity of parts make the majority labours of love and with most still relatively inexpensive it makes sense to buy well. The cheap Russian steel used dissolves in the driveway unless protected; 1980’s cars better but all are rot boxes; major worries are bulkheads, suspension points, chassis rails and outriggers, floors, A-post – and even the roof!

Mechanically, the Sud fares better and many bits were carried over to later 33 and the 145/146. Engines are robust; just the usual checks suffice making note of smoking (valve guides) and noisy tappets. Transmission suffers from usual Alfa traits of losing second gear synchro and a lousy change when linkages are shot. Its 24,000 mile oil change is important but most ’boxes ‘chatter’ at idle. Front disc brakes (with handbrake) are a pain and suspension wears bearings and bushes – watch for rusty suspension arms, too.

The bugbear of erratic Italian electrics are alive and well in this great car.



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