Skip to content

Alfa Romeo 75 buying guide, history and review

Throughout history, four-door Alfas have presented car buyers with characterful alternatives to ordinary, humdrum saloons. The boxy yet aerodynamic 105-series Giulia set the benchmark, and one of the few to get close to surpassing its dynamic brilliance is the unashamedly 1980s Alfa 75.

As the last Alfa Romeo launched before the company was engulfed completely by Fiat in 1986, and the last mainstream rear-wheel-drive saloon the company built until the current Giulia was launched, the 75 remains a very special car. Find a good one and get ready to enjoy one of the best-driving Alfas that money can buy. Aside from the rarest versions, they’re still great value, too.

History and development

Launched in 1985, this oddly proportioned yet sharp-looking saloon replaced the ageing Giulietta – itself based on the Alfetta platform. The financially destitute company was forced to carry over much of the existing architecture. Positives included the fact that the rear-mounted five-speed transaxle gave near- perfect weight distribution, while torsion bar front suspension and a clever de Dion rear axle also made this car a seriously impressive handler – so good, in fact, that it was lifted almost wholesale for use in the SZ sports car. Most of the old drawbacks – such as the awkward gearchange – had been addressed by this point and, while financial hardship forced Alfa to retain the old door pressings, designer Ermanno Cressoni worked wonders within the constraints.

From launch, Alfa offered a carb-fed 1.6-, 1.8- and 2.0-litre petrol line-up, as well as the 153bhp 2.5-litre Busso V6. Europe also got a 1.8-litre turbo from early 1986, which proved to be a success in countries where the V6 was heavily taxed. A run of 500 Group A Evoluzione Turbos was spun off this version to allow Touring Car racing in Europe. It featured a unique engine and wild aero kit.

Alfa Romeo 75

February 1987 heralded a facelift and the introduction of the 2.0-litre Twin Spark, with an eight-plug cylinder head, variable camshaft timing and electronic fuel injection, which together pushed power to 148bhp. Wheelarch flares, sill extensions and a rear lip spoiler were the most noticeable of several cosmetic tweaks. Most importantly, a limited- slip differential was added at the rear.

Around the same time, the V6 engine was given a serious boost in performance, with an increase in displacement to 3.0 litres, increasing power to 185bhp. V6-engined cars also made an appearance on US shores from 1987 to 1989, named the Alfa Romeo Milano. These cars were significantly altered to get through the Federal regulations, including a catalysed engine, impact bumpers and side-marker lights.

To mark the end of production in 1992, Alfa built 3500 Twin Spark and 1000 1.8 Turbo special edition ‘ASN’ models, which are now highly sought after. Which one should you buy? Don’t assume the V6 is the only choice. While a melodious Busso under the bonnet is a huge draw, it’s rarity that makes these valuable. A well set-up 2.0 Twin Spark is a very impressive thing in its own right – and it’s actually considered to be the nicer-handling car. Great fun.

Alfa Romeo 75 Common problems

• Alfa went to town rustproofing the 75, but it can still become a source of misery today. The main areas to check are the jacking points, door bottoms, floors and wheelarches.

• Engines are generally very strong if well-maintained, but the propshaft needs expert alignment, which can cause problems if not done correctly.

• Gearboxes are also prone to synchromesh wear, so check for crunches.

• Interior trim is fragile, and can wear badly if abused.

What to pay?

As always, rough examples can be a false economy. While a reasonable Twin Spark project car starts around £2000, you’ll pay up to £6000-8500 for a minter. Tidy 2.5-litre V6s tend to start around £6000 and rise to £12,000, while scarcer bodykitted 3.0-litre cars begin closer to £10,000 and can command upwards of £18,000 in perfect condition. The rare Evoluzione Turbo cars are hard to value, and even harder to find. Expect a good car to command more than £35,000.

Alfa Romeo 75 interior

Get Octane Magazine straight from publication to your door with a subscription

Print + Digital 6 months £36 Print + Digital 12 months £70 Digital 12 issues £40