ADVERTISEMENT

Sports

Alfa Romeo 145 – 146 Boxer (1994 – 1997), the swan song of the four Milanese dishes, from € 1,800

ADVERTISEMENT

To say that we did not appreciate the acquisition by Fiat, by Alfa Romeo, at the end of 1986, is an understatement. Ford was in contention, and the Italian giant, having heard of the operation, did everything to recover it … at a lower cost, moreover. However, the case is not bad for the Milanese team because the Turin player has much more modern technical bases than those of the blue oval. Starting with that of the future Tipo, released in 1988.

It will be used for many models, especially in the Alfa, first the 155 which, in 1992, replaced the antediluvian 75. But there is also the urgency to replace the 33, technically outdated (derived from the Alfasud … of 1971 ). Thus, we recover a project originally planned for… Lancia. In fact, Chris Bangle, then a Fiat designer, had started working on a replacement project for the Lancia Delta. Fiat style chief Mario Maioli saw him and reassigned him to Alfa. There Walter de Silva’s teams finalize the car, and transform it into a 3-door: it will be the 145. Subsequently a 5-door will be created, the 146. The first is presented in April 1994, the second in October 1994.

When it was launched in 1994, the Alfa Romeo 146 surprised with its aesthetics, incomparably more modern than that of the 33 it replaced.
When it was launched in 1994, the Alfa Romeo 146 surprised with its aesthetics, incomparably more modern than that of the 33 it replaced.

Under the hood, the flat four of the 33 is renewed, but modernized, in 1.3 (90 HP), 1.6 (103 HP) and 1.7 (129 HP). It is the only engine to be installed longitudinally in the Tipo platform. Two finishes are offered on 1.3 and 1.6, normal and L. While power steering and airbags are standard on both, only the L is entitled to front power windows, height-adjustable steering wheel and seats, or even painted shields. To this, the 1.7 adds ABS, alloy wheels and sporty decorations.

Air conditioning remains an option no matter what. Another was! In 1995, prices ranged from F 81,300 for the 145 1.3 to F 117,600 for the 146 1.7, going up to F 94,600 for the 145 1.6 L. That is € 17,600, € 25,400 and € 20,400 respectively. Prices well placed for these original cars, but the high platform-induced weight puts a bit of a muzzle on the engines. Amateurs will not accept this and these cars will not sell very well. The Boxers will also be replaced in 1997 by Twin-Spark blocks of Fiat origin but reworked in the Alfa house and… more powerful.

Note this hook at the base of the window, which adds character to the 145 line.
Note this hook at the base of the window, which adds character to the 145 line.

How much ?

Cheap. At € 1,800 you get a 1.3 in good condition, for a total of less than 150,000 km, and at € 2,000 you get a 1.6 with comparable mileage, while the 1.7 l will go up to € 3,000. Under 100,000km, easily add € 500.

The 146, which appeared at the end of 1994, looks a little less original than the 145. Here, a basic version with unpainted badges.
The 146, which appeared at the end of 1994, looks a little less original than the 145. Here, a basic version with unpainted badges.

Which version to choose?

Given the low price difference, we will be tempted by 1.7, but it is very rare. So we can fall back on the 1.6 without fear, the 1.3 really has trouble pulling its weight.

The 1.7 16V is the most powerful of the 145-146 with Boxer engines.  It is the most collectible of all, although the block 2.0 Quadrifoglio of Fiat origin is more capable.
The 1.7 16V is the most powerful of the 145-146 with Boxer engines. It is the most collectible of all, although the block 2.0 Quadrifoglio of Fiat origin is more capable.

Collector’s versions

There will be the rare 1.7 in no uncertain terms, especially at low mileage.

Note the front longitudinal position of the engine, a specific feature of the 145 - 146 among the Fiat Tipo chassis.  Reliability is excellent.
Note the front longitudinal position of the engine, a specific feature of the 145 – 146 among the Fiat Tipo chassis. Reliability is excellent.

What to monitor?

The proven Boxer engines have proved to be very reliable in these cars. They alone have two timing belts each to be renewed every 80,000 km, which comes at a certain price. There are also cases of capricious idle actuators, but nothing serious. The gearbox is also solid, even if, after 150,000 km, the synchronizers of 2 and 3 begin to creak a little.

Nothing special to report on the suspension side, which ages normally, while corrosion is well under control on these cars. Obviously, given their age, an inspection of the rocker panels and rear wheel arches will not be superfluous.

Certainly unflattering, the passenger compartment withstands time well, although false contacts can occur.

Guide

On the road, the Alfa 145 and 146 (above) enjoy rigorous driving, even if the weight hinders performance.
On the road, the Alfa 145 and 146 (above) enjoy rigorous driving, even if the weight hinders performance.

It is true that the interior of the 145 1.6 L is not very joyful or well finished. But the table is well laid out, and the driving position is excellent. At start-up we recognize the typical melody of the Alfa Boxer, and only that makes you smile! Flexible and soft, it always shows good will, even if we feel that the weight cuts its wings a little. Attention, this block always delights with its character and its propensity to take turns, giving the 145 a special atmosphere.

The frame? It’s the Tipo’s, so it’s very good for the time. Consistent and precise steering, faithful front axle, good overall balance, well-calibrated damping – more power would be welcome! For its part, the braking is very discreet.

Consumption at rest: the 145 1.6 reports 8.5 l / 100 km on average, which is correct for a car of this generation.

The young alternative

Alfa Romeo 33 (1983 – 1994)

The Alfa 33 at its launch in 1983. The line was already very particular, and the 146 was inspired by its rear, giving the body a 2.5 volume typology.
The Alfa 33 at its launch in 1983. The line was already very particular, and the 146 was inspired by its rear, giving the body a 2.5 volume typology.

Replacing the notable 1983 Alfasud, the 33 incorporates its technical elements (platform, suspension, engines) but simplifies some aspects such as the brakes. More spacious and practical, it isn’t as fun to drive due to its heavier weight and softened suspension. But its excellent boxer engine continues to sing just as well!

From the small 1.3 l with 79 hp to the powerful 1.7 l with 137 hp that appeared in 1990, the 33 benefits from performances that are often superior to those of the competition. Improved in 1986 (chassis, presentation) it was then extensively redesigned in 1989 (front and rear redesigned). It was available as a Giardinetta station wagon since 1984 and benefited from an engageable 4×4 transmission. The Italians will even be entitled to a version equipped with a 3-cylinder VM turbodiesel.

Old fashioned but constantly improved and benefiting from a varied range, the 33 will finally sell well, until its discontinuation in 1994. It’s in the old pots … Nearly 980,000 units will be produced – not bad! From € 2,500.

The front passenger of the Alfa 145 benefits from a very pleasant footrest, even if it is not seen here.
The front passenger of the Alfa 145 benefits from a very pleasant footrest, even if it is not seen here.

Alfa Romeo 145 1.6 Boxer (1995), technical specifications

  • Engine: flat 4 cylinder, 1596 cc
  • Power supply: electronic injection
  • Suspension: McPherson struts, coil springs, wishbones, anti-roll bar (AV); trailing arms, coil spring anti-roll bar (rear)
  • Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • Power: 103 hp at 6,000 rpm
  • Torque: 134 Nm at 4,500 rpm
  • Weight: 1.140 kg
  • Top speed: 185 km / h (manufacturer data)
  • 0 to 100 km / h: 11 s (manufacturer data)
Passive safety explains the weight gain of the cars, the Alfa 146 like the others.
Passive safety explains the weight gain of the cars, the Alfa 146 like the others.

To find a used Alfa Romeo 145 or 146, go to the La Centrale website

ADVERTISEMENT

Leave a Comment