Alfa Romeos are by their very nature a true driver’s car and a must-do experience for any serious petrol head. An Alfa Romeo GTV from the 1970’s is a very good place to enjoy that experience providing not only the distinctive raspy exhaust, but also bark from its twin Dellorto carburettors.
These cars are gorgeous, with cutesy good looks complimented by the masculinity provided by the over-sized tyres that completely fill the arches. Sit in and you face the trademark thin rimmed wooden steering wheel and sunken round dials for speed, rpm, fuel and water temperature. However being typically Italian getting comfortable in an Alfa Romeo GTV is more challenging with a seating position that demands you have longer than average arms and shorter than average legs.
Do the best you can by shuffling the seat backwards and forwards and it is time to turn the ignition key. The trick is to catch the 2.0 litre twin cam motor as it spins over with a quick press of the floor hinged accelerator pedal. When you do you are immediately transported back in time with spitting carb’s and the smell of petrol in the cockpit. Glorious. A few more blips to clear its throat and the Alfa Romeo GTV is ready for the off.
The exhaust note and Dellorto warble join together into a purposeful and rewarding combination that ensures every set of lights gets the same throat clearing treatment. Pull away and the heavy steering and pedals improve with every mile with the only adjustment required for the brakes which are no-where near as good as modern cars. Odd in many ways as the Alfa Romeo GTV is equipped with not one but two brake servos. Still a bit like an Aston Matin DB6, the only sensible course of action is to sit several car lengths back in traffic.
The audio clip below shares the sound of the twin Dellorto carb’s, followed by that distinctive Alfa Romeo raspy exhaust note.
Once in the groove an Alfa Romeo GTV with its 105 chassis is fabulous with a beautiful front to rear balance that is ideally suited to British B-roads. The primary controls can feel a little hefty, particularly the steering at slower speeds and ankle stretching floor mounted pedals, which means a break every couple of hours is worth planning in to keep things fresh. Other than that an Alfa Romeo GTV from the early 1970’s will leave a grin on your face stretching from ear to ear as you enjoy driving as it was always meant to be, engaging, involving and great fun.
Alfa Romeo GTV serves as a reminder of what makes Alfa Romeo so very special.
How does this car make you feel?
In a word: Italian
As a favourite meal: Thin crust pizza from authentic wood fired oven
Anything Else: Brilliant buddy for B-road blasts
Key Ingredients: Looks, diminutive size and proportions, induction and exhaust noise
With thanks, Vintage Classics, Wiltshire.
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With twin servos, and disks all round, the brakes should be exceptional. But … it requires some expertise to bleed them properly. They can therefore be spongey if not properly sorted out, and fail to inspire confidence.
Thanks for this, good point well made, I guess we’ll have to drive another GTV, maybe a 1750 this time. Matt.
It’s also clear that Alfa Romeo still means something to a great many of us enthusiasts, even if its successes are far in the past and its modern lineup hasn’t garnered much praise.