Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why old Italian cars rock

I read a web page this week that really clarified why I love my old Alfa Romeo Alfetta sedan so much. Apparently, back in the 60s-70s, the Italian government taxed vehicles based on engine displacement. So Italian auto-makers were forced to aggressively explore new technologies in order to remain competitive. Also, the Italian road system--especially in urban areas--features a lot of narrow roads and sharp turns.
All Italian cars of the period handle well and are engaging to drive. My 1978 Alfa Romeo features a 2.0 liter engine (considered a monster in their line), which has fuel injection, hemi heads, DOHC, a timing chain, 4 valves per cylinder. In 1978! Think about what the US was building in 1978. It also has a DeDion rear transaxle with in-board disc brakes. It has a near 50/50 weight distro.
This is a car that you rev up to 4K on every gear change. And it makes you smile. It feels like a go-cart compared to modern cars, which I refer to as driving appliances.
There you have it: my vintage Italian sports car advocacy post. It's out of my system now.

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