As the accolades for the Alfa Romeo Alfetta have increased with experience (Motor Sport, January 1977) it has become more irritating that no mention has been made of two successful cars which appeared between the Grand Prix Alfetta 159 and the modem Alfetta saloon: the Lancia Aurelia and Flaminia
Both these models were celebrated for many of the same reasons which you express in your review, particularly the Aurelia in its Gran Turismo 1120 version. The rear-mounted gearbox and clutch, engine-speed propeller shaft, de Dion-type rear suspension, and over-more an excellent floor-gear-change, have gone unremarked in road tests and in the company literature of the Alfetta. The equal weight distribution and neutral but exhilarating road-holding resulting from this pre-1950 design and now echoed in the Alfetta, were recently lauded in an Autocar,/em> road test (20th November, 1976). The tester concluded of Anthony Smallhorn’s twenty-year-old example of the 6th series Aurelia GT B20 that “it would be difficult to fault the handling of this truly classic car”. He also remarks approvingly of the (12-inch diameter) drum-brakes.
Considering the similarity of basic design, the remarks in your Alfa test and those of past and recent tests of the Lancias, it is surprising that so little comparison has been made. The Aurelia and Flaminia were widely appreciated cars, and in the early fifties, before many were imported to this country, the Aurelia enjoyed some outstanding competition success. These were due not a little lotion road-holding. It is true that neither of these cars were mass-produced in the modern sense. A total of 18,186 Aurclias of all types were built, of which 4,632 were the Gran Turismo B20. Several hundred of these cars appear in a forthcoming register for this model, many of which, such as the above 6th series and my own 4th series B20 are in daily and very practical use. My car has covered 24,000 miles in the last two years, including a return trip to Florence and several to northern Scotland.
One should also recall the more modern styling and engineering of the Flaminias disc-braked, comfortable, but sometimes rather heavy solutions to the same basic design. One must always recall the then outstanding and interesting 60-degree, V6 engines of these cars.
I hope the above remarks will, in the spirit of your magazine, help to give a more balanced picture of the Alfetta in the history of automotive design-engineering. When my Aurelia has appreciated enough I may even sample one for myself!
Horsham PAUL MAYO