A Driver’s Survivor: 1986 Alfa Romeo GTV6

Starting out as the Alfa Romeo Alfetta in 1972, a more potent version known as the GTV6 came along a few years later. I have covered previous examples but they usually have a lot of “stuff” wrong with them. This 1986 Alfa-Romeo GTV6 example, however, looks to be pretty solid and complete so it got my attention. The listing is light but I can figure out most of what’s what with this Irvington, Oregon domiciled Italian hot-rod. It’s available, here on craigslist for $9,865.

Alfa Romeo’s past is something to contemplate, they have certainly struggled in the states in prior years, making an exit in the ’90s and then returning in 2014. That said, they did manage U.S. sales of 18K units in 2021, more than I would have anticipated. It seems that their reputation for shaky reliability and poor dealership service continues to dog the storied brand. Their current overlord, Stellantis, has twelve brands with which to contend and that would normally sound like too much circus for the tent. Regardless, everything that I’ve read on the matter suggests a desire to keep Alfa in the fold.

Not the actual engine, a representative image. Courtesy of Mercado Racing

Harkening back, Alfa had a reputation for great road manners, a combination of sports car and grand tourer rolled into one. This GTV6 has an unphotographed 154 HP, 2.5 liter, V6 powerplant married up to a five-speed manual gearbox. The 2.5-liter engine, owing to its increased size over the 2.0-liter version, necessitated the inclusion of a hood “power bulge”. We are told that this 116K mile example “runs very well“.

Prior Alfa Romeo Alfetta derivatives that I have reviewed often have a “rust before your very eyes” complex going on but I’m not seeing it here. The seller claims that it has been mostly a garage dweller and it still presents well. It’s mentioned that the hatch latch mechanism is missing but no other negatives are revealed. From what can be seen, the black finish and plastic trim still appear to be robust.

The interior has that Italian thing going on- it’s designed and laid out to be a driver’s driver. This Alfa’s 36 years of age and exposure have forced a dash pad split or two and the driver’s seat bolster is showing signs of 116K miles of use but all-in-all, the entire environment looks sound. The instrument panel most definitely has that blocky ’80s theme found on so many cars from this era, regardless of their geographical origin.

I haven’t given much thought to an Alfa-Romeo GTV6, at least from an ownership perspective, but if I were interested in such a vehicle, this example would be one to consider, wouldn’t you concur?


  1. alphasud Member

    I was going to comment on the Alfetta posted here a couple days ago but I refrained because we never worked on any when I was at the dealer. The GTV6 however and the Milano were mechanically the same car. The 86 GTV is the one you want because it received the updates the Milano received like a better single disc clutch. I think the 85 GTV6 still had the TRX wheels which makes it a challenge to find the Michelins. My tech friend bought one with a broken timing belt. It was his first Alfa to work on and the owners son helped him through the rebuild process. Even at a height of 6’-3” he was able to drive the car. These have really started to gain traction lately so the sellers asking price isn’t out of line. If Jeremy Clark is the owner of a GTV6 when he could have anything that tells you a lot of how these cars will make you a proper petrol head. I sure miss my Milano Verde.

    Like 7
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Helped open up a new Alpha dealership as service manager with a friend in Oklahoma City in ’84. He and I were both Porsche Club of America members and took a Milano and a GTV6 to a PCA club track day at Hallett raceway. Porsches had a tough time equaling the track times of the Alphas as the great handling and good engines were tough to beat. Our primary problems with the GTV6s was the engine electronics. Don’t remember the details but either way they were fun to run.

    Like 6

      It is Alfa, and the engine electronics are the same as a Porsche, Bosch.

      Like 2
  3. Bultaco

    These handle fantastically. Very neutral and precise with the rear transaxle and even weight distribution.

    Like 1
  4. Matt

    Had 2 of the 85s, got them in a two fer deal. One had front end damage and it took forever to find parts at a junkyard. I finally asked a guy at a yard why they always seemed to have front and no rear damage, he said “The only thing that can catch them is a tree or a stonewall!” After driving one for a few months I understood why, just amazing power and speed.

    Like 3
  5. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Do I remember ape-like driving position ? I believe I do.

    • SubGothius

      The key with the classic Italian driving position is to set the seat with the pedals at a comfortable distance, then steer as the Italians do — using the bottom half of the wheel, shuffling it hand-to-hand and pulling down from the sides for sharper maneuvers — rather than trying to hold the upper half of the wheel and spool over the top as Americans tend to do.

      Like 1
      • BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

        Thanks for primer ! Being 65 it’s what we always chortled about with these eyetalian cars.

  6. Jef Fowler

    Still have an ’85 version of the GTV6 that has resided for too many years without being run.
    This seems well-priced for the year. Appears to be in reasonable condition if somewhat neglected.
    Some confusion in the ad between ‘runs well’ and ‘Vehicle mostly has sat in the garage and looking to sell to make room’. Assume it hasn’t turned the wheels too often of late.
    This is located a few miles from where I live so if anyone wants me to check it out I could take a look. I’m pretty well versed with them.

    Like 1
  7. jwaltb

    Those American market bumpers are awful. I’m sure they could be changed

    Like 2
    • Jef Fowler

      The bumpers attach to hydraulic pistons designed to absorb low speed impact.

      It is possible to remove the liquid gunk, compress the pistons and weld or bolt the shortened piston in place. Front ones work really well without any further mods but the rears are at an angle that requires drilling extra mounting holes in the rear bumper.

      Really makes a difference. There is a plastic filler piece between the bumpers and the body that can be removed.

    • Mitchell

      It looks like they added a plastic or rubber strip above the
      bumper, like Mercedes did on their 116 and 107 models.
      When you remove them and use the euro bumper mounts
      the car looks ‘original’ as the euro version.

  8. Peter Klebnikov

    Had one of these in Central Europe in the 1980s when I worked as a journalist and had to get from country to country fast. Never failed me on all night drives. The engine had tremendous pull and the chassis remained balanced over then – awful Czech and Polish roads. Only problem was the synchros, downshifting from 3rd to 2nd.

    Like 1
    • Jef Fowler

      I destroyed 2nd gear syncro in less than 10K miles on a brand new ’83 Giulietta with a healthy dose of ignorance. I would force the 1-2 and 3-2 gearchange when the transaxle oil was cold. I discovered this total lack of mechanical sympathy was not good.

      Taking it slow (and not forcing the change!) or avoiding using second gear for a few miles until the oil has warmed up prolongs syncro life.

      A downside of rear mounted transmissions is not having the engine help warm the oil. That and a clunky gear linkage.

  9. Mitchell

    Oooh shift!
    Aside the syncro the other thing that could fails was the camshaft
    timing. But back in time the valves hung so far above the pistons
    that a slipped timing belt did not bent a valve as they do on cars of
    the former two decades.
    Otherwise this Veloce are rock solid. As i was a youngster my father
    had one from new, and driving over mountain pass roads with 12-15°
    slope the GTV was always unbeaten from the ‘competiting’ german
    drivers who runned with 280 SE Mercedes (W108) into their summer
    holidays to Italy. We had always a big laugh. Veloce stand for
    speed and handling.

    Like 1

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