Rare Survivor: 1993 Alfa Romeo 33 Boxer

Alfa Romeo’s on again and off again presence in the U.S. has been palpably felt over the years as the result of a whole host of performance-oriented cars. And while the future for Alfa is unknown in light of the proposed FCA-PSA (Stellantis) merger, there are plenty of older Alfas where we can regale in the memory of their sporting attributes.  And here is just such an example, a 1993 Model 33 Boxer. It is located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and is available here on eBay for a current bid of $3,550, twenty-five bids tendered so far.

The Model 33 was produced between 1983 and 1994 with total production reaching approximately 1M examples. Body styles included a four-door hatchback and a station wagon. While FWD in standard mode, a 4X4 version was offered as well. By 1993, Alfa sales in the U.S. had tapered off considerably as the Italian carmaker was on the verge of ending exports to America entirely.

The seller, who is David’s Classic Cars in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina states that this Alfa was a one family-owned car, originally from southern Italy.  That knowledge, and the fact that this Alfa is wearing what looks like European Union tags, caused an initial start in my thought process around acquisition and titling but the seller states that he does have a South Carolina title, so registration shouldn’t be a problem. The seller adds that he couldn’t find another 33 for sale in the U.S. and all of the listings that I uncovered were for European based cars. The listing for this Alfa is pretty detailed and it is appreciated! The seller doesn’t describe this Alfa’s exterior attributes but the images do the talking and do it well! Even with 92K miles of use, the burgundy finish has plenty of depth and sheen. As for body damage or corrosion, there is no sign of either malady – rust being a common complaint about this model and other Alfas as well. Even the black plastic bumper strips are still true-black, no sign of fade or wrinkling.

Speaking of rust, note the underside of this Alfa, none is visible, it’s really in amazing condition!

The interior’s gray cloth upholstery is as nice as the exterior’s finish. It is the type of fabric that usually shows signs of wear but none is visible and that’s a surprise considering both the age and the mileage. It’s the same story with carpet, it appears to have been trampled upon by very few feet. The instrument panel has a typical Italian purposefulness about it, nothing gimmicky or ersatz.

What makes the Alfa Romeo 33 Boxer is its “Boxer”, horizontally opposed, four-cylinder engine. It develops 89 HP from its 1.35-liter displacement, pretty efficient! The seller describes this Alfa’s operating characteristics as, “Great fun to drive with typical Alfa characteristics, she handles like a sports car, brakes with confidence and performs like an Alfa”. That’s a pretty positive assessment. Of course, a manual transaxle is in place, a five-speed unit to be exact. I have to add, servicing that boxer engine has to be a “skinned-knuckle” sort of affair!

The seller states deep in the body of the listing, “The reserve is set very reasonably considering the condition and rarity of this model”.  I was a bit chuffed at finding that little tidbit as the intro to the listing claims, “NO RESERVE ONE FAMILY OWNED”. I like this car, quite a bit actually, but my “caveat emptor” radar got turned up a notch when I read that. I was going to suggest that this Alfa could be quite the buy, but now I’m not so sure. On face value, it seems like quite a find, however. Anyway, I’m no Alfa Romeo expert so let’s hear from those of you that have some familiarity with this model, what do you think, is this one to consider?

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  1. RayT Member

    These are sweet little cars: fairly quick, nice handling, comfy and certainly Italian (especially the driving position!)…. I took a fairly long trip in one through parts of Europe back in ’97 or thereabouts, and it was a pleasure. Seemed very well built, reliable and functional, too.

    That said, I don’t know that I’d go for this. Parts would surely require a good Italian connection; Auto Zone won’t be much help. So it’s a Real Alfa in both character and service/parts availability….

    What would tempt me would be a 33QV, which had a four-cam, 16-valve version of the standard flat-four and slightly fancier trimmings. Those were all kinds of fun. Think of an Italian Jetta GLi and you won’t be far off the mark.

    Like 1
    • SubGothius

      The trick with the “Italian driving position” is to drive as the Italians do — adjust the seat for comfortable pedal reach, then steer with the lower half of the wheel, shuffling it hand-to-hand and pulling down from either side for sharper turns, rather than holding the upper half and spooling over the top as we Americans do.

      Like 1
  2. alphasud Member

    Looks a lot like the Milano I owned. I wonder if they make a Subaru engine adapter plate?

  3. ken tilly UK

    I had an Alfa 33 Gold RHD way back when and while driving on the highway the wheel and steering column virtually dropped into my lap! Evidently there was a bracket that was spot welded to the body which broke off. It was an easy enough fix and it turned out to be a great little car.

  4. Keetervermont

    I owned a ’93 Alfa 33 similar to this one. The coolest thing is that no one else has one….and it’s an Alfa. That said, it is just a simple economy car that really is not that special. I am thinking of bidding however!!

  5. Doyler

    Was the 33 even sold in the US?

  6. Dennis Marth

    “The reserve is set very reasonably considering the condition and rarity of this model”. I was a bit chuffed at finding that little tidbit as the intro to the listing claims, “NO RESERVE ONE FAMILY OWNED”.

    This car was for sale on ebay several months ago, with a reserve. Seller should have updated the text to coincide.

  7. Martin Horrocks

    These are nice enough, but most people prefer the more charismatic Alfasud which the 33 replaced. Much easier to find a 33 than an Alfa sud, though.

    Here in Spain it is still easy to find a rust-free 33 for less than $5000. Interior trim is poor quality and hard to source, but mechanical bits easily available from Europe.

    This may be a car for a US Alfa completist, but has limited general appeal.

    • Carlos Bonifacio

      And has the bonus of fuel injection over the Sud.

      The only drawback, if it can be called a drawback, is the the front brakes are not inboard like the Alfasud and the Panhard rod at the back is shorter than the Sud’s. But driveability is superior with the injected motor.

      Still, a great car. And the current bid is low. Easily a $5000 car in this condition.

  8. Beyfon

    I was quite disappointed with the 33 as it was a clear step backwards compared to the Alfasud. Less agile handling, heavier, not the gorgeous Giugiaro styling.

    At the end, after owning several Alfasud I never pulled the trigger on a 33. But this one looks nice. Is it nice enough to make me bid? I don’t know yet.

  9. Joe Elliott

    Novel for being an Alfa boxer that someone went to the trouble of importing to the USA, but why go to all the hassle and expense of importing anything other than the (>50% more powerful) 16-valve variant?

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