Life in the 90's

While the Alfa 90 is not on record as the most popular model of the marque sold in this country, it has stood the test of time. Les Midson certainly has no reservations about singing the praises of his 90 as this article, published in the October 1999 issue of Per Sempre Alfa shows.

Although less numerous than their Alfa 75 cousins, examples of Alfa 90s on the market from time to time and if you get a good one they can be very rewarding. I first test drove a 162 Series Alfa 90 (a restored one) some years ago and loved it.

"Ahh! I gotta have that car," I exclaimed.

The test report changed my feelings for that paticular 90, but I kept searching for the right one. Eventually I took on a metallic light grey (Grigio Chiaro) one and my Alfa 90 addiction was complete.

My 90 was manufactured in September 1985 - it is one of the first series produced in 1985-86, not a 90 Super which came later on. The 90s were newly styled by Bertone but still have a discernible “Alfetta family” look despite not sharing any external body panels. There is heaps that an enthusiastic Alfa 90 owner wants to tell other Club members who may not be fully familiar with this model. However due to limitations of space and to avoid boring you totally troppo, I will limit my comments to a few outstanding aspects.

The Gold Cloverleaf Alfa 90 was originally designed for an assault on the luxury end of the market, and for a brief period in the mid 80s, was Alfa’s luxury flagship. This really shows, from the multi-coloured velour upholstery and upmarket mouldings, to the electric everything including the drivers seat height. There’s just too much to describe here in full but let me highlight some of the main noteworthy features:

These features add real character and uniqueness to the model. The design of the exterior and interior say much about the early to mid 80s Italian design scene and culture. The GTV 6 mechanicals ensure plenty of driving thrills. That famous smooth revving injected alloy 2.5 V6, puts out 117kW and spins those beaut P6000 shod Speedline alloys from 0 to 60 quickly - but only after complete mastery of and mechanical sympathy for the agricultural gate and "sometime synchros" (only joking). It has great midrange torque and does its best work round town in second and third gears (fifth is very much an overdrive for high speed autostrada cruising).

The rear mounted gear box and de-Dion rear suspension add to the beautifully neutral handling. The anchors dig in like cat’s claws. All in all, there’s plenty to facilitate “driving with spirit”. My Alfa 90 has now done 96 000 klicks and is still going great after regular attention by service manager Doug and mechanical guru Scott at Volare.

While the 90 has been somewhat maligned and derided in the past I have found mine an interesting box of tricks which couldn’t be anything but Alfa. - but so far my 90 obsession has stopped short of giving it a name. No, I couldn’t get by without my daily 90 fix. And yes, I am looking forward to the day when, along with its Alfa sedan predecessors, the Giulia Super and the Berlina, the 90 is recognised as a true Alfa classic.