Alfa Romeo Sprint

Alfa Romeo Sprint

Infobox Automobile


name = Alfasud Sprint
Alfa Romeo Sprint
manufacturer = Alfa Romeo
parent_company = Fiat Group (from 1986)
aka =
production = 1976–1989
assembly = Pomigliano d'Arco, Italy
predecessor = none
successor = Alfa Romeo Mi.To (early 2008)
class =
body_style = 3-door coupé
layout = FF layout
platform =
engine = 1.2 L "Flat-4"
1.3 L "Flat-4"
1.5 L "Flat-4"
1.7 L "Flat-4"
transmission = 5-speed manual gearbox
wheelbase = Auto mm|2455
length = Auto mm|4024
width = Auto mm|1620
height = Auto mm|1297
ground_clearance =
front_track =
rear_track =
weight = 915 kg (2017 lb)
fuel_capacity = 50 L (11 Imp. gallons)
(13.2 U.S. gal)
related = Alfa Romeo Alfasud
Alfa Romeo 33
similar =
designer = Italdesign (1975)

The Alfa Romeo Sprint is a coupé version of the Alfa Romeo Alfasud, produced from 1976 to 1989 by Alfa Romeo. The Alfasud Sprint and Alfa Romeo Sprint was built 116,552 examples.Cite web|url=http://alfasud.alfisti.net|title=Production Figures|accessdate=2007-08-11|work=alfasud.alfisti.net] The Sprint was sold in Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

History

Until 1983, the car's name was Alfasud Sprint and after that Alfa Romeo Sprint.Cite web|url=http://www.alfaworkshop.co.uk/alfa_alfasud_sprint.shtml|title=Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint|accessdate=2007-08-11|work=alfaworkshop.co.uk] It was available with a 1.3, 1.5, or 1.7 litre engine, most of which (except the very late 1.7 models) were equipped with double carburetors. The later 1.7 engines were equipped with the same fuel injection system as the Alfa Romeo 33. There were few pieces of 2.5 V6 rear mounted engine rear wheel drive Sprints, but never made to full serial production.Cite web|url=http://alfasud.alfisti.net|title=Production Figures|accessdate=2007-08-11|work=alfasud.alfisti.net]

In 1983, the car received a minor facelift, to coincide with the release of the Alfa Romeo 33. This involved a multitude of changes, notably a change from chrome to plastic bumpers, new headlamps, new hood and grille, different materials and some elements in cabin. Sprint also got a platform upgrade, which was now on the same as that of the Alfa Romeo 33 (1st generation till 1990). This means Alfa 33 (1st generation) and Sprint 83-89 share practically the same mechanics.Cite web|url=http://www.carsfromitaly.net/alfaromeo/index.html|title=Alfa Romeo 33|accessdate=2007-08-11|work=carsfromitaly.net] This state of things is important in renewing old Sprints, since 10 times more Alfa 33 were produced.

Initially the Sprint had disc brakes all around, the front ones being inboard type. At the front there is independent MacPherson strut suspension and rear rigid axle with trailing beams and a Panhard rod. From 1984 all Sprint's got Alfa Romeo 33 floorpan and modified front suspension and front brakes (no more inboard type), the rear end got now drum brakes.Cite web|url=http://alfasud.alfisti.net|title=Production Figures|accessdate=2007-08-11|work=alfasud.alfisti.net] The Alfa Romeo Sprint was one of the best handling small coupes of its time. Although of very average quality, they were fun to drive and very predictable. With the engine mounted over front wheels and a very low point of gravity due to a flat (boxer) engine, it has a unique way of driving in curves.

The Alfa Romeo Sprint was famous for rust; this was caused by a combination of factors: strikes disrupting the production process (thus leaving the unpainted and unprotected metal exposed to the elements), corner-cutting to make the cars cheaper and easily affordable for less affluent people (especially those living in the comparatively poor Italian South - hence the name Alfasud), outdated anti-corrosion techniques, inadequate personnel training and quality control. However, the Sprint's rust record was not worse than that of its German rival, the VW Scirocco, or that of British Leyland's offerings.

There were a total of 116,552 Sprints produced during its lifespan. 15 of these formed the basis of the Australian-built Giocattolo sports car, which used a mid-mounted Holden V8 engine.Cite web|url=http://www.giocattolo.com.au/history.htm|title=History|accessdate=2007-08-11|work=giocattolo.com.au]

Design

The convert|4.02|m|in|1 long coupe has a very low profile and gives a good overview of late 70's and 80's Italian car design. Grille with two pairs of lamps emphasizes the sport look and feel, flat 3rd door and wide angular appearance put cherry on a cream of Italdesign's 1974 concept. Straight from the same drawing board and Alfa Sprint angular concept, although with slightly different proportions, another legend was born- the Volkswagen Golf, a year earlier than the Sprint.

Until 1983 Alfasud Sprint had chrome bumpers and different grile, restyling in 1983 brought plastic and lower bumpers and some other upgrades like famous 14 inch Italspeed wheels with 8 circles and nonstandard Michelin 340 mm tyres. Depending on equipment, some Sprints had plastic side bumpers and rear spoiler (mainly Quadrifoglio Verde).The most famous was the Zender pack add-in, with lower bumpers and sideskirts, sold mostly in the UK and few other countries.

Interior

Although the Alfa Sprint is a 2+2, with two seats in front and two in the rear. The two front seats came in two versions, an ordinary version and sport version with enlongated thigh bolsters. An uncommon feature is the ignition key, which is on left side of steering wheel (instead of more common right). On the middle console there are few switches for the front and rear fog lamps, rear window defroster and rear window wiper. Next to this is a clock, an analog by Jaeger instruments until 1983, after which it was replaced with digital. Underneath are typical air conditioning control levers, one for hot, second for cold air intake, and third to distribute flow to upper or lower vents. The rear cargo area has capacity of 425 litres (15 cubic feet), largely due to high profile at the rear, and it has a leather cover to conceal items from view.

Present and future

Nowadays, the number of cars has been reduced to a few thousand, most of them being in average condition, with two or even more specimens in superb state. It's a rare car in common day traffic, but always a guest at Alfisti meetings. Alfa Sprint is similar to larger and more powerful Alfa Romeo coupe of that time, Alfa Romeo GTV.

Alfa Sprint came as coupe version of famous Alfa Romeo Alfasud and it had no real predecessor, as it had no successor. Alfa GTV, which was Alfa Romeo's only coupe during the 90s. The Alfa Sprint was meant as a small coupe, although some revival ideas came through in the last two decades, its nearest relative is the Alfa Romeo GT (which derives of Alfa 156, though larger).

At the beginning of 2008, Alfa Romeo is presenting Alfa Romeo Mi.To, which some believe will finally be next generation of Alfa Romeo Sprint.

Racing

Alfa Sprint used to be a very popular racing car in the late 70's till 1983. Sprint Trofeo was a well known European GT competition in those years. Still, Alfa Sprint is being used in significant numbers as a racing car, mostly in historic cups or hill climbing races, its popularity mainly due to its good handling capabilities.

Engines

*1.2 Boxer (1286 cc) (75 bhp)
*1.3 Boxer (1351 cc) (77 to 84 bhp depending on model)
*1.5 Boxer (1490 cc) (84 to 105 bhp depending on model)
*1.7 Boxer (1712 cc) (114 bhp, 105 bhp cat. version)
*2.5 V6 (2495 cc) (160 bhp, several prototypes built)

References

External links

* [http://alfasprint.extra.hu/ Alfa Romeo Sprint service manuals and parts catalogs downloads site ]
* [http://www.alfasprint.net/ Alfa Romeo Sprint dedicated page (work in progress) ]


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