designation of the “1750 TBi” takes us back to one of
the most important chapters in the history of Alfa
Romeo. The latest new model adopts the same 1750 cc
displacement as one of the most successful saloons ever
made by Alfa Romeo. Alfa Romeo aficionados will
certainly remember the refined and powerful 1750 Berlina
introduced in the late 1960s, bearing the ‘Berlina’ name
made famous by its 1930s predecessor and powered by a
1779 cc twin cam four cylinder engine developing 118 HP
(the specific power of this engine set new standards for
its time). Power output was increased even further by
the addition of a turbocharger in 1986.
The new Alfa Romeo 159 1750 TBi 200 CV
embodies a long heritage of motoring excellence and is
characterised by all the elegance and taste of the Italian
school of automobile design. Today, as always, Alfa Romeo
designers and engineers can draw on the great Alfa tradition
to design and build cars of beauty and personality,
achieving a magical balance between reason and sentiment,
technology and creativity.
The extraordinary human, technical and
sporting heritage of Alfa Romeo has marked some of the most
important steps in the history of the motor car. The
presentation of the Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina in January 1968
was one of these. Successor to the legendary Giulia, whose
mechanical configuration and great road holding it
inherited, the 1750 Berlina stood out for its sleek, modern
lines, comfortable interior and high level of finish. The
soberly elegant 1750 Berlina also boasted impressive
performance, at the highly competitive price of 1,960,000
Liras. With these vital characteristics, it is small wonder
that the Alfa 1750 Berlina proved such a great success,
selling 101,883 units in just four years.
In mechanical terms, the 1750
Berlina adopted all the strong points of the Giulia but
introduced a major innovation in the form of a twin cam four
cylinder engine. With a displacement of 1779 cc, this engine
developed 132 HP SAE (118 HP DIN) thanks to two horizontal
twin-choke carburettors and a dry air filter (a version with
indirect fuel injection was also developed for the U.S.
market). It took the Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina to over 180 kph
and accelerated it from 0 to 100 kph in just 10.2 seconds.
The car’s superb performance was amply demonstrated in its
first race appearance in the Spa-Francorchamps 24 hours
endurance race in 1968 when the first places were taken by
four 1750 Berlinas.
With rear wheel drive and a
synchronised 5-speed gearbox, the 1750 Berlina was produced
in two series between 1968 and
1971: the main differences between the
two series were the front
sidelights (moved from the bumper to the front wings), the
rear model logo, the side direction indicators, the brake
and clutch pedal (pivoted from above in the second series)
and the wood rim steering wheel.
It is clear,
then, that the new Alfa 159 1750 TBi inherits its comfort
and elegance from the 1750 Berlina of the nineteen sixties.
The new 159 also reminds us of Alfa’s glorious past in the
exuberant performance of its turbocharged engine. The
already acclaimed 1779 cc twin cam straight four was
modified to accept a turbo-charger and intercooler in 1986,
boosting its power output to 155 HP and giving the car a top
speed of 210 kph (the first model equipped with this
turbocharged engine was the later Alfa 75). Alfa Romeo was
thus able to offer the international market a pace-setting
yet refined and reliable turbo-charged engine, one of the
first to be equipped with an electronic rev-limiting system
to ensure reliability and durability. We all know that the
Alfa 75 Turbo went on to have a successful racing career,
culminating in the IMSA version in which this same engine
was boosted to an amazing 335 HP.