Alfa Romeo 145 – 146 Boxer (1994 – 1997), the swan song of the Milanese flat -four, from € 1,800

To say we didn’t want Fiat to take over Alfa Romeo at the end of 1986. Ford was running, and the Italian giant, having heard of the transaction, did everything to recover it … at a lower cost, added pa. The case is not so bad for the Milanese house because the Turinese has technical standards that are more modern than the blue oval. Starting with the upcoming Tipo, released in 1988.

It will be used for many models, especially the Alfa, first the 155 which, in 1992, replaced the antediluvian 75. But there was also an urgent need to replace the 33, technically obsolete (it was from Alfasud… in 1971 ). So, we recovered a project originally planned for… Lancia. In fact, Chris Bangle, Fiat’s former designer has started working on a replacement project for the Lancia Delta. Fiat styling boss Mario Maioli saw it and reassigned it to Alfa. There, Walter de Silva’s teams finished the car, and converted it to a 3-door: it was 145. Later, they got a 5-door, the 146. The first was presented in April 1994, the second in October 1994.

When it was released in 1994, the Alfa Romeo 146 was amazed at its aesthetics, being more modern than the 33 it replaced.

Under the cover, the 33’s flat-four has been revised, but modernized, to 1.3 (90 hp), 1.6 (103 hp) and 1.7 (129 hp). This is the only machine that can be installed longitudinally on the Tipo platform. Two finishes are offered in 1.3 and 1.6, normal and L. While the power steering and airbag are standard in both, only the L is entitled to electric front windows, steering wheel and height-adjustable seats, or even painted ones. taming. To this, the 1.7 adds ABS, alloy wheels and sporty trim.

Air conditioning remains an option no matter what happens. Another time! In 1995, prices ranged from 81,300 F for 145 1.3 to 117,600 F for 146 1.7, going through 94,600 F for 145 1.6 L. That’s € 17,600, € 25,400 and € 20,400. Prices are well set for these original cars, but the high weight caused by the platform is a bit too much for the engines. Amateurs don’t accept it and these cars aren’t very marketable. The Boxers were also replaced in 1997 by Twin-Spark blocks originally from Fiat but reworked by Alfa and… more powerful.

Note this hook at the base of the door window, which adds line character to 145.
Note this hook at the base of the door window, which adds line character to 145.

How much does it cost?

Cheap. At 1,800 €, you find a 1.3 in good condition, with a total of not less than 150,000 km, and at 2,000 €, you get a 1.6 with the same mileage, while the 1.7 l goes up to 3,000 €. Under 100,000 km, you can easily add € 500.

The 146, which appeared at the end of 1994, looks a little less original than the 145. Here, a basic version with unpainted shields.
The 146, which appeared at the end of 1994, looks a little less original than the 145. Here, a basic version with unpainted shields.

Which version to choose?

Due to the low price difference, we will be tempted by 1.7, but it is very unique. So we can go back to 1.6 without fear, 1.3 has trouble pulling its weight.

The 1.7 16V is the most powerful of the 145-146 with Boxer engines.  It’s the most collectible of all, even if the Fiat-sourced block 2.0 Quadrifoglio is more capable.
The 1.7 16V is the most powerful of the 145-146 with Boxer engines. It’s the most collectible of all, even if the Fiat-sourced block 2.0 Quadrifoglio is more capable.

Collector versions

It’s at a frankly outstanding 1.7, especially at low mileage.

Note the front longitudinal position of the engine, a specific 145 - 146 of Fiat Tipo chassis cars.  The reliability is very good.
Note the front longitudinal position of the engine, a specific 145 – 146 of Fiat Tipo chassis cars. The reliability is very good.

What to watch out for?

Boxer’s proven engines have proven to be very reliable in these cars. They only have two timing belts each that renew every 80,000 km, with a specific price. There have also been cases of capricious idle actuator, but nothing serious. The gearbox is also strong, though, after 150,000 km, the synchros on 2 and 3 start to creak a bit.

There is nothing special to report on the side of the suspension, which ages normally, while corrosion is well controlled on these vehicles. Apparently, because of their age, inspecting the rocker panels and the arches behind the wheel is not superfluous.

Truly bad, the passenger compartment can withstand time, even if wrong contact occurs.

DRIVE

Along the way, the Alfa 145 and 146 (above) enjoy a tight handling, even if the weight hinders performance.
Along the way, the Alfa 145 and 146 (above) enjoy a tight handling, even if the weight hinders performance.

It’s true that the cabin at 145 1.6 L isn’t very happy or well -finished. But the table is well set, and the driving position is very good. For starters, we know the typical melody of Boxer Alfa, and that’s the only thing that can make you smile! Supple and soft, he always showed goodwill, even when we felt the weight cut his wings. Careful, this block is always pleased with its character and its tendency to take turns, while giving the 145 a special atmosphere.

The chassis? It’s Tipo, so it’s great for his time. Consistent and precise driving, honest front axle, good overall balance, good calibration damping: more power to be received! For its part, the braking is very decent.

Rest consumption: the 145 1.6 claims 8.5 l / 100 km on average, which is right for a car of this generation.

The youngtimer alternative

Alfa Romeo 33 (1983 – 1994)

The Alfa 33 at its launch in 1983. The line is very special, and the 146 is inspired behind it, giving the body a 2.5 volume type.
The Alfa 33 at its launch in 1983. The line is very special, and the 146 is inspired behind it, giving the body a 2.5 volume type.

Replacing the unique Alfasud from 1983, the 33 includes its technical requirements (platform, suspension, engine) but simplifies some aspects such as brakes. Wider and more practical, it’s not as fun to drive because of its higher weight and its soft suspensions. But the very good boxer machine still sang too!

From the small 79 hp 1.3 l to the powerful 137 hp 1.7 l that showed up in 1990, the 33 benefits from performance often outweigh the competition. Developed in 1986 (chassis, presentation) it was extensively restyled in 1989 (front and rear redesigned). It is available as a Giardinetta station wagon from 1984 and benefits from an engageable 4×4 transmission. The Italians are entitled to a version with a 3-cylinder turbo-diesel VM.

Old but constantly being improved and benefiting from a variety of coverage, the 33 eventually sold well, until it discontinued in 1994. Available in old pots … Nearly 980,000 units to make: not bad ! From € 2,500.

The front passenger seat of the Alfa 145 benefits from a very nice footrest, even if it’s not seen here.
The front passenger seat of the Alfa 145 benefits from a very nice footrest, even if it’s not seen here.

Alfa Romeo 145 1.6 Boxer (1995), technical details

  • Engine: 4-cylinder flat, 1596 cc
  • power supply: electronic injection
  • Suspension: McPherson struts, coil spring, wishbones, anti-roll bar (AV); trailing arms, coil springs anti-roll bar (rear)
  • Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • Power: 103 hp at 6,000 rpm
  • Torque: 134 Nm at 4,500 rpm
  • Weight: 1,140 kg
  • Top speed: 185 km/h (factory data)
  • 0 to 100 km/h: 11 s (factory data)
Passive safety explains the increased weight of the cars, the Alfa 146 like the others.
Passive safety explains the increased weight of the cars, the Alfa 146 like the others.

To find a used Alfa Romeo 145 or 146, go to the La Centrale website

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