Saturday, April 9, 2011
Car of the Day:April 10, 2011
The car for today is the 1997 Alfa Romeo 156 GTA by Malibu (High Speed).
The Alfa Romeo 156 (known internally as the type 932) is a compact executive car introduced by Italian automaker Alfa Romeo at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show as the replacement for the Alfa Romeo 155. Cars were assembled at Fiat Group factory in Pomigliano d'Arco, Italy and General Motors facility in Rayong, Thailand (production in Thailand started March 2002 and lasted couple of years, cars were targeted for Asia Pacific markets. Between 1997 and 2005, 680,000 156s were produced, a huge success for the brand.
The 156 was available in saloon and estate 'Sportwagon' bodystyles with seven engine configurations and it went through two facelifts, first in 2002 and second in 2003. The Sportwagon advertising campaign was made with Hollywood actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.
The 156 saloon was discontinued late in 2005 in Europe, the four-wheel drive Q4 Crosswagon was produced to the end of 2007. The 156 was replaced with 159, which also spawned the Brera, the two door coupe that replaces the Alfa Romeo GTV along with its convertible sister the new Spider.
At the beginning the engine range encompassed four cylinder Twin Spark (1.6 L 120 PS (88 kW), 1.8 L 144 PS (106 kW) and 2.0 L 155 PS (114 kW)) 16 valve engines with variable valve timing, along with the straight-4 1.9 litre 8-valve 105 PS (77 kW) and straight-5 2.4 litre 10-valve 136 PS (100 kW) JTD common rail turbodiesel engines. Until January 2002, the range-topping engine was the venerable double overhead camshaft 2.5 litre 24-valve Alfa Romeo V6 engine rated at 190 PS (140 kW).
Initially the 156 range was available with different options (packs) like a sport pack that could include either Blitz clothing , Momo leather interior or Recaro seats, it also included 16-inch (410 mm) wheels, lowered suspension and leather steering wheel and gear knob. There was also available De-Luxe pack with Momo's mahogany steering wheel and gear knob and for Nordic countries special winter pack consisting of fog lights, headlight washers and heated seats.
Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfa_Romeo_156 to learn more.
Jewelled headlights and scale correct wheels help make this Malibu model look good. Here in the US, the number of available Alf Romeo models in small scale isn't great to start with. Purchased this true 1/64 model at Wal Mart several years ago. Pity that these High Speed models aren't available nowadays at WM.