Importing the modern version of the Alfa Romeo GTV under the 25-Year Rule

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Feb 21, 2022 | Alfa Romeo, GTV | Posted in News and Notes | From the May 2019 issue | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: Jason Cammisa

Many of the imports headed stateside thanks to the EPA and DOT’s rolling 25-year roadblock have been hailing from Japan: Skylines and Supras, Civics and kei cars. Why not buck the trend with a nuovo classico from Italy?

That’s what detailer to the stars Tim McNair decided. He opted for a 916-chassis Alfa Romeo GTV. Styling is by Pininfarina, while power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter V6. “Lots of torque and power,” Tim says. “It also has a great sound. Even with the turbo, the V6 Busso sings.”

And there’s more to love about the GTV. “Car always turns heads,” he continues. “Interior is glorious with leather Momo seats.”

Then there’s the reality of parts availability. “Parts are odd,” he explains. “A few parts are the same as a late U.S. 164. There’s some crossover to other 916-chassis cars. Engine items are the most difficult, as the 2-liter was only sold in Germany and Italy.” Fortunately, he adds, service items can be found through the Italian eBay site.

Just don’t misplace the keys, he cautions. The shipping company lost his. To get the car running again, Tim had to replace the ECU, alarm module and the key itself–an eight-month ordeal because, unsurprisingly, the parts weren’t exactly available through traditional American channels.

But the pain was worth it. “It is a blast to drive,” he says. “It’s deceptively quick.”

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View comments on the GRM forums
nderwater UltimaDork
6/24/20 9:05 a.m.

I saw a couple of these in France.  The body lines look super unique in the flesh.  I wonder how they handle.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/24/20 9:09 a.m.

There have been a couple in the US for a while, seen them at Convetions way back.  Not sure how they got them.

But other than looking and sounding good, IMHO, they are not that great to drive.  All of the cars we've driven of that era fell short of my expectations.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
6/24/20 9:36 a.m.

Needs bodecia style spikes on wheels. 

Carsandbikes Reader
6/24/20 2:53 p.m.

The consensus, from what I have read in British classic car magazines is that these are reasonably decent cars.  They came with a variety of engines, inline and V6 gasoline engines, and even a turbo diesel if I remember correctly.  There is also a "corresponding" convertible model.

But which bodystyle and which engine?  The V6 and the turbo diesel stand at the top but even the 4 cylinder is a nice engine.

6/24/20 2:59 p.m.

Anything that beautiful, does it REALLY have to cook?



BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/24/20 4:43 p.m.

In reply to Carsandbikes :

Most Alfisti will want the V6. The four banger is a Fiat Twin Cam - not a bad engine, but the V6 sounds a lot better, at least in the 156s I owned.

And if you want all the torque steer and then some, you'd want the 3.2L GTA version.

Oh, and the key issue is a well known problem with Fiat and Alfa of that time period. Fun when you lose the red key that you need to program another key, and it's not like you can get the car to an Alfa dealer over here to sort out the programming (which is $$$$ even if you don't need to replace the ECU).

6/24/20 4:49 p.m.

If it were FWD I would be trying to get my hands on one as a forever car.

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/24/20 4:57 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

Typo? They are FWD.

nutherjrfan UberDork
6/24/20 5:24 p.m.

There's also the Bangle/Pininfarina Fiat.


03Panther HalfDork
6/24/20 6:28 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

NOHOME said:

If it were "RWD" I would be trying to get my hands on one as a forever car.


There, I fixed it to my thoughts for ya!!!


pointofdeparture UltimaDork
6/25/20 7:52 a.m.
NOHOME said:

Anything that beautiful, does it REALLY have to cook?



Agreed. Personally, I'd be more than happy with one of the 2.0 TS models in nice spec.

6/25/20 8:27 a.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) :

OOPS Yep, I want Rear Wheel Drive.

No matter how nice a car is otherwise, FWD is a dealbreaker.

jerel77494 New Reader
11/17/21 8:12 a.m.

I'd be more interested in how he brought it to the US.  As for any Alfa?

One of the two big car mags (C&D or R&T, I don't remember) tested a Giulia when they first came here.

The first one ended up in the shop with electrical gremlins the dealer couldn't fix.  So did the back up car.

They ended up saying that in spite of the fact the performance was excellent, they couldn't recommend buying the car.

BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/17/21 1:24 p.m.

In reply to jerel77494 :

From what I remember, the owner brought it in under the 25 year federal exemption. 

MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
11/17/21 1:30 p.m.
nutherjrfan said:

There's also the Bangle/Pininfarina Fiat.


Looks like a wannabe Ferrari - but from their own parent company. 

pointofdeparture UltimaDork
11/17/21 2:03 p.m.

In reply to MadScientistMatt :

They look really good from certain angles and really awkward from others.

IIRC, you have to completely remove the engine to do the timing belt service on the 20v Turbo models.

alfabeach New Reader
2/21/22 2:08 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver (Forum Supporter) : Factory brought over one for testing based at old Afla warehouse in Orlando.


alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/21/22 2:11 p.m.

In reply to alfabeach :

They may have, but those cars were not legal to sell in the US by the factory.  So the cars we saw at conventions were not those cars. 

84FSP UltraDork
2/21/22 2:52 p.m.

I dig on so many of the cool Renaults that Europe has received over the years.


I was super tempted by an RS already in Canada for sale at 25k.

GeddesB New Reader
2/21/22 8:28 p.m.

Are these cars parts compatible with anything in the states?  Will it be instant unobtanium for repair pieces right off the boat? 


alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/21/22 8:31 p.m.

In reply to GeddesB :

The V6 powertrain is mostly the 164 LS- the 4V v6.  But they were pretty rare themselves.  

So pretty much all of the parts would have to be sent from Italy.

Turbine GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/21/22 9:29 p.m.

I like these a lot, but the Brera is the modern Alfa I've always had a thing for

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon UltraDork
2/21/22 9:33 p.m.
Turbine said:

I like these a lot, but the Brera is the modern Alfa I've always had a thing for

Mmm. Yup

BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/21/22 9:51 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

You can probably get them from the UK as well, they have a pretty thriving Italian car scene. Assuming they can get the parts into the country.

Buying from Italian suppliers isn't always that easy unless you either speak Italian or have someone on the ground who does.


Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/21/22 9:56 p.m.
MadScientistMatt said:
nutherjrfan said:

There's also the Bangle/Pininfarina Fiat.


Looks like a wannabe Ferrari - but from their own parent company. 

I think you meant it looks like a Saturn with a body kit.

AClockworkGarage Dork
2/21/22 11:19 p.m.

Why do that when you could get something cool?

LanEvo Dork
2/23/22 11:03 a.m.

In reply to 84FSP :

Where did you find that? I'm seriously interested.

I came *this* close to buying a Renault 5 Turbo II in Montreal back in 2002. The $45k CDN asking price (about $35k USD) was just beyond my budget at the time.

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