Hooniverse Fastback Friday – Alfa Romeo GTV Twin Spark

Today’s two-door coupé sighting is a two-litre Alfa Romeo GTV. It’s a bold design, and the metallic black suits it extremely well.

There’s generally considered to be a holy quadruplet of Italian front-wheel-drive coupés of the ’90s: the GTV and the accompanying Spider; the Fiat Coupé and the convertible Barchetta. Both pairs are related, but while the GTV and Spider are externally versions of each other, the Fiat Coupé and Barchetta are distinctively different designs, the former being a Chris Bangle work. All four are affordable these days, and being FWD doesn’t hamper them too much.

Out of the four, it’s time to detail out the GTV. I hope to see the rest later on, and I’ve spotted a black Barchetta in traffic but haven’t had the chance to document it yet. But, in this town patience pays. There’s a lot of cars of which I’ve often just caught a glimpse, and then later on seen them parked, ready to be photographed in detail.

The GTV’s glasshouse is an interesting work. It looks like the roof is a separate piece, like it’s a removable top, but then the crease runs deep into the door and your eyes can’t really figure out where to make the cut. However, as it’s a wide and short car with smallish windows, the Z shape works to lighten it all up. If you look at it from the front, the crease starts from the clamshell bonnet’s shutline, splitting the car in half.

The centrepiece for the front is the heart-shaped grille with the classic badge prominently displayed on top. Again, with a metallic black car, the badge really stands out.

The projector headlights are mounted in bulging pods under the clamshell hood, with round holes cut into the hood to give them the rounded shape. Somehow, the entire front looks like the car is either wearing a helmet or commando headgear.

Very few GTV:s were imported into the country when new. Most that have made the journey here are either used Italian or German imports. They’re rather cheap these days, at three to four thousand Euros for cars with not much work needing to be done – with an used Alfa one should obviously account for possible fixes in the near future. But ’90s Alfas aren’t really that eager to acquire rust, so there’s only everything else that can need attention but the bodyshell. That’s a relief, right?

The door handles do not really exist. There’s just an indentation in the indentation (yo, dawg? Yeah, that meme is probably officially dead now) and a lock button to press with your thumb. I can’t imagine how well it works in wintertime, but then again an Alfa should always be garaged.

Like with the Peugeot 406 Coupé, there’s a Disegno Pininfarina badge to remind onlookers of the design house.

Inside, there’s black leather or black pleather everywhere. The dashboard is chunky, the wheel is thick, the black leather seats look body-hugging. I’ve never driven a GTV, but ridden in a 2.0 V6 TB once, as the father of a girl in my class used to own one and she took me for a spin in it once. That one was maroon, and looked excellent.

The rear badge has some patina on it. Can one use the word “patina” of a car that’s manufactured in around 1995-1996? Make note, if I can’t.

The badge also swivels to reveal the trunk keyhole.

It’s traditional of Alfa to make note of the Twin Spark dual ignition setup in bold lettering. The 2.0-litre engine here makes something to the tune of 150hp. There were numerous other engines available, including three choices of V6 (2.0, 3.0, later 3.2).

With the 916-series GTV being FWD, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to complain of its pedigree and “true GTV-ness”. But, since the design is so proud and the car is a rightful ’90s design classic by now, it’s deservedly an Alfa Romeo to the bone.

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