Wagon Wednesday: Italian Adventures in Wagon Cannibalization

Last week we featured a Crown Victoria with a bit of an, ahem, “rear end adjustment.” (Not a euphemism, yet.) But if 3400lbs of cobbled-together Blue Oval is too much third-row jumpseat action! for your tastes, may we offer up this example fresh from the Olde Worlde?

Alfa Romeo never made a wagon version of the 164. If they did, however, perhaps they would have stuck with the tried-and-true formula of using the rear end of a Ford Taurus. Yes, this Twin-Sparked Italian meatball features the same rear end as the wagon Robocop’s grandmother might have drove, dating to a period-correct 1980s generation.
When did the Taurus become the go-to source of bizarre wagon conversions? Who knows, because frankly, the look doesn’t translate well. The sharp Pininfarina creases down the side force the hatch to jut outward like a stack of books. But the rest of the car is standard Alfa Romeo 164 fare; that is to say pure, abject mechanical horror. Did you know the 164 featured three onboard computers? You’ll get to know them quite intimately. You may even name them. Benjamin, Peter, and the Flopsy Bunnies would be a good start.

Image sources: [Alfaheaven.com]

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  1. dwegmull Avatar

    I would name my onboard computers Denise, Paula and Fat Agnus. Ho, wait this is not Atomic Toasters. Sorry…

    1. Stelios Avatar

      At least go with Fatter Agnus. The extra 512kb would help with the screen's resolution.

  2. Armand4 Avatar

    "Three onboard computers" doesn't really conjure up the right kind of terror. You have to point out that they're "Three onboard ITALIAN computers."
    Actually, a 164 is the only Alfa I've ever driven (one of 25 164QVs imported in '94, a-thank-you) and it was really nice. It reminded me of my dad's old E39 BMW 528i, but with more power and a glorious exhaust note. Front-wheel-drive isn't my cup of tea, but I gained a lot of respect for the 164 that day.
    It probably didn't hurt that it was owned meticulously maintained by a high-end Ferrari and Alfa restorer.

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      First time driving a 164 I found the understeer pretty quickly, but it soon became irrelevant. The chassis is so damn enjoyable that you ended up not really caring about its wrong-wheel-drive-ness. An E39 would run rings around it in any measurable increment on a track, of course. But day to day a 164, or the later 166 for that matter, does everything I could realistically need.

    2. facelvega Avatar

      three onboard Italian computers– and two of them was card tricks.
      (obscure reference bonus round)

    3. Syrax Avatar

      QVs were not AWD? I thought they were, like the Q4s.

  3. LTDScott Avatar

    But Alfaurus is fun to say!

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      Sounds like a dinosaur!

      1. topdeadcentre Avatar

        An *alien* dinosaur…
        Ahh, the 80s…

    2. Maxichamp Avatar

      Or Taufa.

  4. FЯeeMan Avatar

    that's…. interesting…

  5. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    That's agony, because it's within a gnats appendage of looking really sexy.
    If that Taurus side glass was maybe an inch shorter so the arse didnt quite have to end so abruptly, it would work rather well. The 164, while handsome, unfortunately dated pretty quickly because razor-edges fell out of vogue overnight. If it was done a little more sympathetically a wagon rear end could soften the shape quite nicely.
    On the day, though, fail. Almost facepalm.

    1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

      Was thinking similar. I thought the Taurus windows were too round for the Alfa body, and thought something along the lines of a 6000/Celebrity/Cutlass/Century wagon bodystyle might have fit a little bit better, but all in all, I liked the effort!

  6. Lotte Avatar

    Given what he had to work with, it's a damn nice job. Who knew the Taurus had the same side profile as an Alfa 164? And he really couldn't shorten the 'truck cap' too much or the side windows wouldn't fit, and lengthening the lower body seems to me a tedious task. It almost looks good in the tailgate-open shot.
    Speaking of which, dual-action tailgate! Right now it looks as if the rear window flopped open when the tailgate is up.

  7. facelvega Avatar

    In Europe, this would be an easy junkyard fix, as the Lancia Thema came in station wagon form and it's one of the other three versions of the same Giugiaro design for Saab/Fiat.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      I don't think the Thema wagon back would work on this car. The 164 has a much sharper rake to the C-pillar than the Thema so at the minimum, you'd have to redo the rear side windows.
      <img src="http://www.motorsnaps.com/d/56368-4/1986-Lancia-Thema-Station-W.jpg&quot; width=500>

      1. facelvega Avatar

        Well, it would probably still be less work than the Taurus wagon. I think you could accommodate the rake of the c-pillar to keep the windows intact, it would just be tricky to resolve the gap that would form at the top and roof edge. Worse stylistically, though, now that you get me to look more closely, is whether you refit the ugly rear lights of the Lancia or lose the advantage of the full-height hatch in order to keep the Alfa styling, kind of like the Taurus guy did above. But yes maybe not so much an easier project than the Taurus hatch, just a better fit with the squared-off styling and without the greenhouse taper.

  8. muthalovin Avatar

    Correction: Image Source: Alfahell.com
    This car hurt my feelings.

  9. P161911 Avatar

    The Taurus is the go to donor for wagon parts because there are junkyards full of Taurus wagons. Any other wagon would be a rare find. The Taurus wagon hatch is the Chevy small block of wagon conversions.

    1. FЯeeMan Avatar

      Would that make it a WHF*?
      * Wagon Hatch Ford

    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      Especially thanks to the horrifically awful 3.8l V6 and its head gasket problems.

  10. dukeisduke Avatar

    Actually it works for me, because there's already that notch all around the car, and it now carries around to the back. That and the fender profile and hood slope look Taurus-ish.

  11. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    That's not all that much less scary, to me.

  12. Clashtastic Avatar

    If this was a V6, Manual 164 that would be epic.
    It doesn't look that bad to me, although the rear profile from the side, really just reminds me of the first generation X5.
    If they had matched or blended the hatch and the sedan together, lengthwise a little better this would look pretty damn good, in my very twisted opinion.

    1. facelvega Avatar

      It is definitely a manual, follow through to the original pics. It's in Wisconsin, so it's almost certainly an American-market V6 and not a twin-spark 4. Your wish is fulfilled.

  13. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

    Just realized, I believe that's the full Taurus wagon roof rack anchored to it too. I like.

  14. Syrax Avatar

    Pininfarina heard a lot from Alfa Romeo when the Peugeot 405 was released featuring much of the lines the 164 paid for. If anything for Alfa, the Pug actually had a wagon version, and it wasn't that sorted out either:
    <img src="http://memimage.cardomain.com/member_images/2/web/3038000-3038999/3038532_4_full.jpg"/&gt;

    1. BGW Avatar

      Funny…my first thought on seeing the Alfa was that a Taurus mated with a 405 in a back alley somewhere.

  15. tonyola Avatar

    The rear end looks a little odd, as if the Taurus roof clip is just a little too long for the Alfa. The tailgate looks like a fat man wearing a belt that's much too tight – there are bulges above and below the belt.

  16. Stelios Avatar

    I swear that I thought it was some version of the Peugeot 405 I hadn't seen before.

  17. Black Steelies Avatar

    It would look better if the Taurus top were boxier like the rest of the car but all things considered this mostly works. And it works a hell of a lot better than the Crown Vic wagon featured last Wed. I mean it even continues that carved out line all around the car, it looks semi-awkward but provides an interesting character line.

  18. Novaload Avatar

    Definitely a little loose in the rear. Needs to go down at least one size. The add-on looks as though it's just perched there and not even attached. I like to imagine the person behind this thinking, "Yeah, well, that doesn't seem to fit quite right, but wtf, no one will notice, they'll think it's supposed to have overhang. It's cutting edge style and one of a kind.".

  19. EnsignSlow Avatar

    Clearly, something is wrong with me, as after a few minutes of staring at it with my head tilted to one side with a puzzled look on my face, I have come to the conclusion that I actually like it. Much like I am fond of the platypus like Fiat Multipla, I find it interesting, and the conversion could be a whole lot worse.

  20. Alff Avatar

    I really don't see any thing wrong with it.
    <img src="http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/3622/unibrow.jpg"width=500&gt;

    1. Thrashy Avatar

      Thumbs-downed because of AAAAAAAUUGH MY EYES.

  21. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    So where the link to the ad so I can buy this? It's perfect!

  22. Anthony Europe Avatar
    Anthony Europe

    Looks are ok but the hatch opening is pretty useless. I still own 3 alfa 164's. No compuer problems, never had problems with these computers. But Mitsubishi does. These 164 are good cars, and drive good/fast. I also own(ed) a W124 Mercedes 250D, and A Taurus Wagon, The taurus 3 L motor was ok but the tranny was horrible, kept leaking. Ow yes, the 164 acc display dies over the years(but that isn't much of an problem. Some digits wil go black, the ACC unit keeps working. Rust on Alfa's? Less rust as the Mercedes or the Beamer.