45 years of Alfasud - why the concept is still modern today

By Peter Dyrelund

Alfasud ScudettoIn the year 2016, the Alfasud enthusiasts celebrate that it is 45 years since the Alfasud was presented in Turin in November 1971. 40 years ago the Alfasud Sprint was presented in September 1976. Technologically the Alfasud was a giant leap forward, and that meansAlfasud Ti 1.5 QV Scudetto that it still - 40 years after - is one of the best driving cars you can buy for money. If you compare it with modern cars and fit the same tyre size, the Alfasud is still not beaten for cornering speed. Try to look at other medium size cars from 1971, and you will realize, that all the others feel very old now. But the Alfasud still feels quite modern. One has to admit, that the car rusted very much, and that Sprint Scudettodetails were fragile and tended to break, but the mechanical parts were bullet-proof, and the joy of driving was enormous. Every factory which was developing small / midsize cars in the seventies had an Alfasud in their test-fleet to compare with. In the following all the modern details are mentioned. That are details, which a car like a Ford Escort from 1971 did not have, not even a single one of the details mentioned!

  • Front wheel drive,
  • oversquare (big bore, small stroke) Boxer-engine, very free rewing, low noise, vibration free, low center of gravity,
  • belt-driven overhead camshafts,
  • easy adjustment of valve clearance due to ingenious simple adjusting mechanism,
  • electrical radiator fan, saves fuel and does not "eat" engine power,
  • big disc-brakes at the front, mounted in-board to reduce the unsprung weight,
  • disc-brakes at the rear (only available in very expensive big cars at that time),
  • parking brake at the front, gives better performance as emergency brake,
  • dual circuit brakes with two circuits to the front brakes (only Volvo and Rolls-Royce had this),
  • load sensing brake proportioning valve at the rear,
  • userfriendly engine compartment with starter and generator on top of the engine,
  • adjustable steering wheel,
  • adjustable hight and angle of front seats (with spacers),
  • very space-efficient body, only 3,9 m long and carries four 1,90 m long adults and their baggage.
  • heating system with hot / cold airmix instead of hot water tap,
  • all functions (lights, wiper / washer and fan) combined in two steering column switches,
  • low drag co-efficient (Cd) for that time, Cd 0,40 for the 4-door and 0,39 for the ti-models with spoilers,
  • double wall between the engine and passenger compartment, meaning low noise in the interior,
  • one of the first cars (if not the first at all) with petrol tank below the rear seat (safe and space-efficient place),
  • rear suspension: light live axle with Watt-linkages in each side and built in roll stabilising function,
  • front suspension: McPherson with very strong longitudinal reaction arm (where other cars keep the frontwheels in position by the roll-bar) together with negativ camber inclination this gives a very precise steering,
  • one of the first cars with "low profile tyres" (165 / 70 13),
  • exceptional good road holding, thanks to a low center of gravity, precise wheel allignment and right wheel inclination (negativ camber at the front, zero at the rear),
  • five-speed gearbox (except for the early base models),
The Alfasud was chosen "Car of the 70s" by the car english magazine CAR.

Last Update: November, 12th 2006     Created: March, 22nd 2001

© Layout by Tim Rauen. Text by Peter Dyrelund.