1994 Alfa Romeo 164Q: Soul Stirring

1994 Alfa Romeo 164Q

There are some cars I yearn for under very superficial terms. I’ll admit it – I don’t always pay attention to the engineering or reliability and rarely does the badge on the hood sway my judgment. But this car – an Alfa Romeo 164Q – well, I’m suddenly distracted by intake runners, Recaro-style seating, wrap-around taillights and an engine note that could bring you to your knees. Yes, this isn’t a practical choice, other than the fact that’s it’s a sedan. This is far more about the senses and the allure of driving an Alfa every single day. Let’s explore this 1994 example listed here on craigslist for $5,000.

1994 Alfa Romeo 164Q Interior

Other attributes of this Alfa that appeal to my emotional side include the chunky gear shift, upright controls and rear bucket seats. It always just looks so purposeful and balanced, no matter the condition. Obviously, this car has benefitted from an attentive owner, sort of a pre-requisite for owning an Alfa Romeo. Lots of big-ticket and must-do maintenance items have been addressed, including the all-important timing belt and associated pulleys and waterpump/thermostat components. The axles have been rebuilt and the heater core has already been replaced, some seriously labor intensive jobs you don’t have to worry about – for now.

1994 Alfa Romeo 164Q Engine

The Quadrifoglio model is a bit of a rare bird. It was offered near the end of the production run and featured a 230 bhp 3.0L V6, which made some beautiful noises through those chromed intake tubes. Surprisingly (or disappointingly), the 164 channeled this power through the front wheels, an odd arrangement considering the Alfa was designed to compete against the lithe-handling sedans from Germany, all of which were rear-wheel drive. But regardless of which wheels channeled the power, the 164 didn’t achieve rip-roaring success in the U.S. Whether due to somewhat nefarious Italian reliability or simply lack of awareness, the 164 represented a parting shot, as Alfa left the U.S. shortly thereafter.

1994 Alfa Romeo 164

This car has an interesting history owner-wise. It’s currently for sale after a short stint with project-car enthusiast siblings the Blythe Brothers, who also acquired a spare 164Q engine and transmission that are offered as optional extras in this listing on the popular alfabb.com forums. The seller notes the car does have an issue stuttering at part throttle and he hasn’t had the time to diagnose, so that’s a bit of a bummer. According to the listing, he’s moved on to a new Audi project so the Alfa has to go, which is a shame because the 164 is more interesting than anything churned out by Volkswagen’s corporate twin in the last few decades (UrQuattro notwithstanding). What’s your take – does the FWD layout kill all the fun, or is this Alfa sedan one to take home?


  1. jim s

    it does not come with the pictured wheels or wood steering wheel but does come with issues. i think those issues, short time owner, and, the fact that there is a second motor (at extra cost) if you want/need it would have passing on this. seller needs to sort car out first if they want this kind of money. if sorted this would be a fun driver.

  2. Alan (Michigan)

    Hmmm. For sale in Michigan. Shown with Pennsylvania plates, presumably titled there as well. What could go wrong?

    Popped in RR corner, trunk lid fits funny. Front area of hood around the iconic Alfa grille shows some hefty stone chip corrosion. The wheels shown are a mismatch, with the LF being different…. is that one the “stock” style?

    It always makes me suspicious when I see photos for an ad which were obviously taken at some other place or time than where currently being sold from. Guarantee there is a lot of snow here right now.

  3. Tirefriar

    This 164Q has many upsides for someone looking specifically for this car. First off, 145k miles is not a big deal for these cars, they will go 300k or even more if maintained properly. The fact that the A/C works as well as the A/C itself is a huge plus given that the many of the sellers of similar cars list their a/c as “needing charge” and the climate control system “needing attention”. Both are old wives fairy tales and both will run you quite a bit of dough to repair. One other issue could be the stepper motors – did not hear any mention of that. Of course, the 24v V6 is always a treat, but if not maintained properly it will also be a treat for your mechanic. I agree with Jim – given the amount of work done the stuttering in the engine should be at least examined and explained. For me a big red flag goes up when the seller lists all the incredible amount of work that was done on the car and then dismisses the rest as minor stuff. If its minor – just do it. Passenger side quarter panel under the outer tail lamp has a dent, difficult to see in the pic’s how far the damage goes…
    BTW, I am almost positive that the left front wheel is an S model wheel, not Q. The steering wheel is no big deal, the original one is fine.

    As for driving enjoyment, this car is one of the most fun ones that I owned. It carves up the canyons nicely despite the FWD. Many complain about the torque steer – it certainly didn’t bother me all that much. Frankly, if this car was priced at a more appropriate $3k given its current condition, I would say go for it as a daily driver – very hard to find anything that comes close to this car at the price level in terms of fun, exclusivity and don’t forget the rich Alfa history. Even Ferrari had one, in red of course…

  4. Jeff Lavery

    I agree with the sentiments above. Put a little more effort into readying this car for the next owner. The sentiment of, “I have a new toy to play with” comes through loud and clear based on the lackadaisical attitude regarding the outstanding issues. Or throw in some of the goodies if you’re not going to set it right beforehand.

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