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Alfa Romeo 33

33 Series I

Alfa Romeo logo1 May 1984

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

Even though the boxy, front-wheel drive 33 was essentially a rebodied 1974-83 Alfasud, it has never attained the status or admiration its corrosive, at times shoddily built yet inspired predecessor commanded.

Inferior dynamics, homely styling, a heavy five-door hatchback-only body and recalcitrant electrics saw to that.

Initially the single well-specified model (which included central locking, power windows, a trip computer and headlight wipers) was powered by an Alfasud-sourced 62kW/118Nm 1.5-litre single-cam flat-four cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.

In December '84 the revered Ti badge was added, along with a 78kW/133Nm version of the regular 1.5.

More efficient camshafts and manifolds raised the power of the two twin-barrel downdraught carburettored engine, while harder springs, new alloy wheels, front and rear spoilers, improved seating and revised cabin trim completed the Ti package.

Then in February '85 the 33 GCL – sporting most of the improvements from the Ti but with a 70kW/130Nm version of the venerable 1.5 – became the entry level 33. That was followed by the attractive, Pininfarina-styled 33 wagon in June '85.

With a part-time front-to-4WD transaxle, the 33 Quattro Wagon was aimed at the Subaru Leone Sportswagon set. Over the regular 33 GCL it was based on, weight and ground clearance rose by 50kg and 200mm respectively.

There was also a “Monte Carlo” Quattro Wagon version – which was the last of the leaded-petrol 33s – released in May '86.

It sported firmer suspension and new bumpers, headlights and cabin trim.

While the other models lingered on until mid-'87, the first (mandatory) unleaded fuel-powered 33 was the GCL of August '86, featuring a 70kW/127Nm 1.5 engine.

The unleaded fuel-powered Ti arrived in October '87, equipped with an 85kW/142Nm 1.7-litre version of the old engine as well as an all-new dashboard.

In November '87 the similarly revised 1.5 Super joined it with a 70kW/122Nm engine, while fuel injection lifted the Ti’s power slightly to 86kW from October '88.

There was also a 78kW/137Nm fuel injected 1.7-litre luxury version called the 33 IE, which usurped the Super from early '89 until the 33’s only major facelift in 1990.

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