Alfa Romeo Arna. Exactly wrong

Alfa Romeo Arna
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Still nobody knows exactly what the intention was. Combining the worst of two worlds only worked well at Ter land, at sea and in the air.


Yet at the beginning of October 1980 top executives Ettore Massacesi and Takashi Ishihara got into the soapbox that Alfa ROmeo NNissan Autoveicoli was called and thundered downhill together. The idea behind it was most likely fruitful collaboration between the two car manufacturers. Quite a good plan. But the result turned out to be a badly put together bundle of weak spots on wheels that were too small: in 1983, Alfa Romeo introduced the Arna. This collaboration produced something very special: an unreliable Japanese disguised as an ugly Italian. Truly an achievement.


There must have been a lot of lobbing, extensive celebration and ample bribe to convince the top to combine the deadly boring appearance of a Nissan Cherry with the unreliable technology of the Alfasud and 33. But it worked, everyone happy. "E subito sei Alfistà" Alfa then informed the potential buyer. But if he really wanted to become an Alfist immediately, he'd better buy an Alfa Romeo. Because nobody believed the poor drunk when he tried to propagate from the faded spot in the street that he was an alpha male. Even if the thing was painted bright red. It was therefore not easy to convince enough interested parties that such an Arna fulfilled a long-held wish. At many parties, gullible buyers explained to honorable brothers-in-law why an Arna was a good idea. Because that was not entirely clear to the vast majority of humanity. You couldn't see it anywhere.


Nissan therefore wanted more foothold in Europe, which at the time pursued a rather protectionist policy and limited imports from the Far East in many countries. And as always, Alfa Romeo was looking for solutions to get rid of the rather porous finances and was looking for a strong partner. The result, however, was no joining forces, the Arna was more like a residual product. Neither meat nor fish. Everything could be seen and felt that Alfa did not want to miss the boat in this segment by wanting to have a successor for the aging Alfasud ready in no time, but eventually hit an abandoned quay. Except for the ship from Japan with Cherry bodies. In a newly built factory in Pratola Serra, they were equipped with the 1,2 liter boxer engine and front suspension of the Alfasud and a sports steering wheel. Ready. With the exception of the Alfa badge, of course, the existence of this flop.


A flop, despite a number of advantages. Due to its lower weight, the Arna was a bit faster and more light-footed than the Sud. And much less sensitive to rust due to the Japanese sheet metal. In 1985, a fast Ti version was even available, with a capacity of such an 90 hp. The normal versions, available as three-door L and five-door SL, had 63 pk in the front until the same year and now got 2 pk. A later 1,4 liter version produced 71 hp, the even larger 1,5 liter version in the thickest Ti even supplied 95 horsepower to the narrow front wheels. Quite spicy for a boring Japanese. But it all didn't help. The press didn't have a good word for it from the start and the public fearfully avoided this driving identity crisis with fear of failure. In 1986 the curtain fell for the Arna, in our country it was never even officially delivered. It was no icing on the cake.

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Give a reaction
  1. Unreliable engine ????
    Has also been taken off the pot!
    I had two Alfa boxers.
    Both walked around 300 Km. But I can drive a car a bit, as with every block just warm. And no problem at all. You do have unreliable drivers….

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