The History Of ALFA Romeo 75

The Alfa Romeo 75, sold in North America as the Milano, was a compact sports sedan / compact executive car produced by the Italian automaker Alfa Romeo between 1985 and 1992. The 75 was commercially quite successful; in just three years, 170,000 cars were produced and by the end of production in 1992, around 187,300 had been built.

The 75 was introduced in May 1985 to replace the Giulietta (with which it shared many components), and was named to celebrate Alfa's 75th year of production. The body, designed by head of Alfa Romeo Centro Stile Ermanno Cressoni, was styled in a striking wedge shape, tapering at the front with square headlights and a matching grille (similar features were applied to the Cressoni-designed 33).

At the 1986 Turin Auto Salon, a prototype 75 estate was to be seen, an attractive forerunner of the later 156 Sportwagon. This version was, however, nixed after Fiat took control of Alfa Romeo. The car, dubbed the 75 Turbo Wagon, was made by Italian coachbuilder Rayton Fissore using a 75 Turbo as the basis.Two estate versions were to be found at the later 1987 Geneva Motor Show; one was this Turbo Wagon and the other was a 2.0 litre version named the Sportwagon.

The 75 featured some unusual technical features, most notably the fact that it was almost perfectly balanced from front to rear.This was achieved by using Transaxle schema - mounting the standard five-speed gearbox in the rear connected to the rear differential (rear-wheel drive). The front suspension was a torsion bar and shock absorber combination and the rear an expensive De Dion tube assembled with shock absorbers; these designs were intended to optimize the car's handling; moreover the rear brake discs were fitted at the centre of the rear axle, near the gearbox-differential group. The engine crankshaft was bolted directly to the two-segment driveshaft which ran the length of the underside from the engine block to the gearbox, and rotated at the speed of the engine. The shaft segments were joined with elastomeric 'doughnuts' to prevent vibration and engine/ gearbox damage. The 2.0 L Twin Spark and the 3.0 Litre V6 were equipped with limited slip differential.

The 75 featured a then advanced dashboard-mounted diagnostic computer, called Alfa Romeo Control, capable of monitoring the engine systems and alerting the drivers of potential faults.

The 75 engine range at launch featured four-cylinder 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 liter petrol carbureted engines, a 2.0 liter intercooled turbodiesel made by VM Motori, and a 2.5 liter fuel injected V6. In 1986 was introduced 75 Turbo, which featured fuel injected 1779 cc twin cam engine using Garrett T3 turbocharger, intercooler and oil cooler.

In 1987, a 3.0 liter V6 was added to the range and the 2.0 L Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine was redesigned to have now two spark plugs per cylinder, the engine was named as Twin Spark. With fuel injection and variable valve timing this engine produced 148 bhp.In North America, where the car was known as the Milano, only the 2.5 and 3.0 V6s were available, from 1987 to 1989.

The USA-2.5-liters were fundamentally different from their European counterparts. Due to USA regulations, some modifications were required. Most noticeable from the outside were the 'America' bumpers, with the typical rubber harmonicas in them. Furthermore, these bumpers had thick (and heavy) shock-absorbing material inside them and in addition, they were mounted to the vehicle on shock absorbers. To accommodate these shock absorbers, the 'America'-bodies were slightly different from the European ones. Other changes relative to the European model were:

  • A 67-liter fuel tank which was located behind the rear seats, reducing the boot capacity from 500 to 300 liters.
  • Side-markers in the bumpers
  • Exhaust silencer sticking out from under the bumper at the r/ h side of the vehicle instead of the center
  • Fortifications in the doors and trunk lid
  • Hooks underneath the hood, to keep the hood in position in a crash

The USA-cars also had different equipment levels (depending on the version: Milano Silver, Milano Gold or Milano Platinum). L/ h and r/ h electrically adjustable outside mirrors, electrically reclining seats and cruise control were hardly ever (if ever!) sold in Europe, as was the 3-speed automatic gearbox option for the 2.5 V6. Other, more common options such as electrically operated rear windows and an A/ C system were standard in the USA. The USA-cars also had different upholstery styles and of course different dashboard panels also indicating speed in mph, oil pressure in psi and coolant temperature in degrees F, and as a final touch the AR control was different, including a seat belt warning light.

The European-spec 2.5 V6 (2.5 6V Iniezone or 2.5QV) was officially sold only between 1985 and 1987, although some of them were not registered until 1989. Relatively few of them were sold (about 2800 units), especially when the 155 hp 1.8 Turbo got launched, which in some countries was cheaper in taxes because of its lower displacement. To create a bigger space between the V6 and the inline fours, the 2.5 was bored out to 2959cc's to deliver 188hp and this new engine was introduced in the 3.0 America in 1987. As its type designation suggests, the 3.0 only came in the US-specification, with the impact-bumpers and in-boot fuel tank. However, the European 'America's' were not equipped with side-markers or the door, hood and trunk lid fortifications. Depending on the country of delivery, the 3.0 America could be equipped with a catalytic converter.

In 1988 engines were updated again, the 1.8 L carburetor version was replaced with fuel injected 1.8 i.e and new bigger diesel engine was added to the range. In the end of 1989 the 1.6 L carburetor version was updated to have fuel injection and 1990 the 1.8 L turbo and 3.0i V6 got some more power and updated suspension. The 3.0 V6 was now equipped with a Motronic system instead of an L-Jetronic. The 1.8L turbo was now also available in 'America'-spec, but strangely enough not available for the USA market. The 3.0 V6 did make it across the pond, and was sold as Milano Verde.

500 examples of the Turbo Evoluzione were produced in spring 1987 to meet Group A reguirements.The car had many modifications compared to the normal turbo model. The engine was 1762 cc (normal 1779 cc) and claimed power was the same as in the standard turbo, but the engine is better suited for power upgrades than the standard 75 Turbo engine.

  • Launch, May 1985
    • 1.6 (1570 cc) Carb with 110PS (81kW) @ 5800 rpm and 146N·m (108ft·lbf) @ 4000 rpm
    • 1.8 (1779 cc) Carb with 120PS (88kW) @ 5300 rpm and 170N·m (125ft·lbf) @ 4000 rpm
    • 2.0 (1962 cc) Carb with 128PS (94kW) @ 5400 rpm and 183N·m (135ft·lbf) @ 4000 rpm
    • 2.0 (1995 cc) TD with 95PS (70kW) @ 4300 rpm and 192N·m (142ft·lbf) @ 2300 rpm (left hand drive markets only).
    • 2.5 (2492 cc) Injected V6 with 156PS (115kW) @ 5600 rpm and 206N·m (152ft·lbf) @ 3200 rpm
  • 1986
    • 1.8 (1779 cc) Injected Turbo 155PS (114kW) @ 5,800 rpm and 226N·m (167ft·lbf) @ 2600 rpm
  • 1987
    • 2.0 (1962 cc) TS with 148PS (109kW) @ 5800 rpm and 186N·m (137ft·lbf) @ 4000 rpm (upgrade of existing 2.0 engine)
    • 3.0 (2959 cc) V6 with 188PS (138kW) @ 5800 rpm and 250N·m (184ft·lbf) @ 3000 rpm ('Milano' in US markets only)
  • 1988
    • 1.6 catalytic with 105PS (77kW) @ 6000 rpm
    • 1.8 i.e with 122PS (90kW) @ 5500 rpm and 157N·m (116ft·lbf) @ 4000 rpm (replacing existing 1.8)
    • 2.4 (2393 cc) TD with 112PS (82kW) @ 4200 rpm and 235N·m (173ft·lbf) @ 2400 rpm
    • 3.0 V6 AMERICA catalytic with 188PS (138kW) @ 5800 rpm and 250N·m (184ft·lbf) @ 3000 rpm (Europe market only)
  • 1990
    • 1.6 i.e with 107PS (79kW) @ 6000 rpm and 137N·m (101ft·lbf) @ 4000 rpm
    • 1.8 Turbo Quadrifoglio Verde with 165PS (121kW) @ 5800 rpm
    • 2.0 TS catalytic with 148PS (109kW) @ 5800 rpm (replacing existing 2.0)
    • 3.0 V6 QV @ 192PS (141kW) @ 5800 rpm and 250N·m (184ft·lbf) @ 3000 rpm (replacing existing 3.0, the motor from the 164 featuring a Motronic system as opposed to the earlier 3.0 V6-es which were equipped with the L-Jetronic. This model was known as the "Potenziata")

Alfa Romeo and its racing department Alfa Corse raced the 75 Turbo Group A in the World Touring Car Championship in 1987 season, the team racers had such names as Nicola Larini, Gabriele Tarquini, Sandro Nannini, Jacques Laffite and Mario Andretti.

Gianfranco Brancatelli won the 1988 ITC serie with Alfa 75 Turbo and Giorgio Francia placed second in the 1991 ITC.The 9th Giro d'Italia in 1988 was won by the team of Miki Biasion, Tiziano Siviero and Riccardo Patrese with a 75 Turbo Evoluzione IMSA.

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