Alfa Romeo got it spot on with the 2000 GTV, matching its jewel-like twin-cam four-cylinder to a beautiful coupé body designed for Bertone by Giorgetto Giugiaro. It was, of course, only a 2+2, but then, who wanted passengers to talk to in a car that was so involving to drive?
These cars started with smaller-capacity engines and a GT designation, the final 2.0-litre engine being introduced in 1971 and the GTV designation having been introduced in 1965. The extra ‘V’ stood for Veloce – Alfa built 37,459 of these cars in the five years before production ended in 1976.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Sadly, these cars were built in the period when the Alfa Romeo name was closely associated with rust, so you need to have a very close look at any example you’re tempted to buy. Poor repairs are perhaps the biggest problem – you can fix something when you know the extent of the rust, but when you can’t see what’s been hidden, you might be buying trouble.
Start by looking at the sills. Bodged repairs often show up as poor alignment between sills and door bottoms. Then move on to the inner wings; beware of underseal that’s been used to hide dodgy areas.
Have a good look at the front cross-member, and check the transverse members at the back of the engine bay. It’s also worth examining (and gently pressing) the metalwork under the rear screen and under the side windows. It can be tricky and expensive to repair these areas if they’ve rotted.
The good news is that these engines are really strong and long-lived. There’s good parts availability, too, if you do come across problems.
Both the block and head are alloy, and they like regular maintenance. Oil levels can be critical, and the sump holds more than you’d expect. Alfa always insisted that the engine should be thoroughly warmed up before driving to allow the oil to circulate. Lack of maintenance, or of general care, leads to cracked and corroded blocks.
Check for traces of oil on the block. If it’s generally dripping down from under the head,
the problem could be worn O-rings under the camshaft bearings. If it’s only at the rear and on the exhaust side, suspect a failed head gasket, which is not uncommon on these engines. The head can be removed leaving all the valve gear left in place, which is a bonus.
The five-speed gearbox is a delight to use, but you should check that the synchromesh is sound on all gears. The first signs of trouble are often worn synchro on second gear. Re-builds can be expensive, so you might be better off going for a reconditioned gearbox.
As these cars were meant to be driven vigorously, it’s no surprise that suspension problems do arise. If the back end wiggles, then the trailing-arm bushes are probably shot. If there are knocking noises at the front, it will be the bushes again. Experts recommend that all the bushes are renewed every 30,000 miles, so ask when those on "your" car were last replaced.
Ride height is critical to correct handling, and the cars should sit level or with a slight tail-down attitude. It’s also worth knowing that some aftermarket replacement rear coil springs can be too long, and when fitted,leave the car with a jacked-up back end and an oversteer problem.
Despite the general air of quality about the interiors of these cars, they do suffer quite badly from wear – especially after use by an unsympathetic owner. A badly worn interior may also be an indication that all is not going to be well elsewhere. Most cars will be showing some wear on items such as seat bolsters by now.
However, the good news is that no 2000 GTV interior needs to look scruffy for want of parts. You can get pretty much everything you need – seat covers, door cards, side trim panels, gearknobs and wood trim kits – from Alfaholics, and at very reasonable prices. Even a split dashboard top need not be a deterrent if the rest of the car is sound; you can get a good-as-new replacement.
The real appeal of these Italian coupés lies in their combination of classic good looks and genuine driving pleasure. Admire one from the kerbside, take it out on the road, listen to the engine note rise and fall, and enjoy that slick gearchange. Alfas typically made the most of their relatively small engines, whose size was dictated by Italian tax laws, and these cars were giant-killers in their day.
You should also buy one because it’s affordable and can be maintained on a relatively modest budget. An Alfa 2000 GTV really works out as very good value indeed at today’s prices. Just don’t, whatever you do, buy a rough one!