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This Old Alfa Romeo Hides a Surprise Where the Seats Used To Be

Alfa Romeo, eight-cylindersthats a rather evocative cluster of letters. If youre any sort of Alfisti like us, the very mention of an eight-cylinder Alfa has you slack-jawed and glaze-eyed with thoughts of Alfas pre-war straight-eight monsters that claimed world championships and terrorized Italian farmroads, and then onto dreams of Alfas high-revving racing V-8s from the 1950s and 1960s that begat the outrageously stylishTipo 33 Stradaleand the later Montreal. Eventually, youll settle on the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione from the late 2000s, shredding tires and breaking hearts with its Ferrari/Maserati V-8. This 1974 Alfa Romeo Alfasud is none of those. --> The tinny and rust-prone Alfasud was likely the last Alfa to enter your mind during that daydream sequence, yet this liveried Alfasud hatch headed for RM Sothebys upcoming Paris sale qualifies for that exclusive roped-off eight-cylinder section of the Alfa club. Take note on how were framing all thiswe said eight cylinders , and gave no indication of any specific configuration. In the case of this handsome little hatchback, theres no V-8 to be found anywhere. In fact, prop up the front hood and youll only find the Alfasud Tis standard 1.2-liter flat-four. So, aside from some neat white graphics and strange black boxes on the rear three-quarter panels, this appears to be a bog-standard entry-level Alfa from the 1970s. Well, thats only if you dont speak any Italian, as those white graphics may have ruined the surprise. Living up to that Bimotore script running down the side of the car, this nondescript little hatch hides another 1.2-liter flat-four right where the back seats used to be, making this one of the wildest roadworthy Alfa prototypes weve ever seen. According to RM Sothebys, this twin-engined ripper is the mechanical progeny of Gianfranco Mantovani, and was created as a case-study into the viability of a dual-engine setup for rallying. Fundamentally, engineering the Bimotore wasnt as complex as you might believe; each flat-four operates independently of the other, meaning this goofy Alfasud carries two transmissions and two differentials. Each engine supplies power to the wheel set corresponding with its locatione.g. the rear engine spins the rear wheels, and the front engine carries on powering the front. Two separate starter buttons are used, meaning the car can be operated in front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive depending on the drivers mood or driving conditions. Aside from dual starter buttons and doubled instrumentation, theres nothing in the cockpit that immediately signifies this as a dual-motor car. Theres one clutch pedal, throttle, and shifter that operates both engines simultaneously, though the presence of that extra 1.2-liter behind your head is likely difficult to ignore. Double the engines means double the thirst, so a 21-gallon fuel tank fills up the entirety of the rear storage area. Like most of the other twin-engined experiments over the yearsthe Citroen 2CV 44 Sahara comes to mindthe end result is not always as hair-on-fire as you might expect. Individually, the Alfasuds 1.2-liter flat-fours are capable of only 79 hp, so the Bimotore packs a combined 158 hp at full chat. Not too shabby by contemporary standards, but only enough to scuttle the twin-engined Alfa from 0-62 mph in 8.2 seconds and onto a top speed of 133 mph. --> Despite solid engineering, nothing ever came of this prototype, and it was presumably soon consigned to storage and the occasional joyride. Its presented in remarkable condition for an Alfasud, and owing to its non-OEM status, can likely be picked up for relatively low-cost. Just rememberthis Alfa eats for two, so add your local mechanic to your emergency contact list. The post This Old Alfa Romeo Hides a Surprise Where the Seats Used To Be appeared first on MotorTrend .

http://www.motortrend.com/news/1974-alfa-romeo-alfasud-prototype-bimotore-auction/

 

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