But it all went wrong. After we had been packed off the school he realised he didn’t need a family four seater as his daily driver and promptly did what probably seemed like the only sensible thing in the circumstances and part exchanged the last Alfetta for a GTV coupe. And despite the fact it was essentially the same car in eveningwear, he absolutely hated it. I never found out why, but he gave it a very uncharitable name I absolutely won’t be repeating here and got rid of it as soon as he could. My strong suspicion is someone made an oblique remark about middle aged men buying sporting Italian cars that looked better than they drove, and that was that.
The car was almost certainly unfairly dismissed and, in truth, shouldn’t have been hired in the first place. If he’d waited just a couple of years and got himself a GTV6 with its superb 2.5-litre V6 motor I think he’d have silenced his critics in an instant.
And ever since I saw that Alfetta this week, I’ve been thinking not just of them, but all those other cars that sat on the same platform with its De Dion rear suspension – the GTVs, the Giuliettas, the 75s and even the SZ and RZ. People recall so fondly the 750 and 105-series car of the 1960s, like the first Giulietta, the Giulia, the Sprint GT, Junior, GTA and so on, that the transaxle cars of the 1970s and ‘80s are rather stuck in their shadow. But I would contend that, relative to the opposition, the best of the Alfetta-series cars were at least as good in their time as were the Giulia-based cars before. It would be great to see them step back into the limelight – but sadly I fear there are now too few remaining for that ever to become a realistic possibility.