The 1972 Alfasud was by general consent the greatest car of the decade. Its name, though, was an indication of the insane government intervention that tragically thwarted if form becoming one of the greatest cars of all time. The Alfasud, an Italian phrase meaning “Alfa South’ was a complete break form the company’s past engineering strategy. Alfa Romeo was directed to construct a factory in an area of high unemployment near Napels in the southern half of Italy to build the startling, all new machine. This was the source of the uncharismatic “Alfa South’ name that the car was unfortunately destined to bear. The design team was led by Rudolph Hruska, who had previously worked with the Porsche on the VW Beetle. A characteristically masterful Giugario styled bodyshell clothed a flat four engine and, in a big break for Alfa, a front wheel drive chassis. Hruska’s strict engineering brief meant the Alfasud was light and wieldy, but few commentators could have ever guessed that the very ordinary, uninspiring ingredients would ultimately combine to create such a remarkable car. The Alfausd’s handling prowess remained a benchmark right into the 1980s; such was the excellence of the chassis which offered amazingly agile and razor sharp responses. The chassis always felt worthy of more power.
Although demand was huge, the Alfasud’s success was severely hampered by the appealing build quality, particularly the shocking rust problems and highly questionable electrics. It was rumored that the Alfasud was ruined by recycled Soviet steel, which then left wing Italian government bought in an effort to help the Communist State’s ailing economy.