29 January 2021

More than an old car #163: Alfa Romeo 146

I was asked to do a post about 'rare cars' in Singapore and to be honest, I have a hard time struggling to decide what to write about. Through my time, I have seen many of them and my posts have covered quite a few accordingly. But as you may have known, I tend to favour non-exotic cars since people don't pay much attention to them in the first place. This will not be any different with this 2000 Alfa Romeo 146 1.6 TS!

The 146 was first introduced in 1994 at the Bologna Motor Show as a 5-door hatchback, where it was intended to be a replacement for the ageing 33. The development of this project, known as Tipo 930B, took 3 years and was aimed at the more traditional AR clientele compared to the outgoing 33. A 3-door hatchback known as the 145 was sold around the same time as well. 

It was available in a variety of engines ranging from 1.4 litres to 2 litres, and 2 different trim levels. In 1997, the entire range was revised with the arrival of new Twin Spark engines in response to the new Euro 2 engine regulations. External differences were limited to a new design for the alloy rims, while internal changes included new seat fabrics and a better air-con system. A facelift was carried out in 1999, featuring a revised front end with body-coloured bumpers, round fog lamps and narrow protection strips. This unit was powered by a 1598 cc Twin Spark i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 197 km/h with an acceleration of 10.5 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 4235 mm long, weighed 1190 kg and had a fuel consumption of 11.3 litres / 100 km

Production of the 146 ended in 2001, where it was replaced by the Alfa 147. A total of 233,295 units were made, although no detailed breakdown between the engine types and RHD/LHD are available. The 146 was sold here in 1996 by Massa Motors and someone even won one as a lucky draw prize that was organised by Takashimaya. However, reviews have lamented its poor build quality and the 146 is generally seen as less desirable than the 145. 

This unit no longer exists and I would dare say that none remain here anymore. Even in the UK, only an estimated 100 are still on the register. While times may change, I think I was fortunate to be in the right place and time to record its existence. Whatever journeys and ownership it has gone through will remain a mystery, but I hope that this still fits the theme of 'rare cars': seeing a now-extinct car would definitely be more rare I suppose?

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