Alfa Romeo's GTV6 was the last coupe the Italian automaker sold in the United States before teetering out of the market with a front-wheel-drive sedan whimper also known as the 164. The wedgy GTV6 coupe came onto the market in 1983, ushering in an all-new V6 - but despite its performance, it simply wasn't enough for Callaway Cars. A pair of turbochargers were needed.
To follow up on its successful turbocharger kits offered for most German automakers, the tuning firm was contracted to build a handful of high-performance variants of Alfa Romeo's GTV6.
The basic GTV6, an update of the twin-cam four-cylinder Alfetta coupe first introduced in 1976, was a wedgy force to be reckoned with on the track. A rear transaxle, inboard rear disc brakes and a de Dion rear suspension gave the car phenomenal weight distribution, and the new Bosch fuel injected V6 gave it reliable, strong performance.
Callaway's twin turbo setup boosted horsepower to a virtually unheard of - in the mid-1980s - 230 horsepower, which helped the little coupe scoot to 60 mph in a strong 5.9 seconds. Most importantly for consumers, Callaway's modifications kept the car street legal.
The twin IHI RHB5 turbos offered a maximum of 10 PSI of boost and they worked well with the standard Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection system. Callaway also tightened up the GTV6's suspension and brakes and dumped the complex Michelin TRX wheel/tire combo for a more traditional setup.
At the time, Callaway had hoped to build up to 200 twin turbo GTV6s, but for various reasons only about 30 were built. The 2+2 wasn't a cheap offering at the time - equipped with typical GTV6 options, the complete package ran over $27,000, or about double with the automaker charged for its retro-style Spider.
A semi-Callaway hits eBay
With between 30 and 36 Callaway GTV6s made, they don't come up for sale very often. We've seen a fully restored model in action and we can attest to its performance. Even by 2010 standards, it is an absolute blast to drive.
This Callaway GTV6 up for sale on eBay doesn't actually retain its original body. Even GTV6s, which were galvanized unlike the earlier Alfetta, were absolute rust magnets. Rumor has it that they were assembled using cheap Soviet-sourced steel acquired as part of a trade for Italian pasta - we're not making this up! According to the seller, the rusty original body was swapped out for a replacement, but all of the Callaway goodies (other than decals) were swapped over.
Still, the owner says that the fully "stripped and resealed" twin-turbo 2.5-liter V6 has just 37,500 original miles on it. The photos show an engine bay clean enough to eat out of and an interior that appears to have been loving restored. The exterior could probably use a few things, but that might help explain the fairly low $17,000 reserve.
These were fascinating cars 25 years ago and their rarity will ensure their collectibility - especially if Alfa Romeo ever gets its act together and returns to North America.