By A. Franzkoviak
What's the best sounding V6 of all-time? The soulful and sophisticated Dino? The guttural, crescendoing NSX? The burbly, off-beat mezzo-soprano Lancia Aurelia? Nah, none of those.
To many, no bent-six sings sweeter than Alfa's Busso. Longitudinal, transverse, SOHC, DOHC, matte or polished intake runners - all Busso V6s sing sweetly from idle to redline with a vocal range and reach unmatched by all but the most glamorous Italian 12-cylinders.
Take a 12-valve, 2.5-liter version, connect it to a rear-mounted 5-speed transaxle, and put the whole thing under a distinctive Giugiaro-styled Kamm tail coupe, and you've got the Alfa Romeo GTV6.
One of the coolest sports GTs of the Radwood Era, the GTV6 packed a lot of exotic spec, including a double-wishbone front and De-Dion rear suspension setup, four-wheel discs, and the aforementioned transaxle rear end. While advanced, none of this specialized engineering was particularly unusual in high-end sports cars of the tech-obsessed 1980s, though not one of the GTV6's competitors so successfully mixed high spec, designer style and pure, aural magic.
While Alfa fitted at least a half dozen Busso variants into several distinct platforms over its quarter-century production run, here in the US it was restricted to the 164, Milano and GTV6.
Striking and fun, the 164 has always been a desirable car, though when boiled down to its essence there's not much left besides gorgeous polished intake runners, a jaw-dropping dashboard, and of course that spine-tingling soundtrack, and the Milano, while nearly identical to the GTV6 underneath, doesn't hold a candle to its coupe sister's looks.
For American enthusiasts, the Gran Turismo Veloce V6 has always been the pick of the litter, and the stunning, low-mileage 1986 example currently live on RAD For Sale auctions is a clear standout example. Finished in extremely rare Bleu Posillipo (applied to as few as 36 cars), the car shows just under 31k original miles and is offered by the Vice President of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Southern California.
One of the best aspects of GTV6 ownership is the platform's flexible, multi-talented character. Want to cruise in style down the coast, or take a quick, relaxed jaunt to the market? Shift early and let the Busso's torquey low end do the rest. In the mood for a long, hard, fast drive through the canyons? Rev it out, while tactile steering and playful, endlessly adjustable handling encourage you to change cornering strategies like a major leaguer switches up pitches.
We can't end without noting the GTV6's enviable motorsports record, including four consecutive European Touring Car Championship titles between 1982 and 1985, as well as several Group A rally victories.
Only 4,700 US spec GTV6s were imported, and we'd guess less than half that number remain in serviceable condition. If you're interested in owning one of the best, now's the time to act.