Future Classic: Alfa Romeo Milano

Future Classic: Alfa Romeo Milano

While the glory that was Alfa Romeo may be in the past on this side of the Atlantic, there still remains evidence of Italianate greatness on used car lots and in new car showrooms: stunning sports cars of graceful lines (if unreliable electronics), colorful sport utility vehicles of modest power and functionality, and a smattering of older sedans — or, “family saloons” — that, in 2023, might be called classic.

Take, for example, the Alfa Milano.

Why is the Alfa Romeo Milano a future classic?

Launched on May 17, 1985, the car was born as the Alfa 75 in Italy, named to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the company’s founding in Milan. Unlike many Alfas of jaw-dropping beauty, the angular, pseudo-boxy Milano wedge, as it was called in America, was primarily about the engine.

Sold between June 1986 and August 1989, the Milano was initially offered in three trim levels: Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each level was equipped with more and more goodies, with the Platinum stocked with leather, a sunroof, ABS brakes, and a limited-slip differential. All of these models had a 2.5-liter, SOHC version of the Busso V6, producing 154 horsepower. It was nicknamed after its creator, Giuseppe Busso.

It’s worth noting that smaller engines were offered in Europe, and during the car’s lifecycle there, they were replaced by a novel "Twin Spark" four-cylinder unit, which featured two spark plugs per cylinder, allowing for more efficiency and power.


Initially, Milano was designed to compete with a new-ish class of European sports sedans like the Mercedes-Benz 190 and the BMW 3 Series. Under the Milano's skin was a modest rear-wheel-drive chassis with bits borrowed from Alfa’s motorsports heritage: torsion bars and shock absorbers up front and a De Dion tube with shocks and coil springs in the rear (the De Dion "Dead Axle" setup was chosen as it reduced the unsprung weight in comparison to a live rear axle).

In its day, the Milano was boarderline-quirky in an Italian way, battling an often deserved reputation for questionable reliability but undeniably handsome (in rosso Alfa, of course) and a joy to drive on challenging roads with its gutsy six and rear-wheel-drive platform.