I like to imagine that if you were going to write a review or article about the Alfa Romeo 146 Ti (or any older Alfa) a suitably Italian background would be appropriate.
Quite by chance it has worked out the other way and the car and background suggest the feature.
The Ti was the highest level in the 146’s engine and trim hierarchy. These models had colour-coordinated side skirts, a boot spoiler and 12-hole alloy wheels (the car above does not). Two-litre cars had stiffer suspension, uprated brakes, ABS, lower-profile tires and a different steering rack that had a small ratio as on the 156 but a worsened turning circle, something to do with an attempt to deploy pure Ackerman steering geometry.
The Ti designation was a bit of a cheat on Alfa Romeo’s part. The original meaning of the term was turismo internazionale and was applied to some of Alfa’s more prestigious saloons of the 60s. That was a time when one could believe in the idea of international touring, as for example a fine drive from Dublin to Bordeaux or from Bologna to Brittany. To travel then was, I am convinced, actually very interesting and one felt like an alien when one was beyond one’s borders.
Plastering Ti on a small family hatchback, however sporting it may have been, was trading on the name. Such is the power of the Ti badge in its florid italic script, that I have to work hard to try to forget the dull realities of the car as it is.
It’s a nearly worthless two-decade old front-drive, two-litre, in-line four cylinder car, mechanically identical to any Escort, Golf or Astra. And now it’s parked in front of a pizza delivery place where the entire frontage is made of PVC decals, marring the street around it and cutting out light for those who work within.