Ashtrays: 1982 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8

Recently I had a chance to be a passenger in an Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8 and took the chance to see how they solved the ash problem.

1982 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8 ashtray open
1982 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8 ashtray open

The ashtray is the sliding lid type, rather cleverly flush with the surrounding surface. That’s done by having the adjacent panel meeting the console exactly where the ashtray slides forward. There’s a small flange to allow the user to push the lid forward to open it. It’s probably not the world´s biggest ashtray but then again it’s a compact car, comparable in dimensions to a BMW 3 (E21 1975-1983) of the same period. It would be a bit much to

1982 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8 ashtray, open
1982 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8 ashtray, open

expect anything more substantial. The materials and detail design are very much of the period: hard plastics and sharp edges here and there. I have written elsewhere that the Italians and French seem to have had a harder time than others learning how to construct interiors from the new

1982 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8
1982 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8

materials of the 1970s and 1980s. However, with the passage of time this kind of thing becomes less important and the underlying nature of the car comes out. One can see the general theme the designers were getting at plus the fact that they did a good job of carving room for the driver and passenger out of a small volume. They also had more opportunity for fun with fabrics. This car has a cheerful brown and white tweed material covering the comfortable and supportive seats.

I’ll return at a later time to the matter of the rest of the car which served as another reminder of what got thrown away as cars got bigger. The Alfa Romeo Giulietta had a strong sporty character, provided a lot of room and yet didn’t take up a lot of road space. Nimble and agile sums it up and with a light body and a 1.8 litre engine driving the rear wheels it does make me wonder why VAG, for example, never made more of the sporting potential of their small Polo and Cordoba saloons which are of comparable size. The current Giulietta is certainly not a true successor to this car. BMW has done very nicely selling its little BMW 1-series coupe. If it’s done right people will buy a small, sporty saloon.

[Many thanks to F.Kemple for the chance to look at and travel in the Alfa Romeo.]

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

5 thoughts on “Ashtrays: 1982 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8”

  1. Some years back I thought fairly seriously about buying what had to be one of the best remaining Giuliettas in Australia at a criminally knock-down price. It was absolutely mint inside and out and had the hallmarks of a slightly anal-retentive owner – exactly the sort of person you want to buy an old Italian car from. I eventually turned it down based solely on the fact that I had nowhere to put it and I couldn’t in good conscience leave it outside to deteriorate. In any case, it was the first transaxle Alfa I’d ever driven and in what I have to imagine was the sort of condition that a buyer would have got it off the showroom floor – totally sorted and standard, the only tweak being the addition of air-bags in the rear springs to damp bounce a touch. I am not easily impressed but I have to say the handling balance was truly spot-on and really opened my eyes to what is possible in a car like this. I’m not even slightly interested in hanging the tail out but driving that Giulietta really was a surprise because it was responsive to throttle and steering input in a way I’d never experienced before. Naturally the other parts of the transaxle Alfa myth also held up and the gearchange was genuinely diabolical. Regardless, I like these very much. I actually think the styling has matured very well and the compact size makes it much handier on real roads than the Alfetta-sized cars.

    1. I was only sitting in the passenger seat so it’s hard for me to say a lot. That said, the car had a sense of chuckability and the correlation between the road’s path and what the car did matched. If I think about sitting in, say, a Volvo, the car’s motions and what you expect are not much alligned. The Alfa made me think: lively, light, responsive. The inertia you feel in a modern car was absent.

  2. Excuse my off-messageness, but I’m distracted from the butt-depository by the radio cassette. Pioneer, I think, and LW/MW only – no FM. Thinking back, my ’81 Audi 80 was the first car I had with FM, a Blaupunkt Stockholm with auto-reverse, but manual tuning only. Its predecessor, a Polo 86C had a Blaupunkt Hamburg with push buttons but only MW and LW.

    We’re spoiled these days on the in-car entertainment matter, not so sure about the ashtrays.

    1. Digressing further, back in the 60s, my Dad had a Jaguar fitted with a Bluespot (back then it was helpfully translated for us Anglophones) radio fitted with auto-seek tuning. Press the button and this electro-mechanical device hummed as an internal motor physically turned the manual tuner until a station was found. An event every time -these new-fangled microprocessors have spoilt everything.

  3. Analogue technology wasn’t intended to be fun but was. I have a 1950s radio where the signal strength is indicated by a glowing green circle. It’s a cathode ray tube (I think) and as signal strength increases the circle gets smaller and sharper.
    The tuners on modern radios are uniformly awful: no haptic quality and ergonomically poor.

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