Imagine Helmut Newton coming back from a shoot and discovering he’s managed to omit the model.
A little of that level of carelessness applies here since I left out a big part of the main focus on the car’s key feature. My only defence is that these are holiday photos and, anyway, when did you last see one of these in the metal? If you did maybe you’d be too mouth-smashed to keep your head clear too. I was bowled over and perhaps my critical faculties fell out of the window. So we must make of this what we can so will have no choice but to accept a rear interior ashtray only.
The slide show shows the rear passenger ashtray, one per door. It’s a flip-out, lower-hinged parallel motion design. That is, the ashtray moves rotationally around an axis parallel to the aperture. The whole upper edge is a flange to allow the user to pull the tray open. Fitts’ Law and all that.
For the sake of comparison, this is the one from the 2000 Berlina:
You’ll notice it’s the same principle but the ashtray is below the armrest in the 1973 car. I wonder is the unit the exact same in both cars.
The above photo is poor: that’s my fault. I am not Helmut Newton. I can’t even really make out what kind of ashtray is involved. Simply being in an actual Alfa Romeo Alfetta almost overwhelmed me, as I said. I think it might be located under the radio unit. It may be a pull-out tray. Having looked about the Web I realise that this interior is not that well represented so I have failed in my public service duty to make a good, clear image available.
If I had one key point to pound home with the force of a demented steam hammer, it’d be that the interior quality is much better than photos suggest. It is still short of what BMW were offering and about the same as the other mainstream makers. The more one sees of mid 70s interiors the more one realises Mercedes were in a league of their own. Only companies in the Rolls-Royce league had better interiors yet even they could not match the supernatural solidity and tightness of M-B’s work.
Nonethless, if you owned and drove this car that quality difference simply would not figure in your experience of the car. It feels so different haptically from a Ford or an Opel. It’s down to the seating position and the relation to the A-pillars and bonnet.
Particularly if you’be only been in modern cars this seating attitude is all the more marked.
The rear of the car is something of a triumph: snug and unbelievably comfortable. Alfa did a pretty good job of the rear passenger compartments. I have been in a good few of them and they have the same blend of good positioning and comfy upholstering. They compare well to what Citroen and Peugeot managed. And here Benz falls short because most of their rear compartments have peculiarly angled and oddly profiled seats, a bit like cinema seats.
I think one would find a trip in this car more than acceptably cossetting. And you can’t say that about very many mainstream cars today, all of them curse with hard, flat seats as if anyone wants hard, flat seats. There are many mysteries around modern car design. Some can be rationalised by through economic and engineering reasoning. The modern and universal hard, flatness of car seats defies such analysis.