Probably based on the upcoming Alfa Romeo 149, Duetto is very likely to debut in the Italian automakers' centennial, in 2010

2008 will be marked as the year Alfa Romeo will return to the USA. The car chosen for the task could not be a better one, the 8C Competizione, a fantastic rear-wheel drive sports car powered by a V8 engine able to deliver 450 hp. Anyway, since it will have a limited run of 500 units, and will not be exactly cheap (on the contrary), Alfa could not lean on it for more than a reintroduction to the most important car market of the world. Becoming a welcome guest needs more than that. Known or at least familiar faces are always better received, and Alfa’s most cherished one in the USA is about to get back to life: the Duetto. You can already have an idea on what it will look like with this exclusive illustration from the Road & Track magazine.

Although there is much speculation about the presentation date (some say it will be in 2009, some that it will happen in 2010, the centenary of the Cuore Sportivo’s brand), truth is the Duetto, also known as the Spider, is very familiar to the Americans, especially to the ones that love cinema (do you know any that isn’t?). Along with Dustin Hoffman, this low, small and beautiful roadster was one of the stars of “The Graduate� movie. The 1966 original car is said to be the last work of art on wheels Battista “Pinin� Farina has taken part of. There is so much good memories about it Alfa could not leave the name to the past. But there are also some bad ones the new car will have to cope with.

Reliability is the main one. In the movie, Dustin Hoffman’s character, Benjamin, almost fails to prevent Elaine from getting married because of a fuel gauge that did not show the fuel level correctly. He runs out of gas and has to go to the wedding on foot. This was said to be a common problem, and the Italian automaker doesn’t want its cars to be known because of that anymore.

Duetto’s new base will probably be the same used for the 147’s replacement, the 149, or else, Fiat Bravo’s platform. Engines can range from the 1.4-liter four cylinder turbo, that generates 150 cv, to the 2.2 JTS, able to deliver 185 cv. The new roadster is supposed to measure about 4.30 m in lengh. Former Alfa Romeo’s CEO Antonio Baravelle said it would be a small car, but we have to take into consideration he probably meant that for American standards, not European ones.

Since Bravo is a front-wheel drive vehicle, the new Duetto may not be a rear-wheel drive roadster, as the original was, but we would bet on an all-wheel drive system, prone to be used also in the Integrale version of the upcoming Lancia Delta, which also shares its platform with Fiat Bravo. Since the 149 is expected to arrive in mid-2009, the new vehicle’s release date will very likely be in Alfa Romeo’s centennial, or else, 2010. Duetto will surely be the name chosen for the new car, considering Spider is already in use, for the roadster version of the Brera.

Gallery: Alfa Romeo Duetto Will Get Back to Life and to the USA