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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So this isn't the typical comparison, but here's my anecdotal opinions...
I drove my '92 164S to the dealer to pick up the Giulia today and did some road testing on the way back and later on in the evening. Here's some (semi-serious) comparisons:
1) Engine: Well, the 164 certainly sounds better and I have 100% stock exhaust on it... You're going slower but it's also more linear. There's really no substitute for the song of the Busso V6. The power is greater in the Giulia for sure. I hit rather high speeds inadvertently in the Giulia whereas in the 164 you definitely feel/hear each mph when you put the pedal down. Edge: 164S.
2) Exhaust: Again, the sounds are just better on the 164. Giulia sounds a bit pedestrian by comparison. Perhaps I'll have to install an upgraded system, but I believe tastes have changed and so have the sound goals. Edge: 164S
3) Transmission: One is a manual and one isn't. The reason I didn't buy a Giulia until recently. Clear Winner: 164S
4) Steering: It's rather nice not having torque steer... The Giulia feels so much more direct and the quickness and precision is really amazing. A turning radius that is smaller than a city block is nice as well. Edge: Giulia.
5) Interior: The 90's called, they want their car back. This one's obvious. I'm so impressed by the soft leather and advanced ergonomics in the Giulia. I also have a '93 Audi V8 Quattro, which proves that Alfa was behind the times even in '92 on interiors. Giulia's interior is a wonderful place to be. Edge: Giulia
6) HVAC: Despite spending more than the car's value on cooling system and A/C components, it's still just mediocre on my 164. The dual zone climate control is really nice on the Giulia. Edge: Giulia
7) Suspension: Giulia can handle big bumps with aplomb and holds the road very well. The 164 is lowered on Intrex springs with stiff Koni yellows on all four corners and still doesn't feel as good. I may consider lowering the Giulia to deal with the body roll a bit, but for now I'd say for sure, Edge: Giulia
8) Cooling Fan Motor Longevity: Giulia had better win this one. Tired of replacing fuses in my melted fan fuse block and rebuilding the motors that sit right next to the exhaust manifold. Edge: TBD...
9) Looks: Giulia is drop dead gorgeous and will remain so forever. Proof that carmakers can still be original in their designs. I was beginning to lose hope in the sea of Priuses, Chevy Cobalts, F-150s and Subarus. 164S is looking a bit dated these days. The Pininfarina shape is still nice and I like the crispness of the lines, but this one's obvious. Edge: Giulia
10) Overall: They're different cars aiming for the same market in different eras. I think adjusted for inflation the price of the 164S was a bit higher than what I paid for Giulia on Friday, proving the steady improvement in cars over time. Inflation adjusted it comes out to about $60k, comparable to a fully equipped Ti-Sport (not what I bought). Sometimes you just want a more involved driving experience, however, and that's why I'm keeping the 164S. The Giulia is going to be a perfect car to commute and do trips in (curves and no curves), whereas the 164 makes a great "all-in" backroads companion.
I know this isn't really helpful to anyone who is considering buying, but perhaps you'll be entertained as I was by comparing the last Alfa sedan in the US with their new re-entry.
 

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I'm with you on nearly all points, having owned a '95 164Q. The 164 was a sport/executive sedan but the Giulia is a 4-door Cayman. The 164 was a solid, and despite being sporty for its weight, heavy sedan carrying one of the most wonderful engines ever. I really had the sense that the engine was a separate entity, allowing me to bask in its presence while it deigned to take me and the rest of the car along for the ride. Which was cool; I was happy to put that engine on a pedestal and worship at its feet.

The Giulia on the other hand seems to me to be a perfectly integrated whole, where though the engine (in the 2 liter at least) isn't a stand out, it seems to exist in a symbiotic relationship with the chassis, making them seem a harmonious whole, propelling the car seamlessly and effortlessly. Which is also cool. And while an aftermarket exhaust isn't going to make it sound like a Busso of course, I do get a nice growl with my REMUS when I accelerate. Also, though I'm with you in preferring a manual in general, I think the ZF 8-spd the ideal transmission for this car.

I don't know that I agree with you on the interior being behind the times. The 1st gen 164s like yours were introduced in '87 I believe (though not until '91 in U.S.), and while that interior became dated quickly, it compares well enough to late '80s cars IMO. The redesigned interior of the 24V cars, first seen here MY '94, have held up much better and were pretty nice compared to the other mid '90s cars I knew. An Audi V8 Quattro is a tough standard of comparison.

Also with wanting a manual/NA engine Alfa in the wings for weekend drives. Of the three older Alfas I've got, my wife wants me to give up two, and I'm really struggling with which ones to let go as I like them all.

In summary, as much as I enjoyed and admired the 164Q, the Giulia puts a bigger smile on my face, which in the end is the most important thing a car can do for you IMO. That Alfa's reversed the typical trend by making the newer car more fun than its ancestor is the amazing thing.

p.s. one more plus for the Giulia... no 30K mile timing belt!
 

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comparing the S version to the 4 cylinder is a bit wrong - but it is what you are comparing in your life/ownership. I compared my stelvio quad to memories of my gtv and a big yamaha.

I rented a 4 cylinder 164 in Italy, and although it was a nice revving/running engine, it isn't a busso v6.
but with less torque steer and steering wheel tugging, and less weight on the front, it lessened some of the issues I had when test driving 164s and later models
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
LostGTV, you have a point about comparing the 6-Cyl 164S with the Giulia 4-cyl, nonetheless I did some price research and here's what came out. NADA states that the original MSRP of my '92 S was $34,990, which equates to $62,755 in 2018 (July to July) when using the CPI inflation adjustment. This puts it right at the upper end of the 4-cyl Giulia range but still well below the Quad. The cheapest one here in Denver is $75k. The price I paid on my Giulia Base is more in line with the non inflation adjusted 164S price, but I don't really think there's going to be a huge difference as long as the engine is the same within the non-quadrifoglio range. I have a GTV as well, and I would say it's really too different to compare. Both are wonderful cars, but I chose the 164 because it's much closer in age and feel to the Giulia.

Jim, thanks for the thoughts. I'll have to live with the 8-spd for a little longer to see if I grow to like it. The redesigned interior is a bit more current for the 24V cars, and yes the Audi is a high standard to compare against. Anyways, I love both the 164 and the Giulia, and by your list of cars, I wouldn't get rid of any (except perhaps the Odyssey, but I understand the need for practicality). Good choices on the Alfas for sure. I had a '92 Spider in Hawaii that I really liked.
 
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LostGTV, you have a point about comparing the 6-Cyl 164S with the Giulia 4-cyl, nonetheless I did some price research and here's what came out. NADA states that the original MSRP of my '92 S was $34,990, which equates to $62,755 in 2018 (July to July) when using the CPI inflation adjustment. This puts it right at the upper end of the 4-cyl Giulia range but still well below the Quad. The cheapest one here in Denver is $75k. The price I paid on my Giulia Base is more in line with the non inflation adjusted 164S price, but I don't really think there's going to be a huge difference as long as the engine is the same within the non-quadrifoglio range. I have a GTV as well, and I would say it's really too different to compare. Both are wonderful cars, but I chose the 164 because it's much closer in age and feel to the Giulia.

Jim, thanks for the thoughts. I'll have to live with the 8-spd for a little longer to see if I grow to like it. The redesigned interior is a bit more current for the 24V cars, and yes the Audi is a high standard to compare against. Anyways, I love both the 164 and the Giulia, and by your list of cars, I wouldn't get rid of any (except perhaps the Odyssey, but I understand the need for practicality). Good choices on the Alfas for sure. I had a '92 Spider in Hawaii that I really liked.
I am not sure if just doing a CPI analysis works. Instead I think one should look at the mean cost of a car back then compared to today. I suspect the mean today is higher than the mean then because a lot more of the cost of a car nowadays relates to all the additional safety equipment added to the price of a car. Though manufacturing processing may be more efficient nowadays. Any statisticians out there?
 

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and I used my 205/60 GTV as it has the same on rails feel, and the Alfetta was softer and leaned a lot more .... but I think any Alfa point of reference is a good thing, and all of them feel like Alfa's which is also a good thing.
I do find the paddles in manual mode a reasonable substitute for a stick
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I was hoping no one would say anything about the CPI... I know average prices have gone up. Example A being my E-Type Jaguar. MSRP = $5725 in 1969. CPI adjusted price equals $39,202 in 2018. The six-cylinder F-Type which is certainly the modern equivalent goes for $68,850. Another way of looking at it would be to compare to median income and figure out what the ratio is of the prices in various years. In 2017, the average median income in the USA was $56,516. A Giulia base model at $42,000 is 74.31% of the median income. In 1992, the real median household income in the USA was $51,390. The base price of the 164S at $34,990 is 68.01% of that. So cars have indeed gotten more expensive, holding Alfa sports sedans as a constant, and the median income hasn't kept pace with inflation... I do dabble in statistics, particularly economic ones.
 

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Yeah not totally fair comparing the awesome v6 apex engine of the day to the modern 4 cylinder. Still on paper the new engine does just about everything better than the old v6 except the subjective things like the sound and feel stuff. Also that old v6 probably made you want to pop the hood all the time just to look at the polished intakes. Even the new QV is plastic with the painted silver “pipes” as a nod to that engine’s aesthetic. The best thing though about the Giulia from base model to QV is their shared RWD platform and fantastic steering and all the underpinnings are top notch. No cheapo struts or front-driver compromises anywhere to be found. The engine may be the heart of the car but without that chassis the car would have no soul...
 

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I was hoping no one would say anything about the CPI... I know average prices have gone up. Example A being my E-Type Jaguar. MSRP = $5725 in 1969. CPI adjusted price equals $39,202 in 2018. The six-cylinder F-Type which is certainly the modern equivalent goes for $68,850. Another way of looking at it would be to compare to median income and figure out what the ratio is of the prices in various years. In 2017, the average median income in the USA was $56,516. A Giulia base model at $42,000 is 74.31% of the median income. In 1992, the real median household income in the USA was $51,390. The base price of the 164S at $34,990 is 68.01% of that. So cars have indeed gotten more expensive, holding Alfa sports sedans as a constant, and the median income hasn't kept pace with inflation... I do dabble in statistics, particularly economic ones.
Yeah well the fact that used cars are so much more important to the market and the growing prevalence of leasing means more used cars with with low mileage of late model years are always coming on the market which only serves to drive up new car costs etc. I think nearly 1/3 of all US sales are now leases. Back in ‘92 it was a paulrty 8.6%!
 

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I never owned a 164 but wished I did.


Thanks
 

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So this isn't the typical comparison, but here's my anecdotal opinions...
I drove my '92 164S to the dealer to pick up the Giulia today and did some road testing on the way back and later on in the evening. Here's some (semi-serious) comparisons:
1) Engine: Well, the 164 certainly sounds better and I have 100% stock exhaust on it... You're going slower but it's also more linear. There's really no substitute for the song of the Busso V6. The power is greater in the Giulia for sure. I hit rather high speeds inadvertently in the Giulia whereas in the 164 you definitely feel/hear each mph when you put the pedal down. Edge: 164S.
2) Exhaust: Again, the sounds are just better on the 164. Giulia sounds a bit pedestrian by comparison. Perhaps I'll have to install an upgraded system, but I believe tastes have changed and so have the sound goals. Edge: 164S
3) Transmission: One is a manual and one isn't. The reason I didn't buy a Giulia until recently. Clear Winner: 164S
4) Steering: It's rather nice not having torque steer... The Giulia feels so much more direct and the quickness and precision is really amazing. A turning radius that is smaller than a city block is nice as well. Edge: Giulia.
5) Interior: The 90's called, they want their car back. This one's obvious. I'm so impressed by the soft leather and advanced ergonomics in the Giulia. I also have a '93 Audi V8 Quattro, which proves that Alfa was behind the times even in '92 on interiors. Giulia's interior is a wonderful place to be. Edge: Giulia
6) HVAC: Despite spending more than the car's value on cooling system and A/C components, it's still just mediocre on my 164. The dual zone climate control is really nice on the Giulia. Edge: Giulia
7) Suspension: Giulia can handle big bumps with aplomb and holds the road very well. The 164 is lowered on Intrex springs with stiff Koni yellows on all four corners and still doesn't feel as good. I may consider lowering the Giulia to deal with the body roll a bit, but for now I'd say for sure, Edge: Giulia
8) Cooling Fan Motor Longevity: Giulia had better win this one. Tired of replacing fuses in my melted fan fuse block and rebuilding the motors that sit right next to the exhaust manifold. Edge: TBD...
9) Looks: Giulia is drop dead gorgeous and will remain so forever. Proof that carmakers can still be original in their designs. I was beginning to lose hope in the sea of Priuses, Chevy Cobalts, F-150s and Subarus. 164S is looking a bit dated these days. The Pininfarina shape is still nice and I like the crispness of the lines, but this one's obvious. Edge: Giulia
10) Overall: They're different cars aiming for the same market in different eras. I think adjusted for inflation the price of the 164S was a bit higher than what I paid for Giulia on Friday, proving the steady improvement in cars over time. Inflation adjusted it comes out to about $60k, comparable to a fully equipped Ti-Sport (not what I bought). Sometimes you just want a more involved driving experience, however, and that's why I'm keeping the 164S. The Giulia is going to be a perfect car to commute and do trips in (curves and no curves), whereas the 164 makes a great "all-in" backroads companion.
I know this isn't really helpful to anyone who is considering buying, but perhaps you'll be entertained as I was by comparing the last Alfa sedan in the US with their new re-entry.
I agree. The 164 is a fantastic sounding and performing car. It also has great looks but yes is showing it's age. Nothing wrong with that as I love Mid-century modern things and I feel this car will be something to that effect.

I just sold mine after 22 years of owning and have moved into a Giulia ti Q4. Love it. It's amazing and good looking. The sound compared to the Busso is not comparable but with a little help the 4cyl. can sound pretty dang nice. I'd love to keep the 164 but it's time to move on for me. Still a 164 fan, always! Fantastic car!

I also agree with the lowering of the 164. Looks great but comfort is lost. I don't plan on lowering the giulia at this point as it is pretty low as it is. At least mine is. The handling is out of this world and I see not real improvements to the car besides tires, pedal software, exhaust and maybe some slight boost in power. All things I have and will be carrying. Working on exhaust systems now. The giulia sounds great with a more open exhaust.
 

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So this isn't the typical comparison, but here's my anecdotal opinions...
I drove my '92 164S to the dealer to pick up the Giulia today and did some road testing on the way back and later on in the evening. Here's some (semi-serious) comparisons:
1) Engine: Well, the 164 certainly sounds better and I have 100% stock exhaust on it... You're going slower but it's also more linear. There's really no substitute for the song of the Busso V6. The power is greater in the Giulia for sure. I hit rather high speeds inadvertently in the Giulia whereas in the 164 you definitely feel/hear each mph when you put the pedal down. Edge: 164S.
2) Exhaust: Again, the sounds are just better on the 164. Giulia sounds a bit pedestrian by comparison. Perhaps I'll have to install an upgraded system, but I believe tastes have changed and so have the sound goals. Edge: 164S
3) Transmission: One is a manual and one isn't. The reason I didn't buy a Giulia until recently. Clear Winner: 164S
4) Steering: It's rather nice not having torque steer... The Giulia feels so much more direct and the quickness and precision is really amazing. A turning radius that is smaller than a city block is nice as well. Edge: Giulia.
5) Interior: The 90's called, they want their car back. This one's obvious. I'm so impressed by the soft leather and advanced ergonomics in the Giulia. I also have a '93 Audi V8 Quattro, which proves that Alfa was behind the times even in '92 on interiors. Giulia's interior is a wonderful place to be. Edge: Giulia
6) HVAC: Despite spending more than the car's value on cooling system and A/C components, it's still just mediocre on my 164. The dual zone climate control is really nice on the Giulia. Edge: Giulia
7) Suspension: Giulia can handle big bumps with aplomb and holds the road very well. The 164 is lowered on Intrex springs with stiff Koni yellows on all four corners and still doesn't feel as good. I may consider lowering the Giulia to deal with the body roll a bit, but for now I'd say for sure, Edge: Giulia
8) Cooling Fan Motor Longevity: Giulia had better win this one. Tired of replacing fuses in my melted fan fuse block and rebuilding the motors that sit right next to the exhaust manifold. Edge: TBD...
9) Looks: Giulia is drop dead gorgeous and will remain so forever. Proof that carmakers can still be original in their designs. I was beginning to lose hope in the sea of Priuses, Chevy Cobalts, F-150s and Subarus. 164S is looking a bit dated these days. The Pininfarina shape is still nice and I like the crispness of the lines, but this one's obvious. Edge: Giulia
10) Overall: They're different cars aiming for the same market in different eras. I think adjusted for inflation the price of the 164S was a bit higher than what I paid for Giulia on Friday, proving the steady improvement in cars over time. Inflation adjusted it comes out to about $60k, comparable to a fully equipped Ti-Sport (not what I bought). Sometimes you just want a more involved driving experience, however, and that's why I'm keeping the 164S. The Giulia is going to be a perfect car to commute and do trips in (curves and no curves), whereas the 164 makes a great "all-in" backroads companion.
I know this isn't really helpful to anyone who is considering buying, but perhaps you'll be entertained as I was by comparing the last Alfa sedan in the US with their new re-entry.
Thanks for this Alfisti. Although I don't have my Giulia yet have had the opportunity to do some extensive test drives and it is sublime and believe your comparisons with the 164 are spot on. My favorite car remains my GTV6 for being so involving on every level and being smaller than the 164 was more tossable and nimble. Despite a couple blown head gaskets and 2nd gear synchro replacements it was my daily car for 70k...With the inboard rear brakes and rear transaxle, Bosch FI and DiDion suspension it was pretty advanced and Oh that sublime engine and exhaust sound...If it wasn't for that rust prone Russian steel, think I would still have it...Still, an Alfa is an Alfa and I'm sure my new Giulia will bring me much joy and rekindle memories of my old GTV6...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the replies! I'm deciding whether to keep my 164S at this point. I just ordered stock springs so that should help. I just love my manual '93 Audi V8 and it's so useful in the winter. I have used my 164 like Tazio for 65k plus miles at this point. It lost the serpentine tensioner while I was driving the other day which was unfortunate but pretty easy to fix. All better now and back on the road. We will certainly be keeping the Giulia past 100k though so there will be no shortage of Alfa sedan in my garage.
 

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I have driven well over 200,000 miles in 164's, first a 91 L and later a 94 Q which I still have. I mostly agree with all the opinions expressed except the 164 is quite a bit smaller and a little lighter in weight than the my 17 Q4. But the weight is distributed much better in the Giulia making it feel lighter and more responsive. But the 164Q is still a very special car and it wasn't until quite recently that it started to feel a little out of date compared to new cars. I also disagree with the comment about torque steer in the 164. The combination of unusual steering geometry (4* caster, 2+* camber), equal length drive shafts, and a reaction strut built into the steering rack of the Q prevented torque steer very effectively. I've had the Q on the race track and it is very neutral and handles like a bigger and faster hot hatch. It would need a limited slip diff and bigger brakes to actually race, but the handling is exceptional for a road car.

Regarding pricing, Alfa has always been a premium car. Here are the new prices of my current Alfa garage:

73 GTV2000 $5,544 (about the same as a 911, E-Type, or Corvette)
94 164Q $38,055 (about the same as a C280, 9000 Aero, or M3)
17 Giulia Q4 $50,585
 
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wow, Greg, I couldn't disagree more - I WANTED a 164, until I test drove an S, and the fwd was just too apparent in every way. sure, it was propbaly better than other fwd, but there is no mistaking it.
later I tried the Q version - same deal, no deal.
it wasn't so bad that I didn't jump at the chance to rent one for an Italian trip, and a Brea in the UK (both 4cyl, nice engine) - and nice as it was to be driving a new Alfa, neither of those very extended test drives made me want to come home and get one.
I do want that V6, to put in something
 

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wow, Greg, I couldn't disagree more - I WANTED a 164, until I test drove an S, and the fwd was just too apparent in every way. sure, it was propbaly better than other fwd, but there is no mistaking it.
later I tried the Q version - same deal, no deal.
it wasn't so bad that I didn't jump at the chance to rent one for an Italian trip, and a Brea in the UK (both 4cyl, nice engine) - and nice as it was to be driving a new Alfa, neither of those very extended test drives made me want to come home and get one.
I do want that V6, to put in something
Test driving and owning are two different things. I agree with Greg. There is some Tq/steer, especially with larger width tires like I had. But I think once you own one you become one with this car and understand it's capabilities and it's inabilities. It's not a Bertone GT or GTV6. It's a larger sedan that feels small and light. Like Greg states, if for racing, it would need a Q2. I installed one on mine and it it was night and day different. No tq/st at all period. Grips like mad and transformed the car into a maniac around corners, off the line and so on. For the price and install of a Q2 in this car it's a bargain and the 164 is a great car regardless of the FWD hate train. The V6 is an amazing engine and the 164 is a great car to drive, especially on the highway and twisty's. It has it's faults like any car especially if you have the wrong mechanic or cannot wrench on it yourself.

The giulia is no comparison in my opinion. It's just light years ahead of the 164, ok 24-30 years ahead! ;) The 164 is great still and for it's time. How many awesome features did you get on a fully loaded 164Q. Crazy amounts and tons of leather, electronic suspension. Nice car but it has aged a lot.

I just sold mine and shipped it off yesterday to new owner. The age is showing. Not only in interior and exterior design but chassis fatigue as well. Things are nit lining up well anymore but overall the car was built very well. I might say it is more sturdy than this new giulia.

Anyway, let's not compare cars from 1990 to 2019. Thats a huge difference in technology. Both are what they are. Great for what they are. ;) I am huge 164 fan! Always will be.
 

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'test driving and owning are two different things"

that's why I mentioned the two I "owned" on road trip vacations, 3 weeks with the big 4 door, 2 with the little coupe.
if anything could have changed my mind, those trips should have done it. nice, fun, but no hiding that they are fwd - and these were better than the v6 in that regard being less nose heavy and powerful.
oh, for the record, everything worked and nothing broke on either rental.
 

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'test driving and owning are two different things"

that's why I mentioned the two I "owned" on road trip vacations, 3 weeks with the big 4 door, 2 with the little coupe.
if anything could have changed my mind, those trips should have done it. nice, fun, but no hiding that they are fwd - and these were better than the v6 in that regard being less nose heavy and powerful.
oh, for the record, everything worked and nothing broke on either rental.
haha!

"oh, for the record, everything worked and nothing broke on either rental."

This is where "test driving and owning are two different things" comes into effect. ;)

One reason I sold mine was not just to move on from the 164 but I was tired of working on it. I had no time anymore. I love my Giulia and it is a much better vehicle in some ways than the 164. Again the 164 is a fantastic and beautiful car for 1990.
 

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yeah, I;ve had a few ten years cars, and I had my GTV over 20 years - but that wasn't the point. it was handling impressions, and I think I have enough time in fwd versions to make a fair assessment.
obviously if someone likes fwd attributes they would love the 164 et al as they are about as good as that layout gets.
 
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