・Incredibly well maintained with £12k+ of Alfa specialist receipts
There are few more evocative marques than Alfa Romeo and,with the release of the 156 in 1997, Alfa’s ambition was to make the purchase decision one that was lead not just by the heart, but with the head. In particular, Alfa aimed to win over executives who may previously have headed straight to Ford, BMW or Mercedes’ door.
The 156 offered standout good looks, strong driver appeal thanks to its sharp-steering and enough practicality to ensure it was considered by the masses. All of the models performed well but it was the engine in the car featured here which drew the greatest acclaim and admiring smiles… designed in the early 70’s by Giuseppi Busso – originally a design engineer for Ferrari – the V6 (nicknamed the Busso V6) fitted to this Alfa Romeo provided strong performance but, more importantly, one of the greatest soundtracks of any car, let alone executive saloon, of this era. Many refer to the Busso V6 engine as art rather than engineering thanks to its beautiful, chromed manifold and a sound that left its German counterparts blushing.
With many of these Alfa’s having succumbed to number one enemy – corrosion – their numbers have dropped to well below 2,000 making good examples, such as this, a rare sight on the road today. Of course, examples which have survived are also likely to be sound prospects for that very reason.
Available for auction here is an early 1998 Alfa 156 with just over 100,000 miles on the clock and a 6-speed manual gearbox.
Imported from Italy by the first owner, the current keeper is the sixth to have enjoyed it, having purchased it last year with the intention of having it as a car to drive daily and enjoy the task of maintaining its excellent condition. This car has been looked after by the same specialist, Alfa Romeo centre since 2003 with yearly records of upkeep all in the previous owner’s tenure.
An extensive service history accompanies the car with a notable folder of maintenance and service records from the earlier mentioned Alfa Romeo specialists, showing the car to have been maintained meticulously and with no expense spared – the invoices we viewed amount to over £12k worth of work completed in almost as many years. The MOT is up to date, having passed in February with some noted advisories for corrosion, though none of it deemed excessive. Meanwhile, the V5 is present and correct and original owners handbooks are included with the car.
Moving inside, the Alfa Romeo is clothed in a light great leather with dark wood effect dashboard inserts, combing in a classy and quintessential Italian style. The seats are generally in excellent condition and would not look out of place in a far more modern car, the only exception to this condition being the driver’s outer bolster which has some wear to it.
The dashboard trim, dials and switches are all in good condition, only noting a small piece of damage to the drivers’ door card plastic on our inspection and some ‘dead pixels’ on the odometer screen. The seller advises that the stereo works but needs recording and that the rear electric windows are not working – potentially remedied by a simple fuse replacement.
This appears to have been a cared for example of the Italian saloon and – though not without some blemishes – is a great looking car. The metallic blue colour is named in true Italian fashion - ‘Fantasia Azzurro’ – and really does look excellent on the road. There are a few small dings spotted around the car which are to be expected with its age, along with a larger scuff to the offside rear bumper
This condition extends to the underside which looks in good condition for an Alfa of this age and was checked from underneath when recently up on ramps.
The 8-hole wheels, with full-size spare in the boot, are all in great condition and complete with matching tyres with plenty of tread.
Invoices show a relatively recent replacement exhaust, suspension arms, clutch and brake components. The extensive maintenance has resulted in a car which drives – reportedly – without fault and it currently wants for nothing, mechanically. We noted that the car started on the button and ran smoothly for the duration of our inspection with the fantastic sound from the V6 engine demonstrated.
With the guide price indicated, this would make for an affordable yet unusual and enjoyable daily driver. Equality, it’s a seriously strong candidate to be stored away in a collection of modern classics for years to come, especially as these become rarer sights on the road.
Combining stunning looks, a confidence-inspiring service record and that jaw-dropping V6 engine, this Alfa 156 offers a really great chance to get behind the wheel of an Italian modern classic.
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