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2003 Alfa Romeo 166 3.0 V6 24V


Highlights


・One of the rarer Alfa Romeo Youngtimers
・Very good original condition
・Just three owners from new

The Background


The Alfa Romeo 166 is a particularly rare breed of car today, and has been pretty much since new. It’s so rare in fact, that a lot of Alfa Romeo aficionados don’t recognise it (just ask the owner of this one). It was conceived as a replacement for the more familiar 164 and launched in October, 1996, with the crisp, clean styling from the Centro Stile Alfa Romeo, under the aegis of Alfa Romeo’s head of design Walter de Silva. The 166 shared the same platform as the then two-year-old Lancia Kappa, but benefitted from substantially overhauled and improved suspension and a wholly original interior.

The 166 was available with a broad range of engines, mainly variations on the Alfa Romeo V6, and from 1998 it began to be offered in right-hand drive. Although the largest engine offered was a 3.2-litre, many buyers’ guides recommend the 3.0 24V engine as the one to have. Although the basic V6 design went back to 1979, the 3.0 24V débuted in 1993, with many new refinements including double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder and a power output of 217bhp.

Sadly, despite handsome looks and a good engine which was well-received across the rest of the Alfa Romeo range, the 166 was never quite the sales success Alfa Romeo had hoped for, especially in overseas markets, even after a modernising facelift in September, 2003. Production ended altogether in 2007 with fewer than 100,000 units sold, which today makes it a rare and unusual, but eminently practical, car for the Alfa Romeo or Youngtimer enthusiast.

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The History


This 166 was originally supplied new to the Ancaster Alfa Romeo dealership in Welling, Kent. Desirably specified with the 3.0 24V V6, power interior and sunshine roof, the story goes that it was bought new by the proprietor of the garage, who was obviously able to provide for it himself and care for all its needs. He then sold it to a friend, also a friend of the vendor, who lived abroad for six months of the year meaning the car was always garaged during the winter months.

The vendor, a member of the Alfa Romeo Owners’ Club, bought it in 2013 and it has given him great pleasure since then. He has taken it on a number of Continental trips and various Alfa Romeo Club events, such as its rally at Beaulieu, while a local garage (an Alfa Romeo specialist) has taken care of maintenance. Used sparingly and always garaged, today the Alfa Romeo looks as good as it ought to for a three-owner car which has been pampered its whole life.

Bidders will note that the car has carried the private registration OIG 1756, but has since been reallocated its original number.

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The Paperwork


In addition to its logbook, the 166 also comes with some MoT certificates, including the most recent dated 17th March, 2021, and various invoices for maintenance undertaken by Deens of Hampton Court, an Alfa Romeo specialist.

Most interestingly, the car retains its original Alfa Romeo owner’s wallet, which contains various original documents including the Owner’s Manual, Integrated Control System guide, Service book, Aftercare booklet, Built-In Security guide, and several supplementary papers.

The Aftercare booklet shows that the car was serviced annually between 2003 and 2007, with later services in 2010 and 2015 (mistakenly entered as 2005). Also included is the original Pre-Delivery Inspection sheet.

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The Interior


Inside, the 166 has been preserved very well, hardly anything in the way of wear and little to give away its age save for the leather of the front seats, which has matured nicely but has a few cracks showing in it. There are a few scratches in evidence on certain plastic parts such as the glove box cover, but in every other respect the car’s interior is astonishingly good. The doors, dash, steering wheel and centre console all present extremely well and the carpets are generally clean.

Even though it is now 18 years old, the interior remains very modern, elegant and luxurious even by today’s standards. The beige MOMO leather upholstery is of a very high-quality, and the subtle Alfa Romeo crests sewn into the seat backrests are a tasteful example of a manufacturer displaying pride in its product. 

There is an abundance of power fittings to make journeys comfortable for the driver and occupants, such as power windows, power seats and power mirrors, not to mention air-conditioning and a radio, CD and cassette player. There is also a satellite navigation system, and included are Alfa Romeo’s own discs surveying Great Britain and France. Other features include a sliding sunshine roof and rear-window sun blind. The vendor advises that everything is in working order save for the central locking in the rear offside door, but it can still be locked manually from within.

The boot is equally clean and well-presented, not to mention particularly cavernous. Contained under the floor are the spare wheel and jack. An interesting feature is an opening portal between the boot and rear seats which allows for long loads to be carried. As this is an Alfa Romeo, we suspect such a long load to be skis rather than planks of four-by-two, but you may use it as you see fit.

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The Exterior


This Alfa Romeo is remarkable for an 18-year-old car, with the exterior being in such excellent original condition. Finished in the attractive hue of Blue Odissea, the paint still retains a real depth and has barely suffered over its lifetime. Of course, one cannot expect perfection from a car that has seen regular use, and there are a few very light scratches and cracks in the paint on the bumpers, but these are very few in number and actually very hard to perceive in most lights owing to the colour of the car.

Elsewhere in the car, everything has survived very well. The chrome still has a bright shine, and though there is a light patina on the door handles, the grille surround looks just like new. Two rear light lenses have taken on a crazed appearance, though this appears superficial, and in most respects all the glass is excellent. The alloy wheels, too, are clean and highly presentable, with just some very light scuffs around the rims.

Underneath, we are satisfied that the car appears extremely solid, as any car which has always been well protected from the weather ought to.

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The Mechanics


Initially, one might think the most remarkable thing about this car is how well it drives. As a passenger, one can scarcely perceive it moving away, so smooth is the ride and so quiet the engine. Then, however, one opens the bonnet and is immediately taken aback by the beauty of the V6 block.

The 166 was built at a time when it was becoming commonplace for manufacturers to finish their engines off with dull, matt black cylinder heads and then hide them completely beneath a sheet of plastic. Alfa Romeo was having none of that – with the 166’s engine bay we behold a vision of potency and engineering passion, with the ‘Alfa Romeo V6 24V’ script on the cylinder heads proudly picked out in rosso corsa and a brilliant shine from the polished manifold pipes.

We note that when the car was issued with its MoT certificate in March of this year, there were no advisory notes, so we are satisfied that everything should be in order from a safety perspective. With power steering and an automatic gearbox, too, we believe this should be a lovely car to drive for many thousands of miles.

The Appeal


“That needs to go with the 164s!”
“No, it’s a 156…”

These are the kind of remarks one hears at Alfa Romeo events when one drives a model so rare that it’s unfamiliar even to those in the know. If you like rarity and having a car which leaves others scratching their heads, the 166 is probably the ideal car for you. 

Of greater importance, though, is the fact that it is a very good-looking car approaching modern-classic status, with a crispness to its appearance which is distinctly Italian and encapsulates the country’s design vogue at the end of the 20th century. 

Moreover, it possesses one of the most handsome engines of any modern car and it’s reliable and usable, too. Still going strong after 18 years and 64,000 miles, this is a stylish car to serve you well into the future.


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Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 2003
  • Make Alfa Romeo
  • Model 166
  • Colour Blue
  • Odometer 64,404 Miles
  • Engine size 2959
  • Location Surrey
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
7 bids from 5 bidders
  • m4.affi•••• £2,100 30/11/21
  • neznoz7•••• £1,950 30/11/21
  • m4.affi•••• £1,700 28/11/21
  • Richard•••• £1,500 28/11/21
  • TIO £1,300 28/11/21
  • Richard•••• £1,200 26/11/21
  • The Col•••• £1,000 26/11/21

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