・One of 1,004 selespeed versions made
・Just one UK owner
・Unmodified in super condition throughout
While the ordinary 147 is currently stuck in the limbo that often afflicts 20-year-old Alfa Romeos, the V6 GTA variant does not bear the burden of such an ignominious fate. Launched in 2002, the GTA created a flutter in the motoring press, by virtue of its glorious power plant. In many ways the GTA is all about the engine, Alfa’s trick of shoehorning a V6 into a compact car is by no means original, but the effects are devastatingly entertaining. Along with the larger 156, it was the first Alfa Romeo to use the 24V 3.2-litre engine which in this guise offered an unadulterated 247bhp of joy. Alfa Romeo also adapted the whole car around the engine, with an alloy rear subframe, wider wheel arches and much firmer ride marking this out as something completely removed from its lesser sister.
Finished in pearlescent Bianco Nuvola, this 2004 Japanese import is fitted with the Selespeed gearbox, which was not available on UK spec cars. Japan is a country that doesn’t coat its roads in salt during the winter months, so it has been spared much of the tin-worm afflictions that is evident in similar 147’s of its age. Generally imports from Japan also tend to run lower mileages too, with this GTA displaying a recorded 71,207 KM on the clock, which is just 44,245 miles over 17 years. This eye-catching 147 GTA is a beautifully presented example of a car that will literally knock the blocks of its competitors and one to watch as prices continue to rise.
Sourced from Japan, the car was imported into the UK in 2017, via a specialist who import handpicked head-turners. It was passed on to the current owner two years later and kept in indoor storage since then. The owner has mentioned that they’d take it out for a spin to clear the cobwebs on a regular basis. Importantly while it has not seen many damp rain-filled potholes on UK roads, it has seen a Repxpert fitted timing belt replacement which is backed up with an invoice in 2019. The car was topped up with new anti-freeze and saw an upper suspension arm replaced at the same time.
As with many imported cars from Japan, service and history information tends to be a bit scant but strict Japanese legislation and roadworthiness tests mean that cars are kept in good order and there is no reason to suggest that the GTA is an exception to this rule. There is an invoice for the timing belt work and it will come with an MOT to September 2021 and its V5.
The interior presentation is one that leaves a very positive impression, with no issues of note. The shapely but well-padded racing seats display a little sign of use, with a little minor wear on the drivers bolsters and base of the seat, but the finish and stitching have remained intact. The passenger seat and rear seats are good, with a handful of minor blemishes. All in all, there were no significant cracks or damage to the leather to worry about. The carpet is very clean, with no wear and are all dry. The front door cards are in good condition, with wear noted around both sets of grab handle and switches, a victim of the soft-coated plastic finish of the era rather than careless use.
The dashboard retains its excellent finish with no signs of ageing evident, the plastics on the facia showing no significant marks or damage. The switches and dials are in good condition, and all are said to be functional - although the air-con may need re-gassing. The speedometer and instrumentation are free from visual issues and are said to be fully operational. The steering wheel is in good condition with the gear stick in a similar state. To finish off the pleasing cabin presentation, the headlining is free from any marks or damage and the boot suggests very light use.
Structurally the car is in very good shape, the panel gaps and fit are tight across the car with no obvious signs of poor repair. Both bumpers fit flush against the metal with no mismatching observed. The car is dent free with no scuffs or evidence of damage to the metalwork. The engine bay is solid, with no immediate issues to report on the inner wings, arches and sills. The floor pan is said to be structurally solid. All doors open and close with no obstruction, the door and glass rubbers are in good condition with no signs of perishing.
This all helps to paint a picture of a car in good health and a cherished ownership profile, with the quality of the paintwork confirming the car has seen care over its lifetime. The pearlescent paint is evenly applied throughout the car, with no impediments to the finish which retains a decent lustre throughout, with the natural light capturing the contours nicely. There is a small blemish on the bonnet, looking like a chemical interaction to the paint rather than corrosion and there are micro-bubbles forming around the off-side door handle, but appears to be more paint rather than rust orientated. There is also a little paint loss observed on the passenger door edges and on the off-side edge of the wing where it meets the door, but otherwise free from stone chips, scratches or typical day to day damage. The cars current dry storage and minimal use has ensured it has retained a positive presentation.
The 225/45/17 Dunlop tyres are in decent condition, while all are over 10 years old they retain plenty of tread. The distinctive 17” Teledial alloys are in excellent condition and display no obvious damage. The glass is unmarked throughout, with no chips, cracks or surface damage. A little fogging was evident on the edges of the rear hatchback screen, but certainly not enough to distract and there is no evidence of water ingress. The front headlamp covers are slightly fogged, but could easily be cleaned up and polished without any issues. They are free from cracks. The rear lamps and front fog lights are decent.
Cosmetically, the cars trim, decals and badging are of a decent standard, the eye-catching lower side graphics are in good condition, with a little wear in places but still very presentable. The Japanese owner had added a handful of cloverleaf decals. The chrome grille and door handles are good. The bonnet badge shows a little wear and the rear one has lost much of its laminate but both will be easy and rewarding jobs to replace. The black trim around the doors is good, with a little ageing evident on the 147 GTA decals.
The car fired up straight away, it is regularly started and driven around despite its current lack of everyday use. The engine did not suggest any notable mechanical issues, with no significant knocking or tapping coming from the 3.2-litre V6. The engine ticks over nicely, with the condensation disappearing swiftly after start up. There were no additional issues with the exhaust, asides from a little surface rust but no blowing or unwanted fumes were observed. The gauges all behaved themselves, with no warning lights coming on and the engine displayed no evidence of overheating. The clutchless automated manual Selespeed gearbox is said to work well with no issues. The engine presentation is good, with no signs of neglect of poor maintenance just a little weathering due to storage. These cars do require specialist attention but have a reputation for being hardy if maintained. There is evidence that this one has been through the correct channels to ensure this, with a sticker to suggest it has seen attention to the cambelt being a positive sign. The hoses looked good with no evidence of leaks, with the wiring and other ancillaries intact.
The brake callipers show signs of peeling paint and would benefit from some cosmetic attention but are said to be in full working order. No noises or squeals were evident while the car was being moved, with just a little surface rust on the discs noted as expected on a car that has been through indoor winter storage. As the car moved from its hibernation to the outside world, there were no issues with unwanted suspension noises or creaks coming from the components. The car will need a good run to test the battery, as its charge cannot be guaranteed at the moment but electrically the car did not appear to have any significant issues.
The Alfa Romeo 147 GTA is guaranteed to offer an experience to make your heart skip a beat. Its talents come from the sum of its parts, the driving, the engine, the noise and the badge. With Alfa's reputation for making the world's finest and most charismatic V6 engines, the 147 GTA joins an illustrious armada of Alfa Romeo’s that focuses on driver experience more than anything. That said, the 147 is also practical and well equipped. But knowing that this stylish little car could also outmanoeuvre dozens of supercars at a poke of the throttle is a good enough reason to consider this individual little car.
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