Wednesday 12th December 2012


Could a couple of sensible mods have unleashed the hidden promise in the GTA? It's worth a look...

As Dan alluded to in his recent blog, there currently exists a dearth of truly charismatic powerplants. A fact of life in this age of ever stricter emissions and efficiency regulations and one that has claimed some notable scalps. So this Spotted is a tribute to perhaps the saddest demise of them all; the Alfa V6, specifically installed in the 147 GTA.

You'd almost want a transparent bonnet
You'd almost want a transparent bonnet
The 3.2-litre variant of Alfa's V6 can trace its roots back to 1987, when Alfa Racing in South Africa bored and stroked the original 2.5 to 3.0-litres for the 75. The introduction of two camshafts and four valves per cylinder in 1993 lifted power over 200hp, whilst the 3.2 made its debut in 2002.

Nobody on PH needs reminding what a beautiful engine the Alfa V6 is, either to look at, listen or use. The reason this V6-engined 147 deserves special attention is that it may be the GTA that should have originally left the factory.

In 2012, a hot hatch can barely term itself as such without at least 250hp. But in 2003, that was a big power figure for the 147 to be wading into battle with. Moreover, even if 250hp is now a minimum requirement, some sort of advanced suspension tech or LSD-aping driver aid is employed to harness the power.

GTA has aged well looks-wise
GTA has aged well looks-wise
Alfa's attempts at this weren't as successful as today's efforts; the GTA couldn't transmit its power to the road effectively, that wonderful engine overwhelming the 147's chassis. Moreover, the GTA's flaws were ruthlessly exposed by its contemporaries. The first generation Focus RS was demonstrating the effectiveness of its torque-sensing Quaife diff whilst the Golf R32 offered 4WD security with its own sonorous V6.

The simple fact is the 147 GTA wasn't that competitive at its launch, and there's little that rose-tinted nostalgia can do about it. The standard car was good enough, but the chassis failed to match the delights of the engine. But this GTA isn't standard...

Sounds good on paper - worth a closer look?
Sounds good on paper - worth a closer look?
Bizarrely, the first Alfa Romeo fitted with its Q2 limited-slip differential wasn't either of the GTA flagships. In fact, it was first offered in GT and 147 diesels as an option in 2007. But soon the diffs were being retrofitted to V6 petrol cars, like this particular GTA.

Furthermore, the addition of Koni FSD dampers, Eibach anti-roll bars and a Wiechers front strut brace to this 147 can only have improved matters further. This car isn't a touring car replica (cool though that could be), it's a 147 GTA that has been optimised for road use with a set of choice modifications. Of course, it's hard to know without driving how far improved this car is from standard but, honestly, who wouldn't want to find out?

Engine: 3,179cc V6
Transmission: Six-speed manual, FWD
Power (hp): 250@6,200rpm
Torque (lb ft): 221@4,800rpm
MPG: 23
CO2: 287g/km
First registered: 13/09/2004
Recorded mileage: 48,600
Price new: £22,520
Yours for: £7,895

See the original ad here


Author: Matt Bird
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