RE: Alfa Romeo 159 | Shed of the Week

RE: Alfa Romeo 159 | Shed of the Week

Friday 13th May

Alfa Romeo 159 | Shed of the Week

The 159's beauty was more than skin deep, which will be worth remembering for this one...


From a distance, and from the right angle (of which there are many on the Giugiaro-designed Alfa 159) this week's Shed looks like a cracker. It's a good spec and it has a good paint/upholstery combo. The MOT certificate lasts to the end of next April and is completely clean. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the bodywork. In parts, principally but not restricted to the bootlid which looks like a discarded sweet wrapper, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the students at a metalwork evening class have been gleefully using it to practice their year-one peening skills.

Shed used to be a dab hand with the old flap peener. Mrs Shed confiscated his specialist tools after she misunderstood what he was talking about, but he remembers enough about the process of teasing sheet metal into sexy shapes to know that it takes some doing to get a panel into the sort of the state you're looking at here.

How do you suppose they got it to look like that? In fairness, both of the Mk2 MX-5s owned by Shed had their bootlids ruined by him forgetting to lie down the bottles of Scruttocks Old Dirigible Ale he'd bunged in there. You could understand one dent, maybe even two, but how so many? Could it have been the result of a single event, and if so, what? Rammed from behind by a forklift carrying an extremely random collection of hard plastic toys? Or just beaten with a blunt instrument? And talking of flaps, which we were a minute ago, why is the fuel flap slightly ajar?  

We'll probably never know. The vendor, perhaps wisely, opts not to speculate on any of this. What we do know is that the 159 was on sale between 2005 and 2011, and that it was the successor to the 156 and the precursor to the current Giulia. Many of those who have driven both the 156 and the 159 would be hard pressed to agree that the 159 represented an improvement over its predecessor in the handling department. There was nothing particularly bad about the 159, but in terms of general handling and especially steering it had big boots to fill.

The 156 was a kind of eureka moment for Alfa. Sure, it had significant quality issues – Shed remembers having to step through a large loop of unattached door seal, skip-rope style, in order to access the driver's seat of the UK press car – but as a pure driving proposition it was Alfa's Ford Focus, a properly joyous thing to rampage around in with the 2.5 V6 installed or, of course, the epic 250hp 3.2 in the now horribly expensive GTA.

Alfa was in a sink or swim situation in the 2000s. Folk wanted durable but dull diesels rather than tuneful but thirsty petrols. For the last year of their lives the diesel 159s got a new 2.0 unit with 170hp and 266lb ft at 1,750rpm, but our 2006 example has the more powerful of the two 1.9 diesels that were available at the time, the 150hp lump with 236lb ft at 2,000rpm and 16 valves (there was an 8-valve version with 120hp/207lb ft). The 150hp unit gave it a 0-62mph time that nearly dropped into single figures, a top speed of 130mph and combined fuel consumption of 47.1mpg. Again, none of this dry stuff really heats the blood, but in its defence the 159 did move Alfa's quality game on quite a bit, if not the emotional game.

Body panels aside, this £1,499 example seems to have lasted the course reasonably well. The vendor tells us that this one a top-spec Turismo. Shed reckons he might be wrong on both counts. He thinks it's a Lusso. They came with leather, not cloth, and they had this type of alloy wheel.

Before you rush to your keyboard to express outrage at the price, please first rush to the classified ads to swig a bitter spoonful of reality. Used car values have rocketed of late. With bodywork like this our Shed would probably have been well under a grand only a year or so ago. Moderate mileage petrol 159s of around the 2009 vintage are now going for £3k and more. Shed found no shortage of 60-70,000 mile 159s for more than £7,000, and even a few everyday-engined ones at over £8,000.  

In those classified ads for 159s you'll find quite a few with rust nibbling away in odd places like the leading edge of the bonnet. Diesel ECUs pack up and nifty features such as cruise control and, er, windscreen wipers conk out. Brakes can be troublesome and expensive to mend. Wonky tracking will cause premature tyre wear. Turbos run dry and blow up, as can power steering pumps. If the water pump seizes it will most likely take out the timing belt as well as its own belt. That could happen quite early on in a 159's life at around 40,000 miles, so you'd want to check the paperwork on this 110,000-miler to see what's been replaced and what hasn't. Belts and pumps should be changed every four years or 40,000 miles at the outside. Shed has been wearing the same belt and pumps for the last 47 years so don't get anywhere near his feet on a hot day.


Here's the full ad

Author
Discussion

Tyre Smoke

Original Poster:

21,418 posts

238 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
Yes, yes and again yes.

Love an Alfa. Had a 156 2.0 Twinspark. Great car. Wouldn't ever say no to another.

Just not sure about rhe red leather. I know everyone lists after it, but like E Type Jags, I just don't get it.

JottoSW1

4 posts

3 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
Looks nice at a distance, wonder how long a replacement ECU would be available. If you're going to have a money pit Alfa you'd want a V6 really - wouldn't you ???

lb3nson

235 posts

66 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
Much better than last weeks Toyota. I had a 2.4JTDM 159 and although it wasn’t without it’s faults it was a bloody lovely car to drive, especially long distance.
Not to mention they look fantastic.

Wren-went

285 posts

15 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
As sheds go at still inflated prices £1500 for this Alfa doesn't seem so ridiculous, I've got the same 16v 150 lump in my 08 Saab and I've had no problems in 4 or 5 years of owning it we also had for 3 or 4 years a 57plate 8v Astra elite the 120 cdti and we had no problems with that either so the fiat diesel engines if there looked after don't give to many problems, so this 159 with 110,000 miles should be fine for some years to come.if it's cared for.

The slight dint on the boot is nothing other than that the car looks fine certainly better than the Auris last week and wow it has a red leather interior .

Filibuster

2,091 posts

192 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
I love the 159, just a drop dead gorgeous car!
Just not this one… wouldn’t want a diesel either….

Gary29

3,694 posts

76 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
Yep, that's got to be worth £1500 every day of the week.

andyA700

1,092 posts

14 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
Filibuster said:
I love the 159, just a drop dead gorgeous car!
Just not this one… wouldn’t want a diesel either….
I said that about Alfa's, would never have a diesel, but after nearly five years with a GT diesel, I am very happy.

Court_S

7,708 posts

154 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
That’s a huge step up from last weeks shed and one that is happily consider smoking about in. Shame about the boot lid.

Alorotom

10,335 posts

164 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
Always thought these were bloody ugly and haven’t aged well either - the only redeeming feature being the seats always look like they hold up well.

I couldn’t bring myself to spend £1500 on one.

Tyre Smoke

Original Poster:

21,418 posts

238 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
If you really wanted to be pernickety, how hard would a replacement bootlid be to find?

xstian

1,614 posts

123 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
Don't see the appeal myself. I can't get excited about a diesel Fiat in a pretty frock. As said above if you want a Alfa money pit, it has to be a V6.

At least last week's toyota had a turn of pace for what it was and I can't imagine this alfa being exactly exciting to drive.

ecs0set

2,313 posts

261 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
advert said:
Top Spec
No. Not even close.

DrBrule

2,556 posts

108 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
JottoSW1 said:
Looks nice at a distance, wonder how long a replacement ECU would be available. If you're going to have a money pit Alfa you'd want a V6 really - wouldn't you ???
The 159 V6 isn’t a Busso and the 1750 TBi 4 cylinder they used towards the end of the 159 life has the same torque without so much of the thirst. V6 were 4wd though so there is that but the V6 can be susceptible to stretched timing chains if the oil isn't changed regularly. The petrol turbos can suffer from overheating issues but there is a mod available to improve the cooling.

Love the red leather in this.

I emailed the current owner of my old 159 V6 asking if he wanted to sell it back but he politely refused to part with it. I bought a Sportwagon TBI Ti instead. If anybody wants a set of mint TI alloys with Micheln Crossclimates on I have a set in my garage.




Edited by DrBrule on Friday 13th May 09:58

idealstandard

558 posts

32 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
Had one of these in lusso spec on an 07 plate back in 2012. Went through wishbones quite ferociously as beware of shoddy aftermarket parts. Beautiful place to sit, really good handling. had the DPF deleted and a remap as well and it went very well. Was sad to sell her.

Turbobanana

3,851 posts

178 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
As a former owner of a 156 Sportwagon in black with red Momo leather, I can see the appeal.

However, mine was a petrol (albeit the lowly 1.6, which still had 30bhp more than my wife's 1.6 Mondeo) and it was a joyous thing to drive. I'd have another petrol one, but not a diesel.

Also, and I accept I'm probably in the minority here, I think the 156 looks better: less fussy, simpler, cleaner.

cerb4.5lee

22,826 posts

157 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
I really enjoy reading the article thanks Mr Shed! thumbup

This looks decent for the money(boot aside), and I feel that I've missed out having never owned an Alfa. This would make a great shed I reckon.

bangerhoarder

363 posts

45 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
Seems decent enough for the price, with current values. To just be used, as a daily, even the bodywork can be overlooked for the long ticket. Always did fancy those seats.

sjabrown

1,707 posts

137 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
After a couple of questionable sheds this is much more appealing.

I’ve yet to own an Alfa / yet to play Alfa roulette but one day I will.

MikeM6

4,042 posts

79 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
We are now on our second Alfa, having replaced the MiTo with a Giulietta. Both have been much nicer than the competition (contemporary Minis, Golfs, Audi A3s, DS4s etc) but crucially much better value for money.

The MiTo lasted us 8 years and 100k miles and only went due to its really low value and it needed too much spending on it. The drivetrain never really let us down. In those 8 years we didn't see an engine warning light come on (other than at start up).

The point being that Alfas are hugely underrated and undervalued cars. Anyone that thinks that this is not worth £1500 does not know the state of the market right now. The fact that it is pretty and has a leather interior is just a bonus.

rastapasta

1,352 posts

115 months

Friday 13th May
quotequote all
Rep mobile. couldnt even be bothered taking out the big nokia phone holder. that alone i probably worth some nostalgia cash on fleabay.