RE: Shed of the Week: Alfa Romeo 156 V6

RE: Shed of the Week: Alfa Romeo 156 V6

Friday 4th January

Shed of the Week: Alfa Romeo 156 V6

As GTAs continue to appreciate, there are still bargains to be had with lesser Busso 156s...



Can it really be more than three years since we last featured an Alfa 156 saloon? To save you the bother of looking it up, the answer to the question is 'yes'. That 156 was a Cat D 1.8 Twin Spark for just £595. This time it's a low-mileage cat nothing 2.5 V6 for just £995. The traditional answer to the next question "would I buy an 18-year old Alfa?" would, for many, be a strangled cry of NOOOO, but there are a few things about this particular 156 that might encourage you to be less hasty.

Opinions are split on the visual appeal of the 156's 2002-03 facelift. Many seem to prefer the facelifted car's interior. In this case there's no need to agonise about any of that because this is a 2001 Mk1 car.

Right, that's that cleared up, now let's get into the detail. For a start, the vendor is summoning up the great metal god of motoring delights known as 'Busso'. Giuseppe Busso's 60-degree V6 engine is a classic, not just because it's a wonderful motor, but also because its design dates right back to the early 1970s. There's nowt wrong with heritage if it works, though. Giuseppe's artistry produced an engine that still delivers on both power and aural excitement. Obviously the 3.2 GTA is 'the' 156 Busso to have, but if you can find a clean one of them for under £10k Shed suggests you snap it up forthwith because the usual asking price for one of those is £13k-£16k.


You can spend fifteen times as much cash on a GTA as you would on our 2.5, but would you get fifteen times the fun? As they say, don't waste money buying expensive binoculaurs: instead, simply stand closer to the object you wish to view.

The point is that the opportunity to sample Busso's engineering genius for under a grand, even in lesser 2.5-litre form, is one that nobody should spurn - especially when you bear in mind that the short-geared 2.5 will happily allow you to hit the limiter in top.

As an aside, PHer AlanV6 out of Slovenia built himself the 156 Alfa never built, using a 3.0 Busso lump from the GTV. And when we say 'built' we mean built. Check out the thread here and then spend the rest of the day bemoaning your own feeble mechanicking skills. Here we see Alan track daying his creation and here we see him autoslaloming it. Impressive we think you'll agree.


What else can we tempt you with here? Well, our 156 is a Veloce 'SP3', which basically means a sport pack spec with a stiffer setup to help keep the front end under slightly better control. Assuming the suspension isn't too tired, anyone who enjoys a lively steer will appreciate the 156's quick turn-in, a generic trait that was quite something on the 1998 driving launch, which Shed remembers attending in (he thinks) Spain. Less happily, he also remembers being depressed by the sticking speedo needle and unglued door seals of the UK test vehicle he subsequently borrowed. Them's the Alfa breaks, quite literally, or they certainly were at the end of the 20th century anyway.

The 156 you're looking is said to be rust-free. That's also quite something. A Mk1 156 without a rusty floorpan or corroded subframe is about as common as a punctual Southern Railway train. And if Shed had a pound for every MOT tester/mechanic who has supposedly uttered the immortal words "eeh, that's the nicest (insert car name here) I've ever seen", he'd have at least £14. Still, the rest of the ad has an honest smell about it, and we've no reason to disbelieve it, so let's go with it.

Now let's look at the mileage. There can't be many gen-one non-GTA 156s around with fewer than 72,000 miles on the clock. Looking at the MOT history, we can again easily believe it, based on the car's slow mileage accumulation of around 2,000 miles per annum in recent times, and never more than 5-6,000 miles a year before that.


We're told that it's a three-owner car, or a 43-owner car if you factor in its claimed first role as an Alfa UK press fleet vehicle. Press cars are like police cars in that everybody believes they're quicker than standard, or special in some other mysterious kind of way. Although some manufacturers have been famously caught in the act of supplying the press with hot ringers, Shed thinks that by and large the 'special' press car is an urban myth. He is much more taken with the idea of a car getting a good pasting from quite early on in its life, as long as it's accompanied by a good regime of maintenance - and this is a scenario that generally applies with press cars.

OK, pass over the clipboard for a quick final whizz round. Teledial wheels? Check. Essential leather interior? Check. Massive Alfa/specialist history? Check. Belts done last year, or this year if you haven't yet acknowledged the arrival of 2019? Check. A couple of decent brand new tyres thrown into the package? Check.

If this 156 doesn't sell quickly, Shed will be a monkey's uncle. Or a hippo's husband at the very least. Here's the ad.



(As it happens the Alfa has already sold - boo! It was for sale on Wednesday afternoon but gone 24 hours later, leaving us no time to change tack. Still, great Shed regardless! - MB)

Author
Discussion

CanoeSniffer

Original Poster:

550 posts

24 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
I spotted this one a couple of days ago and couldn't believe the mileage for the money, even being 'only' the 2.5. And Teledials... Oh Teledials.

Reading that it sold shortly afterwards makes me regret not having that 156-sized space on the drive.

carinaman

13,074 posts

109 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
I didn't see it advertised. Pleased it's sold as I could do without the distraction. I reckon that may reappear with a mark up, like that green 4 cylinder 190E in the barge thread.

alorotom

5,557 posts

124 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
Achingly pretty - shame it doesn’t have the sable / brown leather to complete it imo

AlecT

94 posts

146 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
The launch of the 156 was in Lisbon in 1997, I was there as well and a good bash it was too, still got the photos in the album.

Cambs_Stuart

351 posts

21 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
Great shed. Seems almost rude to call a car this attractive, low mileage and well looked after a shed.
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Turbobanana

1,211 posts

138 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
Having owned a (lesser-engined, similarly-specced Sportwagon) 156 I would be extremely tempted by this, other than the fact that it's too "British": dark exterior with dark leather. We are so dull.

Mine was metallic black with full red Momo leather.

Halmyre

6,762 posts

76 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
I still yearn for my Fantasy Blue 1.8TS Veloce. weeping

RicksAlfas

9,298 posts

181 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
Great looking car. Not surprised it sold so quickly.

alorotom said:
Achingly pretty - shame it doesn’t have the sable / brown leather to complete it imo
I'm not sure what colour you are thinking of?
You could have black, grey, tan, red, blue or black with red stitching on the optional sports seats. But never brown. biggrin

alorotom

5,557 posts

124 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
RicksAlfas said:
Great looking car. Not surprised it sold so quickly.

alorotom said:
Achingly pretty - shame it doesn’t have the sable / brown leather to complete it imo
I'm not sure what colour you are thinking of?
You could have black, grey, tan, red, blue or black with red stitching on the optional sports seats. But never brown. biggrin
It’ll be the tan lol smile

ian996

192 posts

48 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
Lovely car - I'm not surprised it sold so quickly. I've been looking for a shed to keep my GTA off the road when there's salt about, and I'm gutted I wasn't scouring the ads on Wednesday.

I'd also highly recommend AlanV6's "The Real GTA " thread for any Alfa fans who haven't seen it. Brilliant stuff, both in terms of the build and the track-day footage. The latter conclusively show that it's quite possible to have a lot of fun in a sorted front-wheel drive car.

s m

17,042 posts

140 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
I do like these - more so than the GTA with the different front spoiler. For a family runabout that's fun to drive I would be very tempted by one with a sunroof. A work friend had one and we had a little swap of cars late one summer night - I had an E36 328i. It was great to compare.on some empty roads. Still remember the noise of it ( and after when we swapped back ) at full chat in 3rd and the quick steering

I can see why it sold quick

Earl of Petrol

100 posts

59 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
Under a grand for one of the purest automotive soundtracks ever. Not surprised it’s gone already. And as we all know, in the words of the great prophet Lord Clarkson, you are not a proper petrolhead until you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo. Welcome to the fold whoever bought it, and if it’s not your first, good on ya anyway.

Earl of Petrol

100 posts

59 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
Under a grand for one of the purest automotive soundtracks ever. Not surprised it’s gone already. And as we all know, in the words of the great prophet Lord Clarkson, you are not a proper petrolhead until you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo. Welcome to the fold whoever bought it, and if it’s not your first, good on ya anyway.

caiss4

1,345 posts

134 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
Glad I didn't see the ad would have been very tempted. I bought a '98 2.5 V6 156 from Dick Lovett's Ferrari/Maserati dealership in Swindon around 2008 for £1,000. It was a one owner car with 40k miles and the guy had traded it in for a Maserati.

Had 6 years of reliable motoring and racked up around 35k miles. As a result became a bit of a Busso addict and added a 916 Spider with the 3.0 V6 to the collection. Stupidly I decided to sell the 156 as it wasn't getting used so much. A young lad trading up from a Corsa diesel bought it for £950 and I discovered a couple of months later that it had been written off frown

daveco

3,624 posts

144 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
Earl of Petrol said:
Under a grand for one of the purest automotive soundtracks ever
I remember hearing one accelerate up the road behind me, turning around thinking it would be something far more exotic! Definitely one of the best sounding 6 cylinder petrol engines ever.

Krikkit

13,903 posts

118 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
alorotom said:
Achingly pretty - shame it doesn’t have the sable / brown leather to complete it imo
I had that interior on a diesel one, and although it was a ratty end-of-life £400 shed, the seats were still unbelievably comfortable and in good condition. The rest of the car was ruined mind! Hah.

James Junior

744 posts

94 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
I bought one of these to do the Screwball Rally a few years back for about £800. I intended to run it and sell it after the event, but fell for it and ended up keeping it for two and a half years.

It was utterly sublime to drive and with a Supersprint CBE it sounded incredible. Unfortunately it seemed that stickering it up for the event damaged the lacquer as after a while it started to peel off and got really bad. Given the nominal value of the car and a bit of rust at the top of the windscreen I just couldn't justify saving it so sold it for a few hundred quid. I was gutted to see the back of it.

At the time I ran it I also had an Alfa Spider and BMW Z4 Si Coupe and still found myself reaching for the 156 keys a lot of the time. It never failed to put a smile on my face and oozed feel good factor. Amazing given the tiny purchase cost.

Back when it was in better condition it scrubbed up pretty well. I always used to look back at it on the drive and imagine how buzzing the original owner must have been when they took delivery of it back in 1997. The paperwork suggested it was a company car so must have stood out in the car park at work amidst a sea of bland saloons.




scottos

243 posts

61 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
I bought a 2.0 JTS as a stop gap for £900, i only had it 2 months and 4000 miles but i did wonder why i didnt just keep it and save myself the money i spent on the actual car i was looking for. I sold it for £900 and the chap that got it spent 4 hours on a train to collect it!

I still talk about the car far too much 5 years down the line and people at work still bring it up (everyone at work finances cars at 3-600 a month at least so buying a £900 Alfa was mental to them!). It just had a feel good factor and was a great place to be. Im glad this v6 one has sold, i'd have made a great bad decision otherwise!

pSyCoSiS

2,370 posts

142 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
Shed is kicking the New Year off in style!

What a fantastic car. And a great price for what seems a decent example.

I sold my 166 3.0 V6 Busso a couple of months back. Volcano Black with off-white leather, it was achingly beautiful in my eyes (I know some people think it looks like an ugly fish).

And that engine made a lovely growl. I actually do regret selling that, it only had 67k miles and was a good one. Not many 166s about these days.


SmudgeQ4

23 posts

37 months

Friday 4th January
quotequote all
Unreal Shedding that! Love it.

And that lightened 3.0 from the video looks rapid! Engine is a peach.