Some readers were concerned for Shed's safety after seeing his offer to boil up a 5-wood in some Oxo and serve it up to Mrs Shed if last week's Volvo V70 T5 remained unsold by the time this week's cheapie came around. Thankfully the T5 has indeed sold, so Shed is safe for another week, but all the same he would like to pass on his thanks for the concern that was kindly shown.
Although he won't be making another similarly life-threatening prediction today, or indeed ever again after getting away with it on this occasion, Shed does think that today's offering will find a buyer just as quickly as that speedy Swede did.
Right now you may be looking at the picture, seeing an Alfa, and saying yeah right good luck with that one mate but be ye not so hasty to judge. Yes, it is an Alfa, and yes, the 147 did win the European Car of the Year award, but don't hold that against it. Rumours of Alfa rubbishness have been greatly exaggerated.
This particular 147 is a two-owner car from 2005 with a 150 horse Twin Spark 2.0 and a piffling 87,000 miles under its hooves. Okay, thanks to the stumbling efforts of its elderly owner it's not going to be appearing as the star exhibit in a valeting show any time soon, but it looks solid and has no apparent (or, if the advisory-free MOT done two months ago is any guide, not so apparent) rust issues. The seats are leather, the aircon and cruise work, the alloys and tyres are all good, and the belts were done 25,000 miles ago, so even if you take the most pessimistic 36,000-mile change interval as gospel - which would be wise as they do have a reputation for snapping - you've still got at least 11,000 more miles to go on them. There's a full pack of paperwork, a stamped-up service history and no smell of wet dogs. For all that you will pay the princely sum of £400.
Hard to say what an Alfa 147 is worth, but £400 seems pretty bargainaceous for any clean/long-MOT'd car, let alone an Alfa. You could easily pay twenty times this amount for a 147 with a 3.2-litre V6 in it, and that wouldn't even be an especially tidy or low-mileage one either. Some say that the four-pot Alfas handle at least as well as the halo sixes, owing to their lighter kerbweight.
The Twin Spark unit itself is strong and willing. The 2.0 version doesn't seem 30hp pokier than the 1.6 TS, but it is smoother thanks to its balance shaft. Some TS engines can be heavy on the oil but many never consume a drop. That kind of randomness is very Alfa. Depending on what drops were consumed on the production line on any given day, your 147 could be a bundle of bother, totally trouble-free, or anything in between. Water can enter the cabin even when all the doors are shut in the approved manner. Cam variators will need replacing at some point, so you may as well do that at the same time as you're doing the belts. If the change from second to third seems slightly odd with the gear lever not centering properly, that's not unusual, and the bushes to fix it are dirt cheap and easily fitted.
Top wishbones go, causing knocking and uneven tyre wear. If rust is going to start on the bodywork it will probably do so at the sill/wheel arch corner. Warning lights come on like cougars in a sports bar, but the one for the airbag is often just a loose underseat connection: replacing a sidelight bulb can be more of a pain to sort out. Door handle hinges snap, front grilles don't always stay in place and the jolly Alfa badge will fade but they're cheap to buy nowadays. Dodgy wiper linkages are common and it's easy to bust them beyond redemption if you lose your patience. Electric window switches on the door card get wobbly and the readouts for the heating lose pixels, but with all this stuff it's important to remember that we're talking about 15-year-old cars here.
The thing about 147s is that they're actually well built and, in Lusso format (as here) well equipped. For £400 it's hard to see the catch. Just check the oil level on a weekly basis, don't let the oil that's in there furkle unchanged for more than 8,000 miles - and don't let your Grandad anywhere near it.
1 / 2