Car: 2003 Alfa Romeo 147 GTA
Owned since: 2007
Previously owned: Citroen Saxo 1.1, Alfa Romeo 147 2.0 Twin Spark, Alfa Romeo GT JTD, Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (current)
"I really loved the 2.0 Twinny but wanted a faster version and there was no other engine above that car other than the 3.2 V6 in a GTA. I went to see this one which was owned by an elder gentleman who lived in a large house and worked in Law; I fell in love with it pretty much the second I started the engine. He was a proper petrolhead which probably sold me on it; that and he offered me wine."
What I wish I'd known:
"I wish I had known that aforementioned elder gentleman had done some repair work on the paint, as the first time I gave it a power wash all the lacquer peeled off the offside rear quarter. It stayed that way for about three years until I was brave enough to get somebody to repaint it. Also, I wish I'd known that the second key would never resurface again from the large house. I now know a lot about these cars due to various incidents along the way that would no doubt have saved me a lot of money had I known them, but every day is a school day."
"I love driving it, I love the way it looks, I love the colour and I love the noise! It has decatted manifolds, an unsilenced centre section and a bespoke back box and she really sings at high revs. It's also very easy to drive on track and can hold its own pretty well, especially in the wet. Lots of people are surprised how well she goes on track especially with all the obvious perceptions about Italian engineering and longevity."
Things I hate:
"Not a whole lot, perhaps the turning circle which is about the same as an oil tanker. The aftermarket parking sensors the previous owner put on."
"Way, way too much to put here but she's had Eibach ARBs, Q2 differential, Eibach springs, Bilstein B8 sprint dampers, 330mm brakes, the exhaust as mentioned, a couple of clutches, a couple of cambelts, a top end engine rebuild after the exhaust valves got too hot on track, half a respray and about 10 sets of front wishbones. Not cheap but not too bad for the 70,000+ miles I've done in her, mostly flat out."
"France, Belgium, Germany, the 'ring, Anglesey circuit, Silverstone, Bedford Autodrome, Abingdon Airfield and many, many miles just bombing about on sunny days with no particular destination."
I am thinking a full respray, then some lightweight wheels, semi-slicks and two-piece brakes for track days. Perhaps a remap and coilovers but I don't really need any more power as I have the QV now as my daily so the GTA is for track days. Whilst I would be heartbroken if I crashed it at the track I would at least not be penniless!
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