A rare bird today that should get the average PHer’s blood heating up even more than it probably already has in this scorchio weather: an Alfa GT JTS Blackline.
What’s that now? Good question. It’s been four years almost to the day since the first Alfa GT appeared in Shed of the Week and there hasn’t been one since. Welcome then to only the second example of Bertone’s handsome coop to find itself slumming it in our £1,500 or less basement.
The £1,500 2006 Stromboli Grey GT that Shed unearthed in August 2018 was also a 2.0 JTS petrol. Shed had been on the Scruttocks Old Dirigible ale that day so he forgot to put the mileage down for it, but by looking at the MOT history we can see that it had done just under 57,000 miles in 2018. By last October (2021) it had done 85,000 and secured a clean pass after some brake and suspension consumables had been replaced.
The only reason for mentioning that previous GT is that you would like to think that its continued existence bodes well for the future of today’s GT, a Blackline edition from 2007. The GT ran from 2003 to 2010, so the Blackline was a classic mid-life refresh. What did you get with it? Cosmetics, with no changes to the bodywork or the engine, but it was a nicely-judged package consisting of red stitching for the leather seats and steering wheel, dark grey headlining, black and red instrument dials, Bose sound, satin silver mirror caps, door handles and lower bumper trim, a chrome exhaust, 18-inch ‘Lamborghini look’ alloy wheels, aluminium pedals, and an aluminium gearknob which will sting your hand in anything other than normal temperatures, high or low. The headlamp trims changed from silver to black too which, combined with the Carbino black paint, gave the front end more of a gimlet-eyed look.
In 2007 the £19,980 price for a new JTS Blackline was actually lower than that of the entry-level version, hinting at sales that had been less than spectacular in the UK and presaging the GT’s demise three years later. In 2022, £1,495 seems like even better value for a 102,000-mile example. There must surely be a catch. From a visual POV at least it’s not hugely obvious what that might be, but last December’s MOT does mention some non-excessive corrosion to the front subframe mounting and some light brake binding, so money will need to be spent. Inside, as was the case with that first GT Shed from 2018, there’s some wear to the driver’s seat bolster and the steering wheel, but otherwise it looks suitably plumptious in the finest Alfa style.
We’re told there’s a partial service history, which is not as good as a full one but it’s better than none, especially if the part of history it’s covering is recent rather than ancient. With this 165hp 2.0-litre motor you should expect 0-62 times in the mid-to-high eight second bracket and fuel consumption figures in the mid to high 30s. As noted in Shed’s report on that first JTS, pre-’06 2.0 engines had dodgy injectors and sensors which could lead to clogged-up valvegear, but by the time our Shed rolled off the line Alfa had a pretty good grip on these mechanical glitches and the 2.0 motor blossomed into a reliable sort of lump, if not an especially thrilling one. Regular oil changes were important. Some Alfisti who chose to cane their steeds recommended thicker 10W60 oil over the factory-specified 10W40 gloop as they reckoned it helped to fend off cam wear. Others weren’t so sure. GT door handles and ABS rings acquired a rep for failing.
Going back to the weather for a minute, Bert One built a GT Cabriolet concept in 2003 which to Shed’s rheumy old eyes looked better than the coupe whose rear roof section had a certain awkwardness to it. Bertone had already had his request to build the GT coupes at his own carrozeria knocked back by Fiat, so he was heartened by their initially very positive reaction to the ragtop. Once again however they ended up negging it, going down the Brera-based, Giugiaro-designed Spider route instead. A brilliant decision that, some say, allegedly helped to drive Bertone into bankruptcy.
As you’d expect from a reasonably posh coupe, air conditioning was standard on the GT so there’s no need to swelter in the UK’s record-breaking heat while driving one. Shed doesn’t have air con in his workshop, just one of those big industrial fans, but he quite likes the hot weather as it gives him an excuse to remove his clothing while working. This dissuades casual visitors from the village who might otherwise pop in to inquire about the cars they’d brought in months earlier for mechanical attention. One of them is a Ford Puma, which as you know also came with an aluminium gearknob. The joke that was in here about never leaving these out in the hot sun has been deleted for your reading convenience.
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