SOTW: Alfa Romeo 156 2.5 V6

Today's SOTW is definitely one for the gamblers out there. In the Pantheon of Shed, there are few cars - let alone family saloons - that are as stunningly gorgeous as an Alfa Romeo 156. But beauty always has its price and, in the case of an old Alfa 156, the purchase could just be the start of your costs.

The Alfa 156 has a bit of a reputation, you see. Scarlett Johanssen covered in honey and holding a Faberge egg might not quite compare to its looks, but the 156 can be hard work. Distinctly patchy electrics, water leaks and blown head gaskets are the headline problems, but the engines can go pop in more spectacular fashion, too (just check out the number of 156s in the classifieds in need of a replacement engine and you'll see what we mean).

But just on the off chance that you get a good one the rewards could be well worth the risk. It looks good inside and out for starters; the sumptuous leather interior and 60s-inspired dash is a far more interesting prospect than the dull designs served up by its Germanic contemporaries.

The chassis also received critical praise for its athletic prowess and, with just 2.2 turns lock to lock, the hyperactive steering added to the 156's B-road enthusiasm. A T Spark model even beat the usually all-conquering BMW 3-series in an Autocar twin test back in 1998 - quite a feat, even if it was against the soon-to-be-obsolete E36 model.

Then there's the engine. The 2.5-litre double overhead cam V6 was good for 187bhp, whichmeant 0-62mph in 7.2secs and a top speed norrth of 140mph. But if ever an engine in an ordinary saloon transcended its role as a device for creating motive power this is it. Because the 24-valve V6 (now sadly long dead) is art rather than engineering.

A brief look under the bonnet at the gorgeous chromed manifold is enough to convince you that there's something out of the ordinary going on, but it's the sound that is truly out of this world.

If Bach had been around during the era of the internal combustion engine he might well have written his Toccata and Fugue for this engine rather than the pipe organ. It's that musical.

So it's a pretty big risk to take, sure, but this particular car looks tidy enough and even has some MOT left on it. And the 156 is a very pretty car with a fine voice. Go on, you know you want to...

Join SOTW on Facebook




Advert is reproduced below:

Alfa Romeo 156 2.5 V6 (1999)
104,000 miles £950

1999 T reg, 104,000 mls, 4 new tyres 2 weeks ago, 6 x airbags, immobiliser, ABS, aircon, elec mirrors, 4 x elec windows, power steering, remote central locking, front fogs, 6 disc cd changer, 17 inch alloys, imaculate interior with full black leather with stiched Alfa logos, spare wheel and complete origional Alfa tool kit. I am having to sell the car due to current personal cercumstances, it does drive superb and the engine is fantastic. The car will be sold as seen, any questions or inspections are more than welcome. It will have MOT till October but will need tax but i feel i have reflected this in the price compared to others of the same type.

P.H. O'meter

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (249) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Johnspex 16 Jul 2010

    If I only had the nerve......

  • Carfiend 16 Jul 2010

    I would budget in the £600 odd quit for a cambelt and waterpump change to be on the safe side if anyone has taken their brave pills today.

  • KenBlocksPants 16 Jul 2010

    Carfiend said:
    I would budget in the £600 odd quit for a cambelt and waterpump change to be on the safe side if anyone has taken their brave pills today.
    True, although worth the risk for a shed?

  • Great Pretender 16 Jul 2010

    That is very smart yes

    >wallet twitches<

  • TomJS 16 Jul 2010

    Sexy shed.

View all comments in the forums Make a comment