The wonderful thing about the original Alfasud - a car whose name lives on in legend long after the majority of them have rotted away - is simply that once you had used up all its roadholding, which was not much and therefore did not take long, you got to enjoy its sweetly balanced handling, with which no contemporary rival could compete.
Because it was all happening at such low speed, it was so easy to control in an all-square drift your grandmother could have caught it, and it was repeatable at every roundabout again and again and again. Or until the car fell apart. Whichever was the sooner. I know this, because I owned several of them. Indeed my first car was an Alfasud. It went, like most of the Alfas I've owned, away on a transporter to a scrap yard, once I'd used it up and worn it out.
Nowadays, people have much more feeling for an old car's potential worth, and are prepared to invest a bit of money to keep it going. The bodywork is usually stronger, too, so the dreaded rust isn't quite so much of a death sentence as it was to those old Italian motors, and parts for modern variants are usually easier to get hold of, being shared with other more mainstream models.
So we shouldn't run scared from a twelve-year-old Alfa Romeo, even this Brera with 91,000 miles on the clock. It is at its heart a 159, sharing its platform (albeit on a shorter wheelbase) and wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, and we don't run away from those, do we?
This one conceals under its curvy bonnet the familiar 182hp 2.2-litre twin-cam petrol engine, sourced from GM which, while not exactly a powerhouse, has enough oomph to push the Brera from a standstill to 60mph in around 8 seconds. It'll do 138mph too, fresh out of the box, but those after more power can seek out the V6 version, or the rare and highly sought-after Prodrive 'S' car, with its trick suspension and lighter alloys.
Be warned that timing chains can be an issue with these early petrol-engined cars, though, so it's worth checking the service history very carefully. Rust is only a real problem in the front subframe, but any car of this age will need checking out all over. This one has a high mileage but a full and comprehensive service history, and a long MOT.
On the road, you'll find the Brera is an agile, fluid and rewarding drive, helped by that quick Alfa steering rack. Sure, there are more modern machines that handle a whole lot better, and plenty that are faster in a straight line, but none carry that wonderfully exotic badge and cost buttons to buy. Purists complained at the time it wasn't a true Alfa, while others said it was dull to drive - and both have a point - but as a thing, a thing to buy at this price level and show off to your friends and drive down a winding country lane with the blood rushing through the veins, this could well be a tempting and unmatched proposition. I think there's a fair chance it won't end up on the back of a transporter to a scrap yard, either.
SPECIFICATION - ALFA ROMEO BRERA
Engine: 2198cc, inline four
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 182@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 170@4,500rpm
First registered: 2006
Recorded mileage: 91,000
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £3,850
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