So I sold the Legacy bits, sold the CRX and wanted to have something fancy. So what do I do? I buy a modified Alfa Romeo 156.
This is such a conflicting car. It looks beautiful, it sounds beautiful, it drove really well and was very comfortable…. but damn it was typically Alfa.
This one was fitted with the fantastic 2.5L V6 and the 6 speed manual gearbox, the sound that engine makes is unreal and the gearbox is sharp and direct. It’s the perfect combo, despite what some people think (common opinion is that the V6 is too heavy). It was lowered on King Springs, which helped stiffen the suspension up and gave it a great “stance”.
Being an Alfa it had some quirks, namely the Ac didn’t work, the key was falling to bits, maintenance was constant, and as it was a UK import the car had serious rust issues in the floor pan.
The owner I purchased it off agreed to put a new warrant on the car for me before I purchased it. This turned out to be a serious flaw for him, costing about 1/3 of what I was buying the car for in repairs for the WOF.
The lack of AC is one thing that has stuck in my mind and one of the reasons I’m not a huge fan of leather. One stinking hot summers day in Christchurch, where we had record heat in the 40(c)s, I just happened to need to go somewhere and I took the Alfa. Sure enough, got back home and I was drenched in sweat. Yuck.
It left me stranded twice. The first time was when the airflow meter died, meaning the car wouldn’t run. Thankfully the internet taught me one thing, try unplugging the AFM and see if it runs; sure enough it did, and I could drive home. $500 later, and a replacement AFM was fitted.
The second time was when the front coils and spark plugs failed. I managed to limp the car home, despite it misfiring badly and the exhaust fumes stinking like rotting eggs. The front coils and spark plugs are easy to get to, sadly the plugs looked a million years old and the coils had some cracks. I replaced the plugs and insulated the coils with sealant. The rear plugs are a nightmare, being under the intake manifold, and to remove that you need to undo the hose clamps on he chrome intake runners. Alfa doesn’t use normal hose clamps, so it was bit of a mission to remove and refit them.
I decided I didn’t want to risk Italian ownership any further, so swapped for my next car.
Alfa Romeo 156
6 Speed Manual
Low king springs
Momo leather seats
Update 8/3/20 – Unfortunately it appears this car met its end due to an expired registration exemption, which lapsed 5 years ago. It appears it went for one more WOF inspection after I sold it, which failed, and that was the end of that. What a shame, that was a great looking, and sounding car.