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Tag: V6

Commode

So I swapped the Type R STI. I was offered this as a swap and guessed that since I hadn’t owned one before, I should give it a shot.

It’s a VZ model Commodore Wagon of the Acclaim trim level (Electric windows all round was the main difference). It was a great car to drive on the open road, surprisingly good on gas and just easy to drive. Cruise control helped.

When I got the car I didn’t realise what I was getting myself into. It was an ex company car, and was fully sign written down both sides and the tailgate. “oh, that won’t be an issue” I said. Damnit, never again!

Multiple hours of hard manual labour, plastic scrapers, a bottle of DeSolvit and a bad run-in with a pot scrub later and the stickers were finally gone. In hindsight I would’ve used a Caramel wheel to remove it quicker, but I didn’t know that at the time. Once all the stickers were gone I was left with lots of shadow from where the stickers were, and some heavy marring of the paint in one spot (see run-in with pot scrub). It looked like the stickers had eaten into the paint, and as we know, black is super unforgiving.

I ended up handing the car off to a team of professional groomers to machine polish the exterior. They did a fantastic job and the paint looked great afterwards. There were a couple of spots where the paint was too thin and they had started to burn through it, but otherwise it shined like nothing else.

This was a good car to drive, but make no mistake, it’s huge. Like piloting a supertanker around town. Parking was an effort, with no sensors or camera. That was really the deciding factor to sell, it was too practical with all that boot space.

Update 8/3/20 – Currently on the road with Reg/WOF.

Alfa

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.

1999
Alfa Romeo 156
2.5L V6
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.