Torn between 156 & GT - Page 2 - Alfa Romeo Forum
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I keep flicking left and right and can't decide what to go for... seeing as it has to be a diesel I've got a real hankering for a 2.4 10v 'cos I can't stand the sound of that 4 pot up front. Problem is, I'm not keen on the pre-facelift front end on the 156 and the 20v seems like it has its share of issues.

So, it has to be a diesel due to my annual mileage, I'd like to avoid the 1.9, I don't like the things I'm hearing about the 2.4 20v and I don't like the front end on the 2.4 10v 156... I'm screwed aren't I?

My god, I might have to consider something other than an Alfa
You can facelift a 2.4 10v easily enough. I'm doing my one shortly as I just bought a 2.0 JTS with many faults in the same colour for £100. It all just bolts on. I've had a few 10vs and a 20v Ti (which I ended up mapping & fitting a hybrid turbo to etc) but I never enjoyed the 20v like I did the 10v models, for me it was the clutch & gearchange, far too Vauxhall-y for my liking, I couldn't get it out of my head when I was driving the car. Coming from a 1.9 you won't enjoy it. Driveshafts are a bit weak but nothing insurmountable.

10v models are getting on a bit now - the youngest are now over 13 years old, that generally means they've done a few more miles and are a bit more tired, they're cheaper to buy but the extra work most of them will require will probably eat that saving up. I think if you want a diesel in a 156 it is the best engine choice though, especially if you want to go down the tuning route. They're a monster when remapped, a lot more so than the 1.9, the 6-speed box from the 1.9 fits and is fantastic, Q2 diff fits, front end weight can be reduced by putting battery to the boot and removing useless stuff like A/C, EGR system, power steering cooler & sound-proofing. They sound great too. I'll keep my 10v for years, I want to see it reach 300k miles ideally. 87k to go.

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To be honest, I'm warming to the pre-facelift 156 when it has a body kit installed, such as this...

https://goo.gl/images/N3adN0

Also, I'm not too fussed about making the car lighter up front because I'm more of a long distance driver, I don't get the chance to throw it around the twisties much so I'd just like a nice sounding power unit with some grunt.

I wonder if I can find a decent example, do the necessary mechanical work, install a body kit, lower it and fit some rims all within a budget of £3500... maybe a straight through back section too
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...and just to make things even more awkward for myself, I'd have to have the newer interior which narrows my search parameters to the 2002 first facelift model... and I'd really like the Rosso red too
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Judging from photos and its a private seller, I say that GT looks like a pro have given it the once over.
All the expensive mechanical items have bee done.
However, as a ex car dealer I'll never buy a car unseen or tested. So a trip to Hull is in order.
NB! I would choose a GT over 156 4-d or Sport Wagon if the extra 2 doors are of no importance.
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Not keen on this colour but it fits all other criteria and seems well looked after...

http://https://www.gumtree.com/p/alfa-romeo/alfa-romeo-156-2.4-low-mileage/1184349135
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Not keen on this colour but it fits all other criteria and seems well looked after...

http://https://www.gumtree.com/p/alfa-romeo/alfa-romeo-156-2.4-low-mileage/1184349135
Silver may be out of fashion now, but it is a classic colour for the 156 and shows the lines well. Also it doesn't look dirty in a hurry.
I don't understand how folks prefer the facelift 156....or any of the other 2003/4 facelift models..GTV, 166, 147....not that they are disasters, but the originals were beautifully balanced. Also the GTAs were never facelifted.

That one on Gumtree looks as if it is a Veloce spec, or sportpack. It is as far as you want to go with a body kit I would say. The GTA bumpers and side skirts won't fit on a standard 156 as far as I know.
I have a 10v 156. It is ok. Not great fuel economy compared to newer cars, but a lot better than a GTA...or a 2.5V6, and if you have to settle for a diesel it is ok....bit noisy compared to modern diesels, but sounds quite good at higher revs....which defeats the object as all the power is there under 3000rpm anyway....
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Truth. The facelifted ones are all just slightly long-nosed. It just slightly spoilt the balance. Not that they are ugly cars! They were, and still are, some of the greatest looking "normal" cars on the road. Just not as good as the unmarred originals.
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That one on Gumtree looks as if it is a Veloce spec, or sportpack. It is as far as you want to go with a body kit I would say. The GTA bumpers and side skirts won't fit on a standard 156 as far as I know.
The GTA side-skirts will fit pretty much fine, main possible issue would be at the rear, but nothing major if at all. The bumpers don't fit without wider fenders, though.
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This looks interesting... from what I've read this is an extremely rare colour which at first I didn't like but is somewhat growing on me. Not only that, but it looks to have quite a few well chosen modifications... I wonder if that Q2 badge is just for show

http://https://www.gumtree.com/p/alfa-romeo/alfa-gt-autolusso-full-service-bose-stereo-full-new-suspension-and-brakes-52mpg/1187035169

I don't suppose it was you who serviced this Dan? Penrith is easily the closest Autolusso.
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that looks a good one to me, with the Bilstens etc its got to have had a re-map and egr delete etc,DS friction pads as well!!! no point in all that with standard map.

actually reallly like that colour as well, not just saying it but in your position I would buy that one, It may even be a forum members car, it looks to have been well looked after.

if you can confirm the provenance and all the bits are up to date as they look ,that could be a winner..time to make a few phone calls..???

once again its ''underwheeled'' with 16''s but you can't have it all and you could find a nice set of 18''s at a decent price. Clovereaf Alloys refinished in dark anthacite would look awesome with that body colour and you can keep the 16''s as winter wheels.

I say do it...


good luck and keep us posted...

LEGAL DISCLAIMER f course underlying my enthusiasm is all the usual caveats of buying a used GT...

It's Busso time ..
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That's why I bought a GT. Clearly has the looks, wherever you go people will compliment and admire your GT.

I love it!


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that looks a good one to me, with the Bilstens etc its got to have had a re-map and egr delete etc,DS friction pads as well!!! no point in all that with standard map.

actually reallly like that colour as well, not just saying it but in your position I would buy that one, It may even be a forum members car, it looks to have been well looked after.

if you can confirm the provenance and all the bits are up to date as they look ,that could be a winner..time to make a few phone calls..???

once again its ''underwheeled'' with 16''s but you can't have it all and you could find a nice set of 18''s at a decent price. Clovereaf Alloys refinished in dark anthacite would look awesome with that body colour and you can keep the 16''s as winter wheels.

I say do it...


good luck and keep us posted...

LEGAL DISCLAIMER f course underlying my enthusiasm is all the usual caveats of buying a used GT...
I think you're absolutely right, with what little can be gleaned from the advert this looks like a good one. The colour is really growing on me, especially because it's rare and with that set of 18" anthracite rims I think it could look pretty sweet.

The only thing that concerns me from the pics is that little line of discolouration in front of the rear arch on the underside of the sill... dirt or rust?

I think i'll make that call...

Last edited by Cobblepop; 10-09-16 at 07:10.
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I have 156SW in this colour (same wheels actually) and that line on the sill is most likely to be dirt - I have the same (although on the plastic skirt).

I do wonder why there is no frontal picture or picture of the other side.

Answering initial question - facelifted 156SW all the way
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This looks interesting... from what I've read this is an extremely rare colour which at first I didn't like but is somewhat growing on me. Not only that, but it looks to have quite a few well chosen modifications... I wonder if that Q2 badge is just for show

http://https://www.gumtree.com/p/alfa-romeo/alfa-gt-autolusso-full-service-bose-stereo-full-new-suspension-and-brakes-52mpg/1187035169

I don't suppose it was you who serviced this Dan? Penrith is easily the closest Autolusso.
Its not on my system, and its not one I recognise either. Given your location and the sellers location I wonder if he would be up for bringing the car down to Penrith and I'll give it a pre-purchase inspection for you? Checking for presence of a Q2 is not a big job.
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Much appreciated Dan, that would be ideal. I've tried calling a couple of times with no response, when I get through I'll see if he's receptive to the idea.

I wonder which Autolusso he serviced the car at? maybe there's some shoddy garage in Scotland masquerading as an official Autolusso branch
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Much appreciated Dan, that would be ideal. I've tried calling a couple of times with no response, when I get through I'll see if he's receptive to the idea.

I wonder which Autolusso he serviced the car at? maybe there's some shoddy garage in Scotland masquerading as an official Autolusso branch
No record of it on the system at Bedfordshire either, at least not on that reg plate. It could have been serviced with a private plate or at Bournemouth.

Its probably an honest car but like anything worth getting it checked over before buying especially if you are paying over the odds for it based on it being a sorted example.
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you can't go wrong here if the seller is prepared to meet you at Dan's place..then you will know exactly what the score is..


I suspect this one is solid though, all the right things have been mentioned in the advert, and the bodywork does look very clean, as does the interior.

I would only question the lack of nearside and front on shots as a potential question mark..hen selling a car I tend to tke pics from all angles trying my best to highlight the negatives in order that the buyer is pleasantly surprised on turning up to see the car rather than disappointed.

That is my only point of concern on this ad....
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That colour is really gorgeous and very rare on a GT. Aren't those 17" rims? I agree they are too small but fit a set of 18" jetfins on there (please not black, anything but that!) and it would look
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Well, I managed to get in touch with him via text message at least. When I asked him about the possibility of meeting at Penrith he responded by saying he'd rather sell the car locally. to be fair to the guy, he's in the middle of moving house and agreed for me to have the car checked out by an AA/RAC mechanic - a poor substitute for Dan's expertise but better than just little old me . I don't know if it's just because he's really busy moving house but I got the distinct impression I was bothering him with all my questions. It's left a little bitter taste in my mouth about the whole thing and left me feeling like a pest... not the experience you expect when buying a car from someone. Also, he's given me a very narrow window to view the car, Monday ONLY, he said he was busy after that

Anyway, on to the car itself and what I've learned. The Q2 badge is (to his knowledge) just that... a badge. It was on the car when he bought it and wouldn't know if it actually has the Q2 diff, he said he has no idea . The upgrades/work done in the last year which I do know about are, as he wrote them:

Full powerflex
B4 Bilsteins
Eibach springs
EGR cleaned
full straight through exhaust system
4x Dunlop Blue response tires
full Brembo discs
full Ferodo pads
OMP strut brace
new service (always synthetic)
new window control units and regulators (both sides)
2x new wheel bearings (rear)
complete new struts, mounts, nuts & bolts
full waxoyl underseal
stainless hoses?
silent coat sound deadening for doors
new pulley and aux belt
1 years MOT

Spare parts:
brand new 4x droplinks
brand new nsf lower arm

There was no mention of a remap and the whole thing has left me somewhat confused. As someone mentioned above, why all the work with brakes, suspension etc if there's no remap? Also, there's some pretty tasty upgrades in there which suggests he knows what he's doing, yet he doesn't know about the Q2? I've no reason to doubt what he's saying about the work done but it's just a little strange... oh, and no additional pictures even though I asked if he could send me more

I now feel like I'm in a strange situation with this because I need more answers from him but I don't think he wants to give me the time. I get the feeling if I keep pushing he'll just say no thanks, "I'll sell locally" or "I've already sold it" and I might miss out on a cracking car. Do I just make the 8 hour round trip and get the answers for myself?
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I think I've just researched my way out of buying this one... at no point has he mentioned it was a Cat C in April this year.
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I think I've just researched my way out of buying this one... at no point has he mentioned it was a Cat C in April this year.
Those £3 HPI checks are great aren't they?
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Glad you found out! Saying that it sounded from your previous post that you had already made your mind up it was a no go just from the way the guy was being with you.
Sometimes you gotta trust that gut feeling.
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Those £3 HPI checks are great aren't they?
Yeah, I didn't realise you get all the MOT history too. It gave me a heads up that the EML is on as well as some play in the anti-roll linkage and lower suspension ball joint.

Hard to believe but I've only ever bought 2 cars at the age of 35... still learning some lessons
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I am leaning towards a 156, mostly due to the fact that I've only ever owned one Alfa and that was a GT... I'm itching to try something different.

What about the 159? Worth considering as well?
The 159 is great, very pretty, very well built

The biggest advantage for the 159 other than build quality is the RWD 4WD system, of the Q4 models

The 156 and GT though come with 3.2 busso which is a legendary engine, the GM derived replacement is actually quite good but the busso has such history behind it that even the current Ferrari derived 2.9 is in my opinion unlikely to surplant it from an emotional point of view.

If your getting an oil burner then it might be an idea to go for a 159

diesels don't age well or maybe they just don't get maintained properly but everytime I see an older diesel theirs always seems to be smoke coming out the back
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As an alternative view ....

If you plan to drive it till the end of its life then a cat C that has been properly repaired is a perfectly viable option.

Check with your insurer they will cover it first though.



Its also a point of negotiation re the price as the seller didnt mention it in the ad..and re the guy being an arse...well I have bought plenty of nice cars/bikes from ******s in my time ..so although it may not be a pleasant experience the ends may justify the means.

I would go in hard and say to him you will be posting the reg as a cat c on this very forum anyway and offer him £2250 ..

The mods are worth it and I suspect it has been re-mapped and it has a Q2 ..all the work done points to it..

Or sell a kidney and buy mine.

Guaranteed good example...:-)

A good 156 5 pot 10v is a great alternative btw as well..



Keep us posted...!
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