Getting a 147 for first car? - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 27 Old 01-10-16 Thread Starter
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Getting a 147 for first car?

New member here, joined the forum because I'm actually just starting working on getting my license now... bit late as I'm 20 but better late than never.

Always been a huge fan of Alfas, since I was a little kid, started with my aunt & uncle having a 159 and I've always liked them since then. Originally I had planned on getting an Ibiza for my first car and wait to get an Alfa further down the line... but just been thinking more about how much I want an Alfa haha

So basically, thinking of getting a 147. Am I better of waiting to get one for the second car? Seems more logical as I've no experience really with cars, so maybe getting the 147 can wait... not sure yet...

Actually, any members here in Ireland know if it'd be extremely expensive to insure a 147 for a first time driver?
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Welcome to AO. Well the 147 was and still is my first car, and yes you are right to think that it can be pricey to insure one. But to be honest everybody's first year is expensive and mine was no different, about £1800 but the 147's insurance groups are quite high starting at 24 up to 33 ish I think. This figure halved after a year with no accidents. Remember though that even the newest cars are now 7 years old and not as common as the latest hatchbacks. Therefore, a good specialist is recommended as they will tend to know the cars better than local indies and offer good rates and quality parts.

147's and GT's are based on the 156 and are reliable cars if looked after and there's a strong network of specialists and parts. If I had to give you one piece of advice it would be to stick to the maintenance schedule and where possible use genuine parts because they are just better. Engines are a bit limited but you have the choice of a 1.6 or 2.0 litre Twin Spark petrol, an 8 or 16 valve 1.9 diesel or a 3.2 litre Busso V6 which is the best of the bunch but rare and quite thirsty as you'd expect, cracking engine though. I've driven a 2.0 and my 147 has the 1.9 diesel, a quick verdict is that the 1.9 responds brilliantly to tuning and the torque is excellent. See Damien's (ALFADOIT) GT to better understand what you can do with these cars. But in my opinion the 2.0 is more fun, it revs well, makes a good noise, and is still reasonably economical. If you do decide to get one, give it a thorough look over as a solid car could save you £££'s down the road. Check this buyers guide: Alfa Romeo 147 Buyer's Guide

Best of luck with the car search, exciting times ahead!
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147 Sport Q2: Autolusso Remap + Swirl Flap & EGR Delete, Mocal Oil Cooler Kit, JTD Performance FMIC Kit + High Flow Elbow, Wizard Downpipe, PF Pads + 5.1 Fluid, Autolusso Braided Brake Lines, MTech Short-Shifter, Autolusso Silicone Turbo-to-MAF Hose, Refurbed Q2's + Some to add later.

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I'd counsel against it, unless you are genuinely likely to be gentle with the car and relatively flush. The "wear and tear" items can be dearer than some other marques and you will almost certainly be buying into a car that the seller has deferred some maintenance costs on (their gift to you!)... A Peugeot 307 is one possible alternative if you want European cachet on a shoestring budget.
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The 147 isn't really based on the 156 apart from sharing some of the same engines.
The 147 and the GT are the same car with different body panels essentially. The electrics are the biggest difference with the 147/GT using a CANBUS system.
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I would say that if you are willing to learn how to do some of your own maintenance then they are actually a great car to learn on! Especially the twinspark engines as they are pretty simple to work on and things like oil changes take all of 10 minutes to complete as the filter and sump plug are so easily accessible. Thankfully this forum is FULL of really knowledgeable people and there are plenty of guides on here along with the Alfa Workshop website with plenty of photos and really detailed information that can be a great asset for someone just starting out with the tools. I began learning on a 2.0 GTV and found it to be genuinely easy to work on and would recommend the twinspark as a great place to start out (no idea of the diesel variants however).

If you're not really interested in trying to do some basic maintenance yourself and instead would prefer to just send it down to your local indie to get all your servicing done.....then avoid a 147 imo. Not because they are unreliable, but because unfortunately many of the spare parts are a little bit more expensive than some of the other, more popular marques out there and time and time again you see people getting taken for a ride by mechanics when it comes to parts cost. There are other issues as well such as garages opting to buy the cheapest pattern parts possible for things like wishbones or non-Bosch MAF's which is a BIG BIG BIG no-no! So if you want a more hands-off approach then maybe look towards another marque.

If you do decide to get a 147 I would suggest walking away from any car that has ANY electrical issues, give the floorpan a REALLY thorough inspection for rust, keep note of knocks of bangs from the front suspension as the wishbones and bushes are around that age when they are failing and that could almost cost you the purchase price of the vehicle in parts alone, and make sure you know when the timing belt, tensioners and water pump were all last changed (mileage AND date) as these have a 3-4 year replacement cycle and are relatively costly services. It is also common for some garages to skip replacing the water pump to keep the timing belt repalcement cost down so do have a thorough look through old receipts to find out this information as it could save you some heartache later down the line!

Last but not least, don't buy the first one you see until you have driven a few different cars or at the VERY least gone back for a second drive. With your first car it can be easy to have had one seemigly enjoyable test drive with everything ticking the right boxes to say "yes! I'll take it!". Only to find out that you actually bought a lemon after you've handed over your cash. If there are only a few in your area worth looking at, try and find the time to see as many as possible and any cars that you put in the "maybe" pile, try and arrange a second viewing and also ask if you can see where the car stands most nights so as to inspect for oil spots on the garage floor etc. that might give you a better indication of the car's health (oil leaks will happen at this age but huge pools of oil obviously should dissuade you).

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The 147 is a very safe car.
Brakes and stability that are in a class of their own.
At the extreme end of driving when things go wrong the 147 the car looks after you, such as in an emergency situation.
Impressive is not the word.
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The 147 is a very safe car.
Brakes and stability that are in a class of their own.
At the extreme end of driving when things go wrong the 147 the car looks after you, such as in an emergency situation.
Impressive is not the word.
although it has a poor NCAP rating.... so I wouldn't say "impressive" at all.
There are a lot safer cars you could get.

Official Alfa Romeo 147 2001 safety rating
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although it has a poor NCAP rating.... so I wouldn't say "impressive" at all.
There are a lot safer cars you could get.

Official Alfa Romeo 147 2001 safety rating
You're not wrong.. Just had a read through the report....

"THE 147 DID VERY POORLY in the frontal impact, exposing its occupants to serious risks and losing all but three marks available in testing. The carís safety cell became compromised because the screen pillar and door failed along spot weld seams and crimped seams and the beam running behind the fascia was driven rearwards relative to the screen pillars. The safety restraints did not protect the driver adequately and his head struck the fascia. By contrast, it protected well in the side impact, gaining a maximum score for the test. Its head-protecting airbag proved itself highly effective."

So I guess if you're gonna have a crash in a 147, you'd best be sliding sideways when you do it
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The 147 only got a good NCAP score due to having a lot of air-baggery as standard.
Collision wise it wasn't that good.

Also as a 1st car it's a pig to park/manoeuvre in tight spaces.

If you do get one get a pre facelift as they look cooler.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockhopper View Post
The 147 isn't really based on the 156 apart from sharing some of the same engines.
The 147 and the GT are the same car with different body panels essentially. The electrics are the biggest difference with the 147/GT using a CANBUS system.
funny...I was always led to believe that the GT was based on the 156 Sportwagon chassis...???
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Northern Ireland here lad.

147 was my first car (still is). I paid around £4000 for it when it was 5/6 years old. Considering that it was a diesel, limited edition, with low miles and in good condition, I was reasonably ok paying that.

Insurance
I was very late getting licensed myself and didn't get the car til I was 27/28. Even so, I got a shock when the quotes came in; for my 150 break it cost £1300, paid in full for the first year. Now 4 years later it's around 400/500, renewal is up soon so I'm hoping it comes down a bit more.

Likely problems

The day I got the car the silicon turbo pipe burst, dealer wasn't happy, but he paid to get it replaced. That's something to keep an eye on, if you search for it you'll find threads about it. After that the only problem I had was an EGR valve, which is a simple job to swap out. So for almost 4 years I'd no trouble really.

4 years on now and the car is starting to look and feel a bit dated. I've spent a total of a grand so far this month on servicing/timing belt/replacing bits and pieces. (£90 for a shock, mechanic said was basically a piece of crap). I'll likely be spending more, but it's absolutely a little bit my fault for not spending what I should have when it needed it.

Buying one

Finding a good Alfa can be like looking for hens teeth, finding one that has been looked after properly is even harder, Though I'm seeing lots of Mitos and Guiliettas now. 147 spare parts are getting a little more awkward to come by without having to pay hefty and/or order in from England. If you're in the south it might be a bit better, though when I was looking for mine it didn't seem that way.

As has been said, don't buy the first one you see, get a nosey around the car (inside, outside and as much underneath as you can, in my case the little clip holding the exhaust had snapped, so I got the dealer to fix it before I'd take it) and take it for a run, you'll need to be insured unless you're getting it from a dealer to test drive, so if you can, instead get someone you trust, who is insured to test it for you. So many people just take their cars to a local for an oil topup and tire kick, just enough to pass an MOT and don't get them serviced properly. So keep an eye out for things held with tape or squeeky sounds. clutch can sound squeeky, I forget if thats normal.

If the car looks like it's been chav'd out with awful alloys and bodykits, I'd avoid it on principle. These are cars you absolutely can modify, but not in the fastnfurious way and young guys with them will rake the **** out of them. Most upgrade recommendations are for suspensions, the odd engine tweak and remap, seen some decent led light options too.

Living with it
It does have a sizeable turning circle, but really I haven't had any issues parking, manoeuvring etc.

Fuel costs are reasonable in any 147 barring the V6 (but even it was considered more economical comparatively iirc).

It will cost more to service and maintain in general than say a ford or a vauxhall etc and might get harder as I said with the parts seeming to get more and more rare. So before you drop money on it, be sure you can live with it.

General advice
You'll likely have people telling you this already, but dealers like to slap as much money on a car as they think they can get away with. I got at least a grand off mine before I'd even look at it. Compare prices for the car you want from private sellers, and go to a dealership with that figure in mind. They won't like it, but if you're paying cash you'll have more wiggle room.


Ohohoh, you'll also take a hit on the devaluation, more so that any other car, so bare that in mind. Being brutally honest, if I were you looking for a 147 now I might consider guillietta or mito instead.

I don't know what you're willing to pay, but try to get the newest one you can, I'd even consider getting a 159 instead.
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If your heart is set on a 147 then make sure you get the best you can, FSH as a minimum, and you really want to see receipts as well as these can be very maintenance heavy cars

Its hard to know if purchasing from a dealer but you should be able to get a feel for wether or not the car has been well looked after,many GT's i enquired after had their cambelt changes missed or were due for renewal straight away.

Ideally you want the car that has been owned by the devoted enthusiast although they are few and far between

Good luck with the hunt
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Thanks for all the feedback guys. After reading through what ye have all said, unless I can find a well maintained 147 (my budget would be like Ä3000 at most so would probably have to be an older one) I'll probably get one as a second car like a year or two after the first car I get. Might even wait a bit longer and have a look into getting a GT instead... that's like a dream car for me, would want to get one before the model becomes too old haha

I'm gonna keep an eye out for 147s up for sale to see if anything sticks out as been worth having a look at though.
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Kind of amused at the replies on NCAP.

For sure a Hyundai I30 would be a much safer car on paper and it's good you guys see this as the absolute measure of safety.
Sensible evaluation is what the world needs now?

For me in an impending accident situation where things are bad and i have 2-3 seconds before impact with something most likely of my doing i don't want to be in the Hyundai.
There is a very good chance i can drive out of the situation in an Alfa , where as in the Toyota or Hyundai i am cactus.

It's the same argument as why so many people sold their Ducati 916 ,998 or were persuaded that they were a lemon.
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The accidents I've had have happened so quickly the first thing I knew about was when I was lying on the floor (or wondering what the huge bang was if it was in the car). Some people say they don't need to wear a helmet on a bike as in an accident they'd be able to keep their head off the floor. I've smashed two mountain bike helmets as one minute I'm riding along, the next I'm lying in a heap :-)

Whats the reason people sold their 998's? I've been a Ducati fan for years, never heard of people getting rid in a hurry.
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I'd advise against an Alfa as a first. There are far easier car's to learn in. Ones that are far cheaper. Easier to maintain and repair.

Most Alfa's I've had over the past 5 years have all cost about £6-800 a year on maintenace.
They aren't cheap car's to maintain.

Silly things like a themostat can be close to £50 and that's just the part.
Cambelt need to be done on the TS every three years. Again it's expensive to do.

Even in the exhaust there are three cats, Three lambda's etc etc. The y are great car's but don't be fooled that they are easy and cheap to maintain.

The diesels are better but even still take more than your average Corsa / Fiesta / Astra to maintain.

I'd pick something a bit more simple to start with. Okay you won't quite get the flair and style. But you'll wallet will feel a bit better.


Any second hand car is a gamble. But you can reduce that risk with something easy to start with.


You do need to be handy with spanners if you own and Alfa and go in with eye's open. They can be brilliant car's but they do take a lot more fettling for them to be good.

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I have to agree on giving it a wide berth.
Older cars require patience, older Alfa's require lots of patience and money.
Why not try sticking to the Italian brand with a FIAT? We have a 156 sportwagon JTDm 16v and a FIAT Bravo 150 Tjet sport in red. The Bravo is basically a Guilietta in a different frock and is all kinds of fun when you press the Sport button. Otherwise its quite sedate, economical if you are gentle, there aren't many out there (i've never seen another red one) and quite pretty with the sporty detail of skirts, spoilers and alloys. Visibility is a bit poor sometimes but its a shed load better car than a Festa, Corsa or Polo (yes I know its a different model bracket)
have a look
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Rockhopper,

the very quality that Italian cars and bikes have is what many don't like.
You must form a relationship on the machine's terms and not yours.

When the 916 came out in OZ many rushed to buy "the coolest of the cool".
Many found that they are "difficult"to live with and the chief complaint was the seat not so comfortable.
As a long term Ducati rider, first Ducati in 1969, you just accept certain things in owning a Ducati .


My daughter who is seventeen when driving the 147 said,
"It's like the car is talking to you, you can feel everything and your connected."

The poise and stability in the worst conditions you will find yourself in are excellent, you then wonder what a GTA is like ?
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Whats the reason people sold their 998's?"

I worked in the motorcycle trade for many years and heard many reasons.
Can't live with it.
Bloody uncomfortable.
Buying a Harley.
Buying an R1 or Suzuki.
Wife wants me to sell it.
Cost too much to service.
Too fast for me.
Want a cruiser.
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Must be an Oz thing as the 996,998.748 etc range over here are incredibly popular even now with very strong used prices, especially for the 998.
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Ducati has always been top of my list. But like Alfa. They ooze charm and character. But they won't be thebest at anything. And you make that compromise and live with it.

Point being you can get almost the same car or least 80% of it. With about 20% of the headache.
When learning, just learning and being okay and safe on the road should be paramount.

No good the car being off the road all the time and you not be able to drive or afford to get it back on.
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Originally Posted by Berridale View Post
Kind of amused at the replies on NCAP.

For sure a Hyundai I30 would be a much safer car on paper and it's good you guys see this as the absolute measure of safety.
Sensible evaluation is what the world needs now?

For me in an impending accident situation where things are bad and i have 2-3 seconds before impact with something most likely of my doing i don't want to be in the Hyundai.
There is a very good chance i can drive out of the situation in an Alfa , where as in the Toyota or Hyundai i am cactus.

It's the same argument as why so many people sold their Ducati 916 ,998 or were persuaded that they were a lemon.
Poppycock.
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Like others have said, I would advise against getting an Alfa as a first car. My first car was an Opel Kadett. It was a sedan with a 1.2 engine and I could easily hide inside the engine bay. It was the crappest car ever, I mean, it had 55 BHP!? I could actually go faster walking but it was so cheap to maintain! After a while I got a better car, a mk3 Fiesta XR2i... the handling of the car was a bit crap though, so while with the Opel I sort of took off vertically in bends, with the Fiesta you would go on a straight line...but well, it's part of the process of learning about cars.
Skip forward in time a bit and I now have managed to learn to do things like replacing springs and shocks, thermostats, calipers, discs and pads, the servicing, etc... Now that's when I have felt ready to own an Alfa!
My advice is to get a Fiesta, Peugeot 207, something along those lines (there are millions out there and parts are cheap) with the smallest petrol engine you can cope with.
Try to get one with not too many miles and with as much service history as you can. Get info for the model from webforums and websites so you are aware of potential or common faults, etc... Doing a bit of research does pay off when buying a car (and haggling on the price!)
Good luck with your search!

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"Poppy ****."

Not a reply that really says anything.
Suggests to me a case of cognitive dissonance.

It's always better when you explain how arrive at your opinions.
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Rockhopper,

the cruiser culture has hit OZ big time , this was the big change in the motorcycle culture in the last twenty years.
As well Australia became a police state and the very aggressive attitude of police towards motorcyclists taints any venture out on the road .
It is all about raising money from collecting fines, not safety.
Loss of license is the big danger .

The cafe racer scene was big here in the 1970's but now you get a lot of people who ride who couldn't even tell you the engine configuration of their bike.
Very few people fix there own bike, not like the old days.
There still lingers animosity from the days when Ducati dominated Super Bike racing.

The 916 doesn't come up for sale anymore .
Cranked over very hard cornering on a modern Sports Ducati it is an absolute delight hitting ripples across the road , the bike just absorbs the ripples and there is no shaking in the steering.
The guys at work admit they can't match my cornering speed.
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