Sounds like a nightmare that 156 you went and looked at!
I went to look at a BMW 540i that I thought would be a bargain from the description. I got there and there was an oil leak, gouges in the tyres, and the electrics had packed in,
It's crazy how some people try and mug you off,
But don't let that hold you back, the search shall continue,
Hmm, the next car you've described sounds like an old non-SP boggo 156,
I really wouldn't bother to be honest, as for a few hundred extra you can get a Sport Pack model that needs no work.
£970 for a bog standard 156 with the dodgy 15" wheels, 100K+, in the most hated colour on the forum (Proteo red), that also requires work? That's seriously not a bargain,
It also needs an air con re-gas, it's due a cambelt change, and has no remote central locking, only 1 key. Not a bargain whatsoever. Steer clear!
£1500 will get you a MINT 156 2.0 TS these days, I'd stop looking at cars with faults because cars with faults to me mean that the owner doesn't care, and hasn't cared, enough about the car to bother sorting them out when they've arisen.
That car is probably worth £600 tops.
Would you be interested in the V6 version at all? The prices of the V6's have dropped dramatically due to the fuel prices etc. Here's a 156 V6 that went on eBay for just over a grand:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ALFA-ROMEO-156-V6-VELOCE-SPORTWAGON-ESTATE-NO-RESERVE_W0QQitemZ230276050722QQcmdZViewItem?hash=i tem230276050722&_trkparms=39%3A1|66%3A2|65%3A7 &_trksid=p3286.c0.m14.l1318
It had a new engine fitted the year before with cambelt change etc, also had FSH, all keys, leather, AND it was a Sport Pack.
It's a Sport Wagon though, which aren't to everyone's taste but they still look good.
Here's a half decent example that's up for sale now:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1999-ALFA-ROMEO-156-2-5-V6-SILVER-MOT-MARCH-09-NICE-CAR_W0QQitemZ290251602381QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item2 90251602381&_trkparms=39%3A1|66%3A2|65%3A7&_trksid =p3286.c0.m14.l1318
You'd get that for £1200 I'd wager.
Here's another that sold for just over £1000:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1998-ALFA-ROMEO-156-2-5-V6-BLUE_W0QQitemZ320281236420QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item 320281236420&_trkparms=39%3A1|66%3A2|65%3A7&_trksi d=p3286.c0.m14.l1318
Like I say, the V6's are going CHEAP nowadays. It's something you may want to seriously consider. I've had 2 and they're brilliant.
The 2.0 TS is the better all rounder though as it has immense handling capabilities.
Here's a twinny that went cheap:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/2000-ALFA-ROMEO-156-2-0-T-SPARK-CREAM-PEARL_W0QQitemZ300245050810QQcmdZViewItem?hash=ite m300245050810&_trkparms=39%3A1|66%3A2|65%3A7&_trks id=p3286.c0.m14.l1318
The reason these ones go so cheap is because of the lack of leather, leather seems to be a major selling point for most Alfa's.
My 1998 156 V6 came with terrible Velour interior, so I bought a new interior and fitted it with a mate, makes the world of difference.
I think the best bet is you first decide on the EXACT car you want and then you can start looking properly.
Although, having said 'Don't buy one with issues', I did just that in the form of my current V6. Take a gander at the thread here: http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/just-...ct-156-v6.html
But, I'm not driving it, so any issues that are going to be sorted aren't affecting me as I'm sadly driving my 1994 Mondeo,