First, let me say I do sympathise with the problem of buying cars off crooks - I've been there too, it's not funny
It can end up costing a great deal of money to put right, while all along you know you've been fleeced by someone who has no conscience.
I think there's something to be said for the other approach which I took - buy a 156 that's cheap and has a few obvious problems (mine had a loud knocking and a misadjusted Selespeed), then expect to fix those problems along with anything else you notice along the way. You probably spend about as much money as you would in buying a 'nice' example from a dealer, but it's less frustrating and more satisfying, somehow.
I spent most of my last weekend replacing anti roll bar bushes and upper wishbones, AND a split CV boot that turned out to have ruined the joint (so I replaced the driveshaft) - these jobs were easier to do all together and the difference is amazing. The car is so much nicer to drive and all the knocking is gone.
After all, the same jobs need doing no matter which way you go - it's just that with a dealer involved, you're trying to persuade them to do the work, whereas with a private-sale-in-average-condition, you just get on with it.
Sorry to sound so harsh but what I'm about to say will be horrifying to some - this is NOT addressed to anyone in particular, but in general... if you don't want to get involved in mechanical work at all, I think you're best off to buy a newer car and avoid these 'old' (5-10-year-old) Alfas. I am a jack-of-all-trades and I earn little money, so I can't afford a newer car but I can do most work myself (and I enjoy it). Those of you that are masters in your fields (such as, financial-directors and systems-analysts) will earn far more than me, so you can afford a newer car and stick to what you do best.
It would have taken me much longer than two days to earn enough money to pay someone else to replace my ARB bushes and wishbones (and driveshaft), plus, would they have cleaned my washer tank and wheelarch liner, and obtained new wheelbolts? - probably not.
Again, I'm not directing this at anyone in particular, it's just my thoughts.