What about mileage, need I not worry about that, even if it's well over the 100,000 mark?
I know it's common sense if it's knocking and smoking leave it, I was just wondering if there are any little Alfa tell tale signs which you guys in the know could help pick up on?
I've never had an Alfa before, always been put off by the horror stories, but they are so good looking and cool and now I've been looking and asking questions, they are no different to any other car of the same age.
What's better in my area (HULL) you hardly see any, not like the Focus, Astra and Golf's (boring).
Since I've been seriously been looking to get one, I've only seen a handful, (and I have been looking as you do) even the free MOTOR MAIL you get in the paper on a Friday, nothing from main dealers or second hand garages, just the one private sale (which is in this weeks, the first since I've been searching), so again the exclusiveness of owning one.
Thanks again guys for the advice and please keep it coming, I'm beginning to get desperate now and don't want a panic buy!
If the engine has been looked after (i.e. service history/bills) then over 100k isn't an issue, but as Symon mentions you need to check the rest of the car, look for invoices covering the suspension etc. I'm not sure about the clutch I ran my 156 2.0TS (for 7 years) from new to about 110k without the need to change the clutch and it was showing no signs of slipping, the gearbox was still sweet and the engine flawless.
I regularly had the car serviced (main dealer and specialists only) and changed bits as required which were mercifully few, in fact the only bits of any significance were a few front suspension items, but at least half of my mileage was motorway.
In a nutshell whatever the mileage, you'll need to give the car a good and thorough inspection (as with any car), a lower mileage car could have been driven hard and poorly maintained while a higher mileage vehicle well looked after and end up being the better buy, but you'll need to assess that. Others may disagree but I didn't find the 156 to have a persistent significant "weakness" other than the short cambelt life across the TS engine range, but then I did both regularly drive and maintain the car!
One thing is for sure if there is no service history or receipts to support work then it's just not worth the risk, also be wary of a car that's changed hands several times in short period of time. The 156 can and do last and last but like any other car they must be looked after.