nu fortsætter jeg på engelsk for de andre medlemmers skyld. Vi må dele når de gør det...
Just 6 weeks ago I traded my wife's Peugeot 206 for my first Alfa, a GT 2.0 JTS 2004. My wife thinks it's her car. Well, it's not. She can have the other car, which is a 2 years old VW Passat Diesel by the way.
I'm not an experienced Alfa-owner, but you see all my life I bought boring cars, I have had new and older ones, European, Japanese, in common is: It's f...... expensive in any case. Might as well have a little fun then, who cares if it's a little bit more expensive in the long run (which I actually doubt) if it is much more fun.
Info for readers from other countries: In Denmark we pay 3 times the price to buy one car, the rest is taxes. Ridiculous, but that's how it is.
Until now I love my Alfa. There were an issue with a couple of Lambda-things, probably came when we gave the car a rust protection. Seems to be solved. It's repaired on the guarantee, a two hours garage-visit.
Then I had an accident where a ignition-cap fell of, the garage says it must have been re-placed incorrectly when FDM (motorowners organisation) tested the car. But they fixed it. Made me nervous though, drove on 3 cylinders for 20-30 km, and did NOT like it. Don't seem to have ruined anything though.
From speaking with other Alfa owners and from what I see inhere I'd say the Alfa is generally a good car, you can find VW's, Mazda whatever with problems too, and you need not be too nervous. You should be able to find good examples even year 2004 although any 8 years old car driven a little "sporty" may have issues.
Take it to the FDM (motorowners club) and have them go it through before signing anything. If the garage does approve you may be able to make them pay (I was, it cost appr. DKK 2.000). If they don't approve it may be because there is a problem. It almost certainly will save you money. I got a set of new rear brake-discs for free on that account.
If possible: find one which was rust-protected from the start (I would always do that if the car is 8 years old except mine weren't, but it had zero rust).
With the 2.0 JTS it's very important the engine always had enough oil, or it ruins the cylinder-head (topstykke). Some owners tend to be sloppy on this when the first years have passed. You also need to be sure the cambelt has been shifted together with the waterpump. It's not an experience of mine, I read some of the other interesting threads inhere. You may be able to bargain with the seller on this. The belt should not be more than 60.000 km old in any case. Never.
Condition of brakes, suspension-arms (don't know the right word) etc. depends on how the car has been driven. Make sure the brakes are OK, they may be expensive to mingle with.
I have an almost clean FDM (motor-owner club)-certificate on my car, also a 2004. Only have a little bit of rust on the silencer. Not a big deal on a 8 year old car. I guess that says something about the general quality of Alfa not being too bad, I'd like to see if any VW or Toyota can do better. The 156 and the GT may be assembled in different factories though. I don't know if the quality is the same.
Driving the highway this weekend I found I sat with a smile on my face for no other reason than I enjoyed the ride. Never did that before I think. Until now I'm a happy Alfista.