Interesting topic,I had one of the first 156 2.5 veloce sportpack 3 ,It was a 1998 car ,and got me back to alfa after years of disapointment.
I loved it,since then I have had 2 gta's ,a 2.4jtd a 2x jts,Gtv 3.2 and finally a 2.5 v6 sportwagon on a 53 plate,I bought it off ebay with 67k on the clock but snapped cambelt.
I found an engine for £100,and went about rebuilding it to as new condition.
Its a lovely car with facelift interior and a pleasure to drive.
Incidentlty the 55 plate and 06 and 56 plate ones were meant for Malaysia, but the boat caught fire, and most of the Alfa's were just smoke damage.They are all 2003 cars but registered when the insurance was paid out.
I remember when they started being listed on Ebay in 2005,most were 2.5's but a few were Gta's selling at the time for 10k!
Bad thing is even though they were 56 reg cars ,they were built in 2003,but you have to pay road tax of £400.
And some have 30k miles on the clock but never had a cambelt,which they should have had because of being built in 2003 in fact they should have had 2 belt changes by now.
I saw one in a garage local to me on a 56 plate,so I went in an asked some questions,it had 57k on the clock,but had never had a belt change,you should have seen the salesmans face when I told him that the car he was selling for 4k was in fact a 2003 car and needed a cambelt /waterpump asap!!
He was nearly in tears because he had paid good money for it in a part ex!