Cheap Blackline - my first six months
Well - here we are - six months and a couple of days into Blackline GT ownership, so I thought I'd give an update...
My intention was (and still is) to treat this car as a daily commuting hack - I bought it cheap with a lot of miles on it, expecting to have to replace stuff sooner, rather than later.
Firstly, despite what I've read elswhere on AO, the fuel computer has been surprisingly accurate. The car tells me a figure of around 45-46mpg and the Fuelly calculator tells me about 44.5mpg - quite acceptable. After I bought it, I was getting 46-48mpg, but it was running horrible, cheap, zero-grip tyres. After I fitted a set of Falken 914, the mpg dropped but the grip level (and the fun factor) increased accordingly. Also interestingly, the mpg was noticably better in the hot weather than it is now - I thought turbo cars liked cold weather - is it different for diesels?
Also, when I bought the car, I knew it would need wishbones at some point - one was clunking and another was creaking. I also knew the turbo was about ready to die, as it smoked at cold startup and whistled a bit.
I made it last 10,000 miles by turning up the radio when the suspension creaked or clunked (normally I'm quite anal about a car's mechanicals, but I wanted to get my money's worth).
However, last Saturday, just after it turned 161,000 miles, the turbo started whistling a lot more loudly, so I got Paul at Motormech to have a look at it and it was pronounced to be on its last legs. I took the decision to have it re-furbed before it destroyed itself. While it was there, I decided to get all the other stuff done, so I'm now in for:-
2x top wishbones
2x bottom wishbones
front ARB bushes
one track rod end
Adjust gear link cables
Bleed brakes & clutch
If I can get it to 50+ mpg, I'll be chuffed
As far as actually driving it is concerned, I love:-
I'm less impressed with:-
The jiggly ride
The VERY kerb-able wheels
and I'm well cheesed off with:-
not a lot, really - the wind noise around the side windows is annoying and the traction control is a joke. The headlamps are feeble and the dash keeps lying to me about blown bulbs. Other than these very minor niggles, I'm well pleased.
Yes, I could have bought a more reliable diesel car for commuting duties. Yes, I could have bought a more economical car. Yes, I could have bought a more comfortable car. But none of them would have been an Alfa GT. Many people where I work have commented that the car looks great and they wonder how I can afford "two such expensive cars" - most of them were slack-jawed when I told them I'd paid just over £4k for the Alfa, with comments of "it looks like three or four times that" - praise indeed for a great design
Just wished they'd done a 2.4 version.....