As some of you may know ive been steadily rebuilding a 2002 Alfa 156 Sportwagon over the past 8 years.
I still love it to bits, i'm too besotted with her tbh to the point where I dont dare complete mechanical tasks myself and leave it to my awesome mechanic Roger from Peak Alfa who has rebuilt the suspension, engine (twice), gearbox (3 times), fitted a facelift conversion, 330mm brake conversion. Money has been no object with this car, it was my dream of owning a 156 sportwagon for a long time prior to me being able to afford one.
The car is at the point now where I'm more than happy with the suspension setup, looks and engine performance. It has been running very well for a long time now and have even been on long 900 mile trips to Ireland with no problems. The problem is I still cant trust it! It has embarrassed me on many occasions and sometimes I just feel the need for a car which I can guarantee will start in freezing temperatures and cause no issues which is why my Silver 156 will now be a summer car for blasting round twisties on summer days.
I've managed to get my hands on a 56 plate 156 with the Q-system gearbox. Many will say 'should have got the manual' - I hate manuals! one of the best things about my old sportwagon is the selespeed system. Problematic yes but when working 100% entertainment every time I drive it: blipping the throttle coming up to roundabouts and the instant kick down on the motorways to blow 'ze Germans' from my bum. absolutely love it.
The Q-system gearbox is a Toyota box which is also used in Lexus and Supra's and is extremely strong able to take over 400bhp. Its a 4 speed 'slush' box which sounds boring but is actually quite fun and had a H gate to change gear like a manual without a clutch
The way this thing launches off the line is really impressive. It then has the usual 2.5 v6 flat spot upto 4000rpm (where my Twinny would leave it for dead) and then after 4000rpm all hell brakes loose and it screams up to the red line. I've not tried the gearbox in Sport mode yet as the car has a few issues.
Its had a spate of short term previous owners who have bought it on a whim and realised that there are major issues with the suspension. Its terrible - my old sportwagon had some knocks when I got it but this suspension if fec**ed!!
I'm going to go all Ed China on this beast and rebuild the suspension myself in my garage and have invested in the following:
New Upper and lower wishbones (good quality ones)
New track rod ends
New bolts wherever
New Eibach anti-roll bar kit
New drop links
The car also needs a new thermostat which I have bought as it takes about 30mins to get up to 90 degree's!
Other faults - Info centre screen knackered - going to fit a new one
A Previous owner drilled a hole in the wing for a caravan mirror- now filled in but needs painting.
I'm not spending any money on garage labour on this car if I can help it
Good points though- underseal is very thick underneith and not a mm of rust anywhere on the car.
Hoping to get the suspension tighter with less body roll and understeer. Its never going to handle like my twinny but its a completely different car.
I already have another set of GTA teledials to fit onto it and smoked side lights where the first thing that I did.
Future Plans may possibly include:
Supercharger conversion - I have all of the parts!
GTA upright and 330mm brake conversion
3.0-3.2 engine drop in (if I blow the 2.5 up with a supercharger