So as far as my experience (1.6 TS) goes:
- Listen out for what is known as 'variator rattle' on the petrol, this makes the car sound like a tractor, characterised by an especially loud 'resonance' noise on startup. Sometimes this settles down, but may get worse over time with poor oiling. Change upon a cambelt service.
- The suspension can typically go on these and the GTs, they have a wonderful squeak when this happens (mine has already gone
- Make sure with the facelift models that the manual lock is working. If your battery fails and the lock is not working then getting into the car is... problematic
. There is ONLY this one manual lock on the drivers side in case of electronic failure on the facelift.
- Keep an eye on the oil. Some people have oil consuming engines, others don't seem to. Mine has never used a drop.
-Check the jacking points on the car. I looked at a few 147 where they had been destroyed/minced making working difficult to do at home.
This article is getting on now, but most of it is still valid (prices will have increased however I suspect)
Alfa Romeo 147 Buyer's Guide
- Make sure the warning light goes off for the seatbelt when engaged with the clip. If this light stays on, this is an instant MOT failure.
- Check that the electric window switch panel is 'level' with the door. This can be a sign of tampering or repair, which is fine, but may require the odd question. Incorrect removal of the switches can cause electrical issues if anyone needed access to the car door behind the trim.
- If the door panel has ever been removed, ask/check that they seal has been replaced or not taken off too far, as this can lead to the door allowing water into the floorpan (I know realistically that checking this would be a pain in any respect, still there's nothing stopping you checking after purchase).
- purely on a cosmetic basis, do the obvious check for cracks under the front of the bumper. They will usually have scuffing, sometimes heavy, but there's little you can do about it, just a fact of the 147s.
The 147 is getting to that age where some really terrible cars are out there. One thing to do if you are not in a rush is keep an eye on the classifieds here but also don't forget about Pistonheads, there may be some really good cars on there that are not on Autotrader with more dedicated owners.
If you are going to go to a smaller dealer, make sure they are not overcharging. I see no problem with buying from somewhere like Veloces (considering your location). but just make you do not feel you are overpaying. Some sellers; private or trade seem to get 'Alfa blinkers' on them, thinking that it is worth far more than it ever is or will be.
If you are a little unsure, maybe some can help remotely from here, just post your finds in your thread you made in Community Discussions. Someone/many will likely get back to you throughout the day or something.