Good man, the 156 is still a great car. Autolusso will sell you a genuine new variator for £120 and the timing belt kit will set you back £90, to be safe you might also want to replace the water pump too at £40. I take it the new car is running the 2.0 Twin Spark.
Twinspark - Autolusso New Alfa Romeo Parts
Autolusso have done all the major work on my car and you won't go wrong there. Here's their servicing page to give you an idea of labour costs etc:
Autolusso - Fixed price servicing
Just how 'kaput' is your current 156?
Thanks for the reply Baxter2308.Much appreciate you taking the time to advise on parts and costs.
Had another look at the car yesterday. Something just not kosher.
Turns out paperwork/receipts from their mechanic presented at the 2nd viewing stated that variator and timing belt had been done only 2000 miles ago.
i drove it for about 10 mins handbrake popped back up each time as i slowed car down and came to a halt.
Car just didn't seem to have the same engine power (yes even when handbrake was down !!!) my own 156 which is 3 years older and has close to 70,000 more miles on clock was such a frisky filly in comparison.
Original upholstery also looked way too worn for a car with such low mileage.
My old 156 took it's last breathe this eve i think . Turned ignition and not turning over at all. I hadn't driven it in 3 days. THere is a possibility that battery is flat though(interior light left on which might have drained it)
Prior to that it was going but very noisy and angry sounding engine over the last week.
Oil light was staying on despite lots of oil in engine for 2 days running.
Mechanic had warned me that engine was on it's last legs last week. Was talk of replacing engine as car has sentimental value to me but i decided not to go down that route