My first ever Alfa was an Alfetta GTV6 of 1983 vintage, I owned this car from mid-1990 until about 1999, during that time I spent £15,000 pounds on it, which included new valve guides (twice), a gearbox synchro rebuild, uprated suspension, uprated Brembo discs and pads all round two sets of rear calipers, propshaft balancing, re-trimming the interior with leather and suede, new wheels and tyres, Autodelta front spoiler, cambelts, servicing, etc., etc. The only time this car let me down was when a rear calliper failed whilst reversing out of my garage on the way to National Alfa Day, other than that I enjoyed using the car all year round, all over the UK, including two track days. The car was reliable, comfortable, rattle and squeak free, and felt surprisingly tough. It was also rare and beautiful, an almost perfect car. The interior fit and finish was a bit “wonky” and the materials were not of the best quality, but no worse than of cars of a similar vintage.
The Alfetta was replaced by a brand new 156 2.0TS, as I needed a cheap to run modern car (I was buying my first house) The 156 cost me nothing in the six years that I owned it, other than servicing (main dealer) and a new set of wheels and tyres, stereo, over mats and alloy door pins. This car was also squeak and rattle free apart from one slight knocking noise like a loose electrical connector behind the instrument clocks when you went over a big bump, this was apparent from day one and never resolved. The car was comfortable, stylish, with a fabulous engine and handled very well on stock suspension. I remember a second hand car test of one of these, that stated they were “as reliable as a crack addict” it made me smile.
My 156 was replaced by a Volvo 850 GLT “crack addict” estate, a car so unreliable it took me three months to sell due to it kept braking down every time I put an advert on Autotrader. EVERYONE told how good these cars were!
The Volvo was replaced with a Fiat Multipla JTD that during the two years of ownership only required a diesel injector seal and front drop links. This car was remarkably squeak and rattle free despite the bargain basement plastics used, not only that but they were poorly finished with lots of sharp edges and strange shaped gaps you could stick your fingers in should you be so inclined, but it was still well screwed together. Loved this car.
Fiat Multipla was superseded by the gorgeous Alfa Gt that I didn’t totally love because of the diesel engine. This car was reliable and well-built, but the noise didn’t match it’s looks. It only left my ownership after being written off in a hailstorm……cue one of the all-round best built Alfas that I have come across…. the 166 3.0 V6 super. The whole car exuded solidity from the mechanicals to the interior. Quality plastics were used and properly engineered, this car felt like it would last for ever, a wonderful car. Alfa reputedly spent lots of time” engineering in quality” to compete with the company executive cars that it was designed to go head to head with. It shows, like the money spent on the door seals ensuring a silent passage through the air and that they shut with a reassuring “thunk” Totally underrated cars, love ‘em.
When the 166 was replaced, I chose a 159 2.2 JTS saloon. Now these cars a renowned for being overweight, and down the road is where you feel it most, but in a good way. The quality and solidness of the car shows through, and is very pleasing, this extends to the interior fit and finish which is spot on, there’s no issues about quality on this car, that is until you get out of it and shut any of the doors that close with an appallingly cheap clang, so much so it’s embarrassing. The other problem for me was the drivetrain, which if you were caught in a traffic jam or driving through town, the whole engine transmission combination just didn’t work, it was impossible to drive smoothly, to point that once when stuck in stop start traffic I turned and said to my wife “I f*****g hate this car” the most beautiful and well-built Alfa in recent times ruined by the drivetrain.
So this is where I am now, driving another Gt but this time a 3.2 V6. The interior quality is the same as my other Gt, good, but not the best, however there are no issues with it. The mechanicals do not feel robust like the Alfetta and 166, they give me the distinct feeling that they are on the edge of what they can do. A number of owners have remarked on the “impending doom” feeling of these cars. I have bills for this car to the tune of £14,000+ pounds, so you could conclude that Alfa have not moved the game on since the 80’s and my old Alfetta, but there have been some quality highlights in the interim years.
Running report for: Type 937 Gt 3.2 V6
My Italian car history so far:
MK1 Fiat Uno 60 S, Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV6, Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 ts, Fiat Multipla ELX 1.9jtd, Alfa Romeo Gt Lusso jtd, Alfa Romeo 166 3.0 V6 Super, Alfa Romeo 159 2.2 Ti, Alfa Romeo Gt 3.2 V6