Catch 22 - Food for thought... - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Catch 22 - Food for thought...

Anyone know this GTA? It's such a shame to see it in this state, it looks like a dog that's been abandoned by a bin (sorry). When it's only 20 miles away from me I'm almost tempted. I really cannot emphasise the word 'tempted' enough, even when I already have a needy 147 and no space for another car. Three words come to mind - pit, potential and money. But otherwise I may never own a Busso V6.

Alfa Romeo 156 3.2 GTA 4dr

p.s. That timing belt might just let go soon.

Now: 156 GTA | Quaife LSD | 330mm Brembos

Then: 147 Sport Q2 | Autolusso Remap | Swirl Flap & EGR Delete | Mocal Oil Cooler Kit | JTD Performance FMIC Kit | High Flow Elbow | Wizard Downpipe | PF Pads & 5.1 Fluid | Autolusso Braided Brake Lines | MTech Short-Shifter | Autolusso Silicone Turbo-to-MAF Hose | Refurbed Q2s


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Looks decent, apart from the lack of cambelt and history, not been butchered, just a bit neglected.

But if as you say it's only 20 miles from you, then buy it, get it home and squirrel away a few quid to get it sorted, if you have the itch for a Busso, then you really should scratch it.
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Hang on, hang on, hang on.

2 owners but sale is due to death of owner who had the car from new?

Hmm.

Still worth a look and make an offer if you reckon it's worth it. Worth 3k in bits.


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Seems a bit expensive given the cambelt, lack of history, highish mileage, moldy looking boot, rusty wheelarch, neglected-looking engine and cracked front bumper. Mine was far better than that (albeit with even higher mileage, some rust and an EML but recent bottom end rebuild, newish gearbox, Q2 and lots of big bills) in the autumn for two grand less, as was rxe's new purchase (his came with a dented door and nsf wing but recently replaced engine).

Still, it's a nice colour and they do seem to be going up in value, but you could probably buy a much better one for it's asking price plus the cost of the bumper / wing / cambelt change, let alone all the other components which probably need replacing if it's not been well looked after.

I'd say leave it for a while, then put in an offer around three grand and you can't go wrong
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its strong money for that car...

at 3k I would buy it all day long.

as said before wait a while and then go in with an offer of 3k, needs a lot of TLC to be perfect and that = time and money.
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Good advice people. I will be going to have a look at it though, things like the floorpans and the rest of the panels but I don't trust that timing belt. I'll review the financial situation and see if this could become a reality. And I certainly won't be paying 5k.
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Does seem a high price for an example in so so condition.
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Worth a look, but I wouldn't be buying at 5k. You can compare it to my minter when you come up in April, you'll see just how easily a 5k GTA becomes a 10k GTA.
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MOT history checker shows quite a lot of fails on suspension parts and exhaust issues over the years
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Cheers for the pointers people. I called the seller this morning to arrange a viewing but no answer so I'll try again later. Just for arguments sake what exactly would the costs be? I have been following rxe's rebuild of a 156 V6 and he and his lad are definitely competent with the spanners but the costs still rack up fairly quickly. I certainly wouldn't have access to a ramp or some of the specialist tools required to perform a timing belt change etc so indies would be doing most of the work. That said I presume I'd be looking at the following:

1. Timing belt & water pump
2. Discs/pads/fluid
3. Clutch
4. Upper & lower suspension arms (given it's history)
5. Floor pans (potentially)
6. Front bumper
7. Engine powder coating
8. Inlet pipes
9. Almost 100,000 miles (does it need rebuilding?)
10. Oil cooler
11. Tyres
12. Rust, if there is any
13. Water ingress in the boot?
14. Odds and ends - There's a headlight washer missing and because I'm a bit strange I would look to fit the genuine 156 boot spoiler. ( I know, it's awful)
15. Tax plus extra insurance - Hastings will insure me on the 156 GTA cheaper than for my 1.9 Q2, how does that work? Not that I'm complaining.

TBH I'm not sure the seller would go for an offer of 3k but it's worth asking considering the 'so-so' condition as some have stated, but factoring in the potential cost of a new turbo for the 147 into this really does put me off. I'd probably have to sell the 147 which I don't want to do because it's my first car. If I did sell it I might get 3,500 ish for it (once it's fixed) and own a Busso as a daily driver for a while, my commute is only 60-80 miles per week so fuel isn't such a problem. If 3k could buy the 156 then it's doable which is why I really want to view it first.

Part of me wants it to be a complete pup so that I can let this idea go.
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Originally Posted by baxter2308 View Post
That said I presume I'd be looking at the following:
1. Timing belt & water pump
3. Clutch
4. Upper & lower suspension arms (given it's history)
7. Engine powder coating
8. Inlet pipes
10. Oil cooler
(+ anti roll bar bushes, rear engine mount, top steady, oil/filter, air filter, spark plugs, cam cover gaskets & spark plug gaskets, coolant, gear oil, aux belt with tensioners & idlers and loads of other bits and bobs)

Done altogether 3k ish

2. Discs/pads/fluid

All round about 450 ish for good discs all round, front PF pads, std rear pads, new fluid & bleed

9. Almost 100,000 miles (does it need rebuilding?) Maybe, add 2k done with first lot of work. Probably just top end a little tired so less than that.

11. Tyres 300

12. Rust, if there is any
5. Floor pans (potentially)

Maybe.. I've never seen a horrific 156 GTA but I've done some floor welding on a few

13. Water ingress in the boot? Boot seal 25, rear screen re-seal probably 100ish by a windscreen man

14. Odds and ends - There's a headlight washer missing and because I'm a bit strange I would look to fit the genuine 156 boot spoiler. ( I know, it's awful)

Used GTA front bumper 150

15. Tax 290 a year

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Originally Posted by baxter2308 View Post
If 3k could buy the 156 then it's doable which is why I really want to view it first. Part of me wants it to be a complete pup so that I can let this idea go.
It has the potential to be a disaster, but there aren't many GTAs and they are being gobbled up by collectors. Prices will keep going up.

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1 3 4 7 8 10 maybe 2 and 6 I would try and do together, you'll save a shed load on labour. A rebuild may not be necessary, but of course the need will be more apparent when checked over.

Separately that is a lot of money but when grouped together you can save a lot. Discs and pads if you stick to stock brembos you can get all the kit for under 200, then of course just fitting.

The insurance on my GT was cheaper than my 147 8v! Yes is weird but like you said it's all good!

I think Ned quoted me about 300 extra for the engine to be powdercoated when a cambelt service is done.

Floorpans I've no idea about I'll be honest, that or the ingress.




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Well I went to see the the 156 GTA and indeed there's a little bit to do as you can see from the photos. The 156 belonged to a chap from new who sadly passed away last year, so the car is now owned by his wife (hence one owner from new but two owners in total) who very kindly allowed me to view the car today. It's clear that the car has been cared for throughout it's life but due to current circumstances it really needs rescuing now.

The front bumper is not badly gouged or cracked so a respray may just do it, the wheel arches however will need some work on both sides. The arch pictured is nearside and much worse than the the offside as seen in the ad, although the rest of the paintwork seems in good order. As expected the floorpan has some surface rust but it's nowhere near as bad as I was expecting. The cabin is very good and the leather has been well looked after, the boot was a little foisty as described in the ad. The engine turned over no problem and idled fine (see link, excuse the weather), I'll leave it to the V6 experts on the forum to decide if it sounds ok from the little that's in the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhmE...ature=youtu.be

The downside is that the car isn't going to change hands for 3k or anything close to it, 4500 ish seems to be the minimum asking price as the current owner is privy to it's rarity and condition. A lot of work has been done over the years (at specialists) and there was another cambelt change after 2008 but no documentation for it which feels like code for 'it needs doing'. The servicing schedule dictates that it should have been changed again in 2012 and therefore it's due again this year. Alloys and tyres are fab and the brake pads and discs look good but the car seems to have been sat for around a year. In all the foundation seems to be there but there's plenty that I still don't know about, e.g. suspension and underside.

Time to mull over the numbers.
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Sounds good in the video. Floor doesn't look too bad either. Worst case a pair of wings is going to cost 800 but it looks like they might refurb for less, I can't see any holes just bits where the paint has come off. How does the clutch feel compared to your 147?
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Sounds good in the video. Floor doesn't look too bad either. Worst case a pair of wings is going to cost 800 but it looks like they might refurb for less, I can't see any holes just bits where the paint has come off. How does the clutch feel compared to your 147?
It does feel a tad lighter it has to be said, the JTD clutch really is firm especially when you are trying to get across Keighley in stop/start stuff. I don't mind spending a bit of cash on a car like this but mulling it over, I would have to fix then sell the Q2 to fund it, plus I definitely do not have the space to store two cars. It's one or the other.
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GTA will definitely cost you more to run, and I don't just mean in fuel. However, the GTA will appreciate in value, your 147 probably still has some value to lose (sorry). So, swings and roundabouts on costs maybe, depending how good or bad the GTA is really. You could pinch the diff from the 147 for the GTA
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GTA will definitely cost you more to run, and I don't just mean in fuel. However, the GTA will appreciate in value, your 147 probably still has some value to lose (sorry). So, swings and roundabouts on costs maybe, depending how good or bad the GTA is really. You could pinch the diff from the 147 for the GTA
I'm conflicted. I have made my mind up though, I will still have the work done on the 147 as planned and if it does need a new turbo it will get it. If I sell it I will make sure that it's working as it should because I'd feel bad selling a car that I know is faulty/or without it's LSD, stealing the diff feels naughty. I could always get a Quaife for the V6/GTA. All that said, I will look to own a V6 at some point, it may not be a GTA but whatever it is it will have a Busso V6.

p.s. I know my list is already longer than the post office queue but would you please have a look at the turbo for me? (Prays it's the crankcase breather)

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The 156 belonged to a chap from new who sadly passed away last year, so the car is now owned by his wife (hence one owner from new but two owners in total) who very kindly allowed me to view the car today.
Ah, hence why it looks a little moldy, I did wonder if it had been standing for some time.

Must admit I've bought a few cars like that over the years, and they can be a bit of a gamble. My 306 cabriolet had been standing for 2.5 years but needed only interior work, electrics and a tiny bit of welding, whereas the floor fell out of a Bond I bought which had been standing for a similar time, and all the wheelbearings / brake pipes had gone on a Princess which had stood for less than a year. Seems to depend if it's been stored under cover or not, the make of the car (possibly a minus for Alfas) and how well it's been looked after (sounds like a plus in this case).

I've also looked at a few bereavement sale cars every now and then - they often seem to be over-priced, and the owners are very reluctant to negotiate (usually someone's given them a ballpark figure for how much it's worth). I can see why, it must be difficult parting with something owned by a loved one, but the cars are often in poorer condition than their price would suggest, so I find it hard to believe they would ever sell. Makes me wonder what happens to them in the end...
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Ah, hence why it looks a little moldy, I did wonder if it had been standing for some time.

Must admit I've bought a few cars like that over the years, and they can be a bit of a gamble. My 306 cabriolet had been standing for 2.5 years but needed only interior work, electrics and a tiny bit of welding, whereas the floor fell out of a Bond I bought which had been standing for a similar time, and all the wheelbearings / brake pipes had gone on a Princess which had stood for less than a year. Seems to depend if it's been stored under cover or not, the make of the car (possibly a minus for Alfas) and how well it's been looked after (sounds like a plus in this case).

I've also looked at a few bereavement sale cars every now and then - they often seem to be over-priced, and the owners are very reluctant to negotiate (usually someone's given them a ballpark figure for how much it's worth). I can see why, it must be difficult parting with something owned by a loved one, but the cars are often in poorer condition than their price would suggest, so I find it hard to believe they would ever sell. Makes me wonder what happens to them in the end...
Agreed. This GTA has been sat for around a year, with the odd run out every so often. It's also on a drive under cover of trees so bird sh... I mean dirt and sap may be covering it in summer. There is an emotional attachment to the car which is perfectly understandable given the circumstances but the owner really is privy to its worth. Also, the owner said that "I'm in no rush to sell it" and that they'd had some offers from people looking to buy it cheap and sell for a profit, another reason why it's stayed put. I'd have it in a flash but even 4000 or 4500 is still a little too much given the work required as people have said. A grand on the Busso + rebuilding if required, respray of both front wings assuming the wings are salvageabe and a bumper respray plus the stuff you can't see. Using Pud's figures that's very quickly approaching 10 grand and that's simply too rich for me even if it's an investment. I'm going to have to give this one a miss sadly.

It's a shame really because another year sat there will only make it more expensive to restore, maybe someone with deeper pockets than me can save it.

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Agreed. This GTA has been sat for around a year, with the odd run out every so often. It's also on a drive under cover of trees so bird sh... I mean dirt and sap may be covering it in summer. There is an emotional attachment to the car which is perfectly understandable given the circumstances but the owner really is privy to its worth. Also, the owner said that "I'm in no rush to sell it" and that they'd had some offers from people looking to buy it cheap and sell for a profit, another reason why it's stayed put. I'd have it in a flash but even 4000 or 4500 is still a little too much given the work required as people have said. A grand on the Busso + rebuilding if required, respray of both front wings assuming the wings are salvageabe and a bumper respray plus the stuff you can't see. Using Pud's figures that's very quickly approaching 10 grand and that's simply too rich for me even if it's an investment. I'm going to have to give this one a miss sadly.

It's a shame really because another year sat there will only make it more expensive to restore, maybe someone with deeper pockets than me can save it.


Will be best to go to a DIYer, somebody with much more spanner know how than me. I do as much as I can but I am simply not skilled enough to go near the engine/gearbox!

The 10k figure would be a lot better with no labour costs!
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Yes, 'tis a real shame when you come across something like that, you almost wish you could afford to pay over the odds just to save it from eventually heading to the scrapper or turning up as a rusted out 'barn find' 10 years down the line. Still, to save you from kicking yourself too much, how about this one? EML and it looks a bit pink, but more realistically priced so maybe worth a look:

https://www.gumtree.com/p/alfa-romeo...gta/1159960424

Or this rather nice looking GTV (though the current owner's only had it for a year and spent a fortune on it, which makes me wonder if it's got immobiliser or rust issues):

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1999-ALFA-...-/291718629447

Or for a cheap MOT'd project in need of work, how about:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Alfa-Romeo...2/161999266855

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As mj2k says it is a shame, but you can see why she doesn't want to let it go.

If the V6 doesn't have to be a GTA you can open yourself up to potentially cars that are a better propsition. I was looking for a 147 GTA/GT, I think I preferred the 147 buy only because I already had one. I was looking for months and every single one that I went to see was a dog, or wasn't described accurately. (Without paying 7k+)

In the end I went to see a GT, seller was honest about everything, it had the cambelt done and had a Q2 and polybushed suspension. Sills need sorting and the clutch felt a bit heavy and paint wasn't in the best of condition. However for 3k it was worth the punt and I still have it 2 years later. No different really to the GTA in my eyes. It's a bit of a rolling resto for me


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Yes, 'tis a real shame when you come across something like that, you almost wish you could afford to pay over the odds just to save it from eventually heading to the scrapper or turning up as a rusted out 'barn find' 10 years down the line. Still, to save you from kicking yourself too much, how about this one? EML and it looks a bit pink, but more realistically priced so maybe worth a look:

https://www.gumtree.com/p/alfa-romeo...gta/1159960424

Or this rather nice looking GTV (though the current owner's only had it for a year and spent a fortune on it, which makes me wonder if it's got immobiliser or rust issues):

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1999-ALFA-...-/291718629447

Or for a cheap MOT'd project in need of work, how about:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Alfa-Romeo...2/161999266855
Cheers for that there are some nice examples there with some work to do too, which is a little more fun than buying a perfect one. But that's just me.

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As mj2k says it is a shame, but you can see why she doesn't want to let it go.

If the V6 doesn't have to be a GTA you can open yourself up to potentially cars that are a better propsition. I was looking for a 147 GTA/GT, I think I preferred the 147 buy only because I already had one. I was looking for months and every single one that I went to see was a dog, or wasn't described accurately. (Without paying 7k+)

In the end I went to see a GT, seller was honest about everything, it had the cambelt done and had a Q2 and polybushed suspension. Sills need sorting and the clutch felt a bit heavy and paint wasn't in the best of condition. However for 3k it was worth the punt and I still have it 2 years later. No different really to the GTA in my eyes. It's a bit of a rolling resto for me


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Mmmm... a GT. I always did like the sporty version of the GT, something like this but I'm not fussy whether it's red, blue or black. I can't believe just how much of a difference those Jetfin alloys make, GT rear spoilers are like rocking horse sh*! though.
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Yep the jetfins were a must for me, I wanted black with red leather, Q2, polybushed and cambelt done, everything else was take it or leave it!

Few for sale at decent prices now, too. The blue looks cracking on a GT, as does the red but the 147 was red so fancied a change.


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