So if the rest of the car is pukka, negotiate on the price ... Correct me someone if I talk a load of Bullocks ...
No ballcocks there Ram Jam, but the pukka
bit it the nub of this thread.
From bitter-sweet experience, I have to say that if the current owner has let the variator get to the point where it obviously is, the rest of the car may well be suffering from neglect too.
Buying an Alfa is a much more serious undertaking than 'virgins' may comprehend (myself included).
I say this because, until I owned one, I was blissfully ignorant of quite how 'delicate' the cars are.
Don't take that the wrong way, but if you buy a Ford, Vauxhall, whatever make of mass produced modern car, it will be boring, but it will generally work however you treat it (within reason).
My GTV is fantastic, I love the way it looks, the way it goes and the fact that it is not a 'run of the mill' car. I have to say however, that the number of (well documented) problems I have tackled or have yet to tackle would be quite daunting, was I not fairly handy with a spanner and a multimeter.
I would liken owning an Alfa to owning a racehorse, as I have now owned both. Both are beautiful and exciting to own, and to be around, but be warned, you will always be putting your hand in your pocket to keep them running.
Don't let me put you off buying the car if you are very sure that the variator isn't the noisy tip of a potentially very expensive iceberg.
Good luck, whichever way you decide,