156 bonnet catch...
Hi all, I'm a newbie to this site, it's a shame I discovered it so late!
I must confess, I've got something to get off my chest (yes, and I'm old enough to be a grumpy old man...).
I have been an alfa romeo fan since owning a 1600 alfa junior coupe in 1976, which was great! When it finally completely rusted away, leaving me with only the engine and seats, I knew I was hooked so I bought another one, this time a giulia TI with an engine a wizard had breathed on. This was followed by an alfetta, another alfetta the same wizard had breathed on, and then (because I was curious) I bought a boxer, a 1500 alfa sprint - good fun, but different in so many ways - no grunt, but it flew! This also rusted away to nothing so I bought another one... Then alfa produced the car that won them car of the year - the alfa 164 - I knew I had to have one. It was the best alfa I ever owned. I loved it and they'd cured the rust problems so I kept it and after 130,000 miles, it still drove like a new car.
I wasn't going to part with it, so a woman drove into the back of me on the M25 when some idiot crossed three lanes to try and make the junction they had almost missed - we all braked like crazy, but she didn't. Of course, they wrote it off, because it had good crumple zones and I got 500 quid.
Not deterred, and with a job that required me to carry quite a lot of stuff, I bought a 157 sportwagon, which was great for the first four years... I had observed that the build-quality was not as good as the 164, but then whilst traveling at speed on the M40 returning to London, it burned out two exhaust valves. Up until the 164, I did my own engine rebuilds and wasn't fazed by this, but then one day, you have the money to pay someone else to get their hands dirty. So I got a specialist garage to fix it and they relieved me of 1400 quid. A year later, it went in to an alfa dealer for a service and they had to FIT A NEW SUMP, because the thread on the sump plug had failed and alfa never thought to helicoil it from new (!). with new discs and pads and a new tyre, they relieved me of another 1400 quid.
Then alfa did the safety recall for the bonnet catch, so I took mine to the dealer and they checked it and said it was fine - that was November 2009.
Everyone who owns an alfa knows that you open the bonnet every two weeks to top up the oil, a little ticket on the screen told me that this was because the engine was borne out of racing heritage... I always close the bonnet the way it says in the handbook and check that it is secure.
So driving down the M2 with my wife and daughter on the way to Canterbury to meet our son for his birthday, was like any other day. I pulled out into the outside lane at 65 mph to pass a truck in the middle lane and the bonnet opened. It broke it's back on the top of the screen and REALLY punched the roof in. I braked, slammed the hazards on and slip streamed in behind the truck, looking through the three-inch gap below the bonnet. Traffic parted like the dead sea and I made it across two more lanes to the hard shoulder.
A quick change of trousers then we called the AA who three hours later, got us towed home.
Had the screen shattered or the airbag gone off, I probably wouldn't be typing this.
Suffice to say the car was written off. I don't blame the garage who checked the bonnet lock because they did what they were told to do and at that time, it was working fine.
I did some research, however, and discovered that on later models a plastic weathershield is fitted over the bonnet catch to keep the mech clean. Why wasn't this a mandatory retrofit as part of the safety check? - so I wrote to alfa romeo uk. We are now 4 weeks down the line and they haven't even had the decency to acknowledge my letter, hence this potted history of love with a brand ending up as a rant!
Sorry, but if anyone has any thoughts about my next move please feel free to respond. best to all billbca