What about ye people.
I'm originally from Belfast, N. Ireland but living in the Limburg area of Belgium.
I've recently just bought my 1st ever Alfa and it's the proverbial dog's b*****ks! I decided I needed a nearly new motor round about May last year and started the inevitable search. My god there are a lot of boring makes & models out there. Then I stumbled across a couple of Alfa 147's on the internet. They got my attention and all of a sudden I had something to focus on.
After spending a bit of time trying to find one I started to become frustrated at what was on offer through car sites in Belgium, The Netherlands & Germany. I decided to expand my search to the 156. Briefly looked at the 159 but it seemed to be a little out of my price range. After going to see & test drive a couple of 156's my mind was set. Nothing else would do.
I wasn't prepared to accept any old one (no disrespect old one's cause that's just a turn of phrase) or take the 1st one that came along. I spent a further 3 months doin' me nut in lookin'. My better half told me I was being fussy. Maybe true but all good things come to those who wait eh!
It was simple... I wanted the sportwagon as it's known, post facelift, manual transmission, diesel (much cheaper to tax & run in Belgium), leather interior, airco, mileage ideally under 150,000km's, preferably from a dlr so that it came with some kind of warranty and finally something with a bit of oomph (if there is such a word) so was shying away from the 116hp's. Fussy... she knows me so well lol.
Anyway, my patience finally paid off. Stumbled across, by chance, an Alfa dlr in Belgium only a few km's down the road who was selling a new one to one of his customers. Part of this deal was the trade-in of his current motor. I told the geezer it sounded like just what I was after so he promised to give me first refusal when it came in.
He called me beginning of Dec 2010 saying that it was in if I wanted to check it out. Seen & drove it in it's pre-PDI state and my god did I know I'd hit the jackpot. Talked business with the dude. Agreed that if I was to take it off his hands there was a bit of work to be done. Here's the deal: send it to the bodyshop regarding the paintwork (some light scratches & stone chips), replace the front bumper & grill (previous owner, whilst waiting on his new motor to arrive, managed to hit something and crack them both thankfully with no other damage), change the cam belt & water pump, replace a section of the exhaust that was sounding worn, replace part of the front suspension that was also sounding worn, send it off to a guy he knew to 'bring up the leathers', new badge on the front (weather worn), new Alfa floor mats (none in it), carry out full B service and then send it for MOT. As it turned out the only thing it failed the MOT for was the rear gas-filled shocks so he had to replace those as well at a cost, to him, of €600 a piece (so I'm told).
All was done as said and I picked this beauty up a couple of weeks ago.
Here's what I got for my money:
156 1.9JTD 16v Multijet Progression (Sept 2005),
GQ edition so BOSE sound system, Hellebore steering wheel etc...,
17" 15 spoke rims,
Continental Sport Contact2 tyres,
Stromboli grey exterior,
Pelle beige leather interior,
Full service history,
126,000km's on the clock,
1 year warranty covering everything but wear & tear,
and an engine that just growls at anything that comes too close ;-)
All this and still managed to get it for bottom end of the current market price for this part of the world :-))
BTW my last motor was a Skoda