Good morning mikestainton1.
This is only my second week of life in Alfa land, so am not experienced enough to give any hard and fast advice.
However, I have just bought a 156 sportwagon myself and have to say I have fallen madly in love with her already!
1) What is the general consensus on the best all-round engine? JTD or TwinSpark? Is the JTD reliable & economical?
I wouldnt have a clue, but I bought the 2.0 twinspark and yesterday we took her down to Southampton for a bit of blast for the first time and she didnt consume any more fuel than I would have thought sensible. ( It's a journey we have made many times in many different cars over the years). Nicely comfortable and nothing fell off.....not that I noticed anyhow
2) Have those who own a SportWagon had a good ownership experience?
As I've said, I've only had her a week, so it's too early to tell, but so far I'm feeling as though it's one of the nicest cars I've ever owned. Frankly, at this stage I don't know how I've managed to get to 44 and to not have owned an Alfa sooner.
3) What are the key things I need to look out for when looking around for 5 - 7 year old cars?
Mmmmmh, a little more difficult for me to help, but coincidentally my SW is exactly five years old so maybe if I just list the things I got for my money then this may help when shopping around yourself.
I bought her from an Alfa main dealer.
Priced at 6995.
Sold for 5800.
Cambelt service and a years tax thrown in. Although I had to pay £125towards cost of cambelt.
One owner from new.
Full Alfa service history. All works carried out by the same dealer.
Mint mint mint condition! Clearly cherished by previous owner.
Momo leather interior.
Nuvola blue paint job. Unmarked....ish.
Roof bars, nice hi-fi, side skirts.
I think I probably paid a fair price although I dont think I could have got as much luxury in such good condition for the money with any other maker.
I watched a repeat of a Top gear programme a couple of nights back and Clarkson said something along the lines of........owning an Alfa is like spending your whole life in contorted pain interspersed with moments of pure Nirvana, but you're not a real petrol head until you've owned one....or something like that.
I hope he's exaggerating.
I fear he's not.
Anyway enough of this chatting I need to wash and wax the car! We're off to Newquay on saturday and A man and his family needs to look as though they appreciate the little bit of class under their arse