Not taking away from your overall impression but just a few comments for the next time you are looking at another GTA.
- If its the front inner arch plastic lining, that costs me 10 quid to replace so I wouldn't worry too much about that
- Standard exxhuast stuff shouldn't need to be replaced for a long time I would have thought.
- Clutch life is entirely dependent on how the car was driven, but unless it was tracked a lot I'm sure its possible to get fairly high mileage from it (at a guess 50,000 miles would be the lowest you would expect, and I'm sure 50% higher could be possible). However if a new clutch is needed its the perfect opportunity to drop a Q2 differential into the car for very little extra cost.
- The paintwork does tend to get chipped, at the sills, not neccessarily a sign of abuse.
- Don't know how you corrode a GTA bay, I have never cleaned mine and it still is practically gleaming.
I suspect the way I drive all dirt molecules are atomised by heat,\so its a bity like a self cleaning oven
- Just be aware that the standard plastic undertray is typically hanging down, and a bit battered - replacing with an alu-guard is the probably the easy and cheaper option in the long run and means less grounding out noises. Its inexpensive.
Anyway, as ever if one gets the feeling a high performance car wasn't loved then walk away - as you have done.
Looked at a 156 GTA saloon yesterday. Looked good on paper: 2003/03 red manual 58,000 miles FSH 12 months MOT, with the big front brakes, asking 8K. Oh dear: it was a typical city car. I was amazed that any car could deteriorate so much in 4 years. Chipped/scratched paintwork, cracked plastic (eg: front inner arches, bumper), dreadful engine bay with corroded engine and other bits. Also none of the big jobs have been done yet such as clutch, exhaust, cam belts etc. Needs 4 new tyres soon. He showed me the receipts: it seemed to be in at the Alfa dealer every couple of months for some silly little fault costing usually 200 quid per time! I can see why he wants to sell it. Apart from that it went OK, but we have now ruled out a saloon anyway as the double-pushchair we have doesn't fit in the boot. So it's a Sportwagon or nothing for us. PS: I missed a nice-looking blue 2002 SW last week on Pistonheads for 8K. Having said that I'd pay a bit more for a really nice GTA SW, so let me know if you have one for sale.