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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So i am interested. I read on the forums, FB Alfa pages about how most Alfa owners think their cars are built with quality materials and are as resilient to wear on a similar level as the german offerings.
Now this is not about Alfa bashing, just the god honest truth and facing up to facts. Our cars for the most part are built with the same materials as an average priced fiat. I know things improved slightly with the brera, 159, and all the offerings after that.
But i can honestly say i did not buy my GT for its quality. I was fully aware of how bad the metals were, of door handles that come off in your hand. That swirl flaps magically remove themselves from manifolds. That the engine bay supports rust like hell, that the factory didn't really bother to under seal the car properly. That the electrics can be shoddy, airbag lights can come on when the passenger seat is moved. Etc etc. I treat my GT like an old classic. You may laugh but i do. I have spent hours under the car rust proofing the engine bay, replacing bolts that have turned to dust. Had the whole car professionally under sealed. And a few of my suspension parts powder coated. Keeping the door handles lubed so the brackets don't get stiff and break. Clutch pins snapping at the worst moment possible.
Now on a 2010 car you have to say this is pretty comical. And to be fair i secretly love taking care of my Alfa. Rather than owning some german characterless robot. But when people on these facebook pages rant on about how tough and well built their cars are, it does make me smile.
Of all the cars i have owned most have been performance german offerings, which i have to say are on another level quality wise, engineering wise. No question. I am not saying they still don't have design faults, they do. But by hell for the most part you get what you pay for. And they are mostly built to last in our climate.
I do completely understand the reason the average Joe steers clear of the Alfa brand. You do have to be a certain kind of individual to own an Alfa. But i think there needs to be a sense of reality when going into ownership.
I have just spent time persuading another good friend of mine to stay well clear of buying an Alfa GT cloverleaf 170. And actually told him to buy a 2007 BMW Alpina D3. Which he is going to do. For 9k you get a 60k mile beast that has been fettled by Alpina, great suspension uprated turbos. So much car for the money compared to my GT, which needed for me a total makeover on top of the stupendous 10k i spent buying it from a London specialist.
You really do buy Alfa's with your heart not your head. Its crazy really. There are so much better cars out there for the money. But hell they have charm. In fact nothing else is like owning an Alfa. Lancia maybe. Maybe that's their appeal.
I wonder how many of us are honest about the brand we love..?

Damien.
 

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Truth will out, good write up Damien very honest and to the point.:thumbup:

How I loved and cherished my Turboed 16v Thema for some fourteen years with plenty of BW attention to detail, plus a wee bit by myself.:D

Never did find I had the same feeling or attachment to my 2.0 147 Sele' though, so that stayed with me for a much shorter period.;)
 

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I have to agree, I consider my 156 GTA SW more as a plaything / grown-ups Mecchano kit than an actual, useable car. We owned a 916 GTV V6 many years ago fully expected to use it as a daily driver. We were sorely disappointed with it's constant breaking down and hopeless impracticality, but doing without that lovely Busso noise eventually wore me down, so I came back into Alfa ownership with my eyes fully open, and so far I'm loving every minute of it even though I've driven the GTA less than 400 miles in 4 months!

For my daily I use a super-rare 21 year old Peugeot cabriolet; really a 13 year old estate should be the daily and the 21 year old open-top rarity should be in the garage receiving lots of tlc, but I'm realistic about which one's going to get me to and from work every day ;)
 

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I will be honest about my Giulietta. The build quality and the materials is worse than the 156, 147, GT and 159.

I would say it is built to a similar standard as the 146/145

However it seems much stronger mechanically than older Alfas.

My dad has had a couple of German cars recently (Merc CLS 500, and BMW 335i Cabrio) and he has had loads of trouble with both of them.

So I would say that even though the latest Alfas don't give the impression of being built well, they are still much more reliable than many people make out.
 

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The Giulietta is much better "built" than the Tipo era Alfas especially considering their reduced weight. The fit and finish is way better as is torsional rigidity and their repairability. The world has moved on.Look at a 145 if you can find one. The gaps were big and they flexed like mad. Look at how the headliner and A pillar trim went together compared to the Giulietta. Look at the exterior roof joint to the bodyside compared to the old wrap over doors on the 145.
However having had mine from new I still feel it's not immortal. The classic issue of suspension bushes continues. But it's pretty good looking. Brings to mind a nice cake that catches your eye and you've got to have it!
 

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Just enjoyed a nice hour long thrash in mine, loved every minute of it and was grinning like a cheshire cat, then on the way back the rear hatch started sounding like it wasn't shut properly, a small problem I know but so annoying all the same.. ....:censored:

The build quality can get tiring, but when there good there bloody great to drive.
 

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Ive thoroughly enjoyed my 6 years and 20k miles with my 156v6 and its certainly no garage queen usually covered in dirt/mud etc (washed rarely) and now carrying a few scars.Its been a great car and far more reliable than my previous aged saab 93,volvo v70 and a bmw 330d.

Ok it has a few interior rattles,the info display has faded,the ash tray drops when i hit a small stone everything else still works well...and its my first choice when i want to get away from it all and hit the B roads.

I have other cars but its the one i just cant part with:thumbup:
 

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I agree with the above sentiments :D

I own an Alfa and a Fiat, and the quality of both is remarkably similar. The Alfa is a beautiful car to look at ... however ..... the cam belt interval is laughable (3 years?!), the rust-proofing is questionable, and the suspension was clearly designed to last a few thousand miles .... MAX :D. If my cars had been mere Toyotas, then I would have scrapped them years ago. I have spent thousands keeping my 156 on the road ... and it is worth nothing at present. Yes, I am a very special kind of person .... I burn money on cheap Italian cars!
 

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A good contribution to this forum, ALFADOIT.

I have a 2006 GT and it is somehow special to me in a way that other cars have not been. Granted, these feelings are cultivated and reinforced by AO but Alfas have a charm and a rarity that makes them appealing. Even the bad reputation (deserved or not) is a sort of plus-point. Maybe that's my version of living on the edge, man ;) I am probably also more forgiving of this car and give it more TLC.

I suspect that most of us Alfaowners just like being a little contrary and maybe we place beauty slightly ahead of functionality.

Just my thoughts...
 

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Perhaps it's not about rose tinted glasses. Maybe it's a fact that not all of us have been unlucky during our Alfa owning years, forums tend to be used mostly to get help if/when there are problems rather than to praise our cars when there aren't issues ;)

And regarding the reality of Alfa ownership & being honest about the brand, I'd suggest our answers & opinions will differ greatly depending on our ownership experience. For me, if every future car I own is as reliable, well put together & comfortable as my current & previous Alfas then I'll be more than satisfied :thumbs:

As for other brands, as you say they also have there issues, there are plenty of horror stories out there.
 

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Ive thoroughly enjoyed my 6 years and 20k miles with my 156v6 and its certainly no garage queen usually covered in dirt/mud etc (washed rarely) and now carrying a few scars.Its been a great car and far more reliable than my previous aged saab 93,volvo v70 and a bmw 330d.

Ok it has a few interior rattles,the info display has faded,the ash tray drops when i hit a small stone everything else still works well...and its my first choice when i want to get away from it all and hit the B roads.

I have other cars but its the one i just cant part with:thumbup:
More reliable than a V70?! :shocked: Was it one of the later more troublesome ones? The police used the early T5s for well over 200k before retiring them, with gradually worsening maintenance (according to an acquaintance) once the servicing had been privatized.

I'm probably heading for about 10k in my Pug for this year, only needing to dismantle the boot central locking through my own stupidity (I accidentally removed the wrong rod when disabling the annoying central locking and jammed the boot closed), did over 20k per year in a 16 year old Capri 2.0 (I used it as a company car thanks to a loophole) and did around 8k per year in a 30 year old Herald in the mid 90s. I certainly wouldn't expect the GTA to handle those sort of mileages at that age, but it definitely has benefits in kind to replace the reliability :thumbup:
 

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I wonder how much of people's experiences are based on buying used cars which have been poorly maintained or well looked after by owners depending on how much much they've dropped in value?
 

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mj2k

My v70 was a 2004 plate 170hp v70 and in the year i had it the door switch which controls the sunroof and all four windows packed up,the head gasket went at 88k miles and the rad went soon after...it ate tyres and was far worse mpg than my 156v6.


Ok you take the good with the bad with used cars but my alfa was used when bought but has had far less issues.
I recently worked out that in 6 years ive spent approx £1500 on my 156 (cambelt/waterpump/tyres/brake pads/servicing....id say thats pretty good
 

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I have to agree with David. My first Alfa was a 147 JTD Lusso and for 7 years and 100k all I really did was service and occasionally have to replace the stuff that mornally would require replacing (brakes, suspension etc). I loved the way it drove and at the time, for the money, I would have had to pay at least another couple of grand to get an overall package that was as nice from the manufacturers further north.

Now on my second Alfa. I took a 520d owning friend for a ride today and he said he really thought the interior was lovely and couldn't be more impressed with the drive. Goes without saying he totally loved the busso soundtrack!
 

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I consider Alfas to require more maintenance that your average jap box etc. but they do look great inside and out, which imo can't be said about other cars of similar age. For everything they get right on a model, they seem to ruin three other areas of the car.
Alfa dont make their cars easy to work on either, I feel bad for Alfa dealer/independant mechanics.
 

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The Giulietta is much better "built" than the Tipo era Alfas especially considering their reduced weight. The fit and finish is way better as is torsional rigidity and their repairability. The world has moved on.Look at a 145 if you can find one. The gaps were big and they flexed like mad. Look at how the headliner and A pillar trim went together compared to the Giulietta. Look at the exterior roof joint to the bodyside compared to the old wrap over doors on the 145.
However having had mine from new I still feel it's not immortal. The classic issue of suspension bushes continues. But it's pretty good looking. Brings to mind a nice cake that catches your eye and you've got to have it!
I was referring to the quality of the interior build and the materials used.

The bits you can't see on the Giulietta are good, but if you sit inside and feel the quality of the plastics and see how they fit together there is a lot of similarity between the G and the 145.

I loved my 145/146's.
 

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Regarding cambelt idler pulleys, 2.0 lltre 147, 8000 mls on the clock, plastic type gave up the ghost, whereas the Thema all steel idler pulleys were never replaced and were still going strong at 72k plus? Just unlucky me I guess?
 

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THING IS BOTH MINE BROKE ALMOST IMMEDIATELY BUT THAT WAS DUE TO LYING B******S THAT SOLD ME THEM.
OTHER MAKES ALSO HAVE PROBLEMS ITS JUST THAT THEY ARE NOT WORTH WRITING ABOUT :yes:
YOU HAVENT DRIVEN A CAR TILL YOUVE DRIVEN AN ALFA
 

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In my experience they are a lot more expensive to run than other common manufacturers, but there is just 'something' about them! My first GTA cost me £10k in maintenance/mods over the 3 years/30k miles I owned it. Sold it in order to buy a cheaper daily driver. I then bought a GT 3.2 as I couldn't resist a good deal! Lasted less than a year with that throwing money at repairing things (all sorted when I sold it), to buy a 3.8 GTA which has subsequently had a ridiculous number of issues, latest being head gasket failure (hopefully that's all it is!)

edit to add:
Reading that back has just depressed me and its likely this will be my last Alfa purchase for a while!!
 
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