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I would like to fulfil an ambition held since as a child I thought the Giulietta Sprint (Ava Gardner drove one in 'The Barefoot Contessa') was the most beautiful car in the world. After years of playing safe with Renault, Modeo, Vauxhall, Focus I am yearning to indulge my passion with a blood red 156. I want to embrace the whole biscione, quadrifoglio, cuore sportivo thing. I just have lingering doubts over reliability - There are just one too many Alfa horror stories on every motoring website! Would welcome encouragement and feedback - Especially views of my prospective local dealer (Perry's Portsmouth).
 

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Welcome to AO, NJH...enjoy your stay here and you should find this a very friendly place to visit.

Warnings about Alfa's quality and reliablity are rather extreme if you read newspapers and the motoring press (IMO). The quality has improved greatly with the recent Alfa models particularly the 156 and 147 and are closing in on Germany's best. If you read some of the threads on AO dont be too alarmed as obviously a lot of the posts are with particular problems being researched by people looking for information - most owners will say that they are very happy with owning an Alfa.

If you do want to know what to look out for here's a start.

Camshaft belt replacement - ignore the handbook recommendation of 72,000 miles and assume that it should be carried out at 36,000 miles for safety (other manufacturers are also erring on the safe side also).

Suspension bushes also are prone to premature wear but depending on the previous history for a used car these may already have been replaced.

If you are buying from a dealer look for a good warranty.

Servicing costs are generally higher than other car makers and only a main dealer or Alfa specialist should be used.

Alfa dealers are a mixed bag but generally come in for a fair amount of criticism. I have no experience of Perry's in your part of the country - perhaps another member has.......

The best thing right now would be to have a test drive (if youv'e not already done this) to see if owning and driving and Alfa is for you......



;) ;)
 
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Sunbar said:
Welcome to AO, NJH...enjoy your stay here and you should find this a very friendly place to visit.

Warnings about Alfa's quality and reliablity are rather extreme if you read newspapers and the motoring press (IMO). The quality has improved greatly with the recent Alfa models particularly the 156 and 147 and are closing in on Germany's best. If you read some of the threads on AO dont be too alarmed as obviously a lot of the posts are with particular problems being researched by people looking for information - most owners will say that they are very happy with owning an Alfa.

If you do want to know what to look out for here's a start.

Camshaft belt replacement - ignore the handbook recommendation of 72,000 miles and assume that it should be carried out at 36,000 miles for safety (other manufacturers are also erring on the safe side also).

Suspension bushes also are prone to premature wear but depending on the previous history for a used car these may already have been replaced.

If you are buying from a dealer look for a good warranty.

Servicing costs are generally higher than other car makers and only a main dealer or Alfa specialist should be used.

Alfa dealers are a mixed bag but generally come in for a fair amount of criticism. I have no experience of Perry's in your part of the country - perhaps another member has.......

The best thing right now would be to have a test drive (if youv'e not already done this) to see if owning and driving and Alfa is for you......



Sunbar

Thanks very much for the post - I'm getting warmer. I have a test drive in the pipeline with my local Alfa dealer but I suspect that it will only confirm my prejudices - beautiful car, great drive, Italian style and passion, Ava Gardner....
 

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...sound's as though you're hooked already.

Driving an Alfa will put a smile on your face.....enjoy. I don't think you'll find another "brand" that will come close to giving you the enjoyment you would get from having an Alfa....if you do find in the end that it's the car for you. :D :D :D
 

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Hi all
I am also new to this sight although I have owned alfas for many years now.
I have had six 33s in the past and now driving a 155 (fancied a change).
In my humble opinion owning an alfa is not like owning a ford,vauxhall or toyota etc.
Alfa is not some boring box on wheels for getting from A to B.
Whenever I get in the car a very broad grin appears on my face as the engine bursts into life,wether it be just driving to work or taking her out for a spin for the hell of it that grin is always there and for me that is the reason for owning an Alfa,no other car has done that for me.
Remember Cuore Sportivo...sporting heart,so my advice is if its in your heart then go buy it,if its not buy a vauxhall.
Ian M
 

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Hello there NJH, welcome to AO :)

Just to back up what others have already said here. You shouldn't have any more reliability problems with an Alfa than with any other make of car. Just make sure you buy well and you maintain it properly.

This means, when buying:

  • Make sure the previous owner knows where the oil goes in (Alfa engines have a tendancy to consume oil, and don't react well to oil starvation!)
  • Check when the cambelt was last changed (as Sunbar says the interval is 36k miles or 3 years - don't let anyone tell you otherwise)
  • Check for knocking suspension (I believe it may be the bushes that can wear out - but we are now getting to the limit of my technical knowledge ;) )
  • Try to get some kind of warranty with it
Once you own it:

  • Make sure you check the oil regularly (I check mine about once a fortnight)
  • Make sure you get it serviced at a reputable garage - preferably a dealer or specialist
  • Make sure you take it out for a good run whenever you can get the excuse - as you will just LOVE it :D
I have not used Perry's, so cannot advise you on that front. However, there are a number of good independant garages in the area that I (and a number of other local members of this forum use). My last service was with Southern Alfas in Hedge End, S&H Motors in Poole did my cambelt last year, and Monza Sport in W Sussex has a good reputation too. It is worth seeking out the best care for your Alfa, rather than just going to the nearest dealer because it is convenient.

Enjoy your test drive - you won't be disappointed with the 156 and once you have driven it, you will be addicted. Stick around and let us know how you get on :) .
 
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Many thanks to the very welcoming and informative replies - Much food for thought but I might as well admit I'm hooked. :cool:
 

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HI NJH,

I owned a Focus for 3 years, and changed up to a 156 JTD 16V in January. I can say that the Focus was an excellent car to drive, and set the benchmark quite high when considering a replacement. I tried: Audi A3 Seat Leon, BMW 3 Series, Vauxhall Astra & Vectra, VM Passat and the Alfa. IMHO, hand on heart, the most enjoyable car to drive was easily the Alfa. Go to your dealer, test one, and never look back..... I promise you won't be dissappointed!

Have fun :)

Nick156
 

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NJH said:
Many thanks to the very welcoming and informative replies - Much food for thought but I might as well admit I'm hooked. :cool:
I had it the same way - before I took my 155 for the first spin, I will never regret it and never drive anything else than Alfa :D ;) :D
 

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Welcome aboard, NJH.

You'll get some very frank opinions about Alfas and Perry's at meetings of the AROC Goodwood section ( www.arocgoodwood.co.uk ). Can't promise that you'll see a Giulietta Sprint there, but there should be lots of 156s and it'd be good to meet you.
 

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I've had dealings with Perrys Portsmouth, asked them to reset the airbag light and they said the airbag ecu was faulty, they could fit a new one for £387.79 inc !!

So, took my car to a Fiat dealer, they hooked it up to the examiner, reconnected the lead under the passenger seat then reset the light.......faulty ecu?? i think not.

Monza will be getting my future service work, bit of a trek for me but heard great things of them
 
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Nick,

Very useful comparison as I am seriously impressed by my Focus - Pleased to hear the Alfa trumps it.
 

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Green Cloverleaf said:
btw, welcome to AO Steve :)



(trying to sneak in there, eh? ;) - that won't get you off the hook, you still have to post pics of your car here :D )

Thanks Green Cloverleaf, have posted a new thread, though it's a pic from the sellers website, will take some pics as soon as i get a new media card for the camera.
 

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Welcome NJH, the sooner you get the Alfa, the sooner you'll know you've done the right thing. :D
 
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