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Should I upgrade my 156 GTA Sportswagon to a 3.7l?

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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone, this is my first message on this forum but I have found this website to be very informative and helpful in all matters Alfa.

As mentioned on the title, I own a 2003 red 156 GTA Sportswagon in good condition with ~87k miles. It's had various subtle modifications over the years while the exterior has remained completely stock. These include a Harvey Bailey suspension kit (HBE front and rear shock absorbers), CDA air box, Q2 limited slip differential, upgraded 330mm brakes, and a Supersprint stainless steel centre section and rear box.

I'm considering adding a final jigsaw puzzle part and that's altering the engine. I want to keep the basic engine characteristics intact so for me it has to stay naturally aspirated and not supercharged. I realise that is more expensive and will get a much less increase in power for the price paid, but it's either that or keep the 3.2l as it is. I also know that whatever is done to the engine I won't get my money back if I choose to sell in future but that's not reason why I may do it in the first place. The gains in power are 65bhp (to 308 bhp, a 27% increase) and 47 ft/lbs (to 268 ft/lbs, a 21% increase).

The answer to whether it's worth it on a monetary front is no, but what I'm really wondering is what are people's thoughts in general on doing this to the engine? I can see it from both points of view, the purists and traditionalists will say that keeping any car completely unmodified and original is the best way to go while on the other side there will be people who say that the Busso even in it's 3.2l guise is under powered and can be made faster unleashing it's full potential and from the outside especially with the bonnet down there's no visual difference. I'm generally in the former camp as I do have other performance cars that are completely OEM and will stay that way but for Alfas and especially GTAs whether it's the 156 or 147 it's seems to be more accepted to tastefully modify as there was so much room for improvement coming out of the factory with obvious defects.

So is it a good idea or not everyone? Thanks for reading my long dribble.

Lorenzo
 

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If you want to make your GTA faster, but in keeping with its character, and its affordable to you, then why not?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That is true, but reliability, the difficulty in selling in the future if I choose to, and the actual sense of performance improvement while driving are aspects I'm uncertain of and need informed opinions on.
 

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Are you chatting about doing an engine transplant? If so, then for the gains you’re talking about then it might not be worth it and a good remap done properly may be sufficient??

Personally I’d leave the engine in because there’s just something about a 3.2l Alfa.
 

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The 3.7 should give you a lot more than 308 Bhp even if it was a mild build. I’d say nothing less than 320 bhp. OKTech built a 3.5 12V for the street and got more than 300 bhp, maybe 350 bhp. One thing you should insist is, acceptable oil consumption guarantee. If you’re Going to have to put in 1L of oil every 1000km, then forget it. It’s not an easy build so the engine builder needs to be exceptionally good. So obviously it won’t be cheap. You can get 300 bhp from the 3.2 that is still streetable, why not go for that instead?
 

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This is probably the wrong question for a car forum but "Do you really need more power?"

The Busso offers a sense of occasion due to the sounds and smoothness of the the engine. I doubt making it faster would make it much better an experience, newer cars are faster but that doesn't make them better.

Also would you then achieve higher speeds to get the high rev sounds?

If it's a track day car then maybe the extra power would be useful, Day and White at Brands Hatch were doing that to a GTA when I went in for a cambelt change, you can speak to them, friendly independent.

The Q2, brakes and exhaust are already the perfect upgrades.

Maybe keep the money in the bank for a re-spray if that's needed in a few year :)
 

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This is probably the wrong question for a car forum but "Do you really need more power?"

The Busso offers a sense of occasion due to the sounds and smoothness of the the engine. I doubt making it faster would make it much better an experience, newer cars are faster but that doesn't make them better.

Also would you then achieve higher speeds to get the high rev sounds?

If it's a track day car then maybe the extra power would be useful, Day and White at Brands Hatch were doing that to a GTA when I went in for a cambelt change, you can speak to them, friendly independent.

The Q2, brakes and exhaust are already the perfect upgrades.

Maybe keep the money in the bank for a re-spray if that's needed in a few year :)
I've driven a 3.8 GTA and a supercharged GTA and they are an absolute barrel of laughs. I could never get enough of that stomach-churning feeling of being launched forward which 250hp just doesn't give you.
 

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easy... yes ... i would do it to mine tomorrow given i had the cash ...its about you.. if you want more power so you enjoy it more than thats the only thing that should matter.. loads of people want them secondhand and a decent 3.8l would be worth more.. not what it costs but more.. and maybe you would enjoy it that much you would never sell it.. anyway.. i think with cams head work to release the extra capacity it would be perfect..
 

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I am the proud new owner of pabloss 147 GTAM 3.7 super which I bought last August. I have previously had 2 standard 156 GTA’s and all I can say is the performance is night & day. The torque and acceleration of the GTAM super is unbelievable and if you can afford it I would certainly recommend it.(y)
 

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I've driven a 3.8 GTA and a supercharged GTA and they are an absolute barrel of laughs. I could never get enough of that stomach-churning feeling of being launched forward which 250hp just doesn't give you.
@Pud237 - Have the 3.7/3.8 conversions 'progressed' in recent years? I seem to recall there were various broken engines back in the day (or was there never actually an issue with capacity increases and any reliability problems were down to how the engine had been built??

Are Autodelta the only firm who offer supercharger kits for the Busso now?
 

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I've driven a 3.8 GTA and a supercharged GTA and they are an absolute barrel of laughs. I could never get enough of that stomach-churning feeling of being launched forward which 250hp just doesn't give you.
I've changed my vote accordingly ;)
Laughter is priceless
 
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