Spied in the clas­si­fieds


Autocar - - THIS WEEK -

Our pick of the used car ads

Swiss Toni might con­tend that buy­ing a used Alfa Romeo was a lot like mak­ing love to a beau­ti­ful woman. He’d be over-egging the pud­ding some­what – but one can’t deny there is a cer­tain par­al­lel to be drawn be­tween the roller­coaster of a typical Alfa Romeo own­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence and the highs and lows of a tu­mul­tuous af­fair.

And of all Al­fas within re­cent mem­ory, it’s ar­guably the 156 GTA that rep­re­sents the zenith (or nadir, if you pre­fer) of that love/hate char­ac­ter. You’ll love it be­cause… well, do you need us to ex­plain? Just look at the thing: all sinewy curves, an­gry eyes and pert glutes. And this Sport­wagon ver­sion is ar­guably even more ap­peal­ing to look at than the saloon model.

Then there’s the glo­ri­ous ‘Busso’ V6 en­gine, here de­liv­er­ing 247bhp, which, while not ex­actly BMW M3-ri­valling, is more than enough to be go­ing along with – and you’ll for­give it any­thing once you hear the way it sounds. It’s just one of the many rea­sons a 156 GTA is a de­lec­ta­ble thing to drive.

Of course, the flip­side of all of this – the hate, if you will – is likely to be the big ‘R’ word. But al­though we’d never ex­pect unim­peach­able re­li­a­bil­ity from any Alfa, this par­tic­u­lar GTA cer­tainly makes the right noises, with a rea­son­able mileage and a full his­tory de­tail­ing an aw­ful lot of ten­der, loving care – in­clud­ing a re­cent and all-im­por­tant tim­ing belt change.

With that in mind, this seems like one of the best ways of scratch­ing that Alfa itch. ‘Fu­ture clas­sic’ is a much overused phrase, but here it’s ac­cu­rate – and all at a price that seems dis­tinctly rea­son­able.

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