5 WAYS TO MAKE IT BET­TER

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

1 MAKE IT HAN­DLE BET­TER THAN EVER

A sorted 156 is one of the sweet­est han­dling sa­loons around, and the key to keep­ing it that way is healthy sus­pen­sion. Re­plac­ing tired and per­ished bushes will trans­form the way it drives, and spe­cial­ists rec­om­mend stick­ing to orig­i­nal rather than uprated parts. Bud­get £600-700 to have a spe­cial­ist fet­tle the front wish­bones and rear arms.

2 CHANGE THE BELT

We’ve al­ready noted the im­por­tance of cam­belt re­newal, so if there’s no ev­i­dence of re­cent re­place­ment this should be first on your list. It’s not pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive and a spe­cial­ist will charge £250-550 de­pend­ing on the en­gine fit­ted, and be sure to have the camshaft vari­a­tor and water pump changed at the same time for peace of mind.

3 KEEP RUST AT BAY

Once cor­ro­sion takes hold in the floor a 156 might not be worth sav­ing, so a spot of pre­ven­ta­tive rust-proof­ing is worth­while. As well as check­ing the underseal be­neath, it’s ad­vis­able to re­move the car­pets and thor­oughly treat the floor­pan from within the cabin. Getting busy with the Wax­oyl is some­thing you can do your­self over a week­end and could save the car in the long run.

4 UP­GRADE THE DIF­FER­EN­TIAL

The dif­fer­en­tial can be a weak spot, while torque steer spoils the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, but there’s an an­swer to both prob­lems. Alfa’s Q2 diff is a lim­ited-slip unit that works bril­liantly in diesel, V6, and GTA mod­els and spe­cial­ist, The Alfa Work­shop, will sup­ply and fit one for £900. An­other op­tion is an af­ter­mar­ket Quaife unit, which will cost a sim­i­lar amount.

5 IM­PROVE THE DIESEL’S GET-UP-AND-GO

The 1.9-litre JTD Mul­ti­jet diesel fit­ted to late-model 156s is a punchy and fru­gal unit, and one worth seek­ing out. It’s also easy to im­prove on the stan­dard 150bhp out­put with an ECU remap and a va­ri­ety of com­pa­nies of­fer this. Ex­pect to pay £300-350 to have it done and you can eas­ily see a power boost to 180bhp.

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