Un­der­rated Alfa

Classic Sports Car - - Letters -

I must take is­sue with one el­e­ment of your oth­er­wise shin­ing re­view of the new Alfa Gi­u­lia (Fu­ture clas­sic, Septem­ber). It’s a stun­ning car, and well wor­thy of the Alfa roundel.

The front-wheel-drive-era Al­fas might not all have been wor­thy of the badge, but I sub­mit that the 156 GTA cer­tainly is, and in spades. I was priv­i­leged to own a rare Sport­wagon for four glo­ri­ous years, and was very sad to let it go. It had that sonorous iron-block V6, which made the GTA shimmy at idle and of­ten her­alded my ar­rival long be­fore I reached my des­ti­na­tion.

It had great han­dling, though wasn’t the most nim­ble at Waitrose, with 10-point turns needed on oc­ca­sion. A beau­ti­ful in­te­rior with com­fort­able Re­caro buck­ets and a great Bose sound sys­tem added to the en­joy­ment. There were some nice Alfa styling cues, such as the hid­den rear doorhan­dles and the very Spinal Tap 200mph speedo! The in­duc­tion roar and ac­cel­er­a­tion, cou­pled with ex­tra­or­di­nary brak­ing, made it a de­light. Plus the 156 range was very pretty, too – espe­cially the Sport­wagon.

Be­fore buy­ing it, I asked my lo­cal garage how they felt about look­ing af­ter an Alfa. They were very sniffy and tried to put me off, but both the pro­pri­etor and his chief me­chanic in­sisted on test­ing it – and soon the lat­ter bought his own 156!

Yes, Alfa pro­duced some tur­keys in the re­cent past, but the 156 GTA was cer­tainly not among them.

Char­lie New­man

Via e-mail

Alfa GTA Sport­wagon was as good to drive as it was to look at, says for­mer owner New­man

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