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