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Why buy an Alfa Romeo

Why buy an Alfa RomeoWell why not?!

Just a quick happy birthday to Alfa Romeo, who turned 101 recently!

I've actually never really encouraged anyone to buy an Alfa, unless they're passionate about the marque or how they drive, because when something goes wrong, they blame it on the brand name?! The same stuff could happen on any Bimmer/Merc/Audi, but the name Alfa would come up and everyone would say "Pfft, you knew better than to buy an Alfa." It's complete and utter rubbish. More often than not, the people who slate Alfa, have never owned one, or have broken theirs due to bad maintenance. Simple as that. I firmly believe people have this negative slant towards Alfa because of the old Afrikaner/South African tradition of having either a Sjeff, Fortt or if you're grand, a Mersieries-Bens. Only trust Germans or Allies. Now THAT makes a LOT of sense...

Let's take, for example, R50k. With this budget, you can get possibly the smoothest and most involving drive in its class with all the necessary (and more) equipment in the 147/156. My mother has had a 156 for a year now (it was well past 100 000km when we got it) and all I've had to do on it is change some blown light bulbs. Outsurance insures her car for R320 AND I'm covered, even at an age younger than 25. This is because an Alfa is hardly ever hi-jacked, stolen or in an accident (mainly because there are so few, and also maybe because people in Alfa Romeo are generally passionate about driving and do a good job of it :P) *NB: I did NOT cause the accident I was in with our Alfa GTV! haha

There are some things you need to look out for, though. When you buy second hand, make sure you get full service history. It is vitally important that the car's cam belt has been replaced at the correct intervals. This big service has to be done every 60 000km and is fairly pricey, so look for a car that has had it done recently before you bought it. This will save you a fair bit of money. It's just that an Alfa is less forgiving when you treat her badly. I would suggest buying from a dealer, although a good private sale with good paper work and dealer backing of FSH is not a problem at all.

The 2.0 is not a very fast car off the line, but it cruises nicely and handles like a dream (as do most Alfas). Fuel consumption is also great for a 2.0. It uses between 9-11L/100km (combined, but mostly city, according to my personal experience), depending on your driving. Spare parts are available at dealers. And generic parts at automotive spare parts stores. Also interesting to note, public relations manager of Alfa SA confirmed that sales have gone up from 10 a month to about 100 a month these past couple of years.

My opinion is that you'll get a better 156 for your money than a 147. The little one is nice and small, but is more likely to have been driven by either an overeager young man or an impatient young lady. The 156, however, has more likely been the choice of a stately businessman or gentleman of middle age who takes good care of his car.

Ask yourself this: Would you really rather drive a Citi Golf than a stylish Italian designed sedan for R50k? Because that's what a good second hand Citi goes for. And the Citi costs a fortune to insure because everyone wants one and therefore theft is high. They're great cars, but honestly, the Alfa offers so much more value for money and driving pleasure.

If you own an Alfa Romeo, you can't help but to become part of the rich history of the marque over the past 101 years. You'll also find excuses to pull your car out of the garage and go some place. Just because driving it is so nice!


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