• Main dealer service history
• Excellent interior
• Low mileage
Over the years Alfa Romeo has produced some achingly pretty machinery and the mere mention of the name conjures up images of GTVs and Spiders and other mouth-watering vehicles.
It’s not just the coupes and roadsters that have been blessed with sexy styling though, many of Alfa Romeo’s saloons have been penned with the same attention to detail and at the end of the 1990s the 156 was undoubtedly the most stylish sports saloon on sale.
But perhaps even prettier was the Sportwagon that made its debut in 2000. It wasn’t a Volvo-rivalling load lugger but more of a lifestyle estate to rival BMW’s 3 Series Touring for those who wanted a little bit more in the way of practicality. As with many Alfas it perhaps didn’t gain the sales numbers it deserved and today is becoming an increasingly rare sight on our roads.
The example we have here dates from 2003 so is a face-lift car and it comes with the desirable 1.8 Twin Spark engine and in upmarket Lusso trim. One not to be missed.
First registered in 2003 it has had just four registered keepers who the current owner believes to have been from the same family.
It had its pre-delivery inspection carried out by Fiat’s fleet department in Slough in 2003 and during its first year it seems to have covered little in the way of mileage, showing just 517 miles when it received its first service in 2004. For its next three years it seems to have been based in the Stoke-on-Trent area – at least, that’s where it was serviced – and by the time 2007 came along it had covered 33,000 miles.
Since then it has been used rather more sparingly, covering just 38k miles in the next 14 years. Its current owner is a bit of a collector and can’t resist when an unusual car with low mileage crosses his path and he’s owned this 156 for around five years, covering very little mileage during that time.
Having recently moved and with twins to look after he’s come to the sad conclusion that he needs to downsize and as a result he’s looking for the Sportwagon’s next owner.
It’s not often you come across a car that’s 18-years old that can still boast a service book that’s been stamped exclusively by franchised main dealers, but that’s exactly what this Alfa 156 has – 12 stamps, the last seven from the Alfa Romeo main agent in Guildford. There aren’t a raft of invoices detailing the work done, but the service book backed up by the car’s online MoT history certainly confirms its low mileage.
Along with the book pack is the current MoT which expires in March 2022 and a V5C which is in the previous owner’s name.
This Alfa also meets the ULEZ (ULtra Low Emission Standards), so the potential London buyer can be assured that they don't need to pay the daily charge coming into effect in London from October 2021
One of the things that separated Alfa’s sporting estate from the competition was its interior, especially in Lusso guise, as it was both stylish and sporty. This car features black sports leather seats with red stitching and they’re in excellent order with hardly any wear to the front seat bolsters that you might expect in a vehicle of this age. The rear seats would appear to have hardly ever been used and are virtually as new.
The dashboard, centre console and switchgear all appear to be in good order and operational and the door trim panels are in good order, if a little bit dusty here and there. Overall the interior would benefit from a thorough detail. The perforated leather on the steering wheel is still in good order, as are the gear lever gaiter and handbrake surround. The carpets are complete and appear undamaged while the roof lining is in good order, too.
The boot area presents well with no particular areas of staining or discolouration and the boot trims appear to be as the car left the factory. Below the floor is the space saver spare wheel along with the factory supplied tools. The locking wheel nut keys are also present. The retractable boot cover is in good order and the luggage net that separates the passengers from large loads in the boot is also present and correct.
Externally the 156 still cuts quite a dash – it’s a very good-looking machine and looks particularly smart with its Teledial wheels. In general the paintwork is in good order with just a couple of scuffs here and there and a small area of paint that seems to have lost its lacquer on the offside rear wing. There are no dents or dings that we could see with the car’s flanks appearing to be ripple free.
The glass and lights all appear to be in good order and the black window trims in general present well. The iconic five-hole alloys are generally free of kerb rash but some of them are starting to suffer a little from some bubbling under the paint which is typical of alloys of this era. The tyres are still serviceable and with legal tread depths.
From what we could see of the underside of the Sportwagon it’s in solid condition.
The twin-cam, Twin Spark engine starts first time hot or cold and elicits the sort of noise you’d expect from an Alfa engine of this type – sporting without being overly raucous. It idles and pulls well at around town speeds with the clutch and gearbox seeming to be smooth in their operation.
The owner tells us that as far as he is aware the 156 is suffering from no mechanical maladies and everything appears to be present and correct under the bonnet. With the car’s low mileage and Alfa Romeo history is should be good for many more tuneful miles.
The Alfa 156 Sportwagon perhaps never sold in large enough numbers to have been considered a common sight on our roads and today their numbers have dwindled still further making this example a pretty rare beast. In 1.8 Twin Spark guise with the Lusso trim pack it’s an eminently desirable modern classic that’s good to look at, enjoyable to drive yet still offers plenty of practicality.
With low miles and low owners and in good all-round order this example could be used as is or with a small amount of work be one of the best examples you’re likely to see on the road today.
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