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- Post is under moderation/ #2005-Alfa-Romeo-166Ti / #2005 / #Alfa-Romeo-166Ti / #Alfa-Romeo-166 / #Alfa-Romeo / #Alfa-Romeo-166-Type-936 / #Alfa-Romeo-Type-936 /
The Alfa 166 Desirable at last
As our Nathan recently discovered, prices of surviving Alfa 166s have taken a leap. To the extent that dealers have seen an opportunity and have started importing good non-rusty right-hookers from Japan.
A year or so back you could barely give one away to a passing Alfisti, but that’s part of the fun of the classic car market – you never know what the next twist in the plot will be. Now all of a sudden even a doggy one with no MoT can be offered with a straight face for £1250. Anything vaguely nice is heading north of £3000, and we’re even seeing close on six grand being asked for low-milers.
None of it makes any real sense. Obviously we’re fans of the 166 at MC, but with the realistic outlook that one will never be the most faithful and trouble-free thing to own. But what was once a distinctive ‘old smoker’ has now achieved suburban cool status.
Oh well, 156s are still cheap as chips as long as you don’t want a V6. And arguably better looking and nicer to drive. You’d better act fast though – decent ones are getting hard to find – a shortage of replacement floors is seeing a lot of cars scrapped. You’ve been warned...
Our Nathan – predicts some trends, maims others.
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- Post is under moderation/ #2005-Alfa-Romeo-166Ti / #2005 / #Alfa-Romeo-166Ti / #Alfa-Romeo-166 / #Alfa-Romeo
Our drives / Tales of running modern classics in the real world
Its happening again…
Just when Nathan thought that owning one Alfa was mad enough, now he’s got two. Nurse!
To be an Alfa Romeo owner requires a certain strength of will, more than a little sense of humour and the understanding nature of Nanny McPhee. The rewards are cars that are interesting and exciting, if not always in intended or even positive ways.
But owning two of them? For those in the office obsessed with boringly predictable German machinery, this is the kind of behaviour that, if applied to anything other than cars, would provoke an intervention. Perhaps some prescribed medication too.
They’re just unenlightened. Say hello to the latest Italian to grace the Chadwick fleet, a 2005 Alfa Romeo 166 Ti. With a 2.0-litre Twin Spark engine. Hmm. I can sense among some of the readers that I’ve perhaps let the side down, wimping out of a V6. Worse still, this car in this particular specification was recently derided by our own Tony Middle hurst on an internet motoring forum popular among powerfully-built company directors as being one of the most disappointing cars he’d ever driven.
There is method to my apparent madness though. For a start, I already own a Busso V6 Alfa, which provides all the adrenaline hits I need. I’ve not bought the 166 for that. I’ve bought it to be a comfortable cruiser.
The first bit of comfort comes on the Running costs of the 2.0 versus a V6. A cambelt change on the V6 is around £700; on the Twin Spark it’s around £300. A replacement clutch is £750 on the GTA; it’s a third of that on the 2.0-litre. Then there’s the fuel economy. Alfa claims a smidge under 30 mpg for the 166 #Twin-Spark , though such a small engine (just 153bhp folks) hauling 1500kg (plus, er, ballast) makes for a busy unit, so I doubt I’ll get that. Still, it can’t be worse than the GTA: I get 19mg out of that when cruising, and 7mpg when I’m not.
So, how did I end up with a £700 166? Ant from Auto sportivo, who fettles the GTA for me and who knew I’d been looking for a 166, texted to say he’d found one. Single family ownership from new, 72,500 miles up, all the service history and – luxury! – two keys. This is the first car I’ve owned that still had both its original keys.
There are some negatives. It’s been sat for a little while as a new Mercedes-Benz had replaced it as the previous owner’s family workhorse. The air con doesn’t work, which may just be a regas (any suggestions in the Cambridgeshire/ Northamptonshire area?), and the driver’s Foot-well is a little soggy.
There are also some minor paint marks, and the cambelt needs changing. Alfa Romeo suggests 32,000 miles or three years as a replacement schedule for Twin Sparks, though some specialists suggest 22,000 miles, and this hadn’t had one for a long time, so I’ve booked it in with Ant.
My mate Danny pays £312 a month for his BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. Aside from a few modern toys, I fail to see what the Beemer has that the Alfa doesn’t. The Italian certainly looks more handsome, and the interior’s far more comfortable. And all for £700.
Does that make it a bargain? Too early to tell. Finding out will be fun, though.
ALFA ROMEO 166 Ti
Acquired March 2018
Costs £700 (car)
Other cars 2002 Ford Focus 1.6 (daily) 2004 Alfa Romeo 147 GTA
2.0-litre Twin Spark has just 153bhp. Ti spec includes lowered suspension.
Aircon doesn’t work but this interior’s still cool.
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- Post is under moderationCLASSIC ON THE CUSP
First-generation Audi TT
/ #Audi-TT-225 / #Audi-TT-8N / #Audi-TT / #Audi / #Audi-TT-Quattro / #Audi-TT-Quattro-8N / #Audi / #Quattro / #Audi-TT-MkI /
I know, I know. You’re going to tell me that most alpha males would rather run a triathlon than an Audi TT. Girl’s car, too petite, a suburban trinket. But there’s more than one reason why you should lay down a first-gen TT before prices take off. Forget all the wearisome hairdresser clichés and remember that back in 1999 the world sighed in admiration at the TT’s design. One of the few concept cars that made it to production broadly unchanged, its timeless Bauhaus lines and modernist interior were universally praised and won a slew of awards. The TT was a game-changer.
And few design icons look so cheap. Even low-mileage MkI TTs are still small change. A private seller in Uxbridge has a silver 2000 coupé with just 56k for £2195 while Surrey Hills Cars in Hampshire has a mint Olive Green 2001 roadster with 59k, one owner and full history for £3490 – and both are 225bhp versions. Spend some time trawling the online classifieds and you’ll find real bargains like the very early ’ #1999 V-reg 225bhp silver coupé with 60k being sold by Brian Whitcombe in Puxton for a just £2000.
These millennial TTs are the purest and the earliest chassis number cars will become collectible. And if a sixty dash of 6.4sec and 150mph aren’t fast enough for you there’s always the 2003-on 3.2 #V6 and #2005 TT Quattro Sport. The 246bhp V6 cracks sixty in 6.2sec while the lightweight 240bhp Sport does it in 5.9. But the limited-edition 800-unit Sport is the one everybody wants with its contrasting roof colours and brace bar instead of rear seats. Prices have warmed up noticeably of late and you’ll be pushed to find even a mileagy one for less than £7k. As the rarest TT of all they’re the going to be the best investment and low milers could see £15k before long. But the most compelling reason to snap up a first-gen TT is that they’re so reliable and easy to own. Cambelts and tensioners need regular changes, anti-roll bar bushes wear, the frail standard water pump should be upgraded to one with a metal impeller and instrument pod failure is common so look for missing pixels.
The best TT MkIs won’t stay this ridiculously cheap for much longer. Find a sharp sensible-mile TT with a continuous Audi history and you’ll be buying at the rock bottom of the value curve.
COST NEW £29k 1998 UK
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- Post is under moderationADS ON TEST #Porsche-911-Carrera-S-997 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-S-997.1 / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-997.1 / #Porsche-911-997.1 / #Porsche-911-997 / #Porsche-997 / Porsche-997 / #Porsche-997.1 / #2005 / #2005-Porsche-911-Carrera-S-997
COST NEW £61,675
PORSCHE 911 CARRERA S (997) A good, useable cruiser 911 for less than £30k piqued Nathan’s interest
If you’re after a quick GT cruiser 911 that matches pace with a little grace, the Carrera S probably represents a sweet spot in the 911 range. A purchase price of five whiskers under £30,000 puts this Carrera S on target with much newer performance hatchbacks, which makes the 911 seem a bit of a bargain. This one, up for sale with a London vendor wellversed in Porsches for decades, makes a good deal of sense.
The car had just arrived when we tested and was yet to go through preparation; as such we found a few areas that will be rectified before sale. This included the paint at top of the bonnet flaking away in front of the windscreen, a chip on top of the driver’s door, a smattering of stone chips on the nose, plus a few scratches and scuffs, and some lacquer peel to the bonnet’s end.
The alloy wheels are largely in good condition, though there is some cracking to the Porsche badges on some of them.
Michelin Pilot Sports are fitted, but replacements will be needed sooner rather than later.
On the inside there are minor scratches to the door pulls, light switches and the centre console, while the leather glovebox lid has a few more scratches. The leather areas in general show some signs of wear. The seats are free from nicks and cracks, though the door panel has marks and the kickplate has scratches. This car’s equipped with a Bose stereo, but the CD autochanger was exhibiting some difficulties during our test.
At the rear the engine’s largely clean, with no signs of corrosion. The service history reveals regular stamps at an official Porsche dealer.
On the road the Tiptronic gearbox takes some getting used to. It’s not the most intuitive system to use and perhaps isn’t the best choice for enthusiastic drivers.
But it’s great for cruising; just leave it in D and there’s a healthy slug of torque for overtaking. The steering is well weighted and accurate, and the suspension is a little firm but won’t shake your lunch from your fillings. This example exhibited no rattles or noises from the suspension, steering or drivetrain, and the brakes were sharp yet predictable.
With all this Porsche’s largely cosmetic issues sorted by the vendor before sale, the car should prove to be an entertaining companion for long holiday jaunts.
CHOOSE YOUR PORSCHE 911 997.1
2004: the 997 911 is introduced, with the Carrera and Carrera S.
Four-wheel drive Carrera 4 and 4S follow in 2005. Turbo and GT3 models in 2006 and GT2 in 2007.
Though billed as a new design the major changes over the 996 Aremainly to the exterior styling and interior. The Carrera S models have higher displacement (3.8) than the standard Carrera (3.6). Six-speed manual or five-speed Tiptronic gearboxes. The range is facelifted in 2008, with the Tiptronic system replaced with the all-new PDK gearbox.
PORSCHE 911 CARRERA S 997
On sale at Hendon Way Motors Hendonwaymotors.co.uk
TECHNICAL DATA FILE SPECIFICATIONS 2005 PORSCHE 911 CARRERA S 997
Engine 3824cc, 6-cyl, DOHC
Transmission RWD, 5-speed Tiptronic
Power 355bhp @ 6600rpm / DIN
Torque 295lb-f t@ 4600rpm / DIN
Top speed 190mph
INSURANCE QUOTE Policy £450, with £350 excess. Legal cover and agreed value included. Quote based on a 39-year-old self-employed male, no points on his licence, living in Peterborough. Car is garaged, 3000 miles per year and with comprehensive cover. Call 0800 085 5000 for your quote.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCase histories de Cadenet’s heroes. The defiantly eccentric LJK #Setright was a profoundly knowledgeable and largely self-taught engineer whose writings polarised opinion, but never failed to entertain. #LJK-Setright /
History is not an account of what happened. History is people’s perception of what happened.’ So wrote the quite exceptional Leonard John Kensell Setright. Obviously a man who determined his own journey because he gave up law, joined the RAF, played clarinet in the band and served as an air-traffic controller. He then had an abrupt change of direction, settling into a comfortable profession as a writer.
I don’t think this epiphany owed anything to that of Saul on the road to Damascus, but coming from an engineering background LJK initially wrote for Machine Age before finding his true bent as a motoring scribe. What he brought with him was a lucid, fluid way of telling a story or explaining a happening. Coupled with in-depth, mostly self-taught engineering knowledge, this often gave readers a controversial version to consider. Car kept him on its books for more than 30 years. What always struck me was the inspiring way in which he introduced his history lessons, interspersing them with anecdotal offerings, snippets of wisdom and factualities that were very much the icing on his cakes. It conferred an insider’s view, giving subjects a fourth dimension through his knowledge, enthusiasm and erudition.
His book Bristol Cars and Engines (published by MRP in 1974) got me well stoved up about the marque, while A Private Car (his Palawan Press tome on the same firm) must be one of the most profound histories ever written about a single manufacturer.
A veritable adventure in words and deeds, it is transcribed in his inimitable way and copiously illustrated. Did you know, for example, that you get wear at the top and bottom of a piston because as it comes to a halt on each stroke the oil is lost at the extremities? The answer was the sleeve valve – made from Brivadium – which never allows the piston to be stationary relative to the valve. That’s why Bristols were so reliable. This in a book about car manufacture, from a man who could have earnt a PhD on Bristol cars and aviation.
Setright seems to have been more of a Latin scholar than a Greek one: ‘Tradition is a responsibility not a privilege’ is the sort of quote that pops up all over his work. I first met him at the 1981 launch of Pirelli’s History of Motor Sport, which he wrote. Fangio was the main guest and, while I came away with great memories of him, what amazed me was LJK’s knowledge and understanding of prototype racing. His comprehension of aerodynamics and handling eclipsed mine, yet I had actually been trying to build and compete in such cars for 10 years.
His knowledge spread over every transport front but especially into motorcycles: Bahnstormer all but converts BMW ownership into a religion. I had always thought that if I ever got stranded on a desert island, I’d want to have Michel de Montaigne’s Collected Essays to keep the brain from addling. That was before I read Drive On!, which must be as good a volume as any to take with you to achieve the same result. You have to respect a man who, having heard that the post-war racing fraternity began to share with car dealers a reputation for criminal tendencies, consulted ‘an eminent forensic psychiatrist’ to discover whether there was any validity in this.
No stone left unturned in his search for truth. If collecting ‘cool’ experiences is today’s mantra for an exciting life, LJK was way ahead of the game. In our world of frivolous worship of virtual reality, it is refreshing for some of us to still become entrenched in one man’s perception of history that is so inspirational. I’m off to buy Setright’s final book, Long Lane with Turnings: Last Words of a Motoring Legend.
Born 10 August #1931
Died 7 September #2005
Career highlights Wrote for magazines including Car, Bike and C&SC; won the Gwen Salmon Trophy for photography.
LJK was almost as famous for his sartorial elegance, flamboyant whiskers and love of Sobranie cigarettes as he was for his writing.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThe other day I started up my ’ #1941-Plymouth , for the first time in over a year. Every collector has one or two vehicles that don’t get driven as often as the others. My #Plymouth is not special, just a good old girl. It’s unrestored, a two-door business coupe; the Deluxe model with heater, radio and threespeed column shifter, with a vacuum assist to make shifting easier, a 201ci six-cylinder flathead engine and about 87 horsepower. #Plymouth-Special-De-Luxe-Business-Coupe / #Plymouth /
Even after sitting for over a year, the engine cranked about half a dozen times and started right up. The reason it made me smile is that so many modern cars would be almost inoperable after sitting for so long. If they are not turned over every week or two, injectors get clogged from lack of use. And you have to keep them on a trickle-charger.
I have a 2002 Firebird that I had to get emissions-tested. The battery was ten years old so I changed it for the exact same factory-standard battery. And swapping the battery confused the computer, so they couldn’t get it to pass the emissions test. The technician said, drive it for 50 or 100 miles and see if it re-boots. I’m still waiting.
When I called my #Porsche dealer about getting a part for my Carrera GT, he said ‘We don’t work on any of the really old stuff.’ I said it’s a 2004! He said he’d check to see if any of the old guys are still around who worked on them. I mean, how old could they be? Forty-five?
I have a warning light on my #2005 #Mercedes-SLR-McLaren nobody can turn off. It doesn’t seem to affect anything. The car runs beautifully. But nobody knows how to deal with it. I wanted to put new tyres on it too and, like many cars, it has a locking lug nut. So I gave the tyre guy the key for the lug. And he lost it. So we called #Mercedes and #McLaren , quoting the serial number, but we couldn’t get one and couldn’t make one. So we had to torch the lug nuts and cut the wheels to get them off.
The last real maintenance I was able to do on a modern car at my own garage was, surprisingly, on the #McLaren-F1 . Ironically the F1 comes with a tool kit. A tool roll, actually, which contains wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers, all made of titanium. Was there ever an F1 owner whose car broke down on the motorway, pulled out his trusty tool roll and got it going again?
Anyway, we had to replace the Vanos unit, which controls the cam timing. Taking the engine out was pretty straightforward. And we did it without using a single tool from the toolroll! As sophisticated as the F1’s powerplant is, it’s still a car. It’s a #V12 and compared to modern cars it’s pretty straightforward. A good mechanic can look at that engine and pretty much figure out what they have to do. Would I try this with my #McLaren-P1 or a #Porsche-918 ? Not on your life.
Remember the Ray Bradbury book Fahrenheit 451? Where all the books are destroyed and so each person needs to memorise one book, and become an expert on it. That’s what seems to be happening with supercars. There’s only a few Veyron guys and a handful of P1 guys. I don’t know many #Porsche dealerships that could actually work on a 918; there can’t be many.
I feel that the days of the general mechanic who can work on anything are just about over. Those lucky enough to be trained mechanics on machines like the #McLaren-P1 and #Ferrari-LaFerrari pretty much have jobs for life, travelling the world, re-booting computers on 10-to-20-year-old supercars, many with very low mileage.
The way technology is going, collecting modern cars will be extremely hard. The fun part about working on old cars is that, if you don’t have the proper tools, you can measure up what you need, go to the lathe, and make one. On modern cars, if the manufacturer decides to lock you out of their code then that’s it, you’re pretty much done. Unless you have the #Ferrari code-reader, for instance – which someone told me is $25,000 – you’re not going to get to work on the car. That’s it. So any work on these cars in the future will probably mean having to go back to manufacturers. How much is that going to cost?
That’s fine for rich guys, who will always be able to have somebody take care of their car. It’s the little guy who’s going to get screwed. Unless they stick to analogue cars from the 1970s and earlier.
In 100 years from now, after my garage has been buried under some massive earthquake, and some automotive archaeologist will find my stash and dig it up, I’m guessing the only one they’ll be able to drive away is the ’ #1941 Plymouth!
‘THE LAST REAL MAINTENANCE I WAS ABLE TO DO ON A MODERN CAR AT MY OWN GARAGE WAS ON THE McLAREN F1’Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationMarket. Model Focus: Ferrari-F430. Maranello melded Performance and usability with the F430, and you can even get it with a manual gearbox! By Adam Towler. / #Ferrari-F430 / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-F430-Spider / #Pininfarina / #2005 - #2009
The F430 is arguably the First truly modern, mass-market Ferrari. It’s a car no excuses had to be made for, one that could be used every day without issue. It was also the point where the ‘junior’ Ferrari took off into the performance stratosphere, offering nearly 500bhp and a price to match, the car retailing in the UK for around £117,000.
The all-new 4.3-litre engine (fundamentally shared with Maserati) was chain-driven, so the belt-change maintenance regime of older V8 Ferraris was a thing of the past. Overall, it really was good news in terms of reliability and running costs, as our two experts (right) attest. There are four variants of the F430: the Berlinetta and the spider (both 483bhp, and arriving in 2004 and 2007 respectively), plus the #Ferrari-430-Scuderia and its roofless Scuderia spider 16M counterpart (both 503bhp, and launching in 2007 and 2009 respectively).
Tony Glynn at Foskers says: ‘it’s a shock they’ve gone up in value so soon – 18 per cent in two years. The strongest sellers are manual-gearbox cars – people perceive them to be the last manual Ferrari, and good to have in years to come. The scuds and 16Ms are very strong, too. You can expect to pay around £95,000 for a 15,000-mile spider with the F1 ’box, with a coupe perhaps £5000 less.
A manual car would be around £110,000, with a Scuderia £200,000 and a 16M £275,000. The collector market wants sub-10,000-mile cars but these can’t be driven. Up to 20,000-mile cars can be used, but over 30,000 there’s quite a tail-off in values. A Scuderia with that mileage is almost unsaleable – it would need to be kept long-term.’
If the thought of paying £200,000-plus for a Scuderia you can’t drive sounds absurd, you’ll be interested in the prices of those leggier examples. We’ve seen a 42,000-mile Scuderia priced below £130,000 at an official Ferrari dealer. Such cars may not appeal to investors, but they’re begging to be bought, loved and – above all – driven.
TOM KEYS, FERRARI-SERVICING.COM
‘Mechanically these are very strong. Engine and gearbox issues are rare but the operating systems linked to the E-diff and the F1 system can occasionally give trouble, although it’s usually easily rectified. Exhaust manifolds are known to crack and in extreme circumstances could cause engine damage. Numerous solutions exist, such as fitting aftermarket manifolds or having them “rebuilt” with thicker-gauge steel to prevent future issues.
‘Servicing is relatively cheap. The 430 is chain-driven so no cambelts. An annual service costs £600 and a major is £1320 here at Keys Motorsport. ‘Ball-joints are a common failing point. Signs of this are rattling from the suspension over bumpy and uneven ground. We fit upgraded, Hill Engineering ball-joints and shields as they are superior quality and actually cheaper than the Ferrari part. Budget approximately £300 to supply and fit each individual ball joint – there are eight on the car in total.
‘F430s came with either carbonceramic or steel brakes. Steel-equipped cars are friendlier on the wallet; budget £14,400 to replace ceramic discs and pads, if fitting genuine parts.’
ALASTAIR GILL, FOSKERS.COM
‘The thing is to make sure you get the right example in the first place. From there, maintenance is key: stick to the service schedule, as this will pay dividends in the long run. These cars must always be kept on battery conditioners – the electronics will kill a battery within two weeks. Jump-starting is a major no as this can lead to serious electrical issues with blowing ECUs.
‘Clutch replacement is a grey area. It all depends on how the car has been used and if it’s an F1 or a manual. The cost to replace a clutch assembly on either works out at approximately £3600. F1 pumps are sometimes an issue, but sadly on the 430 there is no cheaper alternative – unlike on the 360 – as it has a different pump that also supplies the E-diff.
‘The suspension ball-joints, front track rod ends and also the rear suspension tie bars are weak points. The other key issue is the exhaust manifolds. These were prone to breaking up and blowing, which if left and continually driven could result in serious engine issues. Most of them have been replaced now, but if they need renewing this can be very costly as the manifolds alone are around £2400 per side.’Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ #Audi / #Quattro issue / #Audi-A6 / #Audi-A6-C6 / #Audi-A6-Typ-4F / #Audi-A6-4.2-S-line-C6 / #Audi-A6-4.2-C6 /
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed my weekend read of the quattro special edition of Audi Driver . Thanks for selecting my car to join the other equally impressive looking quattros.
Another quite amazing twist is that I referred to my daily driver in the article as an #Audi-A6-4.2-S-line . This magazine made me look into the reprints of previous road tests run by Audi Driver as I fancied looking back at the #Audi-A6-4.2 review.
I found in my old magazine archive (a box in the loft!) the November 2005 edition, and to my utter astonishment, my car is the actual car you tested and wrote a six-page review about back in 2005! OY54 MVC is sat on my drive (albeit with my private plate now). It is still an amazing car and in superb original condition. It looks no different to the #2005 article, a testament to Audi.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.