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I have owned a 1991 2 litre TS and currently have a 1996 24v Cloverleaf. The 164 does not rust as a general rule, some older cars are showing a few signs of rust but in all the places you would expect it after 12 years or so. The 2 litre TS engine is based on a 1950's design but is one of the best 2 litre 4 cylinder engines ever made in my opinion being virtually bomb proof. The earlier Ts models had a timing chain so no worries about cambelts breaking and there are alot of very high mileage 164's out there which is a credit to the engineers who put them together. Stories of electrical problems are failry well founded (much improved on later 164's)), most often due to very poor quality switches but these problems usually only effect the electrical toys in the car rather than stopping you driving it. The 3 litre 24v engines are simply glorious with a real kick in the back at 4,000rpm and a truly legendary sound (try a freeflow exhaust system). Cambelts on 24v models MUST be changed every 36k miles and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You simply must be prepared to maintain this car as per factory specs so only buy one if you are prepared to spend on maintenance what you would be prepared to spend if it was a new car. That said, try if possible to stay well clear of main dealers, they have totally lost interest in such an "old car" and most of the mechanics have never worked on one, in other words be prepared to drive a few miles to a reliable specialist. (I have heard of a few main dealers who still offer a good service but they are VERY few and far between). Handling on these cars is suprisingly good with loads of grip on tap, TS a bit lighter at the front so understeers a little less. 24v Cloverleaf came with electronic suspension control with two settings - Auto and Sport. Cloverleaf is basically a Super with bodykit, suspension control, leather as standard (Recaro's optional
and rare), 16" Cloverleaf specific alloys, 230BHP vs 210BHP for Super. Cost of parts - well people say they are high but if you buy a 150mph sports saloon you simply cannot expect to get parts for Ford Escort prices. Most of the parts are very reasonable in my opinion and they are still freely available from both main dealers and independent specialists like EBSPARES (cheaper). Things to look for if you go to view one: Service history - it really should have a very comprehensive one and if not then expect to see a big bunch of receipts at least. I actually bought mine with no service history and no receipts but I knew the cars and I could tell it had been well looked after in pretty much every way. Aircon and heater controls - Often not working, check thoroughly. Electric seats and sunroof etc - make sure you test everything, nothing is unfixable but you can use to get price down. Tyre wear - 164's need very close attention to tracking and general wheel alignment so if you have uneven wear on tyres expect to get that done and possibly suspension bushes as well. Prices as of July 2003 shameful, you can pick up a pretty well maintained/condition 24v Cloverleaf for 2-3 grand now (expect to pay more for an A1 example owned by a true enthusiast as it would have cost him/her thousands to maintain and keep tip-top). Bargain of the century. Older 2 litre and 3 litre models can be bought for virtually pennies. If anyone ever needs any advice, feel free to drop me a mail, I am a confirmed 164 nut. firstname.lastname@example.org
I bought a 3 year old high mileage M Reg 164 Lusso back in 1997. The first decent car I'd owned. Before then I'd run a clapped out Mini a Reliant Scimitar (Great Car) and a Golf. The Alfa is Luxury. So far I've only had 2 major problems. The Rear sub frame was found to be corroding badly after a year. This was surprising as the rest of the car showed no signs of corrosion. The subframe appear to have been unpainted when fitted. Alfa were not too helpful and their main dealer in Edinburgh was dreadful. The upshot was a bill for £136.00 for the parts and £202.00 for labour. Since then I have found a specialist Alfa man and although not cheap he can be trusted. Other things to watch for are the Lambda Sensor used by the engine management unit for analysing CO2 emisions. That's £92.00 and about £36.00 labour. New Good Spark plug leads are £100.00. A Radiator is £142.00, mine got a stone through it ! Rear Suspension bushes are £25.00 the pair. Front Brake Discs are £118.00 the pair. To sum up. You can get these cars cheaply now, much to my regret ! BUT be prepared to pay out to keep them in top condition.
Having owned a multitude of cars over the last 18 years, I have just purchased my 1st Italian car. I have always been worried about the serious rust problems that blight vehicles from this great nation of car builders, but now I have entered the realm of Alfa Romeo owners & so far, very please to do so. I recently purchased a rather sexy 1991 164 3litre LUSSO, for as little as £1500 pounds & apart from a few electrical gremlims is what I can describe as the cheapest 150mph car you could ever wish for. Plus points are the luxurious leather interior, electric seats, windows, sunroof & mirrors & air conditioning which freezes any part of you that requires freezing. The minus points are the horrendous cost of parts if it all go's wrong. Exhaust £350, tyres £140, rear bushes, every 30,000 miles £400 & so on. Final verdict what have you got to loose? £28,000 new, 9years later £1500. the cheapest "supercar" you can lay your hands on, as long as it doesn't go wrong. Feeling lucky?
I've had my Alfa for just over a year now, and got a very good deal on it, since then the car has just continued to impress me!! I've been in nice cars before, and lets face it, you know your in one when the seats feel like they should be in your home as a settee set, this is the feeling the 164 gives you. It is a first for comfort and space, plenty of legroom in the front and the back, even if you do have the front seats all the way back. But the hidden beauty of this car is its performance, it may look big and bulky, the side view being the sexiest angle as Pinin Farina have made the car resemble an overweight Ferrari, but when you put your foot down you can tell that this was always meant to be a sports car. It has given me much pleasure pulling alongside a boy racer in his Golf, or Escort at the lights with them eyeing up the car and revving their mediocre engines, and when the lights go green leaving them standing there trying to get out of first gear. Fuel consumption can be a pain, doing around 20 miles to the gallon, but as long as you remain calm on the accelerator the car will run quite economically. The only disadvantage I have had with the car is the electric's, the fan system takes time to lock onto a setting as it is motorised, and the lights do not come on when I open the door, but hey these are faults that I am more than happy to put up with when I've got 2.0i Twin Spark power under the bonnet!! And the ability to fit two grown men into my boot (Not that I've tried!!) If anyone gets the chance to pick one of these up for less than £3000, DO IT, you won't be disappointed!!