Since learning to drive in 2009 I've wanted an Alfa GT, in school, college and then university I saw them cruise through town or tear past on a motorway and my heart was set on owning the beautiful and fairly exotic GT coupe.
Then in 2012 I got my first job and had sufficient income to buy one and as a result made it my goal to put all my money into owning one and soon after I had a 2006 Alfa GT 1.9 JTDm on the driveway, Carbon Grey paint, red leather and the 18" wheels. 1 owner from new, 40,000 miles and only a few miles away... Perfect. On the test drive I admit I wasn't fond of the handling (At this time I had come from a Puma and an MX5 mk1 so I was spoiled in terms of dynamics and handling) and the ride was fairly crashy and unforgiving but I knew I had to have it.
The car was very powerful with the 150BHP diesel engine and surged irresistibly in every gear when the foot got friendly with the loud pedal, the seats were perfection and I loved every inch of that car... And then the problems arrived, I won't go into it much but 6x front wishbones, anti rollbar, 6x droplinks front and rear, wheel alignment done three times at £70 a go, the weird intake swirl flap level broke off so had to replace that but the flap mechanism itself was still broken so left it open. The painted on tyres lead to cracks in the wheels form potholes I tried in earnest to avoid but it was hopeless. A brake caliper seized on the way to Scotland and destroyed the disk, pad and caliper. There was nonstop starting issues from a duff battery and the swirl flap mechanism not functioning correctly. At least £2,000 was spent on parts and labour in the three years I owned it.
But it never let me down, despite the above problems it was more reliable than my MX5 or any Ford I had owned. In short it was an absolute joy to own and drive, frustrating yes but when it was all working (for short periods of time) I wouldn't have given it away for anything. The Alfa Romeo specialists (Waterfall of Bridgend and the Alfa Workshop) were exceptional and various dealers for parts such as Magnolettsi, Autolusso, alfisti.net and some smaller ones I forget the name of always had discounted genuine parts available. Alfa parts are expensive but there are ways around it. e.g. buying TRW suspension components as they're the supplier for Alfa genuine
The car itself to own was very rewarding, lots of positive comments and people thinking it was worth a lot more than its true value. It made me feel respected and enjoyed the attention it got from randomers in car parks although the usual comment was "Beautiful cars but I'd never own one, too unreliable!". On the road it drove as well as it looked, I had altered mine with hubcentric spacers on the rear and Eibach Pro-Kit suspension which lowered it and actually softened the ride. After these alterations the handling was fairly BMW in feeling, lots of grip and pliable in corners - Some understeer but eventually the weight would shift and four wheel drifting was achievable. Driving wise it felt more AWD than FWD much like the mk1 Ford Focus, lift off oversteer as expected but push it and the back-end will give.
You have to be fairly open with your wallet in terms of ownership, I bought mine for £6,000 and around 3.5 years I part ex-ed to a value of £2500 but if I sold it privately £3,500 would be realistic which isn't horrible depreciation when compared to the first owner who bought it for around £25,000 and 6 years later sold it to the loss of £19,000 which is fairly spectacular on a sub £50,000 car in my opinion.
Buying a new Alfa now is fairly risky in terms of depreciation, but with the new Guilia and Stelvio coming soon and the 4c8c maintaining their values very well I'd be comfortable buying one of their hot Cloverleaf models. The Guilia QV has its eyes set on taking the M3/4 on and you know what? I think it will win....
To summarise... If you see an Alfa such as the GT, Brera or even a Guiletta for sale and you like the look of it, don't play it safe and get a Mercedes C Class or a Ford Fiesta, give the Alfa a try; you might just fall in love.
But have some money in reserve because the bills will come no matter how well it's driven or maintained!