Friday, August 31, 2007

Alfa Romeo 145

Alfa Romeo 145

An Alfa Romeo for the common man. It was a concept which worked brilliantly with the Alfasud in the Seventies but went disastrously wrong with the 33 that replaced it. When the time came to develop that cars successor, the 145, the Milanese engineers knew they couldnt afford another mistake. To their credit, they took an adventurous route, creating an unusually styled three-door hatchback that appeared in late 1994 and was a direct hit with traditional Alfa fans.

Its reliability and build quality, however, made it just as popular with those new to the marque. The 145 offered buyers a wide choice of four-cylinder engines. These were initially the traditional boxer type, carried over from the 33 range. Quieter and more powerful Twin Spark engines followed soon after, however, and were introduced across the line-up.

For the used buyer, any 145 makes an interesting and sensible buy.

Access for rear passengers is easy, despite the two-door design and back-seat legroom is also fine. If you need extra room in the rear, however, you may well want to go for the 145s five-door sister, the 146. In this car, the split-folding rear bench is set lower than that in the 145 in order to increase headroom. Other practicalities on both shapes include capacious luggage space, reasonable economy and, thank goodness, a driving position that doesn't require you to be a gawky Italian (long legs and short arms) as on Milanese models of not so distant memory. There's also plenty of equipment. Power steering, electric front windows, an engine immobiliser, central locking and a driver's airbag are standard on virtually every model.

At around £500, the cheapest car youll find will be a 1.6-litre boxer version but youd do better to pay the extra £200 or so for the better-performing 1.7-litre models. If youre seeking a P-plate car, the last of the 1.

6-litre boxer-engined 145s fetch roughly £1,500 for a 1.6L, while the 16v 1.7-litre versions are mostly around £1,550. These were replaced by new 16-valve 1.

6 and 1.8-litre cars in Spring 1997. Both bear the legend Twin Spark on the rear hatch. The 1.

6 starts from £1,550 on a late P-plate rising to £3,300 for an X-reg. An X-plate 1.8 will be £3,500. If its the sporty 2.

0-litre Cloverleaf youre after, these start at about £1,600 for the early 1996 N-platers and end up at £2,500 for the last models on X plates.

There are one or two unusual areas of concern with these cars. Check with the seller that the car has had its drivers-side airbag checked by a dealer. Both 145 and 146 were recalled after several reported cases of random inflation. The first 1.

6 and 1.7-litre cars encouraged a driving style in which enthusiastic revving of the engine was often needed to keep things moving along. For this reason, some examples may have suffered at the hands of drivers fancying themselves as Fangio on the Mille Miglia. Owners of these boxer-engined cars also ignore service intervals at their peril.

Though largely reliable units, the 1.6 and 1.7-litre motors will almost certainly have a short life if oil changes have been neglected. The later Twin Spark units are more modern and more dependable, if you get a car with a full service history, there should be few problems.

Check under the engine filler cap and dipstick - the colour and texture of the oil should never be black or show signs of sludge build-up and the exhaust should, naturally, be smoke-free at idle.

(approx based on a 145 1.8 TS exc VAT) A clutch assembly will be around £127, while a rear section for the exhaust system should be just under £230. An alternator will be about £199 and a replacement headlamp is close to £119. Major servicing is needed every 12,000 miles and should be under £200.

When Alfa Romeo came to develop the 1.6 and 1.8-litre 'Twin Spark' engines for the revised 145, refinement was given priority over resonance. Even the `Alfisti` (enthusiasts) admit that these powerplants were more universally acceptable as well as being cleaner, smoother and more powerful than their predecessors. All the engines available show off the impressive handling abilities of the cars, which have also been combined with a compliant ride. The seats are particularly well designed in the 145, offering both comfort and support.

So stylish and practical what more could the enthusiast want?
Source: Cars Yahoo

No comments:

Related Articles