Needed something reliable, so I sold the Saab and bought an Alfa

Joined
Sep 26, 2014
Messages
324
Location
Germany
Good morning. The title is a bit clickbaity - I did sell my Saab, but that was already last year. I had been commuting by bike for the last two years, had not driven it very much, the lockdown and curfews in 2020 had exponentially increased the rust (no chance to wash the salt off!). On top of that, the disintegrating wiring was really getting on my nerves. And worst of all, I was working way to much, so had neither the time or the nerve to properly take care of the car. So I sold it to young guy who has more time than me for a very small, but adequate sum (he is contractually bound to preserve the car and get it back on the road. I am getting regular status updates - car is currently stripped down, has already been welded and is currently at the bodyshop being repainted. New wiring harness already in place.)
Selling the Saab was a major thing - I had owned the car for 14 years (longer than any other car), and had personally driven ~385Mm of it's 685Mm total. I was identified as "the guy with the old 900 turbo", so... well.

tbt_fahrtraining2015.jpg


Farewell, old friend.

Anyways, things changed, I switched jobs, and now I have a 40km (one way) commute. In theory, I could take the train, but with the mask mandates, that is no option (you cannot show up to work drenched in sweat). It is highly unlikely that Covid restrictions in Germany will be lifted anytime soon, as they could come in handy suppressing any civil annoyances over the winter.
So I needed another car. Option a was to take the wife's 900 NG v6 and convert it to LPG. Problem is that the car is stuck at the garage, as all spare gear selector cables that can be bought simply do not fit...

So a second car. Friend is selling his Maserati. Nice car, but probably not the most economical to commute in daily. Another friend is selling his e46 convertible - 330i, running on LPG, and overall a very clean car. (I've never seen another e46 that is this well kept). The only downside: the price is reflecting this. 15k€ for a super nice e46 to then commute through salt and slush? Nope. It would just hurt to see this car being abused.

So I entered my requirements into the search engine of my choice:
- diesel or LPG
- leather
- cruise control

Most of what came up could be ruled out immediately. There were three cars that cought my eye:
1) a Vectra C
2) an Alfa 156
3) A Volvo V70 II.
The Volvo probably was the nicest, but it was ~700km away at the coast. Getting there and back without a car would be a nightmare.
The Vectra looked sound, but it thad the ugly, very agrarian 2.2 TiD. So I bought the Alfa. If there is one thing you can count on, then it is that, given the choice between a boring, reliable car and a formerly nice ****box, I will always opt for the latter.

So here it is (please excuse the bad photos - better ones will follow):

20220830_201115.jpg


20220830_201132.jpg




20220830_201159.jpg



It's a 1.9 JDT 16V - and it has an aftermarket DPF fitted. This means there is no active regeneration, so I should not have to worry about excessive fuel dilution. It also means I have the more efficient engine mapping - but it ensures I can still go into into the low emission zones, that clog every Germany city. Commuting over country roads, the computer reads 3.5 litres/100km - we'll have to see how realistic this is.
"Distinctive" trim level means everything you need is on board - power everything, ACC, cruise control, but most importantly some very nice, very supportive yet comfortable mid grey leather seats (which are in much nicer condition than the rest of the car).
The car has dents and dings front left and rear right, and on top of that, the one wheel arch is crusty, both sills are completely dead, trunk floor is rusty, and probably the footwells too. So basically the car is exactly in the shape that you would expect a 16 year old Alfa that has been driven in Bavaria, in the foothills of the alps, to be in.

And how did it perform? Exactly as expected.

erwartung_erfuellt.jpg

Afterr three days the AC compressor seized, the magnetic coupling failed, and the poly belt went up in smoke.
Repair (new compressor, new belt, pulleys, etc) easily doubled the purchase price. I expect this pattern to continue. :cool:



I am fully aware that this car will take a lot of effort. Will probably be out 8k€ until I get it where I want it to be (Starting with slightly over 1k€ pruchase price). I have already gotten a sense of this car's potential. The engine is nice (for a diesel - which means it is horrendous if you come fro a petrol background, but it is saving money), the interior is very beautiful and pleasant to look at, and the car's handling is superb. Even with the heavy diesel, it is only 1380kg. The steering is one of the best of all fwds I ever drove - maybe the OG 900 comes close. Precise, and above all, very good feedback (something modern cars have forgotten). Car turns in well, is quick to react, and the rear is reasonably and enjoyably lively. Yet, the suspension is neither unreasonaly harsh nor uncompliant.
When new, this must have been a very worthy competitor to a 3series, and I cannot understand how anybody could have preferred a bland an boring Audi A4 over this.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 17, 2012
Messages
2,127
Location
A Barrier Island
I also have an elderly Saab, a 2006 9-3 owned since new. It has been uber reliable and only needs the paint refreshed. Corrosion is not a problem where the car resides so it may last many more years. Have had two diesel powered cars but they are uncommon in the US and now diesel is more expensive than gasoline so no economic savings there. I dreamed of being an Alfisti but after owning two Fiats that Italian seed failed to germinate. I admire your chutzpah but I'm too timid.

So, may I suggest next time you energize that search engine try these parameters.

1. reliable
2. reliable
3 economical


The results will produce plenty of these Corollas (or whatever their European variants are called)

Corolla.jpg
 

turboseize

Thread starter
Joined
Sep 26, 2014
Messages
324
Location
Germany
@Passport1 I had actually thought about a Toyota. Well, half a Toyota. From the UK. :D
An Elise's low weight and great handling should translate to good fuel economy, Toyota drivetrain should be reliable and easy to maintain. However, they are not cheap and thus bind a lot of capital.

Jokes aside, a Corolla would be the sensible option. Had a Toyota rental (Corolla wagon hybrid no idea how it was called) a few weeks ago and found it much less annoying than most modern vehicles. But fuel costs will still be higher given my driving profile, and any moder-ish car is to expensive from the outset, if you factor in opportunity cost of the capital employed (you could get around that with taking a loan, but debt is physically painful for a true German. I know I am not completely rational in this regard). I also have yet to sit in a Toyota seat that I like - I'm 1.9m, relatively heavy, not too fat, but still with a relatively massive trunk...
There are a lot of cars that I can rule out immediately after sitting in them für 30 seconds.
That is also why no Golf, Octavia, etc. VW will only give you decent seats in an S-line Audi, everything below that is rubbish.
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 17, 2021
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open range
I cannot understand how anybody could have preferred a bland an boring Audi A4 over this.

It's as expected like most of your former posts. Why I didn't own any A4,
you should learn some openness, this forum is amenable to all marques.
Your obstinacy is quite annoying. Enjoy your 1.000 € Alfa and spending
another 8.000 € to it. Well done. (y)
.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2014
Messages
435
Location
AZ
I always liked the Alfa grill. Putting that grill on another vehicle would make life easier. I drove a 69 spyder for a while, fun with the top down.
It kind of freaked out other Alfa fans because it had a Dodge colt 1600 GT engine with a five-speed stuffed into it. I wonder if it is still out there somewhere.
 

turboseize

Thread starter
Joined
Sep 26, 2014
Messages
324
Location
Germany
It's as expected like most of your former posts. Why I didn't own any A4,
you should learn some openness, this forum is amenable to all marques.
Your obstinacy is quite annoying. Enjoy your 1.000 € Alfa and spending
another 8.000 € to it. Well done. (y)
.
We've had several Audis in the family, and I even nearly bought an S8 (D3) as a student (but then, in a short episode of reasonableness, I chickened out). My uncle owned Audi 80 B3 and B4, Audi 100 C4, my aunt had A4 (B5 and B6), and friends of mine had a couple Audi 100 (Type 44), with the glorious five-cylinder engine. I quite liked those, because those were cars were you could sense in every detail that this car was designed and built by engineers, not by accountants oder marketing guys/girls.
Late audi 80, as well as first and second generation A4 are great cars, ultra-reliable, nearly indestructible and as close to immune to rust as you can get. If I had absolutely no money, I'd take one of these. But if you're not broke, and if you have the slightest passion for cars - then you fall for the Alfa, as it is much more engaging. 90s Audis are made to appeal to reason, the Alfa is meant to appeal to your senses and emotions.

(One thing I do not like about Audi is how the company is handling spare parts for older models. "Lack of support" would be an euphemism).
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 10, 2015
Messages
1,496
Location
Brittany / Canada
I always liked this generation of Alfa. 147, 156, 166...these were kind of reasonable dream cars for me when I was younger. Oh memories!
(the Lancia variants too)

A friend had a 147 1,6/120 until very recently, he got rid of it at over 375000Km. I had a Fiat TD100 (ancestor of the 1910 JTD) for the longest time and loved that car, would buy another one in a pinch if I could find one in a good shape today (NOT with the TD100, with something a little more powerful!)
Of course the Barchetta, one of the many variants of the Fiat/Alfa modular series of engines.

I hope you enjoy your Alfa! Italian cars are often criticized for build quality, reliability, etc, but I never had anything but good luck with them. And when I see the build quality of the Honda Accord I just bought...I am certainly not impressed in comparison.
 
Joined
May 17, 2021
Messages
1,752
Location
open range
We've had several Audis in the family, and I even nearly bought an S8 (D3) as a student (but then, in a short episode of reasonableness, I chickened out). My uncle owned Audi 80 B3 and B4, Audi 100 C4, my aunt had A4 (B5 and B6), and friends of mine had a couple Audi 100 (Type 44), with the glorious five-cylinder engine. I quite liked those, because those were cars were you could sense in every detail that this car was designed and built by engineers, not by accountants oder marketing guys/girls.
Late audi 80, as well as first and second generation A4 are great cars, ultra-reliable, nearly indestructible and as close to immune to rust as you can get. If I had absolutely no money, I'd take one of these. But if you're not broke, and if you have the slightest passion for cars - then you fall for the Alfa, as it is much more engaging. 90s Audis are made to appeal to reason, the Alfa is meant to appeal to your senses and emotions.

(One thing I do not like about Audi is how the company is handling spare parts for older models. "Lack of support" would be an euphemism).


You won't deceive me like that one. What 'riverblue' and 'KCJeep'
doesn't know about your former posts over several years, when
you repeatedly was laughing about people owning VWs or Audis.
You said they're just stupid, while having an Saab just like yourself
being way smarter. I do know your posts, I know your attitude and
to be honest, it sadly lets this thread get down with it.
.
 

turboseize

Thread starter
Joined
Sep 26, 2014
Messages
324
Location
Germany
Loss of power while accelerating onto the Autobahn, followed by check engine light.

Special operation proceeds according to plan. (y)
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
3,341
Location
Winnipeg MB CA
Good morning. The title is a bit clickbaity - I did sell my Saab, but that was already last year. I had been commuting by bike for the last two years, had not driven it very much, the lockdown and curfews in 2020 had exponentially increased the rust (no chance to wash the salt off!). On top of that, the disintegrating wiring was really getting on my nerves. And worst of all, I was working way to much, so had neither the time or the nerve to properly take care of the car. So I sold it to young guy who has more time than me for a very small, but adequate sum (he is contractually bound to preserve the car and get it back on the road. I am getting regular status updates - car is currently stripped down, has already been welded and is currently at the bodyshop being repainted. New wiring harness already in place.)
Selling the Saab was a major thing - I had owned the car for 14 years (longer than any other car), and had personally driven ~385Mm of it's 685Mm total. I was identified as "the guy with the old 900 turbo", so... well.

View attachment 116498

Farewell, old friend.

Anyways, things changed, I switched jobs, and now I have a 40km (one way) commute. In theory, I could take the train, but with the mask mandates, that is no option (you cannot show up to work drenched in sweat). It is highly unlikely that Covid restrictions in Germany will be lifted anytime soon, as they could come in handy suppressing any civil annoyances over the winter.
So I needed another car. Option a was to take the wife's 900 NG v6 and convert it to LPG. Problem is that the car is stuck at the garage, as all spare gear selector cables that can be bought simply do not fit...

So a second car. Friend is selling his Maserati. Nice car, but probably not the most economical to commute in daily. Another friend is selling his e46 convertible - 330i, running on LPG, and overall a very clean car. (I've never seen another e46 that is this well kept). The only downside: the price is reflecting this. 15k€ for a super nice e46 to then commute through salt and slush? Nope. It would just hurt to see this car being abused.

So I entered my requirements into the search engine of my choice:
- diesel or LPG
- leather
- cruise control

Most of what came up could be ruled out immediately. There were three cars that cought my eye:
1) a Vectra C
2) an Alfa 156
3) A Volvo V70 II.
The Volvo probably was the nicest, but it was ~700km away at the coast. Getting there and back without a car would be a nightmare.
The Vectra looked sound, but it thad the ugly, very agrarian 2.2 TiD. So I bought the Alfa. If there is one thing you can count on, then it is that, given the choice between a boring, reliable car and a formerly nice ****box, I will always opt for the latter.

So here it is (please excuse the bad photos - better ones will follow):

View attachment 116499

View attachment 116500



View attachment 116501


It's a 1.9 JDT 16V - and it has an aftermarket DPF fitted. This means there is no active regeneration, so I should not have to worry about excessive fuel dilution. It also means I have the more efficient engine mapping - but it ensures I can still go into into the low emission zones, that clog every Germany city. Commuting over country roads, the computer reads 3.5 litres/100km - we'll have to see how realistic this is.
"Distinctive" trim level means everything you need is on board - power everything, ACC, cruise control, but most importantly some very nice, very supportive yet comfortable mid grey leather seats (which are in much nicer condition than the rest of the car).
The car has dents and dings front left and rear right, and on top of that, the one wheel arch is crusty, both sills are completely dead, trunk floor is rusty, and probably the footwells too. So basically the car is exactly in the shape that you would expect a 16 year old Alfa that has been driven in Bavaria, in the foothills of the alps, to be in.

And how did it perform? Exactly as expected.

View attachment 116502
Afterr three days the AC compressor seized, the magnetic coupling failed, and the poly belt went up in smoke.
Repair (new compressor, new belt, pulleys, etc) easily doubled the purchase price. I expect this pattern to continue. :cool:



I am fully aware that this car will take a lot of effort. Will probably be out 8k€ until I get it where I want it to be (Starting with slightly over 1k€ pruchase price). I have already gotten a sense of this car's potential. The engine is nice (for a diesel - which means it is horrendous if you come fro a petrol background, but it is saving money), the interior is very beautiful and pleasant to look at, and the car's handling is superb. Even with the heavy diesel, it is only 1380kg. The steering is one of the best of all fwds I ever drove - maybe the OG 900 comes close. Precise, and above all, very good feedback (something modern cars have forgotten). Car turns in well, is quick to react, and the rear is reasonably and enjoyably lively. Yet, the suspension is neither unreasonaly harsh nor uncompliant.
When new, this must have been a very worthy competitor to a 3series, and I cannot understand how anybody could have preferred a bland an boring Audi A4 over this.
I loved your references to "385Mm" and "685Mm".

Some years ago I walked home from work directly to a church supper. One of the ladies at the supper asked me how far it was and I replied "Approximately 8 trillion nanometres".

She seemed inordinately impressed.

Congratulations on your purchase - it seems you went into it with realistic expectations.
 
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