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1998 Alfa 155 - V6 Final Special Edition

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Seller

william mack

1998 Alfa 155 - V6 Final Special Edition

  • Location: Kingston upon Thames
  • Odometer Reading: 137,100 Kilometres
  • Chassis Number: ZAR167000001057303
  • Engine: 2.5
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Color: Red
  • Interior: Grey

Background

The 155 was Alfa Romeo’s mid-size executive car for much of the 1990s. Introduced in 1992, it went on to sell almost 200,000 before finally expiring in 1998, yielding to what might just be the best-looking saloon car of the late 20th century, the 156.

Way more slippery than its somewhat boxy shape would have you believe, the 155 boasted an exceptionally low drag co-efficient of 0.29. More controversially, the 155 was a front-wheel-drive car, a move many saw as a retrograde step after the 75, which was known for its brilliant handling courtesy of a sweetly balanced rear-wheel-drive chassis.

Offered as the Sport and the Super, the former had a lower ride height and stiffer dampers, while the latter had electrically adjustable seats and dampers plus some wooden trim. A race-inspired body kit was just one of several styling options offered, including the wide-bodied variant of 1994 onwards.

Available with a range of engines from the 1.6-litre petrol the legendary 2.5-litre V6, it also came in oil-burning guise, something that helped contribute to its somewhat lukewarm reception, despite the presence in the range of the Q4, which utilized the Lancia Delta Integrale’s drivetrain to channel its 164bhp to all four wheels throughout 1994/95.

But, if the 155’s showroom reception was poor, the motorsport crowd lapped them up. Ultra-successful, it swept the table between 1992 and 1996, taking championship wins in BTCC, the German DTM, the Spanish Touring Car Championship, and the FIA Touring Car Challenge.

As such, it inspired a whole generation of petrolheads including the vendor of our next auction listing. 

The Vehicle

Number 170/250 of the Final Special Edition, a Japan-only run that was aimed at high-net-worth businessmen, this delightful left-hand-drive Alfa Romeo 155 came to the vendor via Japan, a largely salt-free, car-friendly country that is a ready source of low-mileage, carefully curated cars like this.

The owner had seen another from the limited run ten years ago and had been on the lookout for one to buy ever since. He spotted this one for sale in the north-east of England in December 2017; abroad at the time, he sent a colleague to look at it with the instruction to buy it if it was a good one.

It was and he did – and the vendor then spent almost £5,000 bringing an already good car up to the standard you see here today.

Fitted with Speedline alloy wheels (a la BTTC), it also benefits from uprated Brembo brakes, enhanced suspension, and a sports exhaust as part of its limited-edition status, all in addition, of course, to the factory V6 engine. 

Built on the 5th of June 1997 and showing just one former UK keeper, our photographer described this wide-bodied 155 thus: “I couldn’t see a mark on it. The history is immaculate, is all stored in plastic covers, and has been translated from Japanese into English – and Will, the current owner, seems like he knows every single nut and bolt.”

Freshly refurbished to make the best of its amazingly well-preserved original condition, the vendor has sufficient faith in you all to offer it on a no reserve basis so it’s going to sell from the very first bid, no matter how derisory that might be… 

On the Outside

The Rosso Red paintwork looks stunning. In practically unblemished condition, our photographer was blown away by it. As well he might have been because the panel shutlines are sharp and tight, the metalwork is straight and undented, the flared wheelarches almost put those of the ur-quattro to shame, and the paintwork gleams in an unholy way; if the devil were in place in the last years of the 20th century, the chances are he’d have been driving around in this.

The light lenses, glass and badging, including the 170/250 limited edition badge on the boot, are all in great shape, as is the black trim on the front and rear bumpers; this is a very well cared for car.

The 16-inch Speedline wheels were added by the vendor as he was keen to model his car on the BTCC cars of the 1993/94 season. Offered by Alfa Romeo as an extra-cost option, they’re tricky to fit but the owner is a self-confessed enthusiast and put in the time - and money – to get them installed properly.

Sadly, they’ve picked up a few scuffs since and they are fitted with a mixture of Bridgestone and Continental tyres. Given how close the car is to show-winning standard, we can see the new owner might like to have the wheels refurbished and then shod with matching high-quality rubber.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the rest of the car’s exterior faults seem to be limited to the grill and the offside wing mirror, which have been repainted. The colour match is slightly off from the original Rosso Red and while our photographer had to have it pointed out to him (that’s how honest the vendor is…) a keen Alfa enthusiast would probably notice it.

Oh, and yellow front foglamps FTW. They’ve got to be worth another £500 on the price, surely? 

On the Inside

The grey cloth seats are in great shape with barely any visible wear bar some slight softening to the outer bolster on the base of the driver’s seat. Everything else is in an excellent condition including the door cards, carpet, dashboard, and trim.

Joyfully, the badge confirming the car’s limited-edition status is present and correct on the dashboard, as are the factory fitted rear sunblinds. Aftermarket modifications seem to be limited to a Sparco pedal cover on the accelerator pedal.

The boot is very good, and is home to the original toolkit.

Significantly, the vendor has spent a lot of money to get the electrical system sorted out, removing any old wiring from the previous owner’s non-factory head unit and ensuring that everything else is as good as he can possibly get it.

It has paid off because the vendor tells us that this is one of the very few 155s he’s seen in which everything works as it should - and it is one that isn’t showing a myriad of warning lights, either; the warning light panel is dark and unlit for no reason other than it has nothing to say.

This means that the work to do seems to be limited to the headlining, which is starting to work its way loose. Please see the photos for details. 

Underneath

The subject of considerable work by Alfaman Services in January 2018 (please see the attached invoice for details) the final bill came for the mechanical and electrical work came to almost £2,700. But, it successfully rectified all the little jobs that most of us might have been tempted to ignore, as well as all the significant ones.

The alternator was also rebuilt in the same year, and the engine and engine bay are both gloriously well presented – but then if you had that engine in your life you’d polish and buff it too, wouldn’t you?

The vendor tells us that the car is running well, and showing no faults.

As you can see from the photographs, the underside of the car is solid, free of rust and has been neatly protected with underseal. 

History Highlights

The Alfa’s MOT certificate expires in January 2021 and was gained without a single advisory, something it’s been doing for the past couple of years. It also comes with a number of expired MOT certificates plus a sheaf of invoices and bills to confirm the work that has been done to it over the years.

It also still has its original owner’s handbook and book pack, its Japanese history (which has been translated into English), the original delivery invoice plus the original certificate confirming its status as car number 170 out of 250 ever built.

Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been maintained to a very good standard.

If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would encourage – then please use the Contact Seller button to arrange an appointment. 

NB. We know that many of you will be limiting your social exposure over the coming days and weeks, so if you’d rather not come to see the car in person, please contact the owner and ask if they can shoot a personal video of the car honing in on any areas you’d like them to concentrate on.  

What We Think

The Alfa 155 is one of those contradictory cars that almost no-one liked in-period but which we all lust after now. Never a pretty car, its handsome lines have aged well; it’s an automotive Sean Connery - minus the domestic violence, obvs.

And this wide-bodied V6 example looks like the bastard lovechild of a Lancia Delta Integrale and the Alfa Romeo SZ. Gloriously retro, it screams high-performance, left-field Italian motoring and would be sure to draw a crowd at the Ace Café or Caffeine and Machine.

And, despite all of its many charms, it’s likely to be bloody cheap. Even this one, possibly, in fact almost certainly, one of the best you’ll find anywhere on the planet, only has a guide price of between £4,500 and £7,000, which is a travesty given how good it is and how well it still looks, goes, handles and stops.

So, now is the time to snap up that 155 you’ve always promised yourself – and if you’re still wavering, can we remind you that this one is being offered with no reserve, so it’ll sell from the very first bid?

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with the seller in Kingston upon Thames; to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’. 

This vehicle is not with us at The Market’s HQ near Abingdon, which means we have had to rely on the owner’s description of it, in conjunction with the photographs you see here, to compile the listing.

With this in mind, we would encourage potential bidders to contact the owner themselves and arrange to view the car in person, or to arrange a dedicated video call in which they can view the car virtually and ask questions.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and an array of regional providers for transporting it.

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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