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Discussion Starter #1
I have an 83 Spider for the summer.

Now I need a daily driver...30 miles RT on the freeway commute to work. Have been looking at a variety of '12 and '13 cars, the usual stuff VW Golf, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5; nothing exciting.


There's a 93 164 L with 93K miles on it...timing chain and water pump were done 6K ago. Single owner car. It looks, in the photos, like a serious gem.

I've got a great independent, talented Alfa mechanic available. Did terrific and affordable work on my Spider a few weeks ago.

Do I buy the 164L? Can it be reliable? The dealer wants over $5500 for it -- so I'd need to get the price down as that's the high high end of what I see these listed for usually.

Thoughts?
 

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Alfa Romeo everyday

I have driven Alfa Romeo everyday for the last twenty years, no not stupid if it's a well sorted one and you give her the regular attention she will demand, gets a bit harder if you are taking it to a shop regularly, I drive Alfa Romeo everyday but i do all the work myself too, timing chain? timing belt and water pump done is great, puts too important things out of the way, dealer $5500 it would have to be mint for that price, put up some photos if possible :cool:
 

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It is timing belt not chain on 164 V6 engines. How many years on that 6k belt? Time just as important as miles. Is you Alfa spider mech a GTV6, Milano and 164 engine mech, too?

As to your first question probably YES if you are a checkbook mech.
 

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Our 23 year old 164L is no more expensive to run than our other newer cars. Maintenance costs are substituted for depreciation and interest costs.

Older cars make economic sense even to a check book mechanic which I've become.

The lower servicing costs of new cars creates an illusion that they are cheap to run, they're very expensive in reality.

Once a car is about 6 years old servicing costs exceed depreciation for the remainder of the life of the car but rarely approach the annual costs of running a newer car.

Besides, there is nothing available new that gives you the drive that a 164 can give you, nothing. We're looking.
 

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My most recent 164L is a 91 that had 96,000 on it when I bought it from my long time Alfa Tech. It now has 104,000 after about two years. I trusted this one because he was driving it for about 3 months about 40 miles round trip. It's one of the cleanest around for sure. I got it for a steal, a lot less than what yours is being offered at. To be honest, as clean as mine is (The silver one in my avatar) I would not have bought it from someone I didn't know personally because all the others ate a hole in my wallet unlike any other cars I've ever owned.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for all the replies.

This car seems pretty nice. It's in Portland and I'm in Seattle, so it's a hassle to go see it. I could drive all the way down (3 hrs.) and find out the car is no good. But the dealer says I can talk to the previous owner, who purchased the 164 new. All paperwork is with the dealer.

Apparently, in the car's first three years there was a fire in the trunk (wiper relay they tell me). It was fixed but resulted in some painting to the rear quarterpanel (?).

The dealer tells me someone dropped something on the hood and the car's hood was repainted. Dealer says it's nearly impossible to tell but HE can tell "because I'm a car dealer."

But on the flip side he says it's a great car, nearly perfect.

Does someone want to help me with due diligence? Like I said, the dealer says he'll give previous owner's phone number for a conversation. I don't know the right questions to ask about the 164. Becoming obsessive about the car (**** it).
 

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Most new to you 164 require $1500-$2000 in the 1st year to make them reliable if you do your own work.
I don't own anything but Alfas, have 2 daily driver 164. I think they are very reliable, but they have to be maintained.
 

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Oh, and to expand on 164's, I love the way they drive and so does everyone who rides in it. The only thing I've done to this one is convert from R12 to 134a.

Like Richard says, they need to be maintained.
 

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My addedum/amendment to aformentioned post.

It is timing belt not chain on 164 V6 engines. How many years on that 6k belt? Time just as important as miles. Is you Alfa spider mech a GTV6, Milano and 164 engine mech, too?

As to your first question probably YES if you are a checkbook mech.
I meant to say NO! if you are a Check Book mech and unless you can get a certified 100 pt inspection by a verified 164 mech $5500 way to much to pay unless you can get a real good warranty. Is there real good history* records on this car? *Historical* would be to strong of a word for a less than 25 year old Alfa but getting real close.
 

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I bought my 1st 164 in 1993 or 1994, so say 20 years of 164 ownership. They have only let me down on the road 3 times that I remember. Once due to a failed original 12 year old battery and twice due to serpentine belt tensioner bearings. That's not to say other things didn't go wrong. They did, but I was able to get home.
 

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We do want to welcome you into the 164 clan but don't you to go in with your eyes wide shut. I bought my first new 164B Feb 1991 and haven't looked back but I was already a Fiat Doc and dabbled in the Alfa pool with my son's fixer upper 79 Alfetta after years of Fiat and Lancia ownership.
 

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Have driven nothing but Alfas since the late 60's as daily drivers. Been driving my 91S as a daily driver since 94 when I bought it with 40k miles on it. Now has 172k. Pretty much reliable, been left by the side of the road only twice (the fuel pump hose, and the serp idler) but as Richard says, it has to be maintained in a regular fashion. Keep up with the proper checks and part changes as required due to age and normal wear, and it will treat you well.

My wife's Milano, with 100k miles, has been her daily driver since we bought it new in 90. Been left once, with a failure of the infamous fuel pump relay. Other than that, it's been a very good car requiring just the usual proper maintenance and part changes as required from age and wear.

The LS, while having been primarily our "trip" car (with drives of up to 7k miles), also works as a reliable daily driver.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
OK, we are getting the price down. I asked about tensioner and serpentine belts and electrical. Awaiting answers. There is all paperwork dating back to purchase.
 

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I paid $3k for my '91 164S but by the time I got done with belts, hoses, filters, tires, windshield, alternator, Cat, etc, etc I'm in for at least $5k so if you're getting a well sorted car that needs none of that it would be a fair price. The question is: does it need any of that?

Although I have two 164's I use both of them as my daily commuters and my commute is 600 miles per week so I have found them to be reliable and as you have already concluded, a whole lot more satisfying than a Volkswagen Jetta or Toyota Camry.

One thing I learned after buying my first 164 about a year ago is that there are quite a lot more of them out there than I had thought and they do seem to come up for sale on a regular basis so if this particular one doesn't work out, with a bit of patience the right one may come along shortly.

EDIT: Oh yea and to answer your question directly: You might be an idiot but you'd have lots of company :flowers:
 

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Your mechanic obviously doesn't know anything about the 164 model, esp when considering their adequate reliability, parts availability, and people who know how to maintain them in this area. Oh, and how much fun they are to drive. He must be an old 4 banger fan.

And, if you are not confident about properly maintaining cars like these, and he doesn't like them, then perhaps you shouldn't get into them. Your loss.
 

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Now my mechanic will tell me not to get a 24v and I know he doesn't like working the 24s. But I'm looking at one on Tuesday anyway. Just love the interior touches of an LS. Plus always wanted a 24V
 

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Don't care all that much either way with the interior of the LS, for instance the inadequate door pockets and less readable center push button panel, but I sure love that 24v engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Great Alfa mechanic. To clarify, he said I'd be better off getting one for $800 and spending a couple grand on valve job, other work....that a 164 needs...especially around 120k miles. He is a guy I trust.
 
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