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1996 Alfa Romeo 145 1.6

Question: when does a car move from being just old and half-forgotten, to re-emerge as a classic? A tricky one to answer. But I’d suggest that any having an owner’s club and busy online forum must be on its way. And so it is with the 145. It’s one from the time when 'Alfa’ meant quirky and odd. So, here savour the ‘bread-van’ lines of its rear (which also makes the 145 jolly big and useful).

Another oddity is the that the dash is sculpted to sit a way away from the front passenger. Alfa did this, I guess, for safety reasons. But it also means there’s acres of legroom for a car of its size.And if it's a 145 that you want, this has got to merit a serious look. It’s brought to you here courtesy of our friends at Cookes Car Sales of Malton, North Yorkshire.

As they wisely point out ‘they take some finding, like this’. And indeed, it does tick all the right boxes for a would-be purchaser: one owner, deep and complete service records including a folder-ful of garage receipts, and copies of all past MoT certificates.

What’s more, it’s not been messed with cosmetically or mechanically, and it also wears a matching set of Pirelli tyres. It’s even the ‘right’ colour for an Alfa. Steel wheels, plastic wheel trims and a 1.6 motor means this example sat low in the model range. But, some (including me) would say - that such simplicity adds to its charm. With a car of this age, condition is everything and, to judge from the photos, this one looks way younger than its years.

And what you’ll get will make for an interesting drive. That 1.6 will rasp away as it spins, pushing out up to 102bhp: quick enough to enjoy, but without scaring the pants off you. The ride will be unforgiving (though those tyres have enough sideways ‘squish’ in them to add some comfort back in), while the steering will be wrist-flick quick. It’ll make a sensible-enough purchase to take you to work and back every day, but it’s maybe better to buy and keep in the garage for sunny days when you just fancy taking a drive.

The Alfa marque has a proud history of which this car is a noble part; it’s an enthralling drive, too. And when did you last see one of these in traffic? For us, there’s no doubt that this 145 is a classic in the making.

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