A Japanese Alfa 156

The title says it all really. The Japanese remain the absolute masters of taking a seemingly normal car and turning it into something very special by applying just a few extremely well-chosen upgrades.

And once again I find myself at Tsukuba Circuit drooling over the unquestionably functional look of an Alfa Romeo 156.

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This continues to happen to me, probably because being Italian I’ve seen a ton of 156s in their home country in the most average of conditions. There are just so many on the road in Italy, and because of that they’ve become a common sight and no longer hold that special appeal. Not helping the cause is the fact that the majority of buyers opted for the cheapest version possible too, because they’re just daily drivers.

In Japan however, they continue to be sought-after imports. Drive an Alfa Romeo and you are making a point. You’re a red-blooded, passionate driver that appreciates all that the marque stood for in its golden years. You like to drive, and you are prepared to put up with the eventual issues that you will no doubt experience. It’s a small price to pay to be able to feel that motorsport connection, the long history of a famed brand that came decades before Ferrari was even ever conceived.

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And the Japanese can’t help but fiddle; they want to perfect by fine tuning the handling, dropping the ride height and fitting lightweight JDM wheels that somehow always end up making the cars look so cool. Why that is I still don’t know, but an Alfa on Japanese wheels – Advan Racing RSIIs in this particular case – just look so good and purposeful.

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One glance at the interior and you instantly know that this 156 is a pure track machine.

On top of the lap timer, the battery cut-off and the OMP steering wheel, every piece of trim and and carpeting has been removed.

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The unusual yellow color and telltale rubber marks behind the wheel arches only adds to the persona of the car. The little Stile badge on the corner of the trunk lid hints to the fact that this Alfa was built and looked after by the Saitama-based Alfa Romeo specialist.

Seeing cars like this 156 fills me with anticipation for the Giulia QV finally making it to Japan – I think I’ll faint when I see one on TE37s and slammed on race suspension. Alfa Romeo Japan, get a move on already, we need the Giulia now!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

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15 comments

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1

Hmm... '90s Alfas don't look that bad... not bad at all! And those wheels <3

2

never expected to see a yellow paint is used on an Alfa and that looks very good. I always think yellow paint will not look good enough on an Alfa and thinking yellow colour is more suitable for Ferrari instead of Alfa Romeo. nice to see an example that shows otherwise.

and I like how they did the emblem delete on the rear. I wonder where they move the keyhole that located behind the emblem though.

3

Yellow Alfa's are the best!

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4

I also wonder what they have done to make sure the wheels fits as 156 uses 5x98 PCD for their bolt pattern. even I have to settle with the stock wheels for my 145 as there are few aftermarket wheels with 4x98 PCD bolt pattern.

5

Lots of Alfa drivers use 5x100 wheels with variable sliding bolts. The conical part of those bolts have a small amount of play to overcome the difference with 5x98.

6

Yellow Alfa's are the best!

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7

I have never understood why the rear tail lights don't line up with the lights on the trunks, always looks like these cars had an accident or something..

8

yep i'm sure that trunk is open, they line up perfectly on mine and others from my friends

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9

driver's door doesn't line up with the rear door either. that was one of the first things i noticed
straight and even panel gaps are a sign of good quality.

10
Brooke Whiting

Trunk is open. Plus it's a colour changed track car - probably been smashed up too !

11

maybe the trunk is not closed properly?

12
Daniel P Huneault

its killing my OCD...

13

This it's one of those cars that deserved to be RWD

14

@dino I thought the QV was already on the roads in Japan?
I've been lucky enough to get some time in one, and ohh yeahhhh, we are back babY!
Also, this 156, did you learn abything about what they've done performance wise? stuck with the old faithful Twin Spark or is it the 2.5 V6?

15

How do you get so much rubber splatter on the rear wheel arch of a FWD car? Something off with the suspension setup? I was wondering if it had been converted to RWD but the interior shots suggest otherwise - a person can dream though...

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