Monstro: How To Make An Alfa 147 GTA Scream

We don’t see many modified Alfa Romeos on Speedhunters, and there could be a good reason for that. We’ve all heard the stories about second-rate build quality and poor reliability before, so you can understand why enthusiasts might not want to go there in first place, regardless of any prior personal experience with the brand.

But whatever the reason and despite any shortcomings that Alfa Romeos may have in the eyes of some, there’s something special about this marque. Leon, the owner of this 147 GTA knows it, and decided to create his ultimate version of the Italian manufacturer’s early ’00s hot hatch. He’s called it ‘Monstro’.

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In stock form, the GTA isn’t a lazy hatch by any measure. The 247hp it pushes out from its iconic 3.2L V6 Busso engine is enough to send it from 0-60mph in a swift 6.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 246km/h (153mph).

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This one’s more powerful and a whole lot faster than that – not that you’d likely pick it from a quick glance.

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Sure, its factory-pumped bodywork has been visually enhanced with carbon fiber mirrors, a carbon rain tray and a carbon roof spoiler, but those are just subtle cosmetic changes.

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Look closer and you’ll catch a glimpse of the Powerbrake big brake kit up front – complete with 6-piston callipers, large 2-piece slotted rotors, race pads and stainless steel braided lines – and Bridgestone Potenza RE-11s wrapped around black-refinished original Alfa 147 GTA wheels.

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Yes, many people fit big stoppers and sticky rubber on their performance cars, and grip is especially welcomed on a FWD hatch, but these upgrades alone still don’t give away this GTA’s real party trick. For that, you need to pop the hood and feast your eyes on a build carried out by South Africa’s Alfa genius – Dawie de Villiers at Glenwood Motors.

A Killer Reveal
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Immediately, the aftermarket AHM throttle body kit steals the show. What you can’t see are the internals of a highly modified engine that’s been stretched over half a liter to 3.75L.

Custom Wossner forged pistons were massaged into the cylinder block with Mahle sleeves, and these work with forged Pauter connecting rods and a strengthened GTA crankshaft. Up top, the cylinder heads were gas-flowed, ported and fitted with 300-degree Newman billet race/rally-spec cams, oversized valves, and AHM double valve springs and retainers. On the intake side, fuelling comes via Dice Injection rails and Bosch 440cc Green Giant injectors, with AVGAS the drink of choice. On the exhaust side you’ll find a Powerflow system.

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Once complete, the whole package was tuned by MC Customs via a South African-designed Dicktator engine management system. The result was a solid 355hp at a screaming 7,800rpm – a solid 100hp+ improvement over the engine’s original output.

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While some of these cars were specced with semi-automatic Selespeed transmissions, this is one of the vast majority with three pedals and a 6-speed manual gearbox. Since then it’s been further enhanced from factory spec with a shorter final drive ratio and a Quaife limited slip differential, and now also benefits from a race-spec clutch and flywheel assembly. The car won’t be staying this way for much longer though, as Leon currently has a Quaife sequential upgrade on order.

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To make the most of the engine and transmission modifications, the suspension has seen some changes too, most notably with Autodelta 3-way adjustable coilovers and the upgrade of every bar and brace that could be replaced.

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The GTA’s interior is mostly original, and I can see why Leon wanted to keep things largely the way Alfa Romeo specced the car. As you’d expect though, the changes that have been made are well considered ones; custom-trimmed Recaro Pole Position seats, Sabelt harness belts, and VDO gauges in a radio delete panel to meter water and oil temperature, and oil pressure.

Made To Be Driven
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Without much convincing required, Leon took the GTA for a few spirited runs up and down the hill we were shooting on, and this thing sounds so insane. But don’t take my word for it – listen for yourself in the video above.

I was also able to get behind the wheel and make a few runs on my own, and what an experience that was. This is a proper point ‘n’ shoot machine.

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The well-sorted Alfa isn’t the only interesting car in Leon’s garage; he also owns a modified Nissan GT-R, a Ford Capri Perana (another one of those South African specials), and is currently building a crazy drag truck. He freely admits that the GTA is his pick of the bunch though, so that really says something about this car.

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I’ve always been a bit of an Alfa Romeo fan, but getting to spend some time with this little blue rocket named Monstro, and then having the opportunity to drive it in anger, has just made me fall completely in love with the idea of owning one.

Bring on the pain I say.

Stefan Kotzé
Instagram: stefankotzephoto

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Very well said!!! This truly is one remarkable Alfa, and this from a guy who didn’t like the brand at all , awesome feature


this is one awesome alfa!


I remember this car, was one of my dad’s friends’ before the current owner. It was great to watch the build and development when the previous owner had it, also you never mentioned the GT front swap that he did to it...


Yaaaa, thought it was the same car. Madness wahahahah.


I remember how Top Gear used to promote the idea that "to be a true petrol-head, one has to own an Alfa Romeo."

I always figured they meant that Alfas were such unmitigated pieces of shit that only an expert mechanic truly dedicated to the machine's survival could keep one alive, thus proving their petrol-head credentials.




imo, more people should have some experience with an Alfa. and it fit the "build not bought" motto that most petrolheads swear by as it have many potential to be discovered if one are willing to get their hands dirty. too bad not many are willing to experiment on it due to it reputation. but to those that do, it gave them one of the most rewarding experience their have felt from an automobile.

there is a saying in my country that say "if you have mastered the Italians, other cars will be piece of cake to you."


Nice Alfa. If they could improve the reliability they already have the potential to be great cars.


Mine has clocked 243000km (151000 miles) and the only big problems I had were a 30€ sensor and a ECU repair. The real problem is the lack of specialists for this car and this engine.


Nothing wrong with the AR from middle of the 2000 and onward.

Katlego Emmanuel Nkosi

Beautiful Car, love the fact that its still NA, the road looks like a perfect Hillclimb waiting to happen, where the road please share location


It's in Krugersdorp, close to the airfield. The VW Club holds it's annual hilclimb there.


if im not mistaken this particular car already won hillclimb at its class. saw it on fb group uploaded by the owner himself.


Is that road in the video a one-way? If not it looks like a scary place for a spirited drive.


It's a two way road, but very narrow and doesn't see any traffic at all, so it's pretty safe. Some hillclimbs take place here as well

Katlego Emmanuel Nkosi

What Hillclimb Events happen there, where can we get event dates?


Now that makes a damm good noise . Top work well done.


Got to love a good sounding V6 from an Alfa hatch
This would be a fun car to drive in the city


I have to say the Alfa 147 aged gracefully like wine
It still looks good to this day


AVGAS? As in "i'm flying AVGAS in my Cessna"? I mean yes, that's 100 Octane, but it's leaded fuel, isn't that a problem? At least he can't run a cat anymore, is that a Problem in ZA?


We don't have smog tests and the like. If you have a performance car here, the cat is the first thing to go.


I’ve seen a lot of race cars broke on racefuel but never seen a plane fall. No cats in this baby

Nombuso z ngcobo

Hai I love what u did with the car,it marvelous can u pls guys do to my Alfa Romeo I own one to. it 147 spark pls I want it to look good I'm stay at Kwazulu natal nongoma is my first car that my father bought it for me so i love my car so much


I've got a 147 GTA, they are a work of art enjoyed by both the eye and ear. Mine has a Q2 fitted...with a new Supersprint exhaust on order....Is there a better looking and sounding V6?


I am a devoted alfa romeo fan i have been for years ..and i am sick of the 1st too words out of anyones mouth or reveiws with the words build quality and reliaibity.ive have 10 alfas in my life amoungest other makes german included.and alfa are about the only make of car and lancia i might add .that have had good build quality and reliability its how you look after a car at the end of the day say no more


This build is what drivings all about. Those analogue gauges remind me of how great cars felt to drive with all the data at your finger tips and none of these electronic HD screens popping up with stuff


About +/- 15 years ago an Australian colleague bought me a car magazine wheels where they tested this Alfa 147 against the BMW hatchback 2.5 lt. Although the Alfa had about 57 hp advantage, (700 cc larger displacement) and quite a bit lighter, it was less than a second quicker to 100 kh (62 mph). I think it clocked 7.1 seconds. Not sure how fast this is with 375 hp whether it lives up to hype,


There is all different stages of these conversions. Maybe you must go look when topgear had it around the track. Autodelta 147 gta. Then you’ll see it was quicker than a few machinery. This GTA is in a different league and the owner showed us in race videos.


Clean and simple build, looks good.

But it needs the extra 100hp just to move that driver!


So cool to see an Alfa 147 GTA on SpeedHunters!!! I've owned a Rosso one since 2012 and it's a lovely car, if well sorted (LSD, coilovers, PU bushes) still very modern performance-wise, but thinking the car is almost 20 years old tells the potential...
Not gonna sell mine if tuners developp some parts after that post :)


While the 147 and 156 GTAs are soaring in price, if you are looking to get into the Alfa Romeo enthusiast market and want that sweet, sweet busso V6, The Alfa GT, while a bit of an oddball shape, is literally the same car but longer and they go for a steal, maybe it's just because they don't have that GTA badge. They look quite good in person, though.


I stayed away from this feature until I couldn't refrain anymore. I soooo badly want a bespoke Busso in a FWD Alfa-- particularly a GTV-- and that's dangerous because they're getting old enough to legally import! The 147 has always been something special as well, and I love the no-compromise approach here. Time to listen to the video on repeat!