auto

Used car buying guide: Alfa Romeo SZ


How to get one in your garage

Buyer beware…

Engine: Check the cambelt and the cambelt tensioner regularly and look out for any oil leaks. On the whole, reports are good, with no obvious problems.

Gearbox: There have been problems with a worn external gear linkage. The second-gear synchro can go and you might get a propshaft vibration.

Steering: There are reports of leaks from the pump and the rack, but the system is mostly reliable.

Suspension: This can make noises. Check the rear shock bushes and the A-frame rose joint and make sure the original Koni dampers aren’t leaking. They’re unique to this car and expensive.

Brakes: The standard brakes are rubbish, but they can be upgraded with better pads or replaced with uprated but bespoke and expensive (£5000) units. The brakes also have problemswith sticking and the rear calipers and the compensator seizing.

Body: The composite body can suffer from microblisters. As for rust, check the bottoms of the C-pillar and A-pillar, the bottom of the windscreen, the lower door hinges, the B-pillar in thedoor shut, the bulkhead, the inner wings and the inner sills. The exhaust and fuel tank can both rust as well. Corroded wheels are expensive to refurbish. The doors can drop, too.

Electrics: All the switches are flimsy. The milometer trip can fail, as can the heater fan, shock height adjustment, indicator stalk, radiator fan, heated rear window, electric aerial and screenwashers.

Interior: The seats’ backs can work loose, the bolsters are often worn and the side plastics are often broken. The original stereo and speakers can pack up.

Also worth knowing: Make sure your SZ comes with the book pack (containing three books), a certificate with the car number and a plaque on the centre console with the car number. It should also come with a car cover, a sparewheel bag and a toolkit.



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