Viewing 4200 - Any Advice...

ChrisH

Junior Member
Messages
46
#1
Hi All,

I'm a bit surprised this is my first post as I've been on the forum various times and first test drove a 4200 back in 2009 - alas work, family and house have very much got in the way since! I now (have just about convinced myself) I have the time to actually take the plunge though (garage empty ready and waiting), and having weighed up various options over the last few months, I will be viewing this facelift 4200 tomorrow:

https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classi...us=1500&postcode=ba26hf&price-to=20000&page=5

It looks pretty keenly priced but I will try a haggle. It sounds pretty clean and whilst its hard to suss the service history over the phone... I think there's been a clutch in the last 10k miles. How it got part ex'd to a very mainstream dealer I'm not sure... but I guess at a specialist it would be quite a few k more so if it is clean...

Anyone recognise this one or have any suggestions for the viewing? I've been over most of the guides on here but any specifics always appreciated. I know my way around motors in general... this will swap out a slightly boring Audi (though also a 4.2 V8)... but looking forward to returning to Italian ownership having had various Alfa's over the years... always kinda regret selling a smart GTV Cup but it was always supposed to be replaced with one of these!

Any tips appreciated,

Cheers,

Chris
 

dickygrace

www.richardgracecars.co.uk
Messages
4,343
#2
Chris, I haven’t personally viewed the car but one of my clients has done. He said there was no service history with it which is obviously not good. It may have had a service history but you’d need to make a lot of phone calls to ascertain where it’s been.
 

ChrisH

Junior Member
Messages
46
#6
Chris, I haven't personally viewed the car but one of my clients has done. He said there was no service history with it which is obviously not good. It may have had a service history but you'd need to make a lot of phone calls to ascertain where it's been.
Hi, that's interesting because they were reading through stuff on the phone, quote clutch work, MOT dates etc. I will follow up now but the impression given was there was a file there. Did he give any other feedback as to why he didn't buy it? Or was he just casually looking?

Long drive for me to view so if he has any info it would be appreciated.

Cheers,

Chris
 

ChrisH

Junior Member
Messages
46
#8
The ad now says "sorry this vehicle is reserved"
OP: Have you bought it? If not, you might need to check before driving to see it tomorrow.
It's my reservation... only a couple of hundred quid fully refundable... to make sure I didn't get there to be told someone else had done the same! So that's no issue... sketchy history could be though...

I know it was part exchanged in on a new car... so I guess if it was up on a private sale site before the previous owner maybe couldn't be fussed to wait it out and took a deal. It's obviously not a standard car for them, but it would be harsh to write it off solely for that reason.

I've asked them to confirm the history so we will see what they say.
 

ChrisH

Junior Member
Messages
46
#10
After pushing them on the phone they phoned the previous owner who pointed out.... that the service history and documents were all in the boot. They were pretty embarrassed.

I'm not sure there is a huge amount of paperwork persay, but there are servicing stamps and MOT history for every year. It's never sat idle and in theory, the clutch was done around 4-8k miles ago.

Got traded at Stratstone in Swansea who are a main dealership for various big names... Maserati not on there... but Ferarri, Jaguar, Aston Martin are... so that all makes a bit more sense... but then transferred to the current lot who are part of the same wider group to sell on. I guess they thought it was too old to sell through Stratstone, but too good to go to auction.

Obviously it's always nice to know a cars history in as much depth as possible... but this is starting to feel more sensible and realistic for a car of this age.

Worth the trip? 3.5hr drive.... each way...
 
Messages
6,159
#11
The drive back will be the best if you buy it for sure.
When I bought my 456 GTA it was 275 miles away but the drive back was Awesome.
You only live once.
 
Messages
6,159
#13
The journey there was nearly a disaster as my son driving my Range Rover fell asleep at the wheel whilst I was snoozing on the M4.
Shaken and stirred I drove us there and back in the Ferrari he was so shaken we left the RR in Norfolk and I went back the next day to pick it up.
 

Corranga

Junior Member
Messages
583
#14
Haha, mine was only about 50 or 60 miles but the tank was pretty dry and it turned out that I had left my wallet in my wife's car and I lost her in traffic. Ended up in a tesco filling station, trying to see if contactless payment would work on my phone, in the days before Android pay existed!
It did,but then the button wouldn't pop the fuel flap, and once it eventually worked, and I got back on the road, I lost most of the electrics.
A journey I'd rather forget.

;)
 
Messages
1,432
#15
Just over 500 miles from Coleraine. Didn't know how to pop the bonnet for the security check for the ferry from Larne to Stranraer! Figured out I'd done the test drive in ICE mode duh, and still bought the car! I was so green.
Eb
 
Messages
25,925
#16
500yds. First set of lights. Popped it into neutral like a pro. Couldn't get the **** thing back in gear (not pressing brake)
So stereotypical Italian car on the side of the road, North London, Friday evening rush hour, hazzards on and going nowhere.....

C
 

GeoffCapes

Centenary Club
Messages
7,458
#17
I nearly wrote my 4200 off 5 minutes after buying it. I booted it as I got onto the M6 and totally forgot about the cold tyres, cold road, 400bhp through the rear wheels thing and entered the M6 like Carlos Sainz on a rally special stage sideways!
Although it probably looked epic from someone elses car watching, I crapped my pants (metaphorically) and spent the next 5 miles hyperventilating and driving at 50 mph.

Then when I got to the petrol station I had to ring the previous owner to find out how to open the fuel filler! I mean! The glove box! Although to be fair that was the same as my Alfa 155.
 

Vampyrebat

Junior Member
Messages
709
#18
My worst journey was in the mid 80's after my friend drove us down to London so he could have a hair transplant, after the op he was out of it on drugs, so I had to drive his car for the first time (72 Beetle) through the middle of London during rush hour, trying to navigate my way to Eastbourne without a map or help from my passenger and the idle on the accelerator was broken so I had to keep the revs up constantly. There was a jam sandwich behind me for a long time and my mate had no tax on the car and I was obviously not insured for it!!..............Nightmare!!
 

hashluck

Junior Member
Messages
271
#19
I nearly wrote my 4200 off 5 minutes after buying it. I booted it as I got onto the M6 and totally forgot about the cold tyres, cold road, 400bhp through the rear wheels thing and entered the M6 like Carlos Sainz on a rally special stage sideways!
Although it probably looked epic from someone elses car watching, I crapped my pants (metaphorically) and spent the next 5 miles hyperventilating and driving at 50 mph.

Then when I got to the petrol station I had to ring the previous owner to find out how to open the fuel filler! I mean! The glove box! Although to be fair that was the same as my Alfa 155.
Haha I did the same - the fuel filler bit and calling the previous owner that is, not going sideways on the M6!
 

ChrisH

Junior Member
Messages
46
#20
Hi all,

Right decision time so all help appreciated! Car is still reserved for me for the next couple of days so the ball is in my court.

First to check off the service bit... it has a reasonably complete service history stamped up in the book and whilst there are no invoices, all the workshops have confirmed work over the phone. There are plenty of old MOT print outs as well which all confirm mileage in line with the history stamps and workshop records. Some really positive work was confirmed by Grey Paul in Birmingham who did the clutch and release bearing 5k miles ago... and then also replaced the RPM sensor last year (is that a known issue?). So at least recently, it's had some specialist TLC albeit only for two specific jobs.

Current dealer has just done an oil service as well as front upper ball joints on both sides and are now investigating the rear handbrake as simply... it doesn't work. The cable has tension so I suspect there is an issue in the drum / shoes / mechanism, in theory that will be sorted though so let's assume that's the case (unless this is a super scary warning sign... but it doesn't feel like anything to have a massive concern on).

Out on the road it seemed to drive well. The gearbox was pretty smooth and it had plenty of low speed town work to deal with on the test drive. Save for a couple of slightly 'firmer' starts in 1st from stationary - probably me not being 100% dialed in on the throttle - it changed very nicely and from 2nd to 3rd to 4th and back down again pottering at 20-30mph it was absolutely fine. Obviously this isn't really the idea, but I owned a 156 Selespeed once and my experience of that was that the open road was never the issue... town was... so in that regard I think it's good. Engine felt smooth and strong... but obviously had quite limited opportunity to really appreciate the power delivery. I can confirm traction control and the rev limiter work however ;-)

Ride was pretty compliant, it didn't pull in any way etc. Maybe not quite as sharp as I would like... but I think that is more the model in general than this particular one... I had a GTV V6 Cup which was fully pollybushed and that turned in like a go-kart and in comparison, this was quite a lot softer... but I wouldn't call it wobbly or wavering in any way. I think that probably goes with the Grand Tourer not Sports Car reality.

On suspension... it has coil overs all round. They look factory (stamped up Maserati)... I just wasn't expecting that. Does that mean it is or isn't a Skyhook system? Sorry bit ignorant on this one... it has a Sport mode which seemed to firm things up when engaged.

Brakes were somewhat underwhelming... is the servo assist pretty light? They were also very cold though and the handbrake needs looking at so that all could be connected. When prodded harder they were better so again it is probably me getting used to things... the car held a nice straight line... but they could definitely be sharper to match the throttle! The disks looked OK and pads no more than 50% worn.

Exterior bodywork is good. Very few marks to speak off... paint could be polished up a bit more, but nothing to sort really.

Interior... not bad... but a little scruffy here and there. Some of the buttons - driver electric windows for instance - is badly scuffed even chipped... and some of the others are a little as well. The other detail thing that really let it down was the chrome surrounds of the vents... I know the 'sticky' plastic needs attention but the chrome bezels also looked very tired. Can these things (buttons, vents etc.) be sourced easily enough to bring it up to A1?

The negatives... it's not as well detailed as it could be. Everything needs a good clean... whether that's the paintwork crying out for some fresh wax, the leather wanting some conditioner, the engine bay in need of a steam, even the handbook was well 'thumbed'. Nothing is terrible, but it needs some elbow grease. So it's not been a car that's been polished every weekend. On the flip side, it's been used in generally sensible proportion over the duration of it's like so kept moving and probably reasonably cared for. So as long as I take an optimistic spin on that, I think I can convince myself there is some real potential there. Sitting prettier at a specialist... I think the asking price would be higher... and whilst that might breed more confidence... it wouldn't necessarily be founded on anything.

Dealer had it up on the ramp as well so had a good look underneath. No rust or signs of damage chassis wise. One front pre cat was a little dented - guess that is pretty standard with where they sit - and there is the slightest of oil leaks from the front of the crankcase (not from the cam covers, they were bone dry). The oil was fresh and clean so it could be they overfilled it... reading on the dip was prob just over max...

In an ideal world I would find a similar spec car that was sold with a wedge of paperwork, immaculately detailed etc etc. But I think that a car as such is going to be 4-6k more at least.

So the question is... do I don't I? How does that all sound to you?

Cheers,

Chris