'How an innocent chat showed us up to be real Alfa males'
We learned a lot by simply having an innocent chat with two salesmen here. We also found that the postman was to play an important part in this Garage Watch report.
Because we saw Alfa Romeo signage we embarked on our adventure to trade our 02 Alfa Romeo 166 in against an Alfa Giulietta.
We parked up in one of the many customer parking bays which had signs that read "Test Drive" on them.
There was a new Giulietta parked outside. We headed in its direction. It was painted Competizione Red, the colour we wanted but it was petrol. We were after a diesel.
We were no time here when Gary Ryan came out to see if he could be of assistance. He could not hide his enthusiasm. He must have seen us drive in in what is possibly the best example of a 166 out there today.
We told him of our interest and that we wanted a price for our 2.5V6 166 against the smaller Alfa.
He looked at our car, admired its pristine condition and invited us into the showroom.
We saw a fine selection of Fiat cars and, like the used models outside, all were priced and carried details.
Inside was gleaming clean, a receptionist manned her station, customer facilities looked excellent and everything was seen to have its rightful place.
As Gary went through the brochure with us another sales person arrived at the desk, he had also seen our car. There is something about Alfas -- they give rise to passionate conversation. Both salesmen had a good knowledge and love of the product.
Against the Veloce 1.6 JTD, which falls into Tax Band A, they would allow us €3,000. Mike Kerslake said that was the best they could do considering a 05 version recently made less money.
"Your car is a beautiful example," they told us, and added that they would do all they could to deal with us.
The special treble layer Competizione Red paint would add €1,780 to the base price of €26,695 and all leather would add another €1,850. All said we could have one for €27,325.
If interested, and possibly to make the exchange price more attractive, they would see if there was a demo model available.
We were given a brochure but Gary saw there were a lot of notes written on it, so he went off to get us another one. "Sorry I've none, but I will post one to you," he said.
They are in the process of moving to Agnelli House on the Naas Road. There they will have the full Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler and Jeep franchises on sale.
Handing us their business cards, they told us that we could phone them any time and they would arrange a test drive in our chosen model.
We left impressed with what we saw.
Would the brochure arrive, we wondered, or would this article go to press without it? A week had not passed when, lo and behold and true to his word, a brochure, price list and compliment slip arrived at our door.