Lister Bell Automotive Frequently Asked Questions - Alfa Engines


Basic brief

In short we can fit any of the transverse mounted V6 Alfa power plants from the early 12valve 155/164 through to the 3.2 litre 24 valve from the 147/156 GTA.

The 24valve engine is available in 2.5, 3.0 & 3.2litre formats from the Alfa range, each are based around the same engine block & transmission but have slight variations in flywheels, exhaust manifolds, engine mounting positions & oil cooling systems. See below for a more detailed guide to each option.

Alfa 164 3.0 V6 12v

These are quite rare these days & parts are a little harder to track down although not impossible.

The engines will all have a 5 speed transmission attached.

Power is between 182 & 198bhp dependant on the model.

Pros- simple to install, easy to wire using the standard ECU.

Cons- age & mileage, gear ratios can be quite tall dependant upon the model used, the sump on this engine is slightly deeper so the C of G is raised marginally.Wiring connectors could have suffered due to them being so old so can lead to issues.

Alfa 164 3.0 V6 24v

These are also quite rare & some of the parts are hard to find in the UK, less of an issue in the US.

The engines will also have a 5 speed transmission attached.

Power is between 210 & 230bhp dependant on the model.

Pros- 24v breathes better than the earlier 12v engine so makes better power, comes with a solid flywheel & tubular headers.

Cons- age & mileage, availability of parts, wiring connectors could have suffered due to them being  old so can lead to issues. Due to the more complex ECU & short engine loom it is slightly more involved to wire in but the stock ECU can be used.

Alfa 2.5 V6 24

The 2.5 24v is the most readily available & potentially the cheapest installation in the current market place. It is fitted with a drive by wire throttle, it is a very free revving engine, it could be argued that it is also the closest in capacity & characteristic to the original Strato's.

Transmission will be 6speed with a relatively low final drive for more spirited use.

Power is rated around 187-189bhp.

Pros- Readily available, it comes with a solid flywheel, a small built in oil to water heat exchanger, we can retain the standard Alfa Romeo ECU & security. The ECU loom is long so we can place the ECU within the cockpit. Spares are readily available. It has tubular manifolds.

Cons- Due to its lower capacity this engine is more about top end power than mid range torque which means that it is more involved to drive & you have to keep the revs on to achieve the performance which may not be ideal on a continental jaunt.

Alfa 3.0 V6 24v

The 3.0 is slightly less common than the 2.5 but is available in both the 166 & the GTV, we can still use the Alfa ECU but as the engine comes with a dual mass flywheel which we prefer to swap for a solid version which more suits a Stratos replica, this new flywheel would then need balancing to match the engine. We would also recommend fitting an external oil cooler to this engine so this again adds cost. As a rough estimate I would say the 3.0 litre installation costs about £900 more than the 2.5.

Transmission is 6 speed with a slightly taller final drive relative to the 2.5 version.

Power from the 3.0 litre is around 220bhp

Pros- Good power & excellent mid range torque, this engine makes for a car which is both easier to drive and also offers increased performance over the 2.5litre. The more modern ECU offers more refined driving experience over the 164 range of cars.

Cons- The dual mass flywheel, The 166 has a very short ECU loom which makes it harder to integrate into the mid engined installation. The 166 donors can have higher mileage due to being from executive saloons which will have spent a lot of time on motorways.

Note for the 156, 166  & GTV range

The 156, 166 & GTV were produced across a period of time where there was a change in the emissions laws. From 1998 to 2000 the cars ran in CF2 format & complied with Euro2, After 2000 the cars were CF3 & complied with Euro 3. The cars with CF2 ECU’s are easy to wire in & run, the CF3 version is unchartered territory as everyone in the Stratos club running a CF3 engine has fitted an aftermarket ECU.

Alfa 3.2 V6 24v 

The 3.2 from the GTA is possibly the most desirable Alfa engine available as it produces around 250bhp in standard tune & has a solid flywheel & uprated clutch fitted as standard.

Transmission is 6 speed as per the other phase 2 & 3 engines.

Pros- Good power & torque, solid flywheel as standard. Donors are typically low mileage as the owners of the GTA’s crash them before the miles get too high.

Cons- The engines command a high price due to their performance & exclusivity. It is more likely to find an engine for sale rather than a donor car which can make first registration more complicated. Due to the engine being from Phase 3 cars then it is easier to fit an aftermarket ECU which adds expense to the installation. The engine will require an external oil heat exchanger.

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