Scrapyard Find: 2009 Alfa Romeo Brera S

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

I took a four-day trip to Northern England a couple of weeks ago, primarily to visit one of the only American-style self-service junkyards in the UK. While there, I also dropped by quite a few traditional dismantlers (known as "breaker's yards" over there), and one of them was Sherburn Motor Spares in Leeds, a business specializing in Italian and French vehicles. While there, I found a special-edition Alfa Romeo that never made it to our side of the Atlantic: a UK-only Brera S, hot-rodded by Prodrive.

While I feel that the ex-Royal Mail Peugeot Bipper we saw last week was a deeply interesting Junkyard Find, some readers with shallower more mainstream tastes in automobiles might have been disappointed by such a machine being considered worthy of admiration. For those readers, we offer this extremely rare Alfa that by all rights never should have met a fate such as this.

First, though, I suggest that you begin playing The Who's best album at top— and I mean eardrum-slaughtering— volume before starting to read this, because when in Leeds

Sherburn Motor Spares specialises in Italian and French cars, with a focus on Alfa Romeos. When I arrived, it was a below-freezing Yorkshire morning and the employees were huddled around a barrel full of burning trash to warm up. It was all very Dickensian.

One of the more civilised things about the breaker's yards around Leeds is that most of them have little cafes in double-wides nearby. You can get a bacon-and-sausage sandwich for just £4.20, and add a hot cup of tea for another £1.70.

Though The Who recorded their finest album in Leeds, they were from way down south in London. Once you're done with "Live at Leeds," I suggest that you play some music by Throbbing Gristle, an outfit of genuine Yorkshiremen that came out of Kingston Upon Hull, just to the west of Sherburn Motor Spares.

Most of the inventory at this yard is stacked two or three layers tall, with Fiat Pandas and 500s plus endless commuter-grade Citroëns and Peugeots predominating. But if you poke around a little bit and chat with the very friendly employees, you'll find the special stuff.

The Brera coupe was on the same platform as the Spider roadster, and was built for the 2005 through 2010 model years.

The Top Gear crew really wet their pants over the Brera, which was a beautiful machine for its price.

This one isn't just any Brera, however. It's one of just 500 examples of the Brera S upgraded by Prodrive.

The Brera S was available only in the United Kingdom, and its price tag with the four-cylinder engine was £24,950 (about £38,102 in 2024 pounds, or $48,438 in today's dollars).

The Prodrive upgrades went into the suspension; the 256-horse 3.2-liter V6 was the most powerful engine you could get in the Brera S. This car has the 182-horsepower 2.2-liter straight-four.

Customers have bought the front grille and bumper, but the rest of the parts remain available for purchase.

2009 Alfa Romeo Brera S in English scrapyard.

2009 Alfa Romeo Brera S in English scrapyard.

2009 Alfa Romeo Brera S in English scrapyard.

2009 Alfa Romeo Brera S in English scrapyard.

2009 Alfa Romeo Brera S in English scrapyard.

2009 Alfa Romeo Brera S in English scrapyard.

2009 Alfa Romeo Brera S in English scrapyard.

2009 Alfa Romeo Brera S in English scrapyard.

2009 Alfa Romeo Brera S in English scrapyard.

[Images: The Author]

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Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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4 of 19 comments
  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jan 29, 2024

    I'm not a fan of those wheels. I recall Porsche having a weird shape like that. A Doctor's kid in town would ride around town in dad's car.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic 3SpeedAutomatic on Jan 29, 2024

    I was under the impression that UK drivers were much better than American drivers. Based on the above photos and corresponding links, I'm not so sure!!!

    I realize most of these vehicles are 500 lbs to 750 lbs lighter than Detroit Iron, but they look like true crunch boxes!!!! 🚗🚗🚗

    • Felice Graziano Felice Graziano on Feb 01, 2024

      The Brera & its 159 stablemate are notoriously overbuilt & heavy. Whilst filming Quantum of Solace a 159 went headlong under a truck with the driver still in it. He survived and the failed stunt made into the film.

  • Jkross22 The contrived, forced, overproduced jokes and antics were fun 15 years ago, but it's been the same thing over and over since. The last few years of Top Gear were heading this direction and the 3 were phoning it in. They should have either done something completely different and tried something new. Instead they played it safe.
  • SCE to AUX "...identified during our rigorous validation process"Not so rigorous, if they ended up on dealer lots. 🙄
  • Ras815 Their naming scheme is almost as idiotic as having a totally separate Polestar brand for EVs that look exactly Volvos. But you can tell it came from the same idiocy.
  • Dukeisduke "The EX naming convention is used for the automaker’s new and upcoming EVs, the EX30 and EX90."Only upcoming when they can figure out the software.