“The Giulietta saved not just Alfa, but Pinin Farina and Bertone too.” Classic and Sports Car August 2004.
As Richard Heseltine so succinctly put it above, the Giulietta range of Berlina (saloon), Sprint (coupe), Spider (convertible) and even the ‘Promiscua’ estate (no sniggering at the back) truly saved Alfa’s post-war bacon when sales volume was absolutely the key to the generation of tons (literally) of Lira for the beleaguered company. Of these, unsurprisingly it was the Berlina that provided the lion’s share of this volume though Alfa were not about to disregard their sporting heritage by producing grey porridge for the masses – they would do that with the Arna of the 1980s – and the four door, three box design shared its basic running gear with everything from the now hyper-desirable Spider and even the wildly exotic and even more coveted SS and SZ. It naturally drove impeccably and was lauded by both the press and the buying public right through to its eventual replacement in the early 1960s.
As young blades throughout Europe were keen to pull on the string backs and take to the race circuits, the Berlina was a popular choice and as is the case today, they didn’t stretch the family’s housekeeping as much as their more exotic siblings. There at the very birth of the ‘sports saloon’ the Berlina, particularly in pepped up TI configuration, was ideally suited to the task with a lightweight, monocoque body shell and exotic engine specification which, despite its relatively conservative 1300 cc displacement, knocked out power figures that would embarrass most of its peers, many of which barely had overhead valves let alone camshafts.
This Alfa was originally registered in Genoa on 4th March 1960 as a ‘pukka’ Giulietta TI. A Second Series ‘101-11’ (correct for a Berlina TI), it has been a race car for a number of years; how long exactly we can’t be sure but FIA Papers on file confirm that it has fulfilled this role since at least 1989 – almost exactly half its life. These Papers were supplanted by an Automobile Club D’Italia issued ‘Passaporto Technico’ in 2001 which provides an interesting record of not only Entrants and Divers (by far the most frequent of which is listed as Francesco Ceccarelli) but also the circuits the Alfa raced at over the next five years, from Vallelunga to Misano and Magione. A sticker in the rear side window indicates the TI also ran at 54th Coppa Intereuropa at the legendary Monza circuit in 2004 and this is verified by a photograph of the Giulietta being enthusiastically three (or even two) wheeled through a left hander there – please see the photo gallery.
Unraced since 2006, the Giulietta was bought to England by a leading light in Historic Racing circles just last year with a view to restarting its racing career. The car was put through a comprehensive program of refurbishment both mechanically and cosmetically and it now looks very smart indeed in freshly applied white and bright red livery. The ‘oily bits’ were re-prepared and this included, amongst many other things, having the engine rebuilt along with the gearbox. Once rebuilt, the engine was topped with a pair of Weber 40 DCOE carburettors for the full ‘Veloce-spec’ beans.
A raft of bills detailing the work carried out can be found in the car’s file and they cover everything from refurbishment of the radiator, new TR-S race seat and safety harness, prop-shaft bearings and couplings, aluminium fuel tank, Lifeline fire extinguisher, new screen rubbers and of course the engine work. These bills read like a ‘Who’s Who’ of Alfa Romeo and race parts suppliers; Classic Alfa, Alfa Stop, Alfaholics and Demon Tweeks to name a few.
The car’s history file contains the aforementioned FIA Papers and Technical Passport but also copies of the original registration document and relevant Homologation papers. A spare, stripped gearbox also accompanies the car.
Physically the Alfa is in fine ‘race car’ condition, mechanically in rude health and itching to return to the track subject to the relevant approvals. Despite its state of tune the 1300 cc engine fires readily, gains and loses revs with alacrity while sucking greedily through the open intakes of the Webers and barking its exhausted gasses out through a side exit pipe. In action it belays its delicate, almost effeminate looks. Admittedly the bodywork and paint finish might not score 99.9 on the lawns of Pebble Beach but this little Giulietta’s natural habitat is skimming around the outside of a MK IX Jag at Lavant – and by that we mean the never ending right hander at Goodwood, not the Sussex village. More than fit for purpose, cosmetically she looks nice and tidy yet you won’t mind acquiring the odd stone chip, perhaps from that MK IX you just scared into the gravel trap.
The body-shell itself appears to be really solid with minimal evidence of any previous repair work and the TI sports a full complement of safety equipment to FIA standards. The new AH Fabrications fuel tank sits centrally in the boot and is emptied via a race specification fuel pump. Aeroquip lines feed brake fluid to the large, beautifully finned brake drums which ensure the brisk progress of this spirited saloon is reigned in at the appropriate moment and that the driver is confident that this will indeed be the case.
Unexpectedly available due to the owner’s change of plans (he had intended to stay young forever!), this historic racer is ready for inspection by the relevant authorities and ultimately a return to the circuits for some of the best and most prestigious meetings throughout Europe and beyond.
Registration number: Not UK Registered
Chassis Number: AR1468-25655