Giuliettaletta Issue 66 Spring 2000 pages 14 &15
click here to go to


You've made your choice, you answered the advert, and now here you are being led through the back door to a shapeless pile at the end of the garden. You're not really listening (in the gathering gloom) to what the guy is saying as the dead leaves are brushed aside. "I meant to do it up years ago-I took some of the trim off-its in a box in the loft I think-there's a couple of god tires..." The old bricks are removed and the cloudy polyethylene is rolled back.

What are your first thoughts as you look at Bertone's matchless curves and contemplate the endless work ahead?

What are you thinking of as you survey the perished tires, the green chrome, the mildewed seats, the hole in the footwell, the remains of the heater air intake pipe? What is really in your mind is you realize that the handbrake has been left on for ten years. What your thinking of is the color RED-shiny faultless red. You're thinking of brilliant RED and the summer and empty French D roads rolling endlessly between lines of poplars toward the distant blue hills. You're thinking of dusty RED as you scrape around the tenth hairpin on a remote gravelly Italian pass. You're thinking of polished RED wet with rain as you drive home fast up the A1 on a November afternoon. But as you pay the deposit and finger the old green log book and the last grimy MOT certificate-which RED?

Why ALFA RED of course! No question. As you drive away, promising to come back with a trailer the next Saturday, perhaps you think of other colors. The car under the polyethylene had once been red all right (though it was hard to see in the dark) Does it have to stay red? How about white? Chrome looks good with white. Or blue?

But which blue? Which white? Alfa whites and blues of course, No, after all best to stick with RED-all Alfa's look good in RED.

One of the very first things people think about on starting a big restoration job (after freeing the handbrake) is the final color of their finished car. Psychologically is probably important to fix on a vision of the finished vehicle.

It forms an end point to aim for. But if they do decide on RED-Alfa Red-and go into a paint shop to ask for Alfa Red they are likely to be disappointed. Modern Alfa Red (AR501 as it is now known) is significantly different to the Alfa Red the Giulietta of the late '50s and early '60s.

Popular colors for the 750 and 101 series are covered below by color.


The classic Alfa Red of the late fifties and early sixties originated in Bertone's body shops as applied to early Giulietta sprint bodies. It was a darker color than Italian Racing Red (or Ferrari Red), but significantly lighter than the crimson red applied to modern Alfa's. Yet by 1961 when Alfa changed their paint numbers from KF numbers to AR numbers, paint catalogues list no fewer than four Alfa Reds all with different KF numbers, but amalgamated under a single new number AR303. This later changed to AR212 (in 1965) then to AR501, which is the Alfa paint number of Alfa Red today. The four Alfa reds of 1961 are:

Alfa Red (yellow shade) KF22345 Alfa Red (clean shade) KF12924 Alfa Red (blue shade) KF16515 Alfa Red (original shade) KF16816

The paint mixers catalogues of this era show slightly different basic tint colors to produce each of the different reds listed. So there is no doubt each was slightly different. Alfa Red (clean shade) is the clear, slightly dark red that is associated with Bertone bodied sprints of the era. Pininfarina also had his own red. Rosso Pininfarina KF18550 (AR304V, then AR211, now AR514) which is lighter than Bertone's red. It tended to weather to the wonderful orange red color-not surprising as orange forms about a third of the total part tint mix. Zagato also had his own red which was never listed as an Alfa KF number for SZ's ,but appears to have been very close to KF22345-Alfa Red (yellow shade)


White was the second most popular color after red for Alfa's of the period. Once again both Bertone and Farina had their own whites for Sprints/SS's and Spiders respectively. "Bertone White" was indistinguishable from Gardenia white-KF16878 (AR107) and has a little blue and black in the tint mix. Farina white (KF1865, AR106,AR201) appears slightly yellow along side Bertone white, and has nothing other than basic titanium white shown as the tint in the paint description. Farina painted 105/115 series spiders the same white-one of the few Alfa colors stretching back unchanged for thirty years. Ivory or Indian Ivory (KF16628, AR104, AR201) was also a popular yellow ivory color that looks wonderful with chrome.


After red and white, blues were the next most popular color for Alfa sporting cars. Judging from the paint catalogs, the blues seems to have changed tint and shade more rapidly during the period than any other color. None of the blue shades popular in the late 80's are represented on Alfa cars today. Tastes change! Popular blues of the period were:

Acqua di fonte (spring water) KF13749 (no AR#) Azzuro spazio (space blue) KF18927 (AR504) Bluette KF20323 (AR208, AR506) Blu Hevetica (swiss blue) KF14005 (AR207) Celeste (light blue) (AR 206, AR513) Dark Blue KF18655 (no AR#)

Both Acqua di Fonte and Azzuro Spazio are curious light duck egg colors, the sort of color you would expect to see on the under side of a WW2 fighter aircraft. Space Blue has more green than Spring Water. Farina offers modern Spiders in a very attractive metallic version of Acqua. Celeste is a simple very light blue, almost white, and was another popular color on spiders. But the most popular blue of all, for all models was Bluette, which appeared with three different KF numbers in its lifetime (KF20323, KF17908, KF22343). It was also known as Petrol Blue and was a uncertain, but attractive dark blue shade. The tint mix for the color shows medium blue with traces of white, gray and black. For a good example of Bluette see the picture of the Giulia Sprint on page 55 of the Alfa "Great Marques" book. In its original form, KF20323. Bluette also had the later numbers AR208, AR506. Swiss Blue of the sixties later reappears as French Blue and was a bright mid blue.

The sprint in the Coupe de Alpes film is painted Swiss blue (albeit a little dusty). Dark blue (KF18655) was popular for saloons. It's closest modern equivalent is Dutch Blue (AR210) which is common on more modern Berlinas and Giulia Supers.

After covering the main popular color groups of Red, White and Blue, there remain other colors which were applied to 750/101 cars that are not so easily grouped together.

These are: Graphite Grey KF15485 (AR705) Light Green KF18927 (no AR#) Black All Silver KF unknown (AR713)

Silver was the only metallic color ever applied to 750 or 101 cars and looks distinctly dull by comparison in today's sparkling metallic colors (although a 101 sprint adorned in Flame Red metallic today would look highly anachronistic).

Graphite Grey is an astonishing wartime style color to paint any car regardless of period-a dark battleship gray, which would serve to make any car almost invisible if you were driving along a coast road at dusk.

Green in any shade has never seemed the right color for an Alfa and its significant that the Alfa catalogs of the early sixties listed only one green. Light Green (KF18927) a rather sickly color similar to the popular Morris Minor saloons in the U.K. It was moderately popular on Giulietta saloons, but rarely appeared on Sprints or spiders although theoretically available on both. Alfa never had an equivalent to British Racing Green until the early seventies (called Verde Pino) -it looks very good on Giulia 105 saloons.

Silver was popular on sprints, but had the strange property of disguising or altering the lines of the car. It was the only metallic shade offered by Alfa for Giuliettas, and there is some evidence that it was offered only on 101 series cars, post 1961. Once again the color of the period it was an old looking aluminum silver, quite different from today's silvers called names Slate, Platinum, or Silver White. It was the sort of sliver you get in small pots for painting the wheel hubs of Airfix plastic model Spitfires.

Black, like silver had the effect of changing the shape of the car. It doesn't seem to have been at all popular on the sporting cars, although regularly used on saloons. However, if your chrome is in good condition, then there is nothing like black to show it off.


Leaving aside the intricacies of paint spraying for a later article, its worth saying how relatively easy it is to buy exact period shades of color for any post war car. All the major paint manufacturers carry comprehensive lists of car models, year, paint code and description going back to at least the early SO's and often beyond. You may find that your local car paint car factory may only have lists going back 10 or fifteen years and will look blank if you ask for KF 17908 Petrol Blue for your 1961 SS., But invariably the main offices of the paint companies hold master reference lists and are able and willing to tint porportion information to you to recreate exactly the color you want. Companies like Belco and Glasurit (Alfa's own paint suppliers) have all proven helpful. , But be careful-if you are touching up rather than completely repainting-the "correct" color maybe be too bright to match the rest of your paintwork. This is particularly true of the Reds where some Alfa owners grow very attached to the old faded "used" patina of their cars and have a difficult matching job for any touching up operation. Now how shall I free up the hand brake to get the thing on the trailer?