Full competition Specification (Tipo 750E "Alleggerita) "GT" Race Car
The rarest and mostly highly coveted of Alfa Romeos Sprint Veloce's are the original limited run of Tipo 750E "Alleggerita" lightweight racers built from early 1956 until the Spring of 1958.
This particular vehicle is one of the impossibly rare, original examples built in that short time frame. More importantly, this is an ultra-early example, just the 18th ever built and it was both entered and finished the Mille Miglia in 1956!
These lightweight, racing variants used all alloy panels for the doors, bonnet, and rear deck lids, as well as lightweight sliding side windows, hollowed out door skins and the removal of most steel and chrome trim to make the most of the available power. The Sprint Veloce "Alleggerita" was intended for pure performance over luxury, as it also lacked sound deadening and its rear seat was complete removed in favour of a flat parcel shelf that was more suited for extra tires and spare parts than luggage or even the thought of a rear seat occupant!
The idea for such a vehicle was both practical, sound as well as highly successful. Just a few years later, Ferrari copied the same idea with their SWB series of Berlinettas. Originally available in all steel construction for regular road use as well as in alloy for those primarily interested in racing, an even rarer and lighter version was made available in 1961 proving that Alfa's concept was not a fluke.
When an order was placed by a client or a racing team for an "Alleggerita" version, a freshly stamped Bertone Sprint Veloce tub was set aside and moved to a separate sub assembly line. The special "Alleggerita" versions all used body numbers stamped into the front scuttle area that started with a "77" followed by a three digit consecutive number designating the build sequence of the vehicle. (In the case of our particular lightweight, the Bertone Body or "Job" number is "77018"" The stamped in chassis number was likewise unique to the special lightweight models and achieved by a slight modification to the chassis number by adding an extra hand stamped "E" between the type designation and the individual vehicle identification number. In the case of our particular Alleggerita the Alfa Romeo Chassis Number, "AR1493 *06148*" then became "AR1493E *06148* These small designation changes were just a start of the overall transformation from splendid and sport road-car into a flat-out racing special!
Mechanical modifications to these potent, lightweight racers included the use of magnesium for the oil pan and intake manifold, as well as a special 8,000RPM tachometer to denote their 7,000RPM redline and a 220kph speedometer. Engines were carefully hand assembled with close tolerances, lightened pistons, special cams and ignition timing. A larger 21-gallon fuel tank for long-distance racing was also fitted, which necessitated some modifications to the car’s handbrake cable mechanism and rear inner panel coachwork. Each of these hand-assembled "Alleggerita" models was slightly different from the next and as such unique in many ways. The Tipo 750E "Alleggerita" models were notably more responsive and sharp to drive than the standard Giulietta Sprint Veloce, or Normale, and it immediately proved itself to be a serious contender wherever entered and campaigned. Because of the transitional time-frame in just a few years, these ultra-rare Alfa racers, despite initially being dominant in their class were soon rendered obsolete by new machines. Many were subsequently updated with larger engines, disc-brakes, wider wheels and continued to be pushed into racing and races they were never intended to compete in and long after they should have been retired. Because they were both fun and completely at home on public roads, many were used as regular transportation with time and the elements causing attrition in unprecedented numbers. While most experts believe that some 600 were originally completed, less than 100 are accounted for today and few of those are complete and as assembled and delivered when new.
Chassis No. AR1493 *06148*
This particular "Alleggerita" was the only the 18th of 252 similar vehicles completed in production/model year 1956. It was special ordered and completed new as a race car for Sig. Francesco Serenelli of Santa Maria di Zevio, Verona, Italy. Along with his father and brother, this Verona family scored several notable finishes in various races in the 1950s. In early 1956, Sig. Serenelli ordered up a this “Alleggerita” via Alfa Romeo Client Services for participation in that year’s Mille Miglia. A recent verification with the Alfa Romeo Factory Archivist and the Archivist at the Museo Mille Miglia confirms his ownership and additional important details, notably that the vehicle was competed on April 24th, 1956 only four days prior to the start of that year’s Mille Miglia. Sig. Serenlli was from Verona but the Alfa was delivered directly to him in Brescia already prepared, most likely by Conrero for the race with the bumpers removed as shown in the period photos. After the Mille Miglia, the family had them refitted and the car remained that way the rest of its life as the 1956 Mille Miglia is the car’s only known race. This is also very likely why this vehicle survived when almost none of the others built did.
Sig. Serenelli’s entered and raced this Alfa Romeo in the 1956 Mille Miglia wearing race number 138. His official entry was handled via his local driving club, the Scuderia Cangrande which was based in the Hotel Cangrande on nearby Largo di Garda. In that year's Mille Miglia Serenelli finished 68th Overall and 19th in Class out of 426 entrants which was pretty incredible considering he had no mechanics, co-driver or navigator.
Today there are many Alfa Romeo Sprints that claim to be Veloce versions and many that also claim to be original “Alleggerita” versions. The differences between an original and a replica or clone are not so easy to spot unless pointed out. An important starting point is the Bertone “Body” or “Job” number stamped in the front scuttle area under the bonnet. All original Tipo 750E “Alleggerita” Alfas will have a job number that starts with “77” followed by a three digit sequential number indicating the build sequence of the vehicle. In the case of our particular Alfa, the Bertone Body/Job Number is “77018” indicating that this was just the 18th example completed. Not so coincidentally Alfa Romeo’s original Factory Records for this vehicle confirm that the original engine number assigned and currently still fitted was AR1315 *30018* which was of course the 18th sequential Tipo “AR1315” engine built for these ultra-rare racers.
Noted Sprint Veloce Lightweight Registrer keeper and Alfa Romeo Historian, Greig Smith wrote earlier this year that by chassis number he has records on only 11 surviving real "Alleggerita" lightweights from the 1956 production run. That means less than 5% of the 252 built that year are know to still survive!
This particular Sprint Veloce “Alleggerita” is one of the few known and documented matching number, original panel examples that still exists. It is also extremely important to note that this is an actual in period fully documented Mille Miglia participant as well as race finisher. Anyone wishing a highly coveted and sought after entry for next year’s Mille Miglia should give this vehicle particularly close consideration as such.