With the introduction of the Giulietta in 1954, Alfa Romeo established the ‘small car, big performance’ formula which would characterise the Milanese marque’s finest offerings from then on. Alfa’s classic twin-cam four was downsized to 1,290cc for the Giulietta, gaining an alloy cylinder block in the process. The original Sprint Coupé was soon joined by Berlina (saloon) and Spider (open) versions, and then in 1957 came the model now recognised as the ultimate Giulietta - the Sprint Speciale – which was the first of the new 101-Series cars. Built on a slightly shorter wheelbase than the standard Sprint, and again the work of Bertone, the mouth-wateringly curvaceous ‘SS’ came with 100bhp on tap, a five-speed gearbox and a top speed of 125mph. Compact, aerodynamically efficient and very powerful for its size, the SS proved highly successful in 1,300cc class racing the world over. A mere 1,366 had been produced by the time the model was superseded in 1963 by the 1,600cc Giulia version, which was the only car in the new range to retain an existing Giulietta body style. Outwardly distinguishable from the outgoing Giulietta Sprint Speciale only by identifying tail script, different sidelights and a revised dashboard, the Giulia boasted front disc brakes and the more powerful (129bhp) Veloce-specification engine. 1,399 of the Bertone-bodied Giulia Sprint Speciales were built between 1963 and 1965, making the total for both types 2,765, and today both these rare models are highly prized by Alfa Romeo connoisseurs.
We are advised that this gorgeous Giulietta Sprint Speciale benefits from the installation of a Giulia SS-correct 1,600cc Veloce engine, which replaced the original 1,300cc unit in the mid-1970s. The car has been treated to a complete bare-metal refurbishment, while other work carried out has included an engine rebuild and overhaul of the suspension and entire braking system (2005). Its participation in numerous long-distance events, including the Copperstate 1,000, New England Tour (on three occasions) and Highland Classic 1,000 is eloquent testimony to this car’s reliability and, no doubt, the immense pleasure to be gained behind the wheel of what is a driver’s car par excellence.