Alfa Romeo Giulietta SPRINT SPECIALE

Text Jörg Walz
Photos Alessandro Marrone
A true poem of the fast automobile ...


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… this is how Alfa Romeo describes the Giulietta Sprint Speciale in a press kit published in 1958. The Giulietta is a child of the economic miracle, born into the years of the upswing. The Dolce Vita makes you forget the dark years. For a growing middle class, the dream of a car becomes reality. For Franco Scaglione, too: Scaglione was actually inspired by airplanes, and began studying aerospace engineering before the war. After the war he went to Turin, where his path crossed that of “Nuccio” Bertone. At that time, Bertone took over the company founded by his father and – with Scaglione at his side – transformed it from a wheelwright’s business into a pioneering styling office, series developer and vehicle manufacturer. At Bertone, Scaglione transferred his passion for aerodynamics to the car. And he did so with a bang: BAT 5 was the name of the show car presented in Turin in 1953, which is still unrivalled today. BAT – even if it could easily be so – does not stand for bat, but as an abbreviation for Berlinetta Aerodinamica Technica. For Bertone it was the door opener: Alfa subsequently awarded the Carrozzeria the contract to produce the Giulietta Sprint. Bertone designs the bodywork and produces the vehicles, which then receive their powertrain with the legendary 1.3-litre Bialbero four-cylinder at the Alfa plant.

Während den Autos in Amerika Flügel wachsen und Leuchten Formen annehmen, die an glühende Strahltriebwerke While the cars in America grow wings and lights take on shapes reminiscent of glowing jet engines, Scaglione focuses on aerodynamic efficiency. The body is optimized during extensive test drives between Milan and Turin. The motorway as a wind tunnel. In the end, an expansive body ducks down on the short Spider wheelbase – some 25 centimetres longer than that of the Sprint and Saloon, noticeably wider and considerably flatter. With a remarkable cW-value and a sensational top speed for the engine power. The car had its trade fair premiere in 1957, and it was another two years before the first series appeared, with its nose sniffing flatly above the road, and another few months before the final production version was available for sale. By that time, Zagato has made the running for the race car. The elegant SS becomes an exclusive motorway glider suitable for everyday use. From 1963, the Giulietta becomes the Giulia SS, now with 1.6 litre engine capacity. A total of almost 3,000 of these breathtakingly beautiful coupés were built by 1965. To this day, the streamlined coupé is one of the most interesting phenomena in the 110-year history of the Alfa Romeo brand, which stretches from the origins of industrialisation to the present day.

The story finds its continuation in RETROWELT #18.



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