Irresistible Bliss

Italy calls. Giorgetto answers.

Image: Museo Alfa Romeo

During the Spring of 1960, Giorgetto Giugiaro was faced with something of a dilemma. Having accepted an offer to replace the recently departed Franco Scaglione as lead designer at Stile Bertone, the 22 year old artist and designer[1], formerly part of FIAT’s centro stile team was just settling into his new position when he received notification of his compulsory national service. Giugiaro had recently completed the designs for the Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint and Gordon Keeble GT, Bertone’s studios were abuzz with activity and with a new commission for a compact Alfa Romeo GT, the young designer wanted to get on with work, not play soldiers.

Of course this troubling state of affairs also presented Nuccio Bertone with something of a headache. Obtaining Giugiaro’s services had proven something of a coup, but since military regulations seemingly forbade conscripts to travel for the first three months of their term, his neophyte designer would be unable to return to Turin from where he was to be billeted. How could the workload be addressed? Nuccio however was a resourceful fellow, allegedly pulling the necessary strings to have Giugiaro instead stationed at Bra[2], South of Turin, where a small room was rented for him in a modest hotel.

Here, over a period of two months the young designer worked on the design each evening. Once to his satisfaction, Giugiaro also completed a scale model for Alfa Romeo management to aid with their deliberations. Unfortunately, this became damaged en-route to Milan, requiring considerable remedial work. But despite these setbacks, such was the warm reception for his proposal at Portello that it was sanctioned virtually unchanged.

Image: geraldo.at

The Giulia berlina of 1962 was – technically and strategically speaking – a logical evolution of the previous Giulietta[3]. This latter model had to a certain extent been defined by its more sporting derivative[4], in export markets at least. But like its saloon equivalent, it was a design rooted in the early 1950s and while its Franco Scaglione penned lines were supremely elegant, a more up to date shape was required as a new decade dawned.

On this basis, carrozzeria Bertone was the obvious choice for stylistic duties. Giugiaro’s proposal was clearly something of an amalgam, employing elements[5] from the outgoing Giulietta, the Gordon Keeble GT and the 2600 Sprint, but the manner in which the young designer combined these now familiar elements, while introducing a more contemporary line was masterful.

While the Giulia berlina’s rather severe style, created within Giuseppe Scarnati’s centro stile Alfa Romeo was almost entirely linear in form, with its tall, upright canopy and high tail, Bertone’s Giulia Sprint was more classical in silhouette. Gone however were the soft forms of both Giulietta and 2600 Sprints, replaced by a more angular dihedral body crease which sharply defined the bodysides, pulling the eye outwards and clearly demarcating the upper and lower extremities of the vehicle.

Image: Museo Alfa Romeo

The tightly drawn canopy was light and airy, with slim pillars and a generous glass area; both front and rear screens being steeply raked and heavily curved. In marked contrast to the saloon, the Sprint’s rear dipped elegantly towards an elegantly cut-off tail. Like its forebear, detail ornamentation was minimised, with a few well-chosen highlights used to provide emphasis and articulation.

Image: catawiki

The nose was dominated by large, inset single headlamps, with the downward thrusting Alfa Romeo Scudetto jutting ahead of the grille. An unusual characteristic was the distinctive scalino, or ‘stepped front’ ahead of the bonnet’s leading edge. But what could in other hands have appeared awkward was instead wonderfully expressive, although it would appear that Giugiaro himself was not wholly satisfied with the result[6].

Delicacy was the operative word; the forms, the proportions, the detailing, all were superbly judged; a fine melding of marque tradition and stylistic verve. As a shape, it was one which would prove quite lasting, not just in the marketplace, but with both Pininfarina and Jaguar’s Sir William Lyons imbibing heavily from elements of its style towards the latter part of the decade[7].

Production took place alongside the Giulia berlina at the newly built Arese facility, and not at Bertone’s Grugliasco plant[8]. The Sprint GT debuted in September 1963 at the Frankfurt motor show, where it was very well received.

Introduced with the 1570 cc version of the Alfa Nord twin cam four, a pretty four place drophead version was added to the range the following year, courtesy of carrozzeria Touring[9]. Produced for only two years, the elegant Giulia GTC was superseded (if not directly replaced) by the two-seat Duetto Spider model in 1966, from the house of Pininfarina. That year, a smaller capacity 1290 cc version was introduced[10].

1750 GTV. Image: favcars

Significant change took place in 1967 with the advent of the 1750 GT Veloce, which shared its newly enlarged 1779 cc engine with the more upmarket 1750 berlina introduced the same year[11]. Visually, the 1750 GTV received a new, smoother nose treatment, with quad headlamps (the outers moved to the extremities) and the indicators re-sited above the bumper, now fitted with over-riders. A simplified grille completed the changes. Inside, the dashboard was revised, the instrumentation re-sited and the cabin ambience elsewhere enhanced.

In 1970, it was the turn of the Junior model to go under the knife – now brought into line with the larger engined model, apart from single headlamps. Two years later a 1600 cc Junior model was added to balance out the range. 1971 marked the final significant change, when the 1779 cc engine gave way to the larger 1962 cc unit, as fitted to the 2000 berlina, also introduced that year. Cosmetic changes included another new grille design and larger tail lamp units, along with revised badging.

Image: veikl

In 1974, Alfa Romeo debuted the Alfetta GT. Once again, Arese turned to Giugiaro for design duties but on this occasion the results would prove somewhat mixed, the Alfetta GT (or GTV in 1976) never quite gaining the level of critical acclaim or marque devotion the 105 Series was to inspire both during its lifespan and in its afterlife. Italian production of the 105 Series GTV was phased out in 1976[12].

While the passage of time would ensure that the 105 Sprint Series achieved collectible status, inadequate rust protection[13] and the inevitable effects of entropy would see a large proportion of surviving examples being fed to the swine. But as numbers dwindled and the Sprint GT’s somewhat vintage road behaviour, characterful engines and timeless appearance would ensure its elevation to classic car royalty, not only did full restorations become economically viable, but values would move accordingly.

It requires a certain element of alchemy to create an all time, nailed on classic. The right genes, and an element of benevolent fortune is a good start. Longevity helps too, not to mention a timeless style. One of the most emotive names in the business never hurts either. Let us also not forget a sense of proportion. The Giulia Sprint in each of its forms embodied these traits, but one factor stood out against all others, the simple perfection of its lines. There can be little doubt that Giugiaro carried out his national service – in both senses of the term – with distinction.

 

[1] Giugiaro came from a family of artists, which may help explain why his drawings were always so well rendered.

[2] The city of Bra is renowned for its baroque heritage and famed for its gastronomy, in particular, salsiccia di Bra, a renowned veal and pork belly sausage which received the Royal Concession of the House of Savoy signed by King Carlo Alberto in 1847.

[3] Stylistically and aerodynamically however, it was a very different animal.

[4] The Bertone bodied (and built) Giulietta Sprint was originally conceived as a stopgap until the saloon was ready, but became the model line’s best known offering and was instrumental in Bertone moving from simply being a design studio to becoming a contract manufacturer in its own right. In 1962, this model was rechristened Giulia to bring the naming into line with the new saloon. Production of the older Sprint model continued at Grugliasco until 1965.

[5] In particular in the shaping of the canopy.

[6] Giugiaro later suggested, “It was a first attempt to implement the concept of inwardly placed headlights, but the solution was not ideal.”

[7] Namely, the 1966 Ferrari 330 GTC and the 1968 Jaguar XJ6.

[8] Much to Nuccio Bertone’s chagrin, no doubt.

[9] The GTC was to prove to be the final car design by Touring of Milan before the carrozzeria went out of business. Only 1003 Giulia GTCs were built.

[10] Like its saloon sibling, the 1300 Junior would prove to be the best selling 105 series Sprint model, by a considerable margin. 

[11] The 1750 berlina was allegedly designed by Giugiaro, prior to his departure from Stile Bertone.

[12] Over 224,000 were built in total. A small number of cars were assembled in South Africa until 1977.

[13] Such was the Giulia Sprint’s propensity to rust, that essentially anywhere below the window line was at risk. 

Because the Giulia berlina had proved a disappointment in international track competition, the lighter and nimbler Giulia Sprint would form the basis for Autodelta’s motorsport forays, precipitating the (limited) production of lightweight and highly tuned GTA versions. In addition, Zagato produced low-volume 105-Series Junior Z in 1300 and 1600 cc versions. Additionally, the 1968 Alfa Romeo Montreal employed a 105-Series platform. These vehicles however, fall outside the scope of this article. 

 

Sources: bertoneregister.nl/ CNN/ alfa105.org/ Museo Alfa Romeo.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

42 thoughts on “Irresistible Bliss”

  1. There are two distinct series of the 1750 GT veloce.
    The first had its pilot lights and indicators in separate housings sitting in top of the bumpers and the second had light unit sitting flush in the bodywork. The second series also had new more comfortable seats. The 1750 also participated in the move from floor mounted pedals to hanging ones.
    The 1750 engine had been relatively fragile in the hands of autobahn stormers keeping it at its upper rev limit for prolonged time.
    The 2000 was more robust but less willing to rev. It also had a new front suspension geometry for less vintage road manners but it still had what T&CC once described as ‘not too much roadholding but plenty of handling’. The 2000 also had a silly instrument cluster and a front grille without a prominent scudetto which at least to my eyes was an early sign of Alfa losing the plot by losing their confidence.
    1750 series 1

    1750 series 2

    2000 grille

    In the early Seventies I got a phone call that somebody wanted to sell a special ‘works prepared’ 1759 GT veloce for a very attractive price. The car was painted a bright yellow that was not officially available but applied at the factory. Of course I bought it only to find that it had been a press fleet car subjected to at least half a dozen tests in which it had been mercilessly thrashed with unpleasant consequences for the engine. This at least gave me the opportunity to practice an Alfa Nord engine overhaul…

    1. Dave,

      the 2000’s abstract scudetto is credited to one Ermanno Cressoni, so your interpretation of it as a sign of things to come is quite correct. (Personally, I think it’s a very clever piece of styling, but I can also relate to anyone preferring to older variants’ purity.)

  2. Good morning Eóin and thank you for telling the story of one of my very favourite cars. The only thing with which I might take issue is the use of the word ‘delicacy’ to describe Giugiaro’s design. It is beautifully drawn and the details are exquisite, but I see a pleasing chunkiness to the design, certainly below the waistline. If you wanted delicacy, the Lancia Fulvia coupé was an equally lovely alternative. Imagine the blissful torture of having to choose between them.

    1. But think of the 2600 Sprint? It has none of the delicacy of its smaller brother? Which is actually very surprising and counter intuitive, since its always easier to make graceful lines the more you have to work with? Why is it that the Giulia Sprint not only works but works “just so” when the 2600 Sprint are having none of it?

    2. Surely a very difficult dilemma Daniel!
      Does somebody have an idea about the social differences between a Lancia Fulvia 1600 and an Alfa Romeo 1750 buyer?
      I mean, who would buy which and why? There must have been a point of difference.
      Torino VS Milano?

    3. Hi Ingvar. I think you’re being a little harsh on the 2600 Sprint. While it lacks the tautness of its smaller sibling (“Creases” as gooddog correctly observes) it is still an elegant design, albeit in an earlier, softer style:

      I wouldn’t kick it out of my fantasy garage.

    4. A Fulvia 1600 would be difficult as it was a car that was never meant to exist. Cesare Fiorio and his reparto corse pushed it through as a homologation special against the resistance of the engineers.
      Then it would be a Fulvia 1300 against an Alfa 1750 which would make the differences a bit clearer.

      An anecdotal proof without statistic relevance for the socio economic background or not:
      The only Fulvia owner I knew in person had a 1600 HF at the time I owned a 1750 GTv. He came from a wealthy family with a love for Italian cars and I was interested in all things mechanical and doing my own maintenance.
      He was a student of business and administration and I was one of mechanical engineering.

    5. Equally anecdotal (and not meant to antagonise): one of the few people I have known who owned a classic car, owned a Fulvia HF Coupé (which would make it the 1600?). He was a truck driver. Not entirely conforming to the clichés about truck drivers, but not (as far as I knew) from a wealthy family.

      I find the 2600 Sprint very beautiful, it looks a like a step on the evolution from the Giulietta Sprint to the Giulia Sprint, but gorgeous in its own right.

    6. There also was a 1.3 HF and if I remember correctly also a 1.2 HF.

  3. Thanks, Eóin: this the first car that really caught my imagination. I still think of it as an almost perfect design, although it gets shared first place with the Junior Zagato:

    Which then wins out for my fantasy garage for its rarity and slightly more modern design. It sits there next to a bog standard third generation Honda Civic and a Mazda RX-7.

    The value of the Sprint GT’s design comes down to balance, I think (like all really great designs). You can argue about details, but not about the whole. All the more interesting then that the facelifts are clearly from before Fiat had anything to do with Alfa, since they don’t unbalance the design or make it worse and thus fly in the face of the Fiat Charter. Which is more than can be said for the jump from Alfa Giulia Berlina to 1750/2000.

    I’m also perennially amused by the fact that one of the most emotive names in automotive history is basically a pun: (Alfa) Romeo (e) Giulia – Romeo and Juliet.

    1. The Junior Z is one of my all time favourites, too.
      It still looks fresh and modern and its Oscar Niemeyer-style interior is far better than anything made today.

      They made just 1,100 of them with the 1,300cc engine (pictured here) and 600 with the 1,600cc.
      Their quality was so incredibly bad that Alfa stopped the project because they got so many complaints from customers.
      The Z was the only 105 series Alfa with curved side glass and of course Zagato used the standard window winder mechanism that was designed for flat glas. Result were crunching noises, interesting lateral gymnastics of the glass panel and broken window winders. You also get cars with one door made in aluminium and the other in steel.

    2. Honda Civic Mk3: a flawless design classic. Is there even one left not molested by the modding crowd? Few remain and they cost quite a lot – there are no banger bargain Civic 3s.

    3. An old lady drove a pristine one around my neighbourhood. I haven’t seen it in a while though. I think the Civic 4, 5 and 6 are more readily sacrificed to the Plastic Monster (or the aftermarket Fiat Charter) than the 3. I come across one of those occasionally. Rust seems a big problem with these cars, which I don’t think were considered that special when new.

      I did find this pristine CRX. It’s not cheap, as you mention, Richard.

      https://www.autowereld.nl/honda/civic-crx/1-5i-in-nieuw-staat-top-en-origineel-35214000/details.html?_ga=2.16187902.914899725.1673884333-1574693697.1673884333

      The number plate is new, so it’s an import.

    4. Wasn’t there some Pininfarina contribution in the design of this generation of Civics?

  4. What impresses most is the “maturity” of the design. Even though he was very young penning this, it is not a new beginners work, this is the design of an extremely talented and yet hungry young man, wanting to present for the world something that would encapsulate everything that he had learned up to that point. But doing it as a coherent whole, it is not just an amalgamation of separate details. Every single detail is slightly tweaked to work with all the rest as a unified coherent whole. And that tells of maturity and restraint, not wanting the details to upstage the whole. It’s like working in an ensamble for the theater or film, where none of the parts outshine any other, in contrast to having someone like Al Pacino in the group, and having to restrain him from taking over the entire thing. Another thing that strikes you when you see one in the flesh is how incredibly tiny the car really is. And having to work with such constrictions without having any detail out of proportion is incredibly difficult. If just one tiny detail had been out of whack the whole would’ve fallen like a deck of cards. It really is s tour de force, showing the strength of young Giugiarios talent for decades to come.

  5. I like the design, but one thing that bothers me is how the front end is a bit more “tight” and angular than the rear end, a little bit like they are from different eras. To some extent I see a similar thing in the mk1 Golf, another Giugiaro classic.

    Also, is that stepped front (which I never noticed before this article) purely a stylistic choice, or does it have a certain function?

    1. I wonder if the stepped front had a nickname in different languages. In the Netherlands it was called ‘brievenbus’, which translates to ‘letter box’.

    2. Germans call it ‘Kantenhauber’ which would translate to ‘edgy bonnet’.

  6. One of my favorites. The same can be said of the Giulietta Sprint, which is, of course, one of my favorite cars too. I used to see one every day as a silver Giulia Sprint was parked in my area, which was replaced with a green example. It’s indeed a very small compared to contemporary cars. I seem recall the Giulia Sprint has a good driving position, which is not always the case in an Italian car.

  7. What strikes me about the design is the manner in which Giugiaro, having previously completed the Alfa 2600 and Gordon Keeble arrived at a ‘conclusion’ with the Giulia Sprint – there really being nothing more to say. It was, and remains definitive.

    What has been instructive (for me) while compiling this piece and staring at photos of the various iterations at length (recommended) is that while I originally considered the first iteration a little gawky, I now find it to be the most charming, whereas the 2000 GTV, which I once admired, I now find somewhat banal. The 1750 GTV, however I would consider the sweet-spot, both aesthetically and dynamically. But none would be rejected, I would emphasise.

    Alfa Romeo’s reimaginings, while not quite in the FIAT charter league (although it was a close-run thing at times) managed to leave the Giulia Sprint largely unscathed. A credit to either (a) the strength of the inherent design (possible) or (b) the fact that centro stile simply couldn’t bring themselves to mess with something so carefully wrought – (equally possible).

    1. Cars with front lights pushed relatively far inboards seems to have been a Giugiaro pastime.
      The original Golf Mk1 was similar and the decision to move the lights to the extreme edge of the front was made late in development

      For me the 1750 also works best. I never liked the 2000’s front without a prominent scudetto, the large rear lights don’t really fit the rest of the car and the instrument cluster is plain daft compared to the older solution.
      2000 GTV
      https://i0.wp.com/thegarage.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/IMG_9502.jpg?fit=2300%2C1533&ssl=1
      old solution
      https://www.gallery-aaldering.com/wp-content/uploads/gallery/29876366/29876366-16.jpg?v=3

      The 1750 has the best engine. It’s powerful and willing to rev at the same time. But early 1750 engines were fragile, something only cured for the Alfetta which had an engine of the same size but much more robust.

      Regarding their reimaginations, maybe you forgot reason (c) they simply didn’t have the money to tinker around with it for which we all can be thankful.

  8. Thank you Eoin for a great article, as always.

    The 1967 redesign -some call it a minor facelift- for the introduction of the 1750 was penned by Marcello Gandini, as he confessed to the interview he gave to Davide Cironi a while back. Another crucial change was the height of the rear wheel arches, which was firstly implemented to the Peraluman-bodied Giulia Sprint GTA and subsequent Junior GTA 1300, in order to increase clearance for wider competition tyres. Some other mechanical updates included the switch to a hydraulic clutch setup, ATE braking system in place of the older Dunlop, with bigger front calipers and discs for 1750 and later 2000 versions. Also, the rear sway bar was standardized on all models (1300 Junior wasn’t equipped with one), as well as the adoption of an alternator, and wheel size was altered to 5.5Jx14″ from 5Jx15″. Giulia Berlina and Spider were also updated, with the 1750 Berlina introduced with all those changes from the start of production.
    The 1967 smoother style was widely regarded as more coherent than the step-front, and sadly many early examples were modified to accommodate it in order to look contemporary, even though the inner front wing design is not interchangeable. The same thing happened with the rear clusters of the 2000GTV. Many argue that the 1750GTV is the “sweet spot”, and I also happened to believe that the 2000 guise was the more resolved. I now tend to find the simplicity and elegance of the early scalino to be one of the greatest designs of all time, especially in those lovely pastel ’60s colours, namely Verde Pino and Giallo Ocra (sadly, I couldn’t find a way to add a picture of my 1750…).

  9. Thank you Freerk!
    This is the one. 1968 105.44 1750GTV, fully re-restored, with an interesting backstory.




    This one was built in Arese in April 1968, and sold in May of the same year in the -then- Belgian Congo. It was imported to Greece in August 1975, and registered to a medical doctor in Pireaus. After that, it changed hands several times, travelling South from Pireaus to Corinth, Tripolis, Sparta, Zevgolatio, until the previous owner from Kalamata bought her in 1996 in a very sorry state. He was one of the first to do a full restoration and respray on a 105 in Greece, and upon disassembly he found traces of many previous colours, including white, green, blue and even pearlescent pink (!). The seats had leopard covers, so he had a good understanding of some of the owners’ sketchy background (a common thing for these cars, as they were worth next to nothing in the mid-80’s, and many of them ended in not-so legal businesses…). At the beginning of the restoration, he had sent a letter (no emails back then) to ALFA’s Centro Storico, regarding the provenance and original specification. From the documents he obtained from Greece’s Department of Transportation, he found out that all types of Nord engines went through her engine bay. The engine installed when bought was luckilly a 1779cc, but a later one from an Alfetta, with a 6-bolt crank, screw-in oil filter and electronic ignition. He rebuilt the engine and restored the chassis (with the 1990’s body repair practices…), but the reply from ALFA took months to arrive. The car was in for painting, and he had to decide which colour he preferred. He wanted the classic AR501 Rosso ALFA, his wife wanted the oddball AR109 Giallo Ocra. His will eventually prevailed, and now the 1750 was red. And then, the letter arrived… Signora Elvira Ruocco from the Centro Documentazione stated that she was a Giallo Ocra with black Skai interior.

    He kept and maintained the car for nearly 25 years, driving twice to Italy and all over Greece until I bought it from him with a van filled with spare parts and a period engine in 2018, and imported her to Nicosia, Cyprus. I was born and raised in Greece, specifically Pireaus, and also have ties with Kalamata, so I became immediately attached to this car and its history. I had to sell my freshly-restored 1977 Spider 2000 in order to raise the funds, but I had no regrets, although I had already decided to completely restore the aging shell, reinforce it in the known weak hard points in the chassis legs, and bring her back to her original glory, in, of course, Giallo Ocra. She still has the Alfetta engine, which is more robust and free-revving than the original 00548 unit, a limited slip differential at the back, Eibach lowering springs and Koni adjustable shocks all-around, a hidden Bluetooth amplifier with 2 speakers on the sides of the center console, completely reupholstered interior, new and more robust wiring harness with the original fuse box, and the period and very pretty 6Jx14 Cromodora Elektron rims. The full story and restoration is documented here, along with my other projects: https://www.facebook.com/pastforwardrestorations

    Long story short, and 1200 painstaking labour hours later, in a full restoration that lasted 14 months and multiple of thousand Euros, I couldn’t be happier. She’s a keeper, and my 9 year-old son has already had dibs on her.

    1. What a great history, and well done on such a fantastic restoration. Great colour too. Thanks for sharing, vkarikas.

      I’ve taken the liberty of embedding in your comment some more photos of the car from your Facebook page. I hope that’s ok with you.

    2. Perfect Daniel, thank you very much! Although I design pages in WordPress, I seemed unable to find the way to embed them myself!

    3. Hi vkarikas. Having taken another look at the photos, I’m confused: is the car’s registration number 983 A (front) or A 983 (rear)?

    4. Daniel: This type of registration is reserved only for historic cars, which were never registered previously in Cyprus. They started doing it 20 years ago, beginning with 1A, A meaning “Antique”. Now I believe that they have surpassed 1500 cars. The correct sequence is —A, not A—, but the shop which made the plates “decided” to print the rear one backwards. It’s still legal though. Go figure…

    5. This car makes me think of a baby Jaguar XJ saloon but tidier around the back. The treatment of the crest of the wings is just delightful. It´s non-obvious and must have been hard to hammer out.

  10. Somewhere around 1975 Alfa had considerable numbers of unsold coupés (and Spiders) in the US.
    For whatever inconceivable reason Alfa Frankfurt decided to import some of them and sell it in Germany. I don’t know how many that were but for some time these US reimports were everywhere.

    The cars were converted to Euro light units, sidemarkers were removed and the holes in the wings were closed by welding in metal(!) necessitating a partial respray. These cars had options as standard that weren’t available or painfully expensive outside the US like flameproof interior in either real leather (European cars had ‘rubber’ seat covers made from a very tough synthetic material) or dark blue corduroy, tinted windows, millerighe alloy wheels and either air con or sunroof. The engines had the Spica mechanical injection.
    The cars could be identified externally by large front indicators sitting in separate housings under the bumper.
    They were sold for considerably less money than the same car in Euro spec without the additional equipment.
    Dealers didn’t know the Spica injection with the inevitable result that many cars were converted to carburettors. This was not an easy task because a new cylinder head was needed – on the fuel injected engines the intake tract was cast in one part with the head, Lotus-Twin-Cam style, so it was impossible to just take off the injection and slap carbs on them. Most owners then went for Weber carbs which again gave trouble because the 2o00 engine normally had Solexes so nobody knew how to set up the Webers. Converted engines can easily be indentified because their camchain cover and engine block have mounting points for the Spica pump that are absent on non-injected engines.
    As the cheapest source for Webers were scrapyards (new ones were eye wateringly expensive) owners simply ripped them off the 1,300 Giulias there and put them on the GTV unchanged because they thought all 40DCOE carbs were identical. In truth the Weber is a racing carb where every part inside the casing can be exchanged and tuned and without changing venturis and jets you simply end with a large engine with very little power. I remember one of those converted engines having all of 72 PS on an engine tester with carbs and ignition distributor from a 1,3000 junior.

    1. Nice info Dave, I wasn’t aware of the re-importation of US Spec 2000GTVs in Germany. Truth is that the SPICA conversion was botched from the factory, and as years went on, the system was simplified (from ITBs to a single throttle, different linkage, less tuning abilities, etc.), until 1979 in the Alfetta and Spider models, where the 2000 produced close to 105hp, choked to death by emission devices and lowered compression. 1980 brought BOSCH fuel injection, and slowly power crept up to acceptable standards. Also, almost all US Spec models had a different intake cam profile, to compensate with the smoother SPICA injection timing, and a 4-1 exhaust manifold rather than the cast-iron 4-2-1 in Europe. The rated horsepower was identical to the European models until 1974.
      The last US Spec 2000GTV also had a bonded windshield, which had a different tempering process than the older Simplex glass, optional electric windows and A/C, leather upholstery, more wheel designs, and many electrical changes to accommodate the mandatory 7″ sealed beam headlights. Also, the switch in the center console for lighting was rewired to operate the inner 5″1/4 fog lights individually, rather than the gauge cluster illumination.
      The US Spec model range was in part a test bed for new parts, which were eventually integrated in the EU Spec models, like the new style interior handle and window winder, rear view mirror and rear light clusters (first seen on the 105.51 Mk.2 1750GTV with red turn signals). Nowadays, unmolested US Spec 1750/2000 Coupes are really desirable in the classic car market, especially those with original engine/SPICA configuration. Rose-tinted memories and nostalgia in the USA commands high prices for restored examples, not to mention the absurdly high cost to restore anything these days.
      Carb conversion was widely adopted then, mainly because the SPICA was not understood and largely absent from European cars (bar the rare Montreal, which had two of them in parallel). As you mentioned, few people understood the tunability of Weber DCOE carburettors, and thought that all were the same. I had to go to great lengths tuning my OEM 40DCOE32 (which were built for this engine), using Lambda sensors, Mercury scales, swapping main/idle jet sizes, and even calculating resonance supercharging in order to get the most out of them in terms of driveability and torque curve.

    2. Alfa freely juggled with carbs from Weber, Dell’Orto and Solex in the old North engines.
      Depending on engine size and country of destination or other was preferred.
      Since Germany introduced exhaust emission regulations on unburnt hydrocarbons only in the early Seventies Alfa progressively omitted Weber equipped cars from the sales program – on a proper Weber equipped Alfa you can literally smell the unburnt stuff emanating from the exhaust.
      All 2000s had Solex carbs and setting up a Weber for a 2000 was experimental work. The German Weber importer was (and still is) very professional and provided help and information for correct setups as long as people were aware they needed it.
      Many an old Alfa engine had been ruined by backyard tinkerers who fitted parts that looked externally identical to engines where they didn’t belong. Popular were parts from 1300 engines freely available on any scrapyard that found their way onto 2000 engines where they did cost much performance.
      This lack of knowledge combined with a tendency to tinker around with the ‘fiddler’s paradise’ carburettors caused much damage to the reputation of old Alfas. The carbs in particular normally don’t need much attention once they are properly set up. The throttle linkage is of high quality in terms of design and manufacturing and doesn’t go out of adjustment for a very long time. As long as the support bar from the carburettor flange to the engine block is there there should not be any trouble with the carbs – as long as you keep an eye on the rubber intake runners which killed more than one engine when they split

  11. Everywhere I ask about buying, restoring and maintaining an old Lancia, everyone says the exact same answer: “stay away”.
    Difficult, strange mechanics and zero parts availability.
    I wonder if it is a different story about an Alfa Romeo, especially an 105 related model. There must be an aftermarket business with parts and accessories, considering the amount of vehicles produced.

    1. Which Lancia have you in mind? Alot of Lancia bits are Fiat stock items. The special bits are mostly no rarer than any other out-of-production cars. Dedra? Lybra? You´ll need to hurry as the 20 year cut-off is now getting close to the end of Lancia production bar the White Hen. The Lybra and Thesis are among the last worthwhile Lancias. The last Delta is execrable rubbish.

    2. Parts availability or the lack thereof is a general problem with Italian cars of a certain type. Small production numbers make it economic suicide to start a production of repro items and there are next to no NOS parts for several reasons. When Fiat cancelled man an old Alfa dealer’s contract they simply collected the spare parts and scrapped them. The Alfa club tried to purchase the parts but to no avail.

      The Alfa 105 is a notable exception. Availability of mechanical parts is relatively good but finding parts to original specification can be difficult. Look at the beautiful 1750 in the pictures above which has an Alfetta engine, a common modification with 1750 cars because the later engine is far less fragile but not to original spec.
      As always body parts are difficult and interior parts are a nightmare.

      The recommendation for old (= pre Fiat era) Lancias is correct.
      There are far too many things that were done differently for the sake of it and for which you need a specialist to do the work- and nowadays there are even fewer specialists. A perfect example is work on the Fulvia engine block which only be entrusted to machine shops with experience in this particular engine. In other Lancias like an Aurelia you get the consequences of their irrational fight against imperial units of measure which led to rims and tyres specially made by Michelin or Pirelli or brake hydraulics made by themselves in metric dimensions for which you can’t get spares if you aren’t prepared to pay the price of gold.

  12. Hey ich habe einen 1980er GTV 2.0 gekauft… ab 81 war alles vorne und hinten Kunststoff, bei meinem alles Alu.. ich habe viel Sachen bekommen, Nockenwellen, Vergaser von Weber , Auspuffkrümmer etc. bekommen… alles konnte ich selbst machen ausser den Zylinderkopf , den hat der Spezialist gemacht. Auf dem Prüfstand brachte DIE MACHINA 176 PS !!! Leider wurde er AUFGEBROCHEN UND FAST ALLES ZERSTÖRT… Ich hatte leider nur 2.5 Jahre FRÖIDE GEHABT , F**K !!! Habe Automechaniker gelernt … Der BESTE ALFA Den ich hatte.

    Translation.

    Hey I bought a 1980 GTV 2.0… from 81 everything was plastic front and back, with mine everything aluminum.. I got a lot of stuff, camshafts, carburetors from Weber, exhaust manifolds etc… I could do everything myself except the cylinder head, which was made by the specialist. On the test bench die machina brought 176 hp !!! Unfortunately, it was broken open and almost everything destroyed… Unfortunately I had only had 2.5 years of FRÖIDE, F**k !!! Trained as a car mechanic… The best Alfa I had.

  13. This is a beautiful car. I remember them in the 80s, it was easy to find them parked around in the streets. There were no closed parking spaces then and everything had to be left on the roadside. Athens was built and expanded with no plan to cater for the cars that were to come. Therefore, it was like coming across an object of art left on the street, surrounded by other, half baked, indifferent or just bad looking car designs. These Alfas were used in racing and were competing with the BMW 2002, before the Group B and Group A homologation era. Featured frequently in the posters that were in the center page of the car magazines. I have never seen a 2600 or a junior Zagato like in the pictures above. I never thought then that all this beauty would be sold for scrap, to become molten iron and then, who knows, teaspoons, or whatever. And that the cars to come would never match them in design perfection.

    1. During the early 80s you could still see some examples driving around in decent shape but by the end of that decade most of them disappeared.
      What ever few was left of them were all resprayed in various striking colours, like pink, or all black. Their owners were, I assure you, not the ones who bought the car new.
      I remember one parked in the yard of a house, waiting to be repaired…I hope it was restored by somebody in the end and not…the end.
      I didn’t think highly of them at the time. Only a fool would embark on fixing and driving that car, even then, 30 years ago, so infamous were they.
      Now…well now its a different story. They belong to the classics. I saw one a week ago. Red, restored, fine middle aged driver, it looked good!

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