1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider

Alfa Romeo made its name building big powerful sports cars, touring cars and luxury sedans for the Italian elite. In the early days of the company and leading up to WWII, they enjoyed great success in motor racing and were responsible for some of the most beautifully engineered automobiles of the pre-war era. After suffering devastating losses during the war, Alfa gradually resumed production, mainly offering bespoke coachbuilt cars based on their pre-war supercharged 6C chassis. Thankfully, those in charge of Alfa could see these sorts of cars would not sustain the company for very long and they realized that mass production was the key to survival. The subsequent 1900 series was a good step in the right direction, particularly as it was Alfa’s first unitary-construction chassis, but it was still a relatively expensive car and many examples were coachbuilt to client’s orders. But the stage was set, and Alfa Romeo’s next project struck the perfect chord with buyers and pundits alike. The 750-series Giulietta caused a sensation when it was first shown as a prototype to the Italian public in the early 1950s. By the time the first cars reached the public hands in 1954, word had traveled quickly about their incredible ability and quality, and the orders poured in.

Virtually overnight, Alfa Romeo – and its preferred Carrozzeria Bertone – found themselves in the volume car building business. Production expectations were multiplied many times over, and the range was expanded to include not only the standard saloon and coupe, but a 2-seat spyder which was built by neighboring Pininfarina. The Pininfarina design was chosen not only on its merit (the beautiful, fluid lines were better resolved than Bertone’s proposal) but for the simple fact that Pininfarina had the production capacity to handle demand. Offered as either the 80hp Normale or 90hp Veloce the gorgeous little Giulietta Spyder is the poster child of the Italian sports car. It is light, mechanically robust and quite sophisticated. The chassis comprised of wishbone independent front suspension, live-axle rear suspension with coil springing, twin radius rods and a triangular locating member. Alfa’s famous finned alloy drum brakes were fitted to all four corners, and the jewel-like 1300 cc twin cam engine featured an alloy head. A positively exotic 5-speed gearbox was fitted later in the run, something that was virtually unheard of at the time. The Giulietta in all forms is simply a joy to drive, but with the top down and the full aural experience, the Spyder is the purest and most joyful of them all.

This gorgeous 750-series Giulietta Spyder is one of the best examples we’ve encountered in many years. This desirable short-chassis, small taillight model wears a high quality restoration with an emphasis on driving enjoyment. The striking color combination perfectly suits the delicate Pininfarina lines. Panel fit and body alignment is crisp and straight, evidence that this was a very solid car before it was restored. The Grigio Grafite paint is beautifully laid down with deep gloss and straight reflections. Chrome and polished brightwork are likewise very high quality. The correct original Boranni wheels are properly finished in silver with chrome center caps and are wrapped with newer radial tires.

The cabin is sparse but elegant, with bright red seats and carpets contrasting the gray bodywork brilliantly. All of the upholstery appears to be very fresh and executed to a high standard, with correct detailing such as the quilted foot pad on the transmission tunnel, and the vinyl transmission gaiter. Proper rubber floor mats are fitted and the original steering wheel and switchgear are all intact and in lovely condition. It wears a black cloth top should you need shelter from the weather. A Michelin spare rests correctly behind the seats, and the trunk is similarly detailed with correct fluted rubber mats and a very tidy and solid appearance. The matching-numbers, 1300 c.c. Normale twin-cam runs beautifully, thriving on revs and rewarding with a sweet soundtrack. The engine is backed by a four-speed gearbox and fed by a single Weber downdraft. The engine bay presentation is that of a well-detailed, but not fussy, standard with an emphasis on reliability over concours perfection.

Many Alfisti will insist that the 750 Normale is the sweetest and best of the breed to live with. The single carb engine has only marginally less power, but possesses a flatter torque curve. With less weight up front, it is said to give slightly sharper reactions. Of course, much of that comes down to individual experience, but one thing all Alfa owners agree on is that the Giulietta is one of the sweetest and most rewarding of all sports cars, regardless of the specification.  Our example’s gorgeous cosmetics and well-sorted mechanicals add up to make the ideal Giulietta. It is stunningly beautiful to look at, and yet it welcomes a good hard drive thanks to the strong running engine and fully sorted chassis. The sale of this wonderful Alfa includes a binder documenting the restoration, as well as the original data plate and correspondence from Alfa Romeo Storica detailing its origins.

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