A 1960 Alfa Giulietta Sprint recently sold on BaT for $92,500 ($97,125 with commission).
Matt Crandall (911r on Bat) of the Avant-Garde Collection texted me about the car when the bidding was in the $50k range.
Matt specializes in Porsches, both stock and outlaw, but has a long history with Alfa. He and I are both past managers of Ron Tonkin Grand Turismo, when it was a Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa (and sometime Lotus and Zimmer) new car dealership.
Matt was getting all hot and bothered about the car. It was a semi-hot rod build, and was said to have run in the Copperstate 1000.
While the car looked well-done, I explained to Matt why it didn’t appeal to me.
My views on “correct” restorations have been evolving over the years. In the past, I was a stickler for “as factory built.”
Both my 1958 Giuiletta Sprint Veloce “Confortevole” and my 1961 Giuietta Sprint Special were numbers-matching cars, and restored with a fealty to the specifications they left the factory with.
The BaT Sprint was what we Alfiisti call an Abnormale. From what I could glean from the listing, it was originally built as a 2-bbl Solex-equipped “Normale” and had been upgraded to hot-rod “Veloce” specs at some point in its life.
Born with a 101-series 1300cc engine, it had been upgraded to a later 105-series 1300cc engine punched out to 1400cc with twin Weber carbs. A more-modern five-speed replaced the original four-speed.
I have ruminated about the difficulties I encountered with my Sprint build. I enlisted local guru Denny Pillar to build the now-obsolete and archaic 750 series engine, and Bill Gillham sourced the synchros to rebuild the tunnel-case four-speed. It was an expensive and time-consuming process.
The end result was a free-revving responsive period pocket-rocket that was a delight to drive. But if I were to build another Sprint, I would start with a solid Normale chassis and put in a mild-build 1750cc engine and a five-speed, along with a 4.1 rear end. In most situations, this would be an easier car to tour with.
I told Matt that the 1960 Sprint was not my cup of tea for a few reasons. First, as the 101-series engine was gone, why bother to build a later 105-series 1300cc to 1400cc instead of dropping in a 1600 or 1750? Once the original engine is out of the picture, you are free to do what you want.
There were other modifications that were consistent with the semi-correct period personalization of the build. The Zagato style seats were interesting even if they never were used in Sprints, and it had the often-seen but period-incorrect TZ-style mags.
While I liked the two-tone red with silver roof paint, and I’ve seen in pictures of similar in-period paint schemes, I’m not sure if Sprints were ever born that way.
When I bought my Sprint Veloce, after ten years of looking, I dismissed all those who advised me to put a later drivertrain into it. I wanted a “correct” car.
That’s not the path I would follow today.
The new owner got a fair deal at nearly $100k for a pro-built car that has been event tested.
But as with all cars that are personalized, it’s not a car for a purist, its one for someone who wants to use and enjoy it.
The choices the builder made here were not necessarily the ones I would have made, but there is no right or wrong when you personalize a car when you bring it back to life. Notice I did not use the word restore.