SCM advertiser Fantasy Junction is selling a Sprint Speciale I recently owned and restored on Bring a Trailer.
You will find many pictures and comments with the listing.
Here are a few of my own thoughts (which I posted):
I was the previous owner of this car and oversaw the restoration. I first found the car when I was shooting an episode of “What’s My Car Worth” at an Auctions America sale in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
I have owned several SS’s and a few other Alfas from the era. I was immediately attracted to this car. Despite the engine being frozen, it had a really good “vibe” to it, as it had been stored indoors for so many years.
When I looked under the hood, the sheet metal on the front end was better than any I had ever seen on an SS. It looked as if it had never had any impacts. Also, all the chrome on the car appeared to be original, never redone.
While the data plate was missing (I had a replica made later by guru Bill Gillham), the serial number AR177227 was, according to Liugi Fusi’s book, “Alfa Romeo, All Cars from 1910,” of the right time period for the engine. The engine was a correct SS tipo 120, (AR0120.00778) so I was satisfied that this was most likely the engine that came with the car from the factory.
The cold-air induction system had been replaced with airhorns, and the engine bay had been banged on a little bit to clear them. While the engine was out, I had local expert Tom Black correct the sheet metal and repaint the engine bay.
I sourced the correct missing pieces for the induction system, including the top-half of the cold-air box, the air-filter housing and the air-intake hoses.
The gearbox was correct for the car, an early 101-series, split-case 5-speed, with the small crossmember mount at the rear.
It also had correct DC0E2 carbs.
The paint was aged but looked good.
The doors, hood and trunk all shut easily and fit well.
I liked the car a lot. I figured I could buy it for $50,000, squirt some solvent into the spark plug holes, rock the car back and forth, the engine would free up and I’d have a driver.
It didn’t exactly work out that way.
Caught up in the red mist, I paid $82,500 for it on March 29, 2015, plus transportation to Portland.
The car was delivered to our local Alfa guru, Nasko, who has been taking care of my Alfas for 30 years.
It was determined the head gasket had blown many years ago, and I guessed the car had just been pushed into a corner and sat for decades.
I decided to do a sympathetic restoration, leaving the paint and chrome as-is, as they were still attractive, and completely redoing the mechanicals and suspension.
I got a 1400-cc kit from Jon Norman at Alfa Parts, and he bored out the original liners to fit (as they are shorter than stock), to match the factory-decked SS block. I also put in modern cams, which were very expensive.
More than once, Nasko commented how much easier and less expensive it would have been to build a 1750-cc engine and drop it in.
But that’s just not my style. I bought the car because it was still with its original engine, and I was going to have him bring it to life in a period-correct fashion.
As regards the suspension, I got the last set of street springs made by engineer Dave Rugh before he retired, which lower the car just slightly and stiffen it up. I also had a larger front sway bar installed.
On the brakes, I sourced rebuild kits for all six front wheel cylinders, had the shoes relined and arced to the drums. They stopped wonderfully.
When Nasko rebuilt the gearbox, he used 105 components, which are superior to the 101-series. However, he machined the rear tower to fit the 105 case, so that the correct original small-mount cross-member could be bolted to it. Getting things like that right are very important to me.
When it was finished, I drove the SS on the SCM 1000. It covered the 1,000 miles easily and with no problems. It was a joy to drive. The 1400-cc engine pulled strong and cruising at 80 mph (with the correct Veloce 4.1 rear end) was no problem.
I only sold the car as I had some medical issues.
The purchaser was looking at several SS’s, and mine was the only one he could just hop into and take for a test drive. We went for a 30-mile drive, and he bought the car on the spot.
For my taste, the Giulietta SS is a more interesting car than the Giulia. You have to work a little harder, but you are rewarded.
Before I forget: There were a couple of extra holes in the dash when I got the car, so I had them repaired and the dash repainted. To my knowledge, the hood louvers but are not factory. I liked them so I left them alone. Removing them would have meant repainting the hood, and I just liked its authentic look and feel too much to get into that.
The upholstery kit came from expert Matt Jones at Re-Originals. It was installed by Guy Recordon at Guy’s Upholstery in Portland.
In my opinion, this is about as honest and authentic an SS as you are going to find. Think of all those years stored indoors. No impacts or corrosion that I was aware of.
I own my Alfas to drive them, and I had this one built exactly to my specifications. If I could drive a stick, I would own it again in a heartbeat.
I’m sure there are things I am forgetting or overlooking, I will be pleased to answer any questions you might have. I think this is an honest, correct car that is ready for the tour of your choice. Like this year’s SCM 1000!
Most beautiful post war Alfa. Hands down!
the used 1600 ss we bought to run the daytona 24 in 69 had hood louvers
I have a 62 Giulia Sprint 1600 for sale in the Classifieds section if anyone is interested.
Might you consider doing some sort of follow up article on this? It would be interesting to see what the financial ebb and flow has been with this car as something of a case study. At the most basic level, your $83K car in 2015 was a $95K car on BAT today, with inflation and restoration expenses accounted for within the remaining $12K. Comparing this to what your actual expenses were and what the private sale price was could provide some real insight.