Keith’s Blog: Which Three Alfas Would You Pick?

Over the years, I’ve found that the size of my collection is directly related to the number of slots I have in my garage.

At one time, I had a 30’ x 40’ pole building in Northeast Portland that came along with a rental house I purchased. Not only did I immediately fill it with cars, it had a space behind it for another six cars under an open-faced shed. I quickly went out and bought six Alfa parts cars — $250 Alfettas and $500 1971-74 Alfa spiders — and filled it up.

Four years later, I converted the warehouse into a print shop where we produced the Alfa Romeo Market Letter. The cars, I realized, each represented a project that I was never going to start, let alone finish. It was better for the cars to just go away, so I sold each of them for just about what I paid for them.

However, with any collection, once you get past parking and storage, each car comes with its own logistical and financial obligations. With my seven Alfas, each one needs to be driven long enough each month to get the fluids warm and to keep water from absorbing into the brake fluid.

The fuses (often ceramic) need to be spun in their holders to keep corrosion from building up. Tire pressures need to be looked at. And then there is licensing and insurance.

Further, you can only drive one car at a time.

The exception to that rule? Six of my Alfas went on last summer’s SCM 1000 30th anniversary tour. With the exception of the headliner in the SS that would collapse above 70 mph, all the cars performed flawlessly. It was great to see them all on the road at the same time.

However, that was a one-time experience.

And as I look at my cars, I wonder if I should consider paring down the fleet. I need a convertible — Duetto or 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce? I require something with four seats as a family Alfa. Giulia Super or GTV? Having a two-seat GT car would seem to be a requirement — Junior Zagato, 1958 Giulietta Sprint Veloce Confortevole or 1961 Giulietta Sprint Speciale?

If I had just three Alfas, would the cars be happier because each would be driven more often? Would I be more content with only three sets of mechanical and financial issues to worry about rather than seven?

What advice would you offer me? And which cars would make up your trio?

Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market and bi-monthly American Car Collector magazines, has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and has his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity.

Posted in Blogs, Keith Martin

21 comments

  1. I’m not an Alfa fan, but if it were me, I would keep (in order of importance) the Junior Zagato, the GTV and the Giulia Spider Veloce. In the meantime, I hope your recovery is going well.

  2. Keith – As you obviously enjoy driving, I would pick the three you enjoy driving the MOST!
    Best, Paul McNeill (owner of 2, ‘86 spider and ‘17 Giulia Quad)

  3. Keith, you should definitely make the Sprint Veloce #1 (have a soft spot because I owned one waaay back when, early 60’s, into which I put a 1500cc kit. #2 SS, #3 Junior, #4 Spider Veloce. Hope you’re progressing in your recovery, which should really be #1. Good luck! Pete

  4. It’s certainly a first world problem; “How do I pare down my collection of Alfas?” But I feel your pain. Based upon looks alone, I would try going down to five first and eliminate the Giulia Super and the Sprint Veloce. However, I haven’t driven them and that might change the choices drastically. You seem to love driving the Giulia Super which I would have never given a second look (not being an Alfa guy) until I read your articles about it. So good luck, I wish I had this problem!

  5. I would keep the Giulia spider, the Giulia super, and the Junior Zagato. All of these are mechanically similar and they give you a convertible, a 4 place sedan and an exotic car.

  6. Luckily I live at the bottom of a hill with a road named Wisteria that winds its way to the top that allows me to, weather permitting ( it is Oregon), warm the engines quickly. Then a toot of about 5 miles to work the brakes and suspension. I try to do this monthly but am not always successful. That’s what you get with a 60 by 40 pole garage an added stacker/lift and 8 cars. Now if I could just add another lift🤫

  7. The constraints are, unavoidably, personal and subjective.

    It’s a “collection”. Thus, they are not just interchangeable automobiles. They should represent something not only rare, they should be something closer to the bleeding edge that is “Alfa”.

    Duetto? Meh.
    Spider Veloce? Oh yeah

    GTV? Sweet, but not a four seater.
    Super? Alfa’s magic giant killer in a shoe box.

    SS? Always a not-quite-beautiful design with the wrong chassis, plotting in the night how to surprise with the next disappointment.
    Sprint Contro? One of the most perfect shapes Alfa made, matched to all the motor they could afford to put on the street.

    Spider Veloce
    Super
    Sprint

    Runner up….. GTV.

  8. love my 71 GTV. However, given the choice between that and the Giulia Super, I’d take the G Super, such a wonderful “sleeper” 4 door sedan…So, keep the G Super, the Sprint Veloce and 67 Duetto for sure.

  9. A brutal choice for any true Alfisti. I would keep the Zprint Veloce, the GTV, and Guilia Sprint Speciale.

  10. I have owned – and still own – both 101 and 105 series Alfas, and must admit a preference for the 105’s. I like their interior room, 4-wheel disk brakes, and highway feel of their longer wheelbase/greater mass. Yes, 101’s are more “pure sports cars”, but more of my driving in the 21st Century is on highways rather than twisty, back roads.

    So given that, the Super would be my choice for the 4-place car, the Duetto the convertible and the Junior Z the two seat GT/exotic. I love my own Sprint GT, but wouldn’t consider it a four-seater. I find the Sprint Speciale “interesting”, but not quite beautiful. The Sprint Veloce? A cool car, but I’d prefer the Junior Z for its rarity and more modern chassis.

    I can certainly understand the desire to simplify. It’s difficult to justify keeping multiple vintage cars road-worthy when you can only use each one a few times a year.

  11. Of all of them, keep the green Giulia Super, because Alex had that great trip in it a little while back with her girlfriends including fixing the electrics, I seem to remember. These are memories that don’t fade. It’s also the most well-rounded of the collection, the most usable – and it’s a 105! I’ve had my silly green Escort 23 years now, and had so many adventures in that car… I’ll be buried in it, though someone will have to unbolt the rollcage first so the roof crushes.
    You can always buy another SS…

  12. First of all, I hope you are continuing to make steady progress on your full recovery. Now as to the right Alfas to keep, I’d say GTV, Duetto, and Giulia Super in that order. Those three will check all your boxes!

  13. Keep the GTV. Sell *ME* the Giulia Super!
    I’m getting older and having trouble getting out of my Austin Healey 3000 MKIII. A four-door sedan would do nicely!

  14. Sell them all and buy a Miata and drive it like you stole it as they are nearly bullet proof and very dependable. Then buy a Corvette if you want to go really fast. As for the 4plus passenger daily driver A Kia Striker G.T V-6

  15. Hmmm… Assuming all well sorted I would go…
    GTV (and not only because I’ve had a ’74 for 38 yrs)
    Spider Veloce (can’t beat this two seater, no top, and a Veloce!)
    Guilia Super (giant killer with a back seat, definitely a keeper)

    Could be talked into a switch to the Junior Z (never been in one) or the Sprint after a drive in all of the above. Just not sure which would of the first group would go?? Never been a fan of the SS looks and the Duetto, almost classic but a bit too familiar, even though it has the “right” tail. A delightful dilemma for sure.

  16. 1961 Giulietta Sprint Speciale
    Sprint Veloce
    1967 Duetto
    AND my 1990 Spider Quadrifoglio with 5400 miles you should have bought!!

  17. Keep:
    1961 Giulietta Sprint Speciale
    * Among the most beautiful designs ever.
    1965 Giulia Sp(y)der Veloce
    * Gives you an open top for those rare sunny days up there.
    Junior Zagato
    * You need a 2-seat “racer”. Plus, this year we are celebrating Zagatos’ 100th anniversary.

  18. Keep the Giulia Super! They are under-appreciated, and the most practical mode of transportation out of your collection due to their 4 doors and spacious trunk. Plus they still are a blast to drive!

  19. I currently have a ‘61 Giulietta SS, a ‘59 Spider veloce, a’67 duetto and just sold a ‘74 GTV. I must say a good Giulietta Spider is a great drive especially if Conrad S. Builds the motor. The SS is just so iconic it’s a keeper. You can’t dis out the duetto. It’s a great driver much more modern feeling and I can’t sell that one either. I personally want a Giulia super as well. I would probably go with the super over the duetto if I also had a Giulietta Spider veloce.

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