The Giulietta Spider was indeed a delightful automobile, redefining the
essence of Alfa Romeo as a beautiful, responsive and brilliant-driving
open car


Introduced in 1956, the Giulietta Spider Veloce featured hotter cams, higher compression and a pair of Weber dual-choke carburetors, which boosted output to 90 horsepower at 6,500 rpm-well more than one horsepower per cubic inch. Alfa's unit-body chassis also addressed the age-old problem of managing a live rear axle by incorporating alloy components to reduce weight and stabilizing axle location with trailing arms and a differential-mounted triangular trailing link. The Giulietta was one of the best-handling cars of the 1950s and so good that its basic design persisted in the Alfa Spider into the early 1990s.
Like most models the Giulietta "grew" during its history, eventually evolving into the 101 series in 1959, with a two-inch-longer wheelbase. Many aficionados, however, prefer the original 750 series and its 220-mm wheelbase for quick, precise handling. The longer wheelbase of the later Giuliettas and Giulias may give a more relaxed ride, but there is no substitute for a 750 series Giulietta Veloce's nearly telepathic reaction to its driver's input.
The 1957 Giulietta on offer is an original Giulietta Spider Veloce with correct and matching numbers throughout. Restored some time ago, it is still in fresh condition and has recently been treated to several sympathetic performance modifications including new, stiffer Centerline coil springs, a thicker front stabilizer bar and period-correct Koni Classic Red shocks.
Finished in white with correct black vinyl interior, the car has a black cloth convertible top in good condition. It comes with a factory tool roll, spare and jack. There is no radio, only a factory blanking plate, but the sound of the Alfa twin-cam four's assertive exhaust note through its dual Webers creates its own tunes which no radio can match.

{analysis} This 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce sold for $41,800, including buyer's premium, at the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, CA, on August 15, 2004.
The Giulietta will always be regarded as one of the most significant cars of the 20th century, not in the least because it saved Alfa Romeo after World War II. As a maker of expensive, limited-production high-performance touring and racing cars since the '20s, Alfa needed a new plan to survive in a changed, post-war economic environment. The first step was the introduction of the 1900, a unit-bodied sedan that spawned coachbuilt coupes and a convertible. But this was just a warm-up for Alfa's first real volume car, the 750 series Giulietta.
The main Giulietta model was always intended to be the berlina, or sedan, but when production was delayed the Sprint coupe wound up being introduced first. How this came to pass is a quintessentially Italian story, as the coupe was actually created as a prize for a lottery. Ironically enough, this was being held by the Italian government-also Alfa's owner-for buyers who were on the waiting list for the belated sedan. The response to the Sprint coupe was so overwhelming that Alfa commissioned Pinin Farina and Bertone to design a Spider too. Pinin Farina won the contract with this simple and elegant design that immediately became an icon.
The Giulietta Spider was indeed a delightful automobile, redefining the essence of Alfa Romeo as a beautiful, responsive and brilliant-driving open car. This new, modern Alfa was also more comfortable and refined than its British competition (namely the MGA and Triumph TR3), featuring roll-up windows, a top that kept out most of the weather, and a fairly functional heater.
Alfa's attempt to try to control a live rear axle also paid dividends when compared to its contemporaries, but in reality, the better-balanced Sprint always offered superior handling to the Spider, which can surprise the unwary driver with a fair amount of axle hop in the middle of a turn.
The major areas of concern for any prospective Giulietta owner are the condition of the rocker panel and rear suspension mounting points. Given the unit-body construction, major corrosion in these places can severely compromise the whole deal. This can be a big problem in a car that should be driven hard.
Body panels, trim and interior pieces have become widely available, and should not present a problem for someone looking to restore one of these models. While mechanical parts for the 750-series cars are harder to find than those for the later 101 series, growing interest in the earlier cars-and rising values-are causing many parts to become more readily available than in the past.
Giuliettas came in both Normale and Veloce versions. While the added performance and personality of the Veloce models make them a must-have for some buyers, it is important to know that their more "nervous" character will not suit all drivers. These cars have a tendency to foul plugs if not driven enthusiastically, and their alloy sump can fail to heat the oil adequately under easy driving or cool weather conditions. These same traits do make the Veloces superb cars on vintage events, where their performance can be exploited to maximum advantage. Of course, if you're just looking for an antique to putter around town in, Normales sell for about half the price of Veloces.
Be aware as well of the proliferation of "abnormales," standard Normales fitted with the Veloce's dual Weber carbs. There's more to a Veloce than its carbs, though few people will go to the trouble of replicating all the details so it's usually not too hard to pick out a clone.
A proper and original Veloce will have a tachometer that reads from 2,000 to 8,000 rpm, rather than the 1,000 to 7,000 of the Normale. The Veloce speedometer goes to 140 mph, while the Normale's reads only to 120. Veloces have a chrome plug on the dashboard blanking the choke knob of the Normale, as the Veloce's Weber DCO3s do not have chokes. A fresh air scoop is welded into the grille opening on the driver's side of the Veloce, with two duct holes on the driver's inside fender, one leading to the air cleaner and the other to the passenger compartment. The Normale only has the one going to the passenger compartment. Finally, Veloces have a rubber stop mounted on a welded point on the driver's-side frame rail, directly below the motor mount, to arrest the engine from moving under full acceleration.
The 1957 Spider Veloce on offer here, a genuine Giulietta Spider Veloce, presents itself well. The restoration looks fresh, with good paint, panel fit and chrome. The interior is correct, with proper rubber floor mats and vinyl seat trim. The performance modifications show that the car has clearly been prepared for driving, although the aftermarket Technomagnesio alloy wheels are somewhat jarring in appearance. Fortunately, the owners have chosen not to slam in a later-model five-speed gearbox, which destroys part of the original driving experience of the car, using the more primitive tunnel-case four-speed. Further, the five-speed modification also requires that the rear axle ratio be changed for the best performance, another alteration of the car's basic nature. As it sits, with a four-speed and the correct 4.1 rear axle, the car is a perfect mount for any of the 1,000-mile vintage rallies.
Though on first glance $42k might seem like a lot for a Giulietta, this isn't just any Giulietta and the price paid here falls right in the middle of the $33,700-$45,000 SCM Price Guide range. 1956 and 1957 Veloces are valued at about 50 percent above the later models, simply because of their eligibility for the Mille Miglia and other such vintage events-something this '57 would be well suited for. Well bought and well sold.
(Historical and descriptive information courtesy of the auction company.)u{/analysis}

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