The economic depression that followed World War II decreed that Alfa Romeo could no longer afford to produce purely the bespoke motorcars that had made the marque famous on both road and track. Mass produced models were needed and the first fruits in this direction were the 1900 Berlinetta and Sprint. These didn't, however, attract enough sales and it wasn't until 1954 that Alfa found its savior in the Giulietta Sprint, Nuccio Bertone being commissioned to design this small coupe just weeks before its debut at the Turin Show. The resultant shape was one of simple purity that pleased the eye from any angle.

Under the steel skin of the initial 750 Series Giulietta, the chassis featured independent front suspension with a coil-sprung live axle at the rear and drum brakes all round. The engine, like the suspension, owed much to Alfa's racing experience, hence the ability of the twin overhead camshaft four-cylinder to produce 65 bhp at 6,000 rpm from just 1,290 cc. There was also a 90 bhp Veloce version courtesy of higher lift camshafts and twin sidedraft Weber carburetors.

The car pictured here is an example of one of the most desirable Giuliettas, the Bertone bodied Sprint Speciale. Featuring the same mechanical specification as the Veloce and SZ models, nd with lightweight aerodynamic coachwork designed by Franco Scaglione (of BAT fame), the SS was a fast and sought-after car. Elements of its styling could be traced as far back as Alfa's famous Disco Volante and BAT9, and indeed the SS body was continued when the new Giulia took over in 1962.

It drives very nicely and is finished in red with black upholstery. Overall condition is very good and original.

{analysis} Offered by Coys on 15 June 1994 and sold for $20,493 including commission. Given that S/N 00193 had been 'customized' by removal of its bumpers and the filling in of the bumper mounts, this was a high price.

SS's represent perhaps the purest styling exercise ever to go into serial production. In their intended role as a challenger to the Zagato-built SZs, they were a failure, being regarded as overweight and overbodied on the track. As a high-speed touring car, a great success.

While the mechanicals are straightforward Giulietta, the body and trim pieces are unique and terribly expensive to replace/restore.

Superb SS's, once crossing the $50,000 threshold, have settled back into the $25,000 range. Drivers seem to change hands at $15,000 and restoration projects under $8,000.

The allure of the SS lies in its styling rather than performance. At current market prices, it is hard to find a more distinctive shape. - ED.

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