It would not be out of line for the new owner to face a $3,500-$5,000 repair bill just to put his new toy back on the road, not including major engine rebuilding


With the introduction of the Giulietta in 1954, Alfa Romeo established the "small car, big performance" formula which would characterize the Milanese marque's finest offerings from then on. Alfa's classic 1900-cc twin-cam four was downsized to 1290 cc for the series 750 Giulietta, gaining an alloy cylinder block in the process. The debutante Sprint Coupe was soon joined by Berlina and Spider versions, and then in 1959 came the special-bodied Sprint Speciale.

The Giulietta Sprint coupe eventually evolved into the Alfa most familiar to Americans, the 1600-cc Giulia Sprint GT-often called the GTV. Later variants were equipped with 1750-cc and 2000-cc engines. They are regarded as a nearly perfect small-displacement GT car, with a five-speed gearbox, four-wheel disc brakes and superb interior ergonomics, that is if you have short legs and long arms.

We are advised that this example underwent extensive restoration circa 1994, while in the hands of its previous, second owner. It was acquired by the vendor that same year. A new clutch and gearbox were fitted in 1995, and just 4,000 km have been covered since, out of a total of 10,000 since the restoration. Kept in a heated garage, the vehicle has not been used since 1996.

Finished in grey with red interior, this handsome and desirable Italian GT is presented in excellent condition throughout.

{analysis} This 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT sold for $7,842 at the Bonhams auction held in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 8, 2004.

Among non-Alfisti, the differences between the 101 series and the 105 series Giulias are confusing at best, not least because production overlapped in 1963 and 1964, and the name of the car changed only by the addition of the "GT" moniker. It is not surprising therefore, that the Giulia Sprint GT pictured here was described as a Giulia Sprint by Bonhams, when in fact it is a Giulia Sprint GT. However, the two cars have completely different sheetmetal, the 101 Sprint being the final derivative of the Giulietta Sprint platform, while the 105 Sprint GT was an entirely new chassis.

Alfa Romeo built a new plant at Arese to assemble the 105 series, while the 101 series was still winding down at its old Portello site.

The 105-series Sprint GT body, by Bertone, provided a larger interior than in the 101-series Sprint, with a more functional back seat (though one only useful for small passengers or short trips) and a larger greenhouse. On the outside, the GT can be distinguished by its more modern looking front end, with headlamps set into a wide grille and vertically positioned parking/turn signal lights on the outside front edge of the fenders.

An offset was designed into the front edge of the hood, where it contacts the front valence. At first glance, this "step-nose" may appear to be just a large horizontal shadow, but it is actually a rather interesting design element-the cognoscenti lamented its disappearance on the 1969 GTV.

The 105-series chassis received several updates over the 101 series. The front double wishbone design was replaced by a single lower A-arm and two separate upper links, which allowed for better adjustability. At the same time, almost all the front suspension grease fittings disappeared in favor of sealed joints. (These "lifetime lubricated" seals go dry after about ten years. One way to renew them is to use a horse-hypodermic to inject a lubricating fluid directly into the seal.) Lateral support of the rear axle was accomplished by using a pivoting T-arm instead of the triangular-shaped piece found on the earlier 101 series.

A little internal tuning to the twin-Weber equipped 1570-cc engine brought the power of the 105-series Giulia up to 106 hp, a significant increase over the 92 of the 101-series Sprint, which was only offered by the factory in single, two-barrel Solex configuration.

Alfa's 105 Sprint GT series included a number of other interesting models, including:
. The 1300-cc GT Junior, which was offered primarily for the European market, where a smaller engine displacement was desirable for tax reasons. (See Alfa Romeo Profile, March 2003.)
. The GTC, a convertible version with essentially the same drivetrain. (See Alfa Romeo Profile, December 2000.)
. The twin plugged, lightened and race prepped GTA. (See Alfa Romeo Profile, August 2001.)

Purchasing any Alfa from this era requires close inspection of sheet-metal rust in the rocker panel and floor pan areas. Luckily, replacement parts for nearly everything that is prone to rust are available. Unluckily, it takes a skilled craftsman to weld them in so that the repairs are invisible, which is the reason so many GTs are heavily undercoated. Think of it as Italian floorpan pancake makeup.

Replacing weather-stripping and window seals is usually necessary to eliminate rattles and leaks, and runs about $500. Dash tops crack with age, but covers are available.

The SCM Price Guide lists Alfa Sprint GT values between $7,500-$12,000, which is less than a new Honda Civic. Similar money can get you into a Volvo 1800S, a "sensible" if not as exciting choice as a Giulia. Lancia's Flaminia GT is another option, but these tend to be a bit more expensive ($10,000-$14,000), not nearly as nimble or enjoyable to drive as an Alfa, and with a far more problematic parts and service situation.

The 1963 Giulia Sprint GT pictured here was bought at the low end of its market value, and could be a deal for the buyer if the mechanicals are in order. However, this a dicey proposition given that the car has been stored for eight years, even in a heated garage. It would not be out of line for the new owner to face a $3,500-$5,000 repair bill just to put his new toy back on the road, dealing with brakes, clutch, suspension and engine disassembly and check over-and that doesn't include rebuilding any major components.

Even so, the new owner does have some room for reconditioning without losing his shirt, as Alfa's generally robust mechanicals are much easier to make right than a rusted body. Assuming the body is as sound as it looked to be, this could turn out to be a good buy. Even better, if the new owner is handy with a wrench, this GT could even be called a bargain.

There's a reason that the Sprint GT/GTV series has such a large following: It's handsome, easy to live with, handles well and has enough scoot to be entertaining on twisting roads. When all is said and done, the 105-series Giulia offers a whole lot of collector car fun for not a lot of money. I call this well bought.-O. Delmas Greene

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