As described by the seller on eBay Motors: Up for auction, a beautiful 1965 SS. She is one of the few in the world. She is just lovely-anywhere she goes all heads turn on her. This 1965 Giulia Sprint Speciale was in the family for 18 years in south Orange County and kept in a garage most of the time. She looks and runs great, starts right up. Paint is old but nice, all lights, gauges are in good working condition. Four brand new tires. Interior is nice but I don't think it is original. I don't see any rust on this car. She looks and drives just fine. {analysis} This 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale sold for $30,000 on August 7, 2005, after 35 bids. I recently returned from the Alfa Romeo National Convention, held in Bellvue, WA, where all the usual Snake-and-Cross suspects were on display. No other serial manufacturer can boast an array of cars as diverse as the 8C 2300, the TZ-1, the Giulietta Berlina and the Alfetta sedan. From the glorious to the grubby, Alfa has pumped out a distinctive product for nearly 100 years. Arguably, among all these models, the SS stands out as having the sleekest, most striking lines. As with all Italian cars, there are various myths surrounding the origins of the SS. I'll throw out two here and rely on our readership to set the record straight. 1. Zagato modified Giulietta Sprints into SVZs, hoping that Alfa would give it the contract to build a factory-sanctioned high-performance variant. Instead, Alfa gave the work to Bertone, who built the curvaceous but heavy and uncompetitive SS. As a consolation prize, Zagato got the contract to build the SZ. 2. The original SS had lower headlights and a sloping nose. Due to changes in U.S. regulations, the headlights had to be raised in 1958, which is how the design we are most familiar with came to be. If you have some insights to share here, send them to Kristen Hall-Geisler at Sports Car Market, [email protected]. I had a Giulia SS as a daily driver in 1988. Refurbished rather than restored, I purchased it for around $20,000 from a local enthusiast and learned it had once been owned by Bob McGill, long-time newsletter editor for the Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Oregon. Among the documentation that came with the car was a photo of McGill picking up Sophia Loren in it at the airport. The 1965 Giulia SS was visually striking, eliciting "oohs" and "aahs" whenever I stopped. But it was also a masterful GT, able to cruise at 100 mph for hours on end. The cockpit was spacious, with plenty of room behind the rear seats for luggage. I decided the car was going into my permanent collection and would never be for sale. And it wasn't-until that day in 1989 when a Japanese collector asked if I would take $50,000 for it. Although I already knew their answer, I asked some local AROC members if they thought I should sell the car to Japan. They said no, of course, then roundly condemned me for even considering it. "That's our car, and it needs to stay in Oregon," was the consensus. But when I asked them why it should be in Oregon instead of, say, Milan or Florence, I was met with stony silence. I offered to sell it to any of them for the same price. Once again, there was a unified response: "No SS is worth that kind of money." So they wanted it to stay, but didn't want to match the offer I had in hand. My choice became one of personally subsidizing a one-car tribute to Alfa Romeo in Oregon, or taking the $50,000 and running all the way to the bank. My sneakers nearly melted. Other SSs in similar condition-decent but not concours-sold for about the same price in 1989-90, at the peak of the market. After the 1991 crash, they fell to $20,000 and have remained there until recently. From the photos posted online, of which there were many-a good move by the seller-the car in question looked decent. It's nearly impossible, however, to judge panel straightness and fit from a 72 dpi rendition. When considering purchasing a car with a complicated shape like the SS, I would advise that you always look at the car yourself, or have someone you trust look at it for you. The front grille was simply wrong, a grille from another Alfa that had been cut down to fit. While the interior was done in the correct pattern, it was a garish mishmash of red and white, whereas the original vinyl probably would have been in monotone gray or black. But that's an easy fix. The unique, curved Plexiglass piece in front of the windshield, rumored to be necessary to keep the wipers from lifting at speed, was wrong. Instead it looked more like a low-rent fabrication job. Underhood, all appeared proper, although it's unfortunate the seller didn't list the engine number, as the blocks for the SS had their own special numbering system. From all appearances, this was a good but not great car. Three years ago, it would have struggled to break $22,500, but here there was spirited bidding all the way to $30,000. If this 1965 Giulia SS had been perfect, it might have gone to $35,000 or even higher. However, despite their svelte lines, SSs will never have the market velocity of the 1300-cc Spider and Sprint Veloces, perhaps because they simply don't perform as well. At this stage of my collecting, I want to own cars I haven't had before, rather than just recycle my experiences from the past. So as fond as I am of the SS, it's not at the top of my list. But if you haven't owned one, you owe it to yourself to put one in your garage for a while and enjoy this modestly priced GT with an appearance sure to attract attention. Given the flaws I detected on this particular 1965 Giulia SS, it's not one I'd want to own. But overall, I'd call the transaction fair for everyone involved.{/analysis}

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