|1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale coupe
This car sold for $52,440 including premium at the Bonhams Goodwood, UK sale held Friday, July 2, 2010.
The Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale is one of the undiscovered treasures of post-war Italian GT cars. A direct descendant of the extraordinary Berlina Aerodinamica Technica, or BAT, show cars of the early- and mid-1950s, they bring a level of style rarely matched in a production car from a major manufacturer.
Their sensually curving bodies are not only beautiful— but look slippery and aerodynamic, even if their drag coefficient is actually higher than that of the boxy Giulia Super sedan.
Originally conceived as a performance model, the Giulietta Sprint Speciale was overshadowed in period by the lighter-weight competition Giuliettas and Giulias from Zagato, which achieved the widespread success on the track that eluded the Bertone car. As described above, Sprint Speciales were run in local and regional Italian events in period and occasionally finished well in the absence of more competent models.
In today’s vintage racing, with the mechanical upgrades and development available, the SS can be a more formidable mount than was the case in period. Reported to be well used in vintage events, a great deal of money has been spent on this Bertone-bodied car to keep it up to date and competitive.
The value of Sprint Speciales has not increased the way many have expected over the years. Even during the 1980s boom, SS prices rarely hit the $60k mark. Since the latest market rise, we’ve been awaiting the elusive $100k Sprint Speciale. It’s been a long wait, as the best examples haven’t come to market. The owners of the best examples are waiting to see someone else offer a great car first.
Paul Hardiman, reporting for SCM at this sale, called this car a good buy for “…a fast, famous car.” He also mentioned its previous appearance in the SCM database, (SCM # 34544) when Bonhams sold it in 2004 for $31,395. At that time it was fully race-prepared and a bit event-worn, but the car was ready to use and came with the added cachet—or notoriety— of past ownership by titled crook Lord “Jailhouse” Brocket. Still used in anger and with almost $82k reported spent on it, this SS was bought for half the money invested. Given that restoring this car to street condition would be an expensive proposition, it’s fair to assume that it will remain an event-only car. As such, that necessarily limits its market. Given that situation, the $52k realized for this car is indicative of rising values for the SS.
A contrast and a complement to this sale can be seen in the 1966 Giulia Sprint Speciale sold by Bonhams at their June 2010 sale in Greenwich, CT (SCM September 2010, p.74). A superb 35,000-original-mile example in excellent condition, it was the best I have ever seen at auction and one of the best I’ve seen for sale for years. It made a market-high $74,295 and was worth every cent. If one of the rare, early “Low Nose” initial production cars were offered for sale, it would easily break the $100k mark. If you love Alfas, are partial to extravagant Italian coachwork, can physically fit inside and are looking for a great driving car that might actually be on an upward value trend, the Sprint Speciale might be a car for you. This car was well-bought and well-sold.