1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA

Courtesy of Bonhams

Introduced in 1965, the GTA — the A stood for Alleggerita (lightened) — was the official competition version of the Giulia Sprint GT, and it was produced in both road and race variants. The latter, as usual, was the responsibility of the factory’s Autodelta competitions department, which had been founded in 1961 as an independent company by Carlo Chiti and Ludovico Chizzola, and subsequently absorbed by Alfa Romeo.

Visually almost indistinguishable from the road-going Sprint GT, the GTA differed by virtue of its aluminum body panels, Plexiglas side and rear windows and lightened interior fittings and trim. As a result, the GTA tipped the scales at around 200 kilograms (440 pounds) lighter than the stock steel-bodied car.

Alfa’s classic twin-cam 1,570-cc four underwent extensive modification for the GTA, the angle between the valves being reduced from 90 to 80 degrees and the valve sizes substantially increased. As there was no longer room between them for a central spark plug, a change was made to twin-plug ignition. In road trim, the revised engine produced 115 horsepower, with up to an incredible 170 horsepower available in race tune.

The GTA made its racing debut on March 20, 1966, at Monza, where Andrea de Adamich and Teodoro Zeccoli triumphed in the Jolly Club Four-Hour Race. From then on, the Autodelta-prepared GTAs enjoyed outstanding success, winning the European Touring Car Championship three years running from 1966 to ’68. The Championship’s 1,300-cc class had long been the preserve of the Mini Cooper, but that would all change in 1968 with the arrival of the GTA 1300 Junior, which for the next few years would enjoy dominance equal to that of the Mini in the early ’60s.

An accompanying letter from the Archivio Storico Alfa Romeo states that the chassis number AR 752621 corresponds with a right-hand-drive Giulia Sprint GTA manufactured on July 27, 1965, and sold on April 16, 1966, to one Salvatore Ferragamo of Firenze (Florence). Nothing is known of its subsequent history, although the copy of a French Carte Grise on file shows that the car was registered in that country in 2002. In September of 2002, the Alfa was sold at the Le Mans auction to the current vendor and brought to the U.K., being registered there on February 1, 2003. The catalog description stated that the car had had some racing history in Germany, as evidenced by the presence of a roll cage and fire extinguisher, and that it had been restored in 1999. Its condition was described as excellent.

Since its acquisition by the current vendor, a well-known and respected historic racer, the GTA has been used for competition in events such as the Tour Auto and the UT2C series at Paul Ricard, Monza, and the mighty Spa. Ongoing maintenance and preparation has been carried out by respected specialists Lanzante Ltd. of Petersfield, Hampshire. Offered with V5C registration document and HTP papers issued in 2005, the car was last used circa 2010.

The Alfa Romeo GTA is the car for all competition seasons, equally at home on road, hillclimb or track.

 

Mark Wigginton

Mark Wigginton - SCM Contributor

Mark knows his way around a keyboard as well as a road course. He traded a 25-year career in newspaper journalism, with senior editor positions in Los Angeles, San Jose and Portland, OR, for the chance to manage Portland International Raceway in 2000. It was a case of moving from one love affair to another, driven by his love of racing nurtured as a teen turned loose at Riverside Raceway. He went into newspapers out of college as a way to get involved in racing, deciding a press pass was the fastest way to the front of the grid. He regularly reviews motorsports books for SCM, and he’s always in search of the elusive pony in the pile.

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