In the eyes of classic car enthusiasts, Alfa Romeo sportscars have been the object of
admiration since the Twenties.
Some of the most outstanding include:
6C 1750 Gran Sport (1930)
This is one of the most interesting of the many cars in the 6C 1750
'family', and the one that contributed most to the aura of racing Alfa Romeos in the
Thirties. For enthusiasts, this assertive convertible with its aluminium bodywork by
Zagato (other bodywork specialists such as Touring, Castagna and Garavini also built
convertibles on the same mechanicals), remains first and foremost 'Nuvolari's car'.
It was with this car that the great driver from Mantua humbled his
adversaries on the 1930 Mule Miglia, crossing the finishing line in front of three other
works 1750 GSs in the race.
In response to requests from an 6lite group of Alfa fans, the 1750 Gran
Turismo Compressore was derived directly from the 1750 Gran Sport; 159 were built in
1931-32, mostly with a metallic body by Alfa Romeo, but it too was the subject of styling
exercises by major bodywork specialists of the time, including Touring, whose Spider
version won first prize at the Villa d'Este Elegance competition in 1931.
2500 Super Sport Freccia d'Oro (1947)
Although its mechanical specification was designed before the war, this
model, on which Alfa Romeo concentrated its manufacturing activities immediately after the
Second World War, anticipated the period of intense innovation that Alfa was about to
Its straight-6, twin cam, 2443 cc, 105 bhp engine was combined with a
four speed all synchro gearbox controlled by a lever on the steering column; and the
advanced aerodynamic two-door body of the saloon version, built by Alfa itself, was welded
to the chassis, paving the way for the successful stress-bearing structure of the future.
Saloon versions of the 2500 Super Sport could seat five; three in the front and two in the
The saloon is greatly admired by lovers of prestigious period cars, but
it is the streamlined Coup6 and Cabriolet versions built on the chassis of the 2500 Super
Sport by Pinin Farina, Touring and Boneschi, that are authentic Alfa sports cars, capable
of reaching 100 mph with ease in their day, thanks to their lightweight bodies.
1900 Super Sprint Coupe (1954)
This streamlined 2+2 coupe derived from the saloon with which Alfa
Romeo had undertaken mass production in 1950, was the first Alfa Romeo sportscar to be
accessible to a larger public than the elite addressed hitherto by Alfa's Granturismo
Its 4-cylinder in-line engine had a capacity of only 1975 cc, but power
was boosted to 115 bhp.
Styling received a strong imprint from the three-lobe front grille,
compact, light-filled interior, and the' unusual up-turned trapezium rear window. The
design 'borrowed' a number of successful elements from the previous 6C 2500 'Villa
d'Este', also echoed in the Cabriolet by Pinin Farina, which appeared in the same period.
The outstanding performance of the 1900 Super Sprint was made possible
by exceptionally light bodywork. This was designed by Touring using an exclusive
'Superlight' construction technique, based on the use of hand-beaten aluminium sheet,
stapled to a frame of small steel pipes and tubes welded to the floorpan.
1900 Super Sprint Cabriolet (1954)
In 1951, when it commissioned Touring to design the Coup6, Alfa Romeo
entrusted Pinin Farina with the task of creating a convertible version.
Pinin Farina's convertible, like Touring's coupe, reflected typical
Alfa styling, with the three-lobe front grille, which Alfa had expressly asked the
coachbuilders to retain, in consideration of the fact that both models would be marketed
through the Alfa Romeo dealer network.
The development of this derivative of the 1900 caused considerable
engineering problems, as it had for the Coup& The body could no longer be built on a
frame, as it had been in the past, but on a steel floorpan - the 1900 saloon was the first
Alfa with a stress-bearing body. It called for an enormous amount of engineering design
work to create a suitable frame that was sufficiently stiff.
Two successive series of the 1900 Cabriolet were built up to 1958, with
Sprint (1884 cc and 100 bhp engine) and Super Sprint (1975 cc, 115 bhp) mechanicals.
Giulietta Sprint Coupe (1954)
This 2+2 coupe, with body by Bertone, was immediately embraced by
Italian and foreign enthusiasts; it marked a second fundamental step by Alfa Romeo,
immediately after the launch of the 1900 SS, in its new strategy of producing sportscars
accessible to a larger public. This strategy was underlined by the unusual decision to
present the Coupe before the saloon from which it was derived, and in fact it made its
public debut at the Turin Motor Show in April 1954, one year before the Giulietta.
Compact size, low running costs, a top speed of 100 mph, sophisticated
suspension, and an extremely smooth gearchange - with lever positioned under the steering
wheel until 1958; these were particular features of the Giulietta Sprint, which stayed in
production until 1962, and is considered an ageless Alfa Romeo by devotees of the marque.
Giulietta Spider (1955)
Alfa Romeo commissioned both Bertone and Pinin Farina to make proposals
for a convertible version of the Giulietta, which, like the Coupe, was given the go-ahead
Romeo before the launch of the saloon, in order to compare the
submissions of both designers. The project was of particular importance because it was
awaited with great expectations not only by European markets, but also in the United
In the end, Pinin Farina won the day, presenting a prototype
distinguished once again by outstanding balance and elegance.
The low, compact lines of the Giulietta Spider, which used the Sprint
floorpan with a shorter wheelbase, provided the secret of its enormous international
success, which was aided by comparison with technologically less advanced contemporary
British sports cars, and with the Alfa's remarkable 100 mph performance that belied its
relatively small engine (1290 cc, 80 bhp).
As a result, this fascinating Alfa Romeo soon became fashionable
transport in exclusive circles, and its image was further enhanced by numerous racing
Over 17,000 were built up to 1962, including the subsequent Veloce
version, with power boosted to 90 bhp.
GT Junior (1966)
The appearance of this 4-seater coup6 in 1966, with its modern, elegant
lines, aimed, as its name suggested, at younger customers, was further confirmation of
Alfa Romeo's role as a specialist manufacturer of sportscars.
The bodywork of the GT Junior, designed by Bertone to be compact,
streamlined and aerodynamic, echoed that of the more powerful Giulia Sprint GT created
three years earlier, although in somewhat simplified form. It was constructed, together
with the car's other components, in the new Arese factory at Milan, and not at the
designer's bodywork premises like sportscars of the past.
In 1969, the GT Junior received a number of substantial improvements to
its mechanical components, derived from the Giulia. It was powered by a revised version of
the 1290 cc four cylinder twin cam engine, which now delivered 89 bhp. A version with much
lighter bodywork, built for Group 2 Touring Car events, was prepared in 1967 by Autodelta,
powered by a specially prepared 140 bhp engine.
Spider 1600 Duetto (1966)
This model resulted from a sophisticated styling project, the last
undertaken by Battista Pinin Farina before his death. Elaborating on certain principles
submitted a year previously in a Giulietta Spider Speciale Aerodynamica prototype, the
great designer translated a number of original ideas into reality, such as the sloping,
forward-reaching front, the plexiglass headlights, the deep slash in the sides, the
lentiform shape and the strongly rounded rear end.
Based on the mechanicals of the earlier Giulia 1600 Spider, the new
Alfa Romeo sports car - named Duetto as a result of a competition, but also known to
enthusiasts by the nickname, Cuttlefish - was powered by a new version of the well-known
1570 cc twin cam unit producing 109 bhp.
With a personality and appeal undimmed by passing years, this inimitable Alfa Romeo was
destined to have a long, successful life in markets all over the world, including North
America where the renown it won as actor Dustin Hoffman's chosen transport in the film,
The Graduate, caused it to be marketed there with the same name as the film.
Numerous versions were introduced, with only marginal alterations to the styling, and
different engines became available, including a 1.3 litre unit that powered the Junior