Page Index
History in short
The Prototypes
Giulietta SS - The 750 SS Low Noses
Giulietta SS The "Second Series"
Giulia SS
Sources


German Version

History in short

The prototypes and series production cars of the Sprint Speciale were introduced to the public at the following occasions:

Prototypes 30. October 1957

March 1958

Autumn 1958

Autosalon Turin

Autosalon Geneva

Autosalon Turin

Giulietta SS June, 24th 1959 official presentation - Autodromo Monza
Giulia SS March  1963 Autosalon Geneva

Giulietta Sprint
BAT 5
Sprint Spinta

The Prototypes

"Handbuilt ... and decidedly expensive".This is the title of a English sales brochure from the beginning of the sixties. And it goes on: "The Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 SS - For the man who has everything, here is the car to keep him company. ... The price is GBP 2394.1.3 including tax. Expensive ? Naturally ! What else would you expect a hand-built Alfa to be ?". The Giulia SS a luxury coupe ?! Well more or less, but that was not the original idea when the car was originally conceived by Bertone in the fifities.

During that time Alfa Romeo enjoyed a surprising success with their little Giuliettas. The coupe versions the Giulietta Sprint and even more the Sprint Veloce were also successful on the race track. But there was competition from another Alfa. Zagato built a lighter version of the Sprint Veloce - the SVZ (Sprint Veloce Zagato) on special request from his customers. The SVZ was not an official Alfa model but is was considerably faster than the Sprint Veloces and more successful on the race tracks. So there had to be an (official) answer from Alfa and Bertone.

At that time Bertone and his chief designer Franco Scaglione - he was in charge of the design studio from 1951 to1959 - experimented with aerodynamic shapes. The results were the dramatic styling exercises BAT 5, BAT 7 and BAT 9 (BAT = Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica). Built on 1900 Sprint chassis they explored streamlining and aeorodynamic possibilities ... and served as show cars as well.

So for the new high-performance Alfa coupe Scaglione used the experiences gained from the BATs and designed a coupe on a shortened (130mm) Giulietta Sprint platform.

This protoype was internally called the Sprint Spinta. The general teardrop-like shape was reminiscent of the BAT 9, especially the roof line and viewed from above. There was no traditional Alfa grille, instead there was an Ferrari-like egg-crate grille. There were also no bumpers. The flashing lights were situated on the side between headlamp and wheelarch. The squalo featured large front and rear overhangs and it was 110mm lower than the standard Giulietta Sprint. The tapering rear was cut off sharply - the so-called Kamm-tail (after the theories of Prof. Wunibald Kamm). This became really popular on racing cars some years later during the sixties. At the rear there were single small taillights and a script saying Giulietta Speciale. Between the rear wheelarches and the tail there were chromed "bumpers".  The windscreen wipers had divergent wiper blades and inside there was no rear view mirror.

The panels were made out of aluminium and the rear quarter windows and the rear window were made of plexiglass. Extensive tests were carried out to improve the form of the car. First scale models were tested in the Moto Guzzi wind tunnel; then testing with the prototype moved to the Milan-Turin autostrada. Wool tufts were attached to the car to show the airflow at speed - it revealed a drag coefficient around 0.28.

The engine was basically a  standard Sprint Veloce but due to production tolerances had 10 percent more power. It also had a 5-speed gearbox - a sensation for that time !

This protoype was presented in October/November 1957 in Turin as the Sprint Speciale.

A second protoype was prepared for the Geneva Auto Salon in March 1958, maybe it was the rebodied Turin prototype. There were some modifictions to make the car more usable: the front and rear overhangs had been reduced (at the front by 50mm) also the droop of hood and trunk. The overall height was increased by 20mm.

That was by far not the last stage in the evolution. A third prototype appeared a few month later at the Turin Autosalon. It foreshadowed the "definitive" form of the production model: the overhangs were again reduced. It now had two horizontal round lights at the rear with the reflectors placed in between. At the front the flashing lights moved from the side to below the headlights. But most noticeable of all was the addition of the traditional Alfa heart at the front.

Another addition was the small plexiglass shield in front of the windscreen. You will find two theories in the literature: a bug deflector and a aerodynamic help for the windscreen wipers, so that they won't lift off the windscreen at high speeds. From my experience I think its the first one: after driving on the highway this plexiglass screen is full of insects whereas there are almost none on the windscreen. Other changes were the convergent wiper blades.

 


Sales folder of "lownose"

"lownose" Giulietta

Giulietta SS - The 750 SS Low Noses

The official presentation for the press was on 24.June 1959 on the Monza race track. Around 20 cars were present at the race track for testing.  As we can assume from the selection of this special location Alfa still had racing in mind with their new coupe.

Changes since the last protoype were the five slots cut in the bonnet to reduce overpressure in the engine compartment. This time the (bigger) rear lights were arranged vertically with the reflector placed beside. The interior was not as spartan as the prototypes. A new Nardi-designed steering wheel was added as well as a rear view mirror. There is also evidence that some minor changes were made throughout this initial production run.

The first production run were the so-called "low-nose" SS. Although most of the car are 101 parts the ID plate  says 750SS.  The serial #'s are from AR10120 0001 to AR 10120 0101. These 101 cars (100 is the minimum for FIA GT class homologation) were produced mostly throughout 1959, five examples were produced in 1960 (no, not the last chassis numbers, but number 00002, 00004, 00005, 00007, 00008). 60 SSs were painted red (Rosso Alfa), 40 white (Bianco Gardenia)  and one grey (Grigio Charissimo).

Four cars were explicitly called alleggerita in the production statistics (serial #: 00004, 00005, 00007, 00009). So maybe these were the only all-aluminium bodied cars - the rest featured doors hood and trunk made in aluminium.


Bertone brochure

Giulietta SS - The "Second Series"

During the first year it became clear that the Giulietta SS was too heavy to be a serious contender for Zagatos SVZ. As a comparison: the SVZs power-to-weight ratio is 8,3 kg/HP whereas the SSs is 8,6 kg/HP. Once again Zagato entered the scene. This time with official Alfa support they built a racing coupe on the SS platform - the SZ. This was much more the racer Alfa has originally intended and it revived the old relationship between Alfa and Zagato and led eventually to a series of racing cars (SZ2, TZ, TZ2). By the way the SZs power-to-weight ratio is 7,7 kg/HP.

So what should Alfa do with the SS ? They decided to relaunch the car as a high-performance, top-of-the-line coupe. Gone were the aluminium doors (but it retained aluminium bonnet and boot lid) and the plexiglass windows. The nose section was again modified as all of the fenderlines - the front (including the headlamps) was raised about 70mm to conform to US regulations. Bumpers were fitted front and rear. The bootlid now extended right to the edge of the tail. Also the interior was changed and became more comfortable. Minimal sound padding was added. This new version was presented at the Geneva Autosalon in 1960.

Mechanically the engine changed from 750 specifications to 101 series. This means several detail changes to the engine were made including the fitting of new  carburetors (Weber DCOE2 instead of DCO3). The type designation now officially changed from 750SS to 101.20.

This version now was the final version which was not greatly changed until the production of the SS stopped in 1966.

 


Press photo of Giulia SS

Giulia SS

The Giulia SS was introduced in March 1963 at the Geneva Auto Salon. It was fitted with the 112 bhp 1600ccm engine that was later to appear in the TI Super and Spider Veloce and the standard TZ. The first 200 cars were fitted with the three-shoe drum brake on front, the later models had disc brakes. The car was capable of reaching 200 km/h. Road & Track tested the car in May 1966 and found: "The additional torque of the 1570-cc engine is at once delightfully apparent to those who have driven the 1290-cc version. ... The engine's liveliness and flexibility unquestionably adds greatly to the driver's pleasure"

Externally the car could be distinguished from the Giulietta by the different flashing lights and side scripts, which first read Giulia SS and later 1600 SS.

The interior became also more comfortable: the instruments on the dashboard had a different arrangement, the bottom of the dashboard was padded with the same material as the seats. There is a big handle on the passenger side (which is badly needed, because the seats offer little support). An ashtray was added on top of the gearbox tunnel behind the gearshift lever. The area behind the seats now looked like a real bench for passengers, but was only good for luggage - there was no room in the trunk for it anyway. The only thing which was quite out of place in the interior was the yellow VDO-window-washer bag placed to the left of the clutch pedal.

The Giulia SS was produced until 1966 - at that time it was the last survivor of the 101 series.

 

   
   

Sources

Veloce - The racing Giuliettas Hughes; Da Prato; 1989
Alfa Romeo Giulietta Angelo Tito Anselmi; 1986
Auto d'Epoca, Anno XII - N.10 Renzo DeZottis; Oct 1995
Road & Track - road test May 1966

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