PASSIONE ENGADINA

ALFA ROMEO GIULIA SPRINT GTC, 1965-1966

by DAVIDE PIAZZA

Who was she? Hardly anybody has seen or remembers one. Its career was very short and marked by technical problems; furthermore, its exorbitant cost considerably limited its volume of sales. Only 1000 cars were produced, of which we can count nowadays the surviving ones on the fingers of one hand. Although it never participated to Passione Engadina, I deemed it right to mention it to fans like me. I hope this article will serve as an incentive to some owners of this beautiful car. I am confident… In the photo, you can see a gorgeous Giulia Sprint GTA, a lighter version of the two-door GT. The latter was chosen as base model for the GTC. 

The Giulietta Spider had been out of production for some time by now and the Alfa Romeo’s management intended to expand the new Giulia range with a convertible version of the sedan model which was enjoying a sensational success. Thus, a prototype designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and manufactured by Carrozzeria Bertone was presented at the Turin Salon in 1964. Some details in the car body design didn’t work, but the marketing had already been announced, and here the first problems cropped up. The assembly lines at Bertone’s were occupied with the manufacturing of the Fiat 850 Spider – which was enjoying an amazing success – and they refused the order. Thus, it was decided to entrust the assembly to the prestigious Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, which was in a bad financial situation. The unusual choice was determined by the attempt to help the Touring’s management in memory of the past co-operation in the manufacturing of the wonderful cars of the ʼ40s. In those days, Carrozzeria Touring had wasted a capital by taking over some shares of the English group Rootes, paying in advance hundreds of million liras; unfortunately, Carrozzeria Touring almost went bankrupt. The former Alfa Romeo’s president in person made this generous attempt. Times gone by!

In 1965, the Giulia Sprint became GTC and its cost was Lit. 2,395,000. Too much for the public of the time. The Giulietta cost Lit. 1,819,000 – not a little money – but its glamour was completely different. As I said, the design didn’t convince, the body work looked awkward, also because of a quality hood which, on the contrary, seemed poor. Actually, it was poor. Unfortunately. If you happened to drive under the rain, and the hood was closed, had it been open you wouldn’t have noticed the difference. The rain poured in, soaking the carpet, which would rot in a few days. An unsolvable problem, given the fact that the design had been wrong from the beginning.

Not to mention the serious structural problems of the body work, insufficiently rigid to compensate for the lack of the roof; as I said, Carrozzeria Touring didn’t have the time nor the financial means for a proper design and this was the result. Alfa Romeo realized the catastrophe and in 1966 presented the Duetto, the legendary spider which had a world success.

The Giulia Spider GTC was blown away. The last assembled models were practically cleared through the Alfa Romeo’s network or sold abroad; about twenty ended up in the US, where nowadays it’s a very sought after model by collectors.

Nowadays the Giulia Sprint GTC is slowly coming out of the oblivion to which it had been condemned and is stirring more and more interest in historical cars gatherings; therefore, in the end, the design wasn’t so bad…

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