BEST OF SHOW 1961 ALFA ROMEO GI­ULI­ETTA SPRINT SPE­CIALE

Die Cast X - - KIT CAR GARAGE - By Matt Boyd

1:18 | $130

We all know the clas­sic tale of star­crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet ended trag­i­cally in Re­nais­sance-era Verona, but one retelling—some 400 years later (give or take) and 200 miles west in Turin—ended in a much hap­pier union. That one was penned not by Shake­speare but by Franco Scaglione, mas­ter de­signer at Ber­tone. And he worked not on parch­ment but in alu­minum and steel. This lovely Gi­uli­etta (the Ital­ian spell­ing, of course) is still our beau­ti­ful hero­ine, and this time she be­comes the pride of the house of Romeo! Be­hold the Alfa Romeo Gi­uli­etta Sprint Spe­ciale (SS). Oddly enough, this spe­cial Gi­uli­etta owes her beauty in part to a cer­tain BAT­mo­bile. No, not that one. I’m talk­ing about Ber­tone’s “Ber­linetta Aero­d­i­nam­ica Tec­nica” de­sign stud­ies based on Alfa’s 1900 chas­sis and which would come to be known col­lec­tively as the Alfa Romeo

“BAT” cars. They too were penned by Scaglione, and the third—1955’s BAT 9—bears a strik­ing re­sem­blance to the Gi­uli­etta SS. Aero­dy­nam­ics gov­ern the de­sign of both, al­low­ing the pro­duc­tion SS to achieve an as­tound­ing 0.28 drag co­ef­fi­cient—bet­ter than most pro­duc­tion cars to­day! That al­lowed it to hit an im­pres­sive 124mph de­spite be­ing pow­ered by a tiny 1.3L 100hp en­gine.

The Best of Show Gi­uli­etta SS is badged as a 1961 model, which puts it in the mid­dle phase of SS pro­duc­tion. Early cars have what’s re­ferred to by col­lec­tors as the “drop nose”—a more steeply raked bon­net and a smaller grille open­ing. This car has the later “high nose,” typ­i­fied by the larger grille open­ing and more space on the lower va­lence for a full-width front bumper, which most high-nose cars came equipped with. This car omits the bumper, sug­gest­ing a more com­pe­ti­tion-ori­ented car, though, truth be told, the SS—with its rel­a­tively heavy steel body and lav­ish in­te­rior—was much more of a GT than a pure racer, de­spite its small size and 2-place ac­com­mo­da­tions. In late 1960, an up­rated ver­sion of the 1.3L In­line-4 was made avail­able, mak­ing 112hp through higher com­pres­sion, a more ag­gres­sive cam, and sev­eral other im­prove­ments. And one pre­sumes a 1961 car of this setup would have that, although, since it’s a sealed-body resin piece, that is left to spec­u­la­tion.

Scaglione’s body­work re­quires no spec­u­la­tion—it is stun­ning. The sig­na­ture Alfa shield—com­plete with its Mi­lanese red cross on the left and a crowned ser­pent eat­ing some hap­less man on the right—adorns the grille, the trunk, the hub­caps, and also the steer­ing­wheel but­ton. The model cap­tures the deeply ta­pered tail and the semi-en­closed wheel arches with their prom­i­nent brows on the front—both of which greatly con­trib­ute to the car’s ex­tra­or­di­nary beauty and aero ef­fi­ciency. The wheels are ex­cel­lent. The tires have good tread mold­ing, but their side­wall height is too tall, caus­ing the over­all di­am­e­ter to be a bit too large for the wheel open­ings. The other miss is the win­dow trim. The trim is done with sil­ver­col­ored tape, and it doesn’t cover the some of the glue seams on the win­dows, es­pe­cially around the A-pil­lars. The Alfa and Ber­tone badges are ex­pertly ren­dered, and there’s a ver­ti­cal wind de­flec­tor at the base of the wind­screen, which is a cool added de­tail. Best of all is the fin­ish. The vi­brant Alfa red is liq­uid smooth and ac­cents the lus­cious curves of the body per­fectly. The Gi­uli­etta SS com­mands six-digit auc­tion prices these days. The BoS model is sub­stan­tially more af­ford­able, but be­ing lim­ited to just 504 pieces, it won’t nec­es­sar­ily stay that way. Our ad­vice? Grab one now so that your Romeo Gi­uli­etta story doesn’t end in tragedy.

The ta­pered tail shape isn’t just beau­ti­ful—it gives the Gi­uli­etta SS an ex­tra­or­di­nary 0.28 drag co­ef­fi­cient.

Above: Franco Scaglione’s Sprint Spe­ciale body styling closely fol­lows his BAT 9 de­sign of a few years ear­lier. BoS cap­tures the lus­cious curves beau­ti­fully, and the fin­ish is gor­geous. Be­low: In­te­rior de­tail is faith­ful to the orig­i­nal, right down to the Alfa crest on the steer­ing-wheel but­ton.

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