Badge of dis­tinc­tion on a lovely Ital­ian job

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - FEATURES - Keith Ward

WE are into the im­age of great mo­tor sport­ing her­itage here. The orig­i­nal 1950s’ Gi­uli­etta is rated in­side the Ital­ian com­pany as the first model to trans­port Alfa style and per­for­mance from race cir­cuit to show­room.

That green four-leaf clover, des­ig­nat­ing top trim in to­day’s range, first ap­peared in 1923. Competition driver Ugo Sivocci had it painted for good luck on what went on to be his first win­ning en­try in the Targa Flo­rio.

To all those car badge col­lec­tors on eBay: Is there a smarter em­blem any­where than Alfa’s: com­bin­ing the red cross on white of a cru­sader and a green ser­pent, based on the coat-of-arms of Mi­lan, its home city?

Drive an Alfa and you find peo­ple ogling it, re­spond­ing to its swag­ger. The me­chanic with a Ja­panese com­peti­tor at an event I at­tended pos­i­tively drooled over the Gi­uli­etta’s spe­cial red paint­work and ex­posed brake cal­lipers to match.

If the ex­haust note from the big-bore tailpipes is not as rasp­ing as it used to be, there’s still the jaunty air of the front num­ber-plate, worn cock­ily to the side.

So much for ap­peal. to the heart. For those cus­tomers whose heads rule, Alfa, via its par­ent, Fiat, is striv­ing to im­prove re­li­a­bil­ity of its cars and the ser­vice from its deal­ers, both low-scor­ing in con­sumer sur­veys.

The lat­est Gi­uli­etta, on a new chas­sis even­tu­ally to be shared with the next Fiat Brava, could be taken for a two-door coupé. It’s ac­tu­ally a five-door hatch­back with the rear door han­dles con­cealed and rear head­room re­stricted, com­pet­ing in the Golf-Fo­cusAs­tra sec­tor.

From a 13-strong range start­ing at £17,450, tak­ing in three petrol and three diesel en­gines and four lev­els of trim, our test car was top of the heap, with the hearti­est 235 bhp petrol unit in the posh­est Clover­leaf garb, at a whisker un­der £25,000.

That does get you sporty fea­tures such as side skirts, alu­minium kick plates and ped­als plus an ex­tra-low­ered

STYLE: The gor­geous Gi­uli­etta Clover­leaf.

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