Whether you would call her Giulia or Giulietta you'll always be talking about "The Italian Girlfriend". It is a car that incarnates not only technical refinement and quintessential Italian style, but the very best Italy has to offer. It doesn't matter if you look at it with nostalgia or burn with desire of owning it, the Giulia (or Giulietta) is the spirit of us Italians: lively and with an eye for style. The sonorous rumble of its twin-cam engine is like the voice of Domenico Modugno in Volare: it is the echo of an era made of dreams, hopes and joy of life. The history of this exceptional automobile is also the history of a piece of Italy in the world.
When it was first introduced to the public in 1955, the Giulietta Spider was enthusiastically welcomed by the press. Wanted strongly by Max Hoffman, the legendary American importer of sportscars, the Giulietta Spider became rapidly a worldwide icon of an era.
Franco Martinengo's timeless design for Pinin Farina (until 1961 it was still written separately) worked so well that "The Italian Girlfriend" remained in production without any significant design change for 10 years, from 1955 to 1965. However, we need to solve immediately a common misunderstanding: with the introduction of the famous 1.6 liter Giulia Berlina in 1962, Alfa Romeo decided to upgrade its small-displacement lineup of sprtscars, consisting in the Giulietta Spider by Pininfarina and in the Sprint by Bertone. 2 distinct models were then created: from the Giulietta there was the transition to the Giulia.
Although these 2 Alfa Romeos were almost identical to each other, they were actually two different models and were differentiated almost solely by their different displacement: the 80 hp 1.290 cc engine defined the Giulietta and the 92 hp 1.570cc unit defined the Giulia.
The Giulia, in its Sprint and Spider version was just the "upgrade" of the venerable but dated Giulietta. Aside from the bigger displacement, the Giulia had a longer wheelbase (50 mm), three-shoe front wheels drum brakes (later changed to discs), a new instrument cluster and a 5 speed gearbox.
Despite the different model names, Alfa Romeo continued to identify the new Sprint and Spider with the same project number of the Giulietta, (101) and not with the one of the Giulia (105). Nevertheless, the major difference was indeed under the bonnet: Alfa's engineers used the same twin cam engine of the Giulia T.I., which had more power and a more vigorous power delivery, allowing "The Italian Girlfriend" to reach its definitive version. 2 variants were produced, known as the Normale, with a single twin-choke Weber carburetor and the Veloce more appealing with its two twin choke Webers. The latter, which is rarer, was produced between 1964 and 1965 and it was capable of a healthy 113 hp and to reach 171 km/h.
The Giulia Spider Veloce is the ultimate evolution of the quintessential car of the dolce vita. Alfa Romeo's Spider is synonymous with the elegance and the vitality of a small sportscar full with character and energy that conquers the heart of anyone who climbs onboard. Wanting to pay homage to this great Italian automobile, we took a 1964 example and let it loose on some country roads, like it would have done when it was new. The car intended as an object of desire, as an instrument of emancipation of individuality and style: this is the spider according to Alfa Romeo.
Jacopo Villa, contributor
Photo credits: Federico Bajetti for The Outlierman © 2018
Car: courtesy of Colpani Motori
My 65 Spider Veloce and I have shared nearly 50 years together. While others have come and gone she has remained my most beautiful and soulful mistress.
sono un fortunato che possiedo una Giulia 1600 spider di colore rosso conservata mai restaurata è un auto che io non venderò mai perché è il fiore all’occhiello delle auto italiane nel mondo.
Lovely post! So romantic and nostalgic!
Ciao, Andrea! It’s Julie and Don ! My Alfa Giulietta Veloce is rosso e nero =1958! Loved seeing you drive the 1964! We will be coming to Rome and then off to Puglia to stay in a friend’s villa (there is an extra bedroom if you want to join us for several days between June 16-June 23!). We will arrive in Roma June 11 and depart on Saturday, June 16! Let me know if you can join us!