Mad Italian: 1958 Alfa Romeo Guilietta Spider

Found nearly 20 years ago with no Alfa drivetrain left, this solid body Guilietta Spider was converted into a Hot Rod. Packing a punch from a Small Block Chevrolet, this Alfa is described as “somewhat unrefined, but scary fast”. Lacking all Italian components other than the body, this Alfa may be the most reliable yet. This Mad Italian could be yours for $15,000. Find it here on Hemmings out of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Beneath the monstrous cowl hood lies the 350 cubic inch Small Block Chevrolet V8 that looks absolutely mammoth sized in the Alfa. We aren’t exactly sure how the exhaust is routed, but it certainly must have been a labor of love to build. Also we are confident doing spark plugs are a semi-difficult task as well. Likely needing two shoe horns and some Crisco, this V8 is nicely fit into the engine bay. Despite its lack of room, the engine and bay are tidy. There does appear to be some minor surface rust forming on the firewall, and around the brake master cylinder area. Also there are a couple of cracks in the paint on the passenger side front edge of the hood opening. Tragically to us, this beastly Alfa transmits its power through an automatic transmission, versus a manual transmission. Either way, we are certain that this Alfa is a hand full!

Inside of this lovely little Italian is a clean and orderly interior. There is a custom oversized tunnel fitted, as well as a custom center console that is nicely laid out with its engine turned aluminum. The factory gauges are in poor condition and they appear nonoperational. There are some auxiliary gauges added to this Alfa in a very custom gauge pod. Personally we would ditch the current steering wheel for something a little classier, perhaps an original style wheel, or a vintage style aluminum wheel. The seats, door panels, and carpeting all look nice and are in good shape. Really very little stands out about the interior other than some minor dust that has collected on the dash, and on the custom gauges.

The deep metallic paint is certainly different for a Guilietta, but it has a sinister appeal. The paint and body work on this Alfa look solid, minus a couple of cracks around the hood area. The front bumpers are present with this car, but are described as “dilapidated”. The rear bumper is painted black, as are the side pipes, the tail light bezels, and the trim around the Alfa badge on the trunk lid.  The door handles, the trunk hinges, and the tear drop grill are still chromed. Also we would promptly remove the “custom” wheels for something a little more interesting and stately. After ditching the wheels we would try to tone down that massive hood scoop as well. We would opt for a smaller scoop that resembled a 1960’s Ferrari scoop, being a more appropriate fit for this Guilietta. A little rough around the edges, and certainly different, would you let this Mad Italian follow you home?

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Comments

  1. Jay M

    Pretty cool build. I’m not crazy about the wheels or the hood, but that was the style at one time.
    I’d like too see it with the new Camaros turbo 4 cyl/manual trans, and some serious autocross wheels & tires.
    A more balanced package…

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  2. Bob Hess

    This looks like fun! As for the steering wheel… I have one of the originals hanging on my wall with a Porsche 356 horn button in it. Beautiful piece of work but as uncomfortable to use as a garbage can lid. Our two race cars have the same steering wheels in them as is on this car and I can tell you that they are much more pleasant to drive than the originals.

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  3. Bob Hess

    Oh… agree on the wheels.

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  4. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    I think Jay’s idea of a powerful 4-cylinder engine instead of the big Chevy V8 would be the right way to go. Far more balanced, as he said.

    But I don’t expect anything like that will happen. Too much work, too much risk that the car has been altered so much—like the Ford live rear axle—that the car is beyond converting back to 4-cylinders.

    Someone might buy it for the rod factor, but I doubt that it will ever get driven much. It’s a niche within a niche vehicle. No thanks.

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  5. hhaleblian

    Stupid is as stupid does

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  6. James

    The VIN indicates it might be a rare Veloce model. Still cool and I would not mind having it after I cleaned it up a bit.

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  7. Klharper

    How to turn a 115k car into a 15k car

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  8. John P

    Pretty sure you guys showed us all this Alfa-wreck previously.. Still a sad looking example..

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  9. Francisco

    This car conversion is a sin and it’s builder should go to confession, or else he’ll burn in hell.

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  10. grant

    I’d prefer it stock but this is just gorgeous.

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  11. BradL

    The VIN plate looks like a reproduction, and the tell tale signs of being a true Veloce have probably been cut away. It would take a lot to convince me.

    The paint work looks like a fast cover to me. You can see where they masked around the instruments instead of removing them, and there’s older red paint showing around the inner door areas.

    Sadly, this is probably worth less than the sand cast DCO3’s it would take to restore this, presuming it’s actually a Veloce.

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  12. Blindmarc

    Better on the road, than a slow ass Italian pos sitting in a garage. In stock form this thing wouldn’t hit 100 mph pushed off a cliff.

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    • rapple

      Yeah, if you know anything about Alfas it’s all about hitting 100……
      Perfect user name for the comment.

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      • Blindmarc

        Why thank you! It’s still a slow pos from the factory. Typical of foreign cars of this period.

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  13. Mark in WNC

    No cure for stupid.

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  14. RandyS

    Like! I agree with the author, change wheels and hood. Drive the heck out of it! $15k is likely too rich for it though, $8500 is more in line with this toy.

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  15. Somer

    This has been around for a while. Supposedly sold on eBay a while back.

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  16. KeithK

    Most critics here would absolutely drool over a Shelby Cobra. Didn’t Carroll Shelby do the same thing decades ago with a little British sports car with no guts. I know , I know ,Italian sacrilege but at least this guy did something and made a driver. All the poo- pooers out there would most likely slam this guy for “flipping” an engineless shell. To each his own. Burn the tires off this SOB then replace them with something more period. Then do it again!

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    • Dolphin Dolphin Staff

      Keith, did Shelby do the same thing? Not exactly.

      Shelby used the lightweight Ford 289 (weight: 450#) and the 4-speed (90#), total weight: 540#

      This Alfa Giulietta uses the Chevy 350 small block (575#) and the Turbo Hydramatic auto trans (120# to 135# depending on model), total weight: 695# or 710#

      That difference of 155# or 170# is resting mostly over the front wheels of that lightweight Alfa Giulietta, and based on what Bruce Best said below, it makes a big difference to the handling—and not for the better.

      And on the *original* Cobra…..that was a very successful car in many ways, but if you talk to or read drivers’ comments about how it was on the track most drivers had no love for the original Cobra as a serious race car with the race engine. Reports saying that they were less than stable at speed on road courses say a lot about why Shelby went to a completely different chassis for the later series Cobras. The original AC chassis wasn’t good enough for all that power, even with the lightweight 289 and 4-speed.

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      • KeithK

        Your math is spot on and your assumptions on poor handling and stopping are completely valid. The spirit of the build is identical . Light car + big engine + Italian looks = one hell of a good time.

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  17. rustylink

    I guess it’s neat if you really had no other way to go with it. I am sure it’s scary fast – that big old lump up front makes this thing dive into the corners. He’s had to shear some fenders around the alternator/radiator to get it to fit – never a good thing. At the end of the day it’s maybe a 7K car…

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  18. M/K

    this p.o.s. was saved by good old America ingenuity! say what you will all ye nay sayers but it never ran so good. why a “4banger for balance”? the magic of the 350 is instantaneous oversteer produced by the right foot just like the cobra of old. oh yea drift the alfa

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  19. Joe Haska

    I think you could take this car, and make Lemonade out of Lemons!

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  20. rando

    Fix the hood, put on a set of minilites or other period sports car wheels and drive it like ya stole it! Did these ever have racing stripes? Maybe some stripes. Why not? too far modified to be resto worthy – and then you can’t enjoy it for fear of runing the value. Can’t please everyone. So why not enjoy it as a hot rod/sports car? Keep it moving for people to enjoy or ridicule.

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  21. Marco

    Nice way to ruin an Alfa. Well, not even nice.

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  22. Bruce Best

    I have driven an alfa Giulia that had this treatment and it was a vicious handling witch of a car. Even with disc brakes the car could neither stop or corner well and was so nose heavy that the handling was truly dangerous.

    I would not let anybody sell this if I could stop it. Even if you doubled the size of the tires the would still be too small and controlling the reactions of the rear axle is no small thing in a car with this much power and so short a wheel base. If you wish to screw something up with too much power go an purchase a Shelby Cobra Kit Car and kill yourself that way.

    This is sadly no long an Alfa but just a collection of Alfa parts that can be used by somebody in the future to make theirs better. Selling it as it is posted should be a criminal act for the danger it imposes to the public, Sadly I am certain he will sell it to somebody who does not know what they are doing and wants performance. I hope that his survivors sue the life blood out of the seller after that persons gets killed.

    CARS are a BALANCE, Too much power, too small tires, and not enough brakes can be driven but only by an expert and even then it is dangerous. Just look at the F-1 cars of the 1950’s and they had I am certain far better brakes and suspension then this travesty.

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    • Dolphin Dolphin Staff

      Thank you Bruce for telling how a very small Alfa with a very big cast iron V8 installed is like on the road. What you have said is exactly what I expected —VERY nose heavy, with dangerous handling and braking.

      Balance is so important in a car, and it’s pretty obvious that this Alfa doesn’t have it.

      The people who voted down comments that were based on that assessment need to rethink, especially the person who gave your comment thumbs down.

      Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done or that it will actually be a good vehicle just because someone thinks it is. The proof is how the car does on the road. That’s why the American carmakers are testing and tuning their high powered cars on the Nurburgring now BEFORE they release them for sale.

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      • Bruce Best

        I got a ride in a car about the same weight as this alfa. The car had an aluminum block 800 HP motor but it was mid-engined and had the tires and brakes to match. It was a McLaren MK8A and that was on a airport race track. That is why this alfa makes me so mad. I know what really fast is in a car. I had the bruises from the seat belts to prove it. I know what is is to be in a car that has so much lateral force that you can not keep your head up more than a lap or two.

        That is not power that is just stupid in four wheel form. Who ever mentioned the lack of structure for the engine that is in it now is correct. I have owned a number of these and they are in stock form amazing cars with delicate handling and a joyous ride. Not fast but wonderful fun in an elegant shape. What few know is that they have excellent reliability with the exception of the second gear synchros and if exposed and not cared for rust. The metal is surprisingly good. The bad alfas were the ones using Russian steel from the 70’s and early 80’s. These if treated well were excellent for the time and better now with far better paint.

        I love hot rods, even Morris Minors with this kind of engine chassis treatment but they never handled well to begin with and generally the front suspension was as radical as the rear. Point and squirt machines. Chassis built to take up the torque. Great fun. I know Alfas very well and there is not the room for a proper front suspension and or brakes.

        This thing will get somebody killed and I think pretty soon. I hope when it happens these posts get used at the trial. I stand by my earlier comments this is a criminal act of selling a dangerous product to the public. I hope they do not end up killing an innocent with this travesty.

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  23. joe

    Be sure you have good burial insurance…….

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  24. Blindmarc

    Someone called the pope, and have this guy banashed to hell! (Sic)

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  25. johnj

    I like it. Just as I like a Cobra, v8 Healey, v8 TVR, Sunbeam Tiger, TR8…….. And one thing I can say for sure, it wasn’t built from an arm chair using a keyboard.

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  26. David Miraglia

    The beauty of a Alpha with American brawn.

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    • Marco

      It’s not an “Alpha”. You probably don’t even know what the acronym A.L.F.A. stands for.

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      • Blindmarc

        And don’t care!

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  27. milt

    I believed this was the ugliest abortion I have ever seen, than I saw the bastardized POS Triumph Spitfire over at the BAT (Bring A Trailer) site.

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  28. Ric Parrish

    Why does the intake manifold and valve covers make this look like a Rat Motor?

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  29. the one

    Ok, so, how would you change the plugs?

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  30. alfageezer

    What a waste.

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  31. John

    Under all that shiny paint is a metallurgical nightmare. 1950s Italian steel with a motor that creates enough torque to twist the whole structure at every gear shift. I can’t see the brakes, but I hope they’re not the stock drums. Overall, a frightening combination. I hate to think of someone’s son or daughter riding in it. 80/20 weight distribution and hubs that were built for a 1300 mouse motor. Scary but still a pretty shape. Except for that hood.

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  32. 164LS

    Oh, the humanity! (It better have been a rusty shell in it’s previous life, and not something restorable at a reasonable cost)

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  33. Scott

    If you want a functional toy my Dad & I built a 72′ Ford Pinto w/302 when I was in high school, that car looked like it wanted to kick your ass. You can change the wheels get rid of the goofy hood & it still won’t look right. It’s just not going to have the stance. This thing looks like something you would see on a Saturday morning cartoon. Reminds me of a Nash Metropolitan I saw one time with a V8 in it.

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  34. alfageezer

    Let’s put a Merlin in a SmartCar!

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    • Dolphin Dolphin Staff

      Ha! —funniest comment.

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  35. Dale Leier

    Apparently the admin of this site doesn’t rigorously apply the rules as some of the posters seem to think this is Facebook. When I was very young, I was taught that if you can’t say something nice, keep your friggin’ pie hole shut.

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  36. alfageezer

    Now who’s being judgmental?

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  37. Scott

    Ok, I’m waiting for one of you yo-yo’s to stick your bottom lip out and scream your not playing nice I’m taking my ball and going home!!
    Then screaming I’m telling my Mommy, sticking your thumb in your mouth and crying all the way home!! I’m starting think I’m on a elementary school playground and not a web-site about cars.
    Wow, your some manly men aren’t you?

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  38. alfageezer

    I’m a snowflake………

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  39. KeithK

    I love the comments back and forth about this car ! Is it a complete abortion? Yes. Is it probably unsafe ? Yes. Does it probably handle poorly ? Absolutely but was this car built with the same spirit as your fathers or grandfathers hot rod? Unless he was an engineer or a privileged race car driver he probably built something light, fast and wild and Yes , that’s the point, recklessness ,carelessness and speed is what makes some of us run. If it weren’t a popular sensation then roller coasters would not exist. I applaud the builder for making “something”. Good or bad. At least he’s not one of these hoarders that would rather lord over their collection as it slowly returns to the earth.

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  40. wyatt

    an abomination,Giulietta’s should never die an ignominious death such as this,blasphemous.
    I am a “hoarder” who would rather see it return to earth than turn it into a Frankenstein.

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    • alfageezer

      All flippancy aside, just because you can do something, does not always mean you should.

      This might have made a nice restoration.

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      • SR

        Your singing to the choir alfageezer, on the other hand, you can put lipstick on a pig when you wipe it off you still have a pig. In this case you can put muscle in a Alfa take it off you still have a Alfa.

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