Red-Headed Stepnose: 1966 Alfa Romeo Sprint GT

With one owner and just 72,000 original, well-documented miles, this Alfa Romeo Sprint GT would seem to be a rare and desirable find! There are hints that there may be more here than meets the eye, but let’s see what we can see of it, shall we? It’s here on craigslist out of San Francisco (although the pictures were clearly taken elsewhere, part of the mystery), with a market-appropriate $32,500 asking price (archived ad).

Let’s start with the good. There’s the mileage, supported by documentation spanning from its first service in 1965 at 520 miles to its most recent last month, including an engine rebuild 5,000 miles ago. There’s the original paint, and the numbers-matching engine and transmission. And, of course, there’s the lovely Bertone styling, accented by the distinctive “step” where the leading edge of the hood meets the front clip, a hallmark of the earlier, 1963-67 iterations of this sporting Alfa 2+2.

The Giuseppe Busso-designed twin-cam 1,570-cc inline four (rounded up to 1600 for marketing purposes) boasted a 122-horsepower output that was unheard of for a small four-cylinder engine in the US—and almost anywhere else, for that matter—in the mid-’60s. Alfa was an early adopter of five-speed transmissions, too, making the most of its peaky power delivery. The seller notes that the engine shows healthy compression all around, but then—and it’s here that the ad takes a turn for the mysterious—describes the car as “overall, a fair driver.”

What does that mean? Certainly, the interior, while tidy, shows a few imperfections: the aftermarket stereo, for one, and a couple of nicks in the dashpad in front of the passenger. It also looks like some of the carpet may be missing from the passenger footwell, and the floor underneath looks suspect—and this gets to my main worry when I see an old Italian car being described as in “fair” condition: rust. Look closely at the bottom left corner of the photo above, in the door sill area: what’s going on there? Look carefully at the trailing edge of the door in the profile shot up the page: is there something going on there? Now I’m scrutinizing every image, possibly finding problems where there are none. Sellers—if you’re going to describe a car’s condition as less than “good,” tell us why! Yes, a serious buyer can email a phone number and hope to get more pictures (and not get scammed, again, these pictures were not taken in San Francisco, although this is where the car is allegedly for sale—and where there’s a healthy and wealthy market for Alfas like this), but overcommunication upfront is never a bad idea, especially when significant money is on the line. What say you, BarnFinders? Is this red-headed stepnose on the up-and-up, or is there something off?


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  1. Steve65

    You cannot know that those pics were not taken in San Francisco. And even more so, you cannot possibly know that were not taken somewhere within an easy hour’s drive of San Francisco.

    • Nathan Avots-Smith Member

      Very true, it could easily have been nearby. The ad places the car in the Haight/Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, however, and that ain’t it.

  2. Will Owen Member

    Rule #1 for old Alfas: Bring a magnet! And have air-fare home. Having flown with Mrs. O to northern Illinois with neither of these things, I bought a ’64 Sprint GT whose sills and rockers were nothing but painted Bondo – only the floorpan and the roof connected the front and rear of the car. We found this out AFTER we had driven it back to Nashville!

    This one, speculations about actual location aside, is probably not that bad off; mine had sat in a showroom for ten years or so, which I stupidly believed was a Good Thing. This appears to be a regular driver. I think the ask is a bit high, but then all the Alfas that used to be cheap have gone ‘way up, and the ones that were sort of expensive will cost you more than a new one.

  3. Doug

    Also, San Francisco is surrounded on 3 sides by…..Salt water ! I have seen many a ” California car” that had serious rust issues from being near the ocean –
    when the fog banks roll in they may come bearing salt….and the storms often bring salty water on the wind.

  4. SAM61

    Here’s a nicer one from an event in early September in Ephraim, Wisconsin. I apologize for the poor camera work. Enjoy the pavement…

  5. SAM61

    Better picture

  6. Marty Reardon

    San Francisco cars rust from the top down. There are a lot of homes with basement garages. I have bought rust free cars there and passed on many. The city has a lot of car collectors and flippers. This one looks clean but they must be seen.

  7. san giorgi

    I think in all honestly that this GT is a ( very ) tired car .
    In need of a lot of work … the rust you can see on the pics provided , already suggest the sills have the usual rot problems..
    carpets look like an older re-fit . not sure, but I think to see .
    Also, I am confused . The engine number is of the right series, but the aeration comes from the side of the cylinder head . But all the same, I think I can see the correct aeration at the rear of the block . Change of head for a later one ??
    confusing .
    prices are still moving upwards , so a proper restoration becomes almost worthwhile .
    the rear bumper is the correct one- piece one .BUT: is it stainless or mild steel ?
    Stainless would be wrong and meaning it has been changed .
    Dash is made of a sort of pressed paper and can be repaired .
    In any case it is a car delivered new to the US, which also is interesting .

  8. Jack

    The Craig’s list photos show a cracking in the paint on the hood. It looks like a repaint/repair.

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