Sprint Speciale: 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS

Though I doubt it’s ever seen a barn, this one certainly is a find. You’re looking at a 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale. Located in Portland, Oregon, it’s listed here on Hemmings for $125,000. Many thanks to Boot for the tip!

Like many of the legendary Italian marques, Alfa Romeo didn’t just make its name in racing: racing was where Alfa Romeo lived. The cars were so good that other automakers shamelessly copied them– witness Triumph’s Dolomite for one example. The Second World War proved devastating for manufacturers throughout Europe, though, and none more so that Alfa. With their factory destroyed and the harsh realities of the postwar Italian economy, the company struggled until it once again turned its attention to motorsports. Alfa quickly regained its position at the top of the racing world, and the Giulietta Sprint was built with racing in mind.

As a Sprint Speciale, this particular car would have actually been faster than many of the Sprint Veloces that competed all over the world in the early sixties. With the 1,290 cc DOHC four-cylinder producing 100 hp, it had an estimated top speed of 124 mph. The current owner states that the displacement has been increased to 1,450 cc. This makes one wonder how the new engine affects performance, but prospect of pushing the car to answer that question becomes a little more daunting when one learns that the Giuliettas were equipped with drum brakes on all four wheels. At least the car has been fitted with seat belts.

It’s hard to know what to say about a car like this. Is it beautiful? Yes. Achingly so, but others have written on this eloquently and at length. Is it rare? Absolutely. So much so that one wonders if the cost of ownership might quickly exceed the cost of acquiring it. Does it perform? By all accounts, in every way that anyone interested in such a car could care about. So it comes to means, and there you have a real question. Imagine you have six figures to spend on a car. You want something that both brings joy to the driver and attracts attention: something that makes a statement to both the person behind the wheel and the one on the street. You can choose a modern, used supercar, or you can choose this. I think I know what I’d choose.


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  1. alphasud Member

    So incredibly pretty and rare! That twin cam with side drafts make all the right noises too! Can’t help not to notice some similarities to the Mercedes SL of the era. I can’t see anyone ever loosing on this investment.

    Like 7
  2. RayT Member

    There’s no question in my mind: if I had the loot, the seller and I would be talking right now. Some cars are just plain worth what you have to pay, and Alfas are high on that list.

    I drove one some years ago, restored and with the original engine, and was surprised at both the ride comfort and speed. Cornering behavior wasn’t surprising at all; Alfas handle well. Alfa engines just love to be kept at high revs, and they sound wonderful when you do! And, as a note to Andy, Alfa’s drum brakes are up to repeated heavy use. They may not be wheel-filling Brembo discs, but they work.

    If you need an excuse to turn this down, the cabin felt a bit tight for big people like me. I’d suffer through that, however….

    Like 7
  3. Bruce

    Concerning the brakes ALFA used ALFIN brakes both front and rear which had very elegant vented aluminum drums over a steel inner liner. These were heat sinked together and the only reason that disks were replacing them what that the disks were somewhat lighter and easier to make. The braking performance was almost identical. These are so very elegant and so very rare. They are smaller than they look and they look small tot start with.

    I am like the others if my bank book was big enough I would be talking to the present owners and to Passport Transport to bring it to me.

  4. Gerard Frederick

    Atrue beauty, timeless I would say. However, about Alfa having been on top of the racing circuit heap? It seems to me it was Auto Union with their monster 750kg cars and Mercedes with theirs who were dominating european racing, with Alfa, Maserati and Bugatti bringing up the rear.

    • M

      No, Gerard, you are not correct. And certainly not about Alfa.

      To quote the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo,” Five world titles, among which the First World Championship for Grand Prix vehicles in 1925, and the first two Formula 1 Championships in 1950 and 1951. Then, 11 Mille Miglia, 10 Targa Florios, 4 editions of the 24 Hour Le Mans, and hundreds of trophies among Sports and Tourism categories, all write the legendary and unique racing history of Alfa Romeo. Under the sign of the Quadrifoglio.”

      In fact, Enzo Ferrari himself led Alfa to many victories as the team manager before founding his own racing team as a constructor and manager.

      Anyway, just a little friendly reminder of Alfa’s storied racing history.

  5. Gerard Frederick

    Thanks for the info, however I was referring only to Formula 1, which to me is top of the heap. As far as sporting successes of Alfa goes, I am well aware of their fame – that´s the reason I owned both a Berlina 2000 and a boat tail speedster. Cheers and beers, Ger

  6. t-bone bob

    Very pretty

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