Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTAm

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The GTA is a homologation legend, whispered reverentially in the shadowy corners of motoring folklore, and jealously guarded by the Alfisti. The 105-series coupe used a shortened Giluia Berlina floorpan, with the sumptuous bodywork spirited masterfully into existence by the inspired eye of Bertone.
Available in road (Stradale) or race (Corsa) specification, the focus of the entire car was on performance above all else, although the fact that it's so achingly gorgeous is helping to push values ever higher today - this is a phenomenally capable and successful racer that just happens to be pretty enough to make your lower lip quiver.
Power came from Alfa's sonorous, revvy 1,600cc twin-cam, fitted with a twin-plug head, a Marelli distributor pinched from a Ferrari, various magnesium casings and shrouds, and a pair of thirsty 45mm carbs. In Stradale form, this offered 113bhp; in the full-race Corsa, you'd be staring down the thick end of 170bhp.
This power was more than ample thanks to the 'A' in the GTA name, standing for 'alleggerita', Italian for 'lightweight'. The body was formed from featherweight aluminium, the wheels were a magnesium alloy, and the side windows were plastic. All of this, combined with weight savings in places like the control arms, door handles and window mechanisms, led to an overall kerb weight of just 740kg. Which is pretty astonishing. This is a car that looks gorgeous, goes like stink, and makes a fabulous noise. Motoring perfection? It is for many.

The GTAm, of 1969-71, pushed things yet further. Based on the US-spec 2,000cc GTV, it offered up to 240bhp and boasted some pretty aggressive bodywork; indeed, the 'Am' in the name stands for 'Alleggerita maggiorata', or 'lightened, enlarged'. The 'official' examples were built in period by Autodelta, but numerous race teams were also building their own GTAms at the time using parts they'd ordered from Autodelta. The one we see here is in fact a replica, although that doesn't matter a jot unless you're the person trying to buy or sell it - it's got all the correct parts, the look, the performance and, most importantly, the menace. What a glorious and scary thing.

Spotted in the car park at the 2014 Goodwood Revival - click here for more photos.

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