The Giulietta appeared in 1954. It's name, according to Alfa lore, stems from an incident at a car show where an automotive writer commented about the lack of Giuliettas, because he only saw the Romeos.
The engine was a technical marvel. While it retained the typical (for Alfa) twin overhead cams and aluminium head, the block was also aluminium and utilized the wet sleeve design. The upper part of the block is essentially an open box. Into the box are installed the cylinders that slide into machined receivers in the floor of the "box". The lower portion of the block features five deeply webbed main bearings and a counterweighted crankshaft. The advantages of the wet sleeve design are twofold. First, it allows the cylinders to be fully surrounded by coolant. Alfa Romeo intended this engine to have very high horsepower to displacement relationship, and heat dissapation was a concern. Second, at overhaul time the cylinders can be replaced independent of the pistons, and the block can be rebuilt an indefinite amount fo times as the damaged or worn cylinders can just be thrown away...1956 Giulietta Sprint Veloce Lightweight engine.
The result is an engine that makes a tremendous amount of power for its size, and is as unbreakable and as satisfying engine as you will experience... Every detail must be just so, and when it is the car is remarkably reliable and faithful. One little thing out of place can be a nightmare.
The pictures were taken over a TWO day period in which we frantically rushed to build the car and get it on the plane to the '87 Mille Miglia. The factory stored it at (not in) the museum for free for five years worth of Italian racing. It's back here now and my friend Ken Shaff races it regularly.
The car is a 56 Sprint Veloce Lightweight, with alloy panels and sliding windows. The doors weigh 7 pounds. the 1300cc 750 series veloce engine developes 131 hp at 8300 rpm and it will pull 7000rpm in top gear. That pushes this 1600 pound car right along.
To get this horsepower at 8300 RPM is what allows that 1300 cc car to pull a genuine 7000 rpm in fifth gear at over 140mph. That's not a common feat in a 1300cc coupe. Ken's Engine builder, Conrad Stephenson, is quite good and put his finest work into that engine.
Giulietta Sprint Special by Bertone
Alfa was out to race the Sprints so they asked Bertone to design a variant of the Giulietta that would compete with the unofficial Zagato versions which "were beating the pants off the factory's lightweight Sprint Veloces".
The SS car represented the fruits of the BAT project.
Even though the first prototypes were done in aluminium, the design was just too heavy to be competitive. As a result, at the car's introduction in 1957, it was intedended to be a futuristis, luxury 2-seat tourer. They styling was considered a little too wild. It is conceivable that the SS might have been responsible form more than a few UFO sightings!
Giulietta Sprint Zagato 1 (aka SZ 1)
As a result of the SS's failure as a race car, the SS went on to become a tourer and in 1959 Alfa signed an agreement with Zagato to allow Zagato to purchase unfinished SS floor pans and mechanicals upon which to base the SZ. The new SZ had a very pleasing, wind-cheating look, much like the kind of football they used to use before the war, and this new car became the focal point of Alfa Rome competition for the next few years.
Giulietta SZ2 Giulietta SZ2
Shortly after the first SZs hit the track, it was obvious that the competition was getting better too. The Alfa engineers found the improvements would have to be found in aerodynamics. The engineeers at Zagato felt the present SZ was too short, and went about elongating the nose and tail. About this time the findings of Professor Kamm were being discussed among industry engineers. Kamm found that although extending a shape to a longer and longer teardrop in the rear made for less and less turbulence, in application the greater and greater surface increased drag beyond a point of diminishing returns, and the best practical solution was to chop off the end of the teardrop of these findings led to the Giulietta SZ Coda Tronca - "tail cut" or truncated in English. Some thirty of the SZ Coda Tronca were made.
Copyright and Copy, December, 1995:Paul Negyesi email@example.com Budapest, Hungary