Incredibly Well-Sorted Genuine Sprint Veloce Lightweight. Mille Miglia Retrospective and California Mille Veteran. Powered by Fresh Conrad Stevenson 1500cc Engine and Offered with spare 1750cc Powerplant. Well-Documented and Ready For Virtually Any Event Worldwide.
Alfa Romeo, the giant of Italian automobile manufacturing, turned their focus after the second world war to more volume-based production and larger market growth. Intent on building fine cars for broader markets, the sporting vitality and stylish designs of the early 50s Alfas would become legendary. On the racetrack, just as Alfa-Romeo had dominated in the past, their lightweight models benefited from mild engine tuning creating cars that could run with the pack in the hands of capable privateers or greet the cheering masses with top level drivers in the winner’s circle.
The first Giulietta was the Bertone penned Sprint coupe. Modest in design but elegantly simple, the 1300cc twin cam engine was the perfect pairing for the market, becoming an instant success with youthful, style-conscious Europeans eager to begin their post-war lives with an exciting sports car as part of their success. For those who sought more performance, the Veloce was made available in 1956 as well as the rare and highly desirable lightweight or “Alleggerita” – the top performing of the series.
To build this special variant, Bertone fitted an alloy hood, door skins, lighter bumpers, and lighter headlight bezels to the stamped steel body. Further enhancements included lighter engine components, lightened interiors, and sliding plexiglass side windows replacing the heavier glass units found in the standard Sprint models. Built for performance, the heavy rear seat was removed, replaced with a flat parcel area, and all typical sound deadening was eliminated once again to save weight. The resultant car was not only faster than a standard Sprint, it offered nimble handling and fantastic versatility in a range of driving conditions.
According to reference information noted in the FIVA Identity Card issued in 1998, this factory lightweight Sprint was first sold July 26, 1956, to Marc Peccolo, Angoleme, France. The next owner of record is noted as Jacques Ricord, Nice, France. By 1993 the car is reported to have been restored by Carrozeria Flli Gabiati/Milano, Italy and AJR/ Nice, France. On April 7, 1998, the car was issued a FIVA card, then under German ownership with the notation that the car was fitted with a 101 type gearbox.
Having been purchased by well-known sports car enthusiast Roger Hoffman, the car arrived in California around 2001 where it was treated to extensive mechanical work by Alfa Romeo expert Conrad Stevenson. Some years later, Hoffman engages Fantasy Junction to sell the car to Frank Gabrielli who, in 2014, sells the car to the current owner, a Northern California vintage Alfa Romeo enthusiast. Being very particular about his cars being both cosmetically and mechanically prepared to a high standard, the current owner spent the past seven years refining the car ensuring that all mechanical systems were in top order, all instruments were dialed in and functional, all lighting was both correct and functional, and any errant wind noises were properly resolved with correct fit to the doors, glass, and rubber. Even the heater was correctly wired and ducted to function properly.
Accompanying the car are extensive copies of invoices for mechanical and cosmetic work copiously detailing with photos and specifications the efforts extended to prepare this car to the level it is today. The 1300cc engine rebuild is detailed by Stevenson with notation for specifications, measurements, and a dyno chart along with rear axle and brake specifications, complete interior upholstery and seat framework overview, suspension work, and glass and weatherstrip replacement – to name just a few of the many aspects of the ongoing improvements and refurbishment performed on the car. Additional notes are also provided for the 1750cc engine which was in excellent operation as late as August 2021 shortly before being removed for the 1300cc engine installation that represents the current running configuration.
Today this Alfa Romeo offers a handsome, consistent, and well-sorted presentation. The paint is glossy with excellent coverage throughout, and very nice panel fit, particularly so given the alloy body panel fit to the steel main structure. The various bright work has been redone to a high level with excellent grille and trim over each side opening. The sporting competition road lights added to the front bumper deliver a nice rally touch to the look of the car. The steel wheels have been painted with the correct silver finish, void of fussy wheel cover mounting clips. The Vredestein tires are correctly sized to the car and the suspension is set just right for the wheel openings giving the car excellent stance. The side glass garnish molding allows for sliding plexiglass windows specific to the lightweight configuration as mounted to the alloy-skinned doors. Fit and finish for all the lighting, trim, emblems, and other specific details has been restored to a very high standard.
The interior, completed in 2014, under current ownership is particularly handsome in both finish and colors. The leather seating surfaces are beautifully finished as are the door panels, headliner, and carpeting all the way back into the rear parcel area that is unique to the lightweight configuration. Accenting the original instruments, each of the three dials and the wood rim Nardi steering wheel collectively compose what must be considered one of the best-looking dashboards of this era. The dash houses an array of original knobs and switches flanked by handsome door levers, Alfa-Romeo branded foot pedals, and polished door thresholds. The cockpit of this Veloce is a delightful engagement of purpose and beauty, which is only further enriched by the driving experience once behind the wheel.
The engine compartment is beautifully presented, currently housing a period-correct non-matching numbers 1300cc engine, built to 1500cc, by expert Conrad Stevenson as documented in the invoices accompanying the car. In addition to this engine, the car previously ran a 1750cc engine which is offered with the spares. The engine bay is prepared using factory finishes, hardware, and fasteners, delivering authentic vintage including correct Weber carburetors, factory type hoses and air induction plenum, silver quilted hood insulation pad, textured black cam cover finish, and correctly detailed engine auxiliary components. The trunk is properly prepared with a matching spare tire and jack mounted in place and housing the rear mounted battery. The undercarriage eschews show level detail but still presents quite clean and very well resolved showing solid floor pans and rockers, clean engine and drivetrain castings, and no signs of structural compromise to the floor or suspension mounts.
Having driven the car both as the currently configured 1300cc engine and the previous 1750cc version, we are pleased to say that the character and quality of the driving experience are very well balanced in both instances. This is a wonderful, dialed in car with a cohesive feel, excellent driving manners, and great sounds. The driving experience, coupled with very rewarding cosmetics, is very rewarding. The 1300cc engine is not peaking under throttle, indicating plenty of available power in the rev range. Driving is responsive and effortless with each shift, entering corner after corner with tight suspension, brakes that pull down straight, and solid pedals that respond properly on demand. The comfortable seats, wonderful exhaust note, and lightweight “feel” at the wheel heartily delivers on the Veloce lightweight promise at every corner.
This is a delightful Giulietta Sprint Veloce “Alleggerita” ready for show or events with a high level of mechanical and cosmetic confidence offering the rarity of factory lightweight construction and miles and miles of pure Alfa Romeo enjoyment for the next fortunate owner.
Items Included with the Car
This Alfa Romeo is offered with the spare 1750cc engine (AR00531*01267*), car cover, roadside safety kit, spare lug wrench, and an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Instruction Book and case.