What is it?
It’s an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA, the history-steeped Italian marque’s fabled touring car. Timelessly styled by Bertone, the GTA’s body was crafted from a new-fangled and very light alloy dreamt up by Alfa’s Servizio Esperienze Carpenteria, comprising aluminium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc. Once the magnesium wheels, Perspex windows, aluminium suspension components and lightweight door handles (yes, really) were thrown into the mix, the Giulia Sprint tipped the scales at a mere 740kg, earning the car its Gran Turismo Alleggerita (Italian for lightweight) nomenclature.
The GTA’s weight – or rather lack of – equated to nimbleness. And the legendary 1,570cc twin-spark engine, fed by two twin-barrel Weber carburettors, equated to speed. Alfa’s intentions for the Giulia Sprint was for it to win races. And win races it most certainly did. The factory’s decorated racing outfit Autodelta enjoyed great success with the GTA, clinching European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) titles in 1966, ’67 and ’68. And the factory’s more potent GTA 1300 Junior and GTAm scored a further two ETCC victories in 1970 and ’71.
Maltese hill-climber Leonard Calleja was the original owner of this Alfa Romeo, entering it in several domestic events on the island
Can you tell us about the early history of this particular example?
An incredibly rare right-hand-drive Corsa-specification Giulia Sprint GTA, chassis number AR 752661 was delivered new to Autodelta in April of 1965. The car remained with Autodelta until 1968, at which point it was sold to the Maltese hill-climber Leonard Calleja. After entering a number of local hill-climbs, Calleja kept his beloved Alfa Romeo, selling only in 1988 – and to a fellow Maltese islander at that. As was the trend at the time, AR 752661 was upgraded to Group 2 specification.
What happened next?
The West Coast-based Ferrari collector Tom Price acquired AR 752661 in 1989, promptly entrusting the British Alfa Romeo specialist Paul Grist with overseeing the car’s restoration back to authentic pre-1966 specification. The idea had been for Price to race this GTA, though he was forced to sell it before he ever had the chance. The UK-based Alfa Romeo collector Nick Savage was the next lucky custodian. Savage did race this car, receiving its FIA papers in 2003 and contesting the new and fiercely popular U2TC (Under 2-litre Touring Cars) historic championship. A Californian collector by the name of Gary Roberts acquired AR752661 in 2013, who kept it until 2020, when it was bought by its current owner, a prominent figure in the historic racing world.
What can I do with this car today?
The beauty of a Giulia Sprint GTA is that it’s an incredibly versatile and highly eligible car for historic motorsport, both on the road and the racetrack. Peter Auto’s Heritage Touring Cup is a fantastic and very competitive series encompassing the greatest racetracks across Europe, while the popular Under Two Litre Touring Car (U2TC) championship serves keen historic drivers in the United Kingdom. Naturally, the hotly-contested St. Mary’s Trophy at the Goodwood Revival would be the most memorable stage on which to enjoy this Alfa Romeo. If you’re more interested in competitive road-rallying, both the Modena Cento Ore in Italy and the Tour Auto Optic 2000 in France would welcome this GTA with open arms.
Sell it to me in a sentence…
Here is an utterly beautiful 1960s Italian touring car with the rarity and historical provenance to render it incredibly eligible in a wide range of prestigious historic motorsport events and the driving characteristics to be every bit as enjoyable on a stolen Sunday B-road blast.