Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider

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Alfa Romeo is an iconic breed of Italian sports cars founded as A.L.F.A. (“Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobile”) on June 24, 1910, in Milan. By August 1915 the company was under the direction of Nicola Romero who re-purposed the factory’s output to support the Allied (World War One) with munitions and aircraft engines.

The name changed to Alfa Romeo in 1920 and a Torpedo motor car was the first to be badged with the new name. The company enjoyed significant success on the race track with Enzo Ferrari and, in the 1950’s, Juan Manuel Fangio being notable drivers.

With Romeo’s departure in 1928 and economic downturn the company was rescued by Mussolini’s government and came under State control in 1933. Following the bombing of the factory during the Second World War and into the mid-1950’s Alfa Romeo started to produce smaller, mass-produced vehicles.

In 1952, Alfa Romeo experimented with a traverse-mounted “Project 13-61” its first compact front-wheel drive car.

1954 saw the introduction of the Giulietta (750/101) series of saloons, coupes and “Spiders” – open two-seaters. All Giuletta’s shared the Alfa Romeo overhead Twin Cam four-cylinder engine, initially 1290 cc.

The first Giulietta, designed by Franco Scaglione at Bertone, was known as the Giulietta Sprint 2+2 coupé. It was launched at the 1954 Turin Motor Show.

At the request of Max Hoffman, Alfa Romeo’s US importer, the Giulietta Spider was born in 1955. It was designed by the Pininfarina who also built around 17,000 Spiders at their 107 Corso Trapani and Grugliasco factories between 1956 and 1962 – apparently it was not unusual for the designer to complete the build.

Our featured image dates from 1959.

These beautiful little cars – smaller by today’s standards – would continue to be built in a variety of configuarions until 1965.

Back on the track in the 1960’s and 1970’s Alfa Romeo focussed on competition to great success both in Europe and the US, using production-based cars, such as the GTA an aluminium-bodied version of the Berton-designed coupe.

The 1980’s and 1990’s, aside from a couple of GTV Spiders, were not, in my view, classic years for Alfa Romeo. In more recent years there has been an increasing return to form with a new Giulietta’s and Guilia’s – largely designed as a family vehicles.

In February 2007, the Alfa Romeo brand became Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A., a subsidiary Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Italy, having first merged with Fiat in 1986.

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