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Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider prototype driving report: Alfa unique from Centro Stile

Dino Eisele
Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider prototype driving report
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D as Test drive of prototypes like the Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider is one of those activities that even seasoned guild brothers sometimes want to despair of. The engine does not run because the water pump has just been removed; the springs are still far too soft, the tires drag on the body, only the foot pedal of the brake works, but not the rest.

When finally a rope to tow - 'For great driving shots! ' - is knotted on the front of the car, the towing eye, which was accidentally attached with a single spot of welding, tears upwards at an angle through the freshly painted GRP spoiler - as soon as the towing vehicle starts rolling. Just prototypes.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider is a one-off

Motor Klassik is therefore approaching the Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider from 1963 with humility, which is there for a test drive in an autumnal metallic brown invites. With the top down, of course. This Spider version of the Giulia was then the suggestion of the in-house design department Centro Stile to free the Giulia, which had just come onto the market, from its roof. This would have offered roadster lovers a modernized and, above all, Italian alternative to the Triumph TR4, the Porsche 356, MGB or Karmann Ghia, drawn by Ernesto Cattoni.

But given the Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider, that with the perfect impression of the appearance in the stand, the crucial question remains: is this a finished automobile or just a finished prototype? The door slam sounds full and courteous, the sitting position proves to be ergonomically sensible, everything fits when you sit down and thread. Turn on the ignition, depress the gas pedal twice to get a few extra splashes of 95 octane from the accelerator pump, then start. The then quiet orchestra under the bonnet gives a first impression of the constructive skills that accompany the legend of Alfa Romeo as a manufacturer of unique engines with a melody that first makes you want to go on the country road and then on the Motodrom.

The small 1300 engine is considered to be the quietest running

Purists keep the one developed under Orazio Satta Puliga DOHC four-cylinder family, the offspring with a volume of 1,300 cubic centimeters for the most neat variant. The bigger ones1,600, 1,750 or 2,000 are considered to be much rougher running fellows.

This is in line with the experience of many motorcycle designers: Individual cubic capacities of 300 to 350 cubic centimeters have always been considered the ideal size for highly refined, silky engine running, even with single cylinders. What speaks for the thicker caliber? Very easily. You develop more power - no matter how smooth it is.

The clutch foot has easy play with the spring pressure, first gear on the Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider can be precisely engaged despite the very long gear stick, and with the hoarse 'Ciao' As the engine speed increases, the 1,600 spider quickly takes off the curb.

Driving an Alfa is like a five-course menu for the senses

Driving a classic Alfa has always been a little more than traveling from A to B. It is a five-course menu for the senses, in which the eyes can, as it were, partake in by looking at an appetizingly designed one Cockpit, with more than enough left for the ears.

The intake noise of the downdraft carburetor is elegantly muffled by the air filter on the other bank of the cylinder head and the correspondingly long connecting duct. But what is missing at the front, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider makes up for the sensual pleasure at the other end: While technicians record the sonorous utterances of the four-cylinder under the term 'muzzle noise', fans suspect something like a muzzle shawm installed in the tailpipe.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider leaves little to be desired

Should the course of time lead us into the toneless silence of the electric cars , we will run the last free running DOHC Alfa four-cylinder every Sunday at eleven o'clock in the morning for a quarter of an hour. Just to show the grandchildren why grandpa and grandma always get so wet eyes when they remember the technology of the internal combustion engine, which has long since become obsolete.

The handling of the unique Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider leaves little to be desired. The Burman ball circuit steering responds precisely and smoothly, the Spider steers in exactly, reacts to bends that are taken too quickly with easily manageable understeer - and looks as solid as a fully developed large-scale model.

The restorers of the Prototype collector Corrado Lopresto did a perfect job. Even on bad roads, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider doesn’t rattle anything despite the firm suspension and damping; noticeable twisting cannot be registered even on undulating road surfaces.

Alfa has always built ahead - the Spider traditionally got the shortest wheelbase and thus the smallest lever so as not to twist the body, tear sheet metal, open doors in curves or close with screeching rubbing noisesannoy. While the center distance of the Giulia sedan is 2.51 meters, it shrank to 2.35 meters on the Coupé, only to contract again in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider, now to no more than 2.24 meters. The short step is just right for agility and sporty driving pleasure.

Alfa Romeo universal series 105

The Alfisti would have with the Cattonis Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider received a more modern design than the Giulietta convertible from the fifties, which was ultimately built with a larger engine. It was only when the four-seater GTC convertible based on the Sprint GT built by Bertone went into series production at Touring in 1965 that an open Alfa alla Cattoni was given a public run.

The 105 series, from which the Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider presented here comes from, developed into one of the production stars in the Giulia, Sprint GT, GTV, Duetto, TI 1300, GT Junior and Spider Junior Rundheck and Fastback more than 100 years of Alfa Romeo history. One should actually own one from this legendary 105 series.


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