Italian cars can be like a Fellini flick: fantastic, with a dose of drama for good measure. Seems that sounds like our Pick of the Day: a 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealer in Philadelphia. (Click the link to view the listing)
Italian cars of this era can be confusing to American car lovers because there were so many variations done with the same chassis: a Bertone here, a Pinin Farina there, and maybe a Zagato for the truly avant-garde. That’s why you see sedans, coupes, convertibles, and practically bespoke versions sharing the same name. That’s very true of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, which started off as a 1.3-liter twin-cam inline-four-powered Sprint coupe in 1954, soon to be joined by a Berlina (four-door sedan) and Spider (convertible) a year later.
At the time, unibody construction, aluminum alloy engine block with cast iron sleeves, and hemi heads were novel ideas beyond the twin cams. More powerful versions of the 1956-62 Sprint and Spider were called Veloce (think “velocity”), which added another twin-venturi carburetor and more compression for 89 horsepower, a ten-horse bump. The 1957-62 Giulietta Sprint Speciale, a custom Bertone two-seater, and a race-inspired Sprint Zagato, featured even more compression and 99 horsepower.
This 1959 Alfa Romeo was born a white Giulietta Spider Veloce in Milan on January 3, 1959, and sold through the famous Hoffman Motor Car Co. in Manhattan. In the 1990s, the Alfa was sent to Ashcroft Restorations in Phoenix for an interior refreshing. The exterior was repainted a shade of BMW red by the owner, who owned Day BMW in Concord, California.
The driveline was sent to Conrad Stevenson of Berkeley, where he adapted the Veloce’s exhaust manifold, carburetors, air box and filter, headers, and oil sump to a 1750cc block, then mated the engine to a five-speed manual transmission (the original had four forward speeds). The charging system was also upgraded to an alternator. Underneath, the suspension was upgraded to include a larger sway bar and other tweaks.
Since 2004, this 1959 Giulietta Spider Veloce has been in the possession of the current owner. “The car has been cared for and looked after since thanks to consistent service records on file, and now shows a scant 87,500 on the odometer,” says the dealer, which is a scant 1,500 miles added over 20 years. With classic Italian style and subtle Alfa upgrades, this Giulietta is a dream collectible with some rev-happy drama under the hood. For $95,000, it’s a fine way to enjoy the good life.