Going Giulietta

While the Alfa Romeo Alfa 6 was being put to rights by Alfa Romeo (GB) Ltd., after its first 9,285 miles, I was lent a Giulietta 2.0. The Giulietta is becoming out-dated in some respects, with its small boot with a very high sill containing the spare wheel and its boxy bodywork. The price is £7,250 for the four-door 2-litre version. It was very refreshing, however, to be sitting again behind that responsive long-stroke four-cylinder twin-cam engine that makes pleasing power-eager sounds as you open it up, more so than on larger Alfa models. It gives 130 (DIN) b.h.p. at 5,400 r.p.m. and the performance from this largest-engined of the Giulietta range encompasses a top speed of around 113 m.p.h. and acceleration which a Ford RS2000 can beat, although the Giulietta is better at picking up from lower speeds, and has better top-gear acceleration than an Escort XR3.

It was pleasant, too, making re-acquaintance with the wonderful Alfa Romeo suspension, by De Dion with transaxle gearbox at the back, which contrives to give a supple, comfortable ride allied to fine road-grip, only aquaplaning deflecting the Pirelli Cinturatos from the desired path. There is "character" about the car with its "opposite-direction" speedometer and tachometer needles, separate choke and hand-throttle etc., and a clutch action and five-speed gearbox less ponderous than those of the GTV, although the synchromesh on bottom gear had about disappeared, after over 14,000 miles. The heater doled out enormous heat at almost the off position, but the rear-window demisting was slow to work, the three keys were sensibly shaped respectively, for doors, fuel-filler cap and boot, the washers-reservoir is of large capacity, and cleans the Carello headlamps, which were notably powerful, and the seats were comfortable. Instead of a "cubby-hole" the Giulietta has a drawer before the front-seat occupant for maps. etc. (with a deep under-facia shelf below it), but this drawer does not lock. The all-round disc brakes, inboard at the back, made a jarring noise from the front discs at times but this did not affect their progressive efficiency and the steering, with 3-1/4, turns, lock-to-lock, is quick. The Pioneer radio used an aerial incorporated in the windscreen.

I used the car for nearly 900 ntiles and found it nice to be in a Giulietta again. Fuel consumption averaged 25.6 m.p.g. The fuel gauge had an irritating habit of dropping a bit soon after filling the tank. — W.B.