That Bertone managed to squeeze four seats (all right, the rear is a little cramped) into such an elegant coupé form as the Giulia Sprint GT is a mark of typical Italian skill. And being from the land of opera, art and the love of speed, it was a gem to drive, even though it was built on the shortened floorpan of the bread-and-butter Giulia saloon. Naturally the coupé had barely left the showrooms when it began to tackle the racetracks in ever faster versions, and the peak was the GTA – outwardly identical, but radically, trimmed, tucked and tweaked by Alfa’s sub-contracted race team Autodelta. That’s what Jeremy Cottingham has for sale – and while many GTs have over the years been fettled into quasi-GTAs, Jeremy has the paperwork that shows this one was built in 1965 as an A – standing for alleggerita or ‘lightened’ – and came from Autodelta with the alloy outer panels, thin steel inners, plexiglass side windows and hole-punch mag-alloy wheels that merited the name.
This example has the earlier 1570cc motor (a 1300 came later) with its many mods: mag-alloy components, larger carbs and twin-plug ignition among them. The GTA came in two flavours, road (115bhp) and race (160bhp); with its close-ratio gearbox and stripped interior the GTA’s eager nose was clearly aimed at the circuits, and this one was a proud member of the works Autodelta stable, entering touring car races across Europe. Even better, it was raced by double touring car champion, sports car and Formula 1 racer Andrea de Adamich, scoring several victories including in a 1967 ETCC race at Oulton Park, giving it a ‘home’ connection.
In earlier races the car ran in fairly standard (for a GTA) form, but over the years has been further modified with even wider wheels and the arches to cover them, making it look more like the later, larger-engined and fuel-injected GTAm which would go on to add even more laurels to the Alfa Romeo badge.
There are few things more thrilling to hear than that sharp gargle of a set of Dellortos snorting BP’s finest brew, along with the bark of a race exhaust, and when they are combined with a vehicle of this calibre, race-track thrills are guaranteed. For homologation Alfa had to make 500 GTAs, so they’re hardly common, and few of them can have such an impressive back story as this.
YEAR – 1965
ENGINE – twin-cam four, 160bhp
TRANSMISSION – close-ratio five-speed
SUSPENSION – front, double wishbones, coil springs; rear, live axle, trailing arms
TOP SPEED – 140mph