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Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale August 16th- 18th, 2012 at Russo and Steele’s 12th Annual Monterey California Auction. Please contact us for more information.
This 1956 Alfa Romeo light-weight (Alleggerita) Giulietta Sprint Veloce was on display at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, during the Concour’s tribute to the Alfa Romeo marque. This vehicle was raced to an impressive 11th place finish at the 1957 Mille Miglia. To prepare for the race, the car was tuned by Conrero with the engine receiving a boost in power, up to approx 140 hp and the car finished 4th in class in the 1957 mille.
The name ‘Alleggerita’ was given to these vehicles to indicate the reduced weight. Bertone had been giving the initial duties of preparing these cars. Much of the non-essential interior components were removed, the side and rear windows were replaced with Plexiglas, and the door and hood were constructed from aluminum.
Prior to World War II, Alfa Romeo was blessed with a mystique that few companies have ever been able to duplicate. Perhaps the easiest way to describe prewar Alfa Romeo is to compare it with postwar Ferrari, a company whose relentless dominance on the racetrack. In fact it was with Alfa Romeo that Enzo Ferrari began in earnest his famous career.
Ferrari did in a sense pick up where prewar Alfa left off, building glorious cars that were created to win races. But the Ferrari company was a relative latecomer to auto racing, while Alfa Romeo was involved from nearly the start of the sport. Alfa Romeo built its reputation with some of the finest drivers, finest engineers, and finest automobiles known to the world. An Alfa won every Mille Miglia from 1928 to 1938, with the exception of the 1931 race that was won by a Mercedes-Benz SSK.
Alfa Romeos raced in the most grueling, dangerous, frightening, and exciting events that car racing has ever known. The company’s road cars, too, used phenomenal engines and chassis, many of which were initially developed for race use and then later detuned and clothed in stunning bodies by Italy’s famed carrozzerie. Alfa built supercars before supercars existed. Alfa was, put simply, one of the absolutely superlative prewar marques, a rarefied combination of lust, precision, sophistication, and aesthetic excellence.
After World War II, though, Alfa Romeo boldly entered a market into which it had never before ventured: that of the mass-produced car. Fortunately, these later Alfas did not lose their prewar dignity. Instead, the carmaker’s characteristically excellent engineering and styling were translated into smaller, more affordable packages. The 1900 was the first of Alfa’s mass-produced cars. An excellent vehicle with monocoque construction and a twin-cam four cylinder with alloy head, the 1900 was a clear departure from Alfa’s prewar roots. The car was distinctive, though, and while it was usually ordered as a conservative sedan, it could also be ordered as a coupe or convertible from the same excellent design houses that created some of the finest examples of prewar Alfa style. The real success story of Alfa Romeo’s early postwar years, though, was introduced four years after the 1900, and named Giulietta.