Find of the Week: 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint

The Find of the Week this week is a stunning piece of Italian steel. Because if you're going to have to put your new car into storage the day you buy it, it should at least be something wonderful to look at. Something to warm your heart through a cold winter just from sight. It's a 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint.

The best part of Alfa Romeo, throughout their long history, is to show us that just because you're building a compact car doesn't mean you have to go compact on design. Any car can get you from point A to point B – hopefully, at least. But why not do it with some style? Enough style that even if you don't happen to make it to point B (hey, it wasn't all that long ago that getting there wasn't the guarantee it is now, regardless of the make), you can stand there and look cool while you wait for assistance to arrive. And with in a car that looks like this, it'll arrive quickly.

The Giulietta. This car was launched in 1954. If you wanted a compact car that year, your choices from the domestic automakers were pretty much nothing. And the big cars were downright enormous. In every way. There were other small European cars, but they still mostly looked like something from the 1930s.

Compared with that, the Giulietta's thin pillars, tight chrome grilles, and flowing curves styled by Bertone were a breath of fresh air. Probably. I wasn't around to shop for new cars back then, but looking at this versus the other choices?

For 1961, the Giulietta got its second restyling. The side grilles were made slightly more square, and brought slightly closer into the centre shield. At the rear, the taillights grew as well. But the slight changes didn't harm the styling in any way. Keep in mind that Alfa was still selling this car alongside competitors like Citroen's 2CV and the hideous Ami, and Renault's oddball 8.

The Sprint, like this car, was the 2+2 coupe. The sleek, sporting model for the average buyer. Under the hood was a 1,290 cc twin-cam straight-four, an alloy block. In the Sprint, a single-barrel carb and 9.1:1 compression meant 79 hp at 6,300 rpm. A healthy figure for an economy car of the time, especially one that tipped the scales at just 880 kg. A four-speed manual was the only choice for the car.

This car is for sale in Montreal, QC. The seller says it has just 42,752 km on the odometer. It certainly looks immaculate in the photos, and the ivory and navy interior add even more flair to the white exterior paint. It looks like it's seen some competition action in the past, with a "First Annual Sourdough Rally November 1966" dash plaque.

You might not want to drive it until the spring, but it will look wonderful sitting in your garage. While you stare at it and hum On Days Like These while sipping a cioccolata calda. And hey, at least it won't take up much space in there, leaving plenty of room to manoeuvre your snowblower around it.

Economy of style 12/12/2018 9:00:00 AM