Alfa Romeo Giulia (1962 - 1977)
Last updated 3 April 2013
The first 1962-'65 Giulias were actually updated Type 101 Giuliettas, suitably rebranded to ally correctly with the new Type 105 saloon, launched at the same time. The Touring Giulia Spider was a 101-series car, as was the first Giulia Sprint coupé. These cars are seriously rare today, because rust was (and continues to be) a serious issue, and they suffer far more than the later Type 105 coupés and saloons. They might have been the swansong from a bygone era, but they are still good to drive and far from outclassed by the later 105s.
The boxy 1962 105-Series Giulia Berlina (saloon) that followed was just as interesting as the glamourous coupe. It might not look like the most exciting saloon on the planet, but it was still a very sporting drive, with the same mechanical layout and gutsy engines as the coupe. Despite its rarity today, the Giulia was a massive success when new, with much of that founded on it being so good to drive.
But when it appeared in 1964, the Sprint GT revolutionised Alfa Romeo, defining it as a maker of superb sporting coupes, convertibles and saloons that the working man could afford. The ‘step front’ Giulia Sprint GT coupé was the defining Alfa of its era - and remains very much in demand because of its excellent dynamics and ease of tuning. When launched, the twin-cam 1600 versions were quick from the box.
But the ultimate Giulia (aside from the special TZ and TZ2) was the 1965-'69 GTA. It might look like your standard Sprint GT, but it was light and rather special, thanks to the extensive use of aluminium body panels, and much lower production volumes. The reason for this was simple – the GTA was built for racing. The A in its name means Alleggerita, Italian for 'lightened', and even the sump, camshaft cover, timing cover and clutch housing were replaced by featherweight magnesium alloy items, just to save a few extra kilos. For additional performance, the engine gained a new twin-plug cylinder head.
Throughout its long life, the Giulia continued to be developed - downmarket, as well as up. The 1966 GT Junior was a new entry-level model, designed to entice more buyers into the family - and that means it initially came with a 1300cc engine and simplified interior. Over time it was developed in parallel with the larger-engined cars and, in 1970, it lost its characteristic step-front. In 1972 a 1600cc Junior was introduced to close the gap in the range to the 2000cc GTV.
In 1967, the Giulia range was treated to a mid-life facelift to become the Nuova Giulia. The saloon was treated to a front and rear makeover and relaunched to become the 1750/2000 Berlina. Although the styling (by Pininfarina) was considered unimaginative, it retained the outgoing car’s roomy interior and boot, as well as its keen dynamics. An updated interior and dashboard made the car feel more modern. The top-of-the-range 2000cc version with 132bhp was a genuine sports saloon.
To ally itself with the launch of the 1750 Berlina, the Giulia Sprint was facelifted to become the 1750 GTV
coupé. It retained the original GT1300/GT Junior 1.6 bodyshell but gained a quad-headlight front end and cleaner external trim details (as well as losing the step-front). The revised interior was better, although traditionalists prefer the older design. The 1779cc four cylinder was now the base power unit for the non-Junior line, meaning lusty performance. These later models are considered to be the easiest cars to live with, if not the sexiest.
When considering buying any Giulia, the advice has to be to go for the example with the best body you can find and worry about the mechanicals afterwards – as parts and specialist support is excellent.Next: Specifications