1956 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint VeloceA
lfa Romeo introduced the Giulietta Sprint in April of 1954 at the Turin Motor Show. Power was from an all-alloy, 1.3-liter version of the company's classic twin-cam four designed by one-time Ferrari engineer Giuseppe Busso. The Sprint Coupe body style was later joined by Berlina and Spider versions, the latter styled by Pinin Farina and resting on a slightly shorter wheelbase platform.
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta was popular, surprising even Alfa, requiring them to revise production targets upwards. The unitary-construction of the Giulietta's chassis provided superior performance over most other sports cars of the era, with the only handicap being the relatively low power and excess weight. In response to requests for increase performance, Alfa introduced the upgraded Veloce versions of the Sprint and Spider for 1956. In the front was an independent suspension complimented by a well-located live rear axle, and all-around coil springs and hydraulic dampers. The Veloce engine had enlarged inlet ports and the single Solex carburetor was replaced by two twin-choke Weber 40 DCO3 units. The valves were enlarged and the compression ratio increased from 8:1 to 9:1. A more free-flowing exhaust system was installed and the camshafts changed. These improvements increase horsepower from 64 to 89 bhp or higher (depending on the state of tune).
The most performance-oriented version was the 'Alleggerita' (lightened or lightweight) which was a lightweight edition aimed at events such as the Targa Florio and Mille Miglia. The Bertone built bodies used thinner steel for the non-load-bearing body panels which significantly reduced the overall weight. Additional weight-saving measures included the removal of insulation, and the doors, bonnet and boot lid were made of aluminum. The lightweight aluminum was also used for other items such as the bumpers, headlight rims, 'eyebrows', and 'whiskers.' The side and rear windows were made of Plexiglas and the winding mechanisms for the windows were deleted and replaced with sliding windows with aluminum frames. The rear seat was removed, no sun visors and the glove compartment cover was gone. Instead of the column-mounted gearshift, the Veloce had a central gearshift.
The weight reduction shaved 110 kgs off the overall weight, resulting in a 15-percent weight advantage over the standard Sprint Coupe. Another change was to the fuel tank, where the 53-liter tank was replaced by a 65-liter unit. An 80-liter version was also available for endurance racing purposes.
The Veloce competed in the Coppa della Consume on April 22nd of 1956 where it secured a class victory in the hill climb. The following week, at the 23rd Mille Miglia, it took the first six places in the 1,300cc class with a best overall position of 11th. Additional class victories were earned at the Nürburgring 1,000km, Coppa Dolimiti, and Tour de France. An outright victory was achieved at the Alpine Rally. Kurt Ahrens won the 1957 Bavaria Rally in a Sprint Veloce. Karl Foitek won the 1957 Freiburg-Schauinsland and 1958 Ollon-Villars. Class victories were achieved in 1958 and 1962 Monte Carlo Rallies, along with numerous other class and outright accolades.
The brilliant racing career of the Sprint Veloce eventually culminated with the SVZ, the Zagato bodied version that was sporter and even lighter.
It is believed that fewer than 600 lightweight 'Alleggerita' versions were assembled.by Daniel Vaughan | May 2013
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