The 1954 Alfa Romeo Giulietta was an important vehicle for the Company because it was the first offering since World War II that truly resembled the racing-inspired vehicles Alfa was capable of producing. The vehicles were mass-produced, a first for the company. The Giulietta came in various body-styles including the Spider, Sprint, TI, and Veloce.
The vehicles were built with the engine in the front and powered the rear wheels. Most used a four-speed manual gearbox with front and rear drum brakes. The steering was worm-and-roller with the front suspension comprised of wishbones with telescopic dampers and coil springs with anti-roll bar while the rear was a rigid live axle with telescopic dampers and coil springs.
The first of the Giulietta's to be offered was the 2+2 coupe which featured a four-cylinder engine and bodywork by Bertone. The 1290 cc engine producing 65 horsepower, a respectable figure at the time. A year later the berlina version appeared, commonly referred to as a salon. This version brought a level of practicality, with its four doors and longer wheelbase. It featured the same mechanical components as the Sprint but the engine was not as powerful, producing a little over 50 horsepower.
The famous coachbuilder, Pininfarina, was tasked with designing a new prototype for 1955. What was created was the Giulietta Spider Prototype, first introduced to the public at the 1956 Turing Motor Show in production form. It sat atop a slightly shorter wheelbase than the Sprint but used the same mechanical components.
In 1956, the Veloce was introduced. This version was sporty, with its dual-cam 1300 cc alloy engine. Using dual Weber DC03 carburetors the vehicle was capable of producing 90 horsepower. The gas tank was enlarged to better prepare it for endurance racing while the larger front brakes provided excellent stopping power. By using Plexiglas rear and side windows and aluminum alloy doors, hood, and trunk lid the vehicle was able to shed weight, ultimately improving performance. The Veloce version was available on the Spider and the Sprint.
In 1957, the Giulietta Ti was introduced, outfitted with a salon body and powered by a Sprint engine. With the four doors and a 65 horsepower engine, this became the most popular Giulietta ever produced.
Modest changes were made in 1959 to correct reliability issues. There were few aesthetic changes, mostly to the exterior of the TI version.
In 1961 the berlina's received an updated grill and the Spider now shared the same wheelbase as the Sprint. The TI received extra power, an increase that brought total output to 75 horsepower.
In 1963, the production of the berlina ceased with the TI doing the same a year later. Throughout the production lifespan of the Giulietta, the TI was by far the most popular model with nearly 93,000 examples being produced. The closest to the TI was the berlina with a little over 39,000 examples. With nearly 2,800 examples produced, the Spider Veloce was the lowest produced version. There was a version dubbed the Promiscua that was a four door estate car and featured body work by Coli that was even more exclusive, with only 91 examples produced.By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2011