1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce Allegeritta
1957 Alfa Romeo Tipo 750E
Bertone Giulietta Sprint Veloce Allegeritta
Make Alfa Romeo
Model Tipo 750 E Giulietta Sprint Veloce
Type Factory Lightweight “Allegeritta” Race Car
Chassis No. AR 1493E *04768*
Carrozzeria Bertone Job No. *77596*
Engine No. AR 1315 *30666*
Gearbox No. E684
Rear Axle No. 578
Completed: July 2nd, 1957
Delivery Date July 10th, 1957
Invoiced To: AutoSport S.A. Mexico
Registration “16-59-66, 284 FK and later 969 AKV” (Mexico D.F.)
Mileage 26,153 kilometers
The first of Alfa Romeo's Giulietta models, the Sprint coupe, with elegant and sporty coachwork by Bertone, was first revealed to the world at the 1954 Turin Motor Show. Powered by a 1.3-liter, all-alloy version of Alfa's veritable twin-cam four (designed by former Ferrari engineer Giuseppe Busso), the Sprint was an instant success, prompting the company to revise its production estimates to meet demand.
Public demand for a more powerful performance version of the Giulietta resulted in the Veloce, which was available in both Sprint coupe and spider form in 1956. Alfa Romeo, always astute to the needs of the racing community, made a special lightweight, or Alleggerita, version available to a select few that desired even more performance than the very capable standard Sprint and Veloce editions. The rarest and mostly highly coveted of Alfa Romeos Sprint Veloce's are the original limited run of Tipo 750E "Alleggerita" lightweight racers built from early 1956 until the Spring of 1958.
This particular vehicle is one of the impossibly rare, original examples built in that short time frame. These lightweight, racing variants used all alloy panels for the doors, bonnet, and sometimes even the rear deck lids, as well as lightweight sliding side windows, hollowed out door skins and the removal of most steel and chrome trim to make the most of the available power. The Sprint Veloce "Alleggerita" was intended for pure performance over luxury, as it also lacked sound deadening and its rear seat was complete removed in favour of a flat parcel shelf that was more suited for extra tires and spare parts than luggage or even the thought of a rear seat occupant!
The idea for such a vehicle was both practical, sound as well as highly successful. Just a few years later, Ferrari copied the same idea with their SWB series of Berlinettas. Originally available in all steel construction for regular road use as well as in alloy for those primarily interested in racing, an even rarer and lighter version was made available in 1961 proving that Alfa's concept was not a fluke.
When an order was placed by a client or a racing team for an "Alleggerita" version, a freshly stamped Bertone Sprint Veloce tub was set aside and moved to a separate sub assembly line. The special "Alleggerita" versions all used body numbers stamped into the front scuttle area that started with a "77" followed by a three digit consecutive number designating the build sequence of the vehicle. (In the case of our particular lightweight, the Bertone Body or "Job" number is "77596" The stamped in chassis number was likewise unique to the special lightweight models and achieved by a slight modification to the chassis number by adding an extra hand stamped "E" between the type designation and the individual vehicle identification number. In the case of our particular Alleggerita the Alfa Romeo Chassis Number, "AR1493 *04768*" then became "AR1493E *04768* These small designation changes were just a start of the overall transformation from splendid and sport road-car into a flat-out racing special!
Mechanical modifications to these potent, lightweight racers included the use of magnesium for the oil pan and intake manifold, and a special tachometer with a 6,600rpm redline that went up to 8,000 rather than the 6,200 redline and 7,000rpm limit of the Normale. A special 220kph speedometer was used instead of the standard 180kph unit found in the Normale model. Engines were carefully hand assembled with close tolerances, lightened pistons, special cams and ignition timing. A larger 22-gallon (85-liter) fuel tank for long-distance racing was also fitted, which necessitated some modifications to the car's handbrake cable mechanism and rear inner panel coachwork. The new fuel tank was more than 7-gallons (26.5-liter) larger and is easily distinguished from the regular "Normale" tank as it has a large cut-out in the front center area to wrap around the differential. The rear differential itself was also heavily revised with the standard 4.55:1 ratio being replaced by a significantly taller 4.1:1 unit. The "less weight means a faster vehicle approach" coupled with the revised final drive ratio and engine performance improvements gave these Alfas some very impressive performance, braking and handling figures and they were immensely competitive as such in both short and long distance races.
Each of these hand-assembled "Alleggerita" models was slightly different from the next and as such unique in many ways. The Tipo 750E "Alleggerita" models were notably more responsive and sharp to drive than the standard Giulietta Sprint Veloce, or Normale, and it immediately proved itself to be a serious contender wherever entered and campaigned. Because of the transitional time-frame in just a few years, these ultra-rare Alfa racers, despite initially being dominant in their class were soon rendered obsolete by newer machines and technology. Many were subsequently updated with larger engines, disc-brakes, wider wheels and continued to be pushed into racing and races they were never intended to compete in and long after they should have been retired. Because they were both fun and completely at home on public roads, many were used as regular transportation with time and the elements causing attrition in unprecedented numbers. While most experts believe that some 600 were originally completed, less than 100 are accounted for today and few of those are complete and as assembled and delivered when new.
AR 1493E *04768*
This particular Alfa Romeo was part of a two car order initiated in the Spring of 1957. The order came from AutoSport S.A. Mexico in Mexico city and was initiated via Willlys Mexicana S.A. the licensed assembler of Willys–Overland Motors which in 1953 had become a division of Kaiser Motors. Kaiser Motors changed the name to Willys Motor Company but licensed assembly and sales of vehicles in Mexico and Brazil were done simply under the name “Willys Mexicana S.A. and Willys-Overland do Brazil.” The reason the order for the two Alfas being ordered via Willys Mexicana S.A. was simply so that the vehicles could be dispatched from the Alfa Romeo factory in “KD” or “Knocked Down” configuration which meant that the engines, and wheels were not attached or fitted to the cars. On arrival at Willys Mexicana, the cars were removed from the shipping crates and had their engines and wheels fitted along with local Mexican tires. By doing so, the importer could avoid the 100% duty charges for a vehicle not built in Mexico. A small brass badge in the engine compartment proudly states:
“Ensamblado en MEXICO por WILLYS MEXICANA S.A."
According to Alfa Romeo internal factory records, both vehicles were completed on July 2nd, 1957 and shipped eight days later by ocean vessel to Mexico. On arrival and after final assembly by Willys Mexicana S.A., both of these Alfas were invoiced and delivered new to AutoSport S.A. Calle Londres 4, Mexico D.F. for follow on sale and delivery to their first owners.
Upon completion, AR 1493E *04768* was sold new to a prominent racing family from Mexico, City. It was issued road registration “16-59-66” and corresponding ownership documents and the car began a long and extensive racing career throughout all of Mexico. The car continually participated in a variety of races into the early 1960s but by 1968 was retired and used sparingly on the road prior to long-term storage in Mexico City starting in the late 1970s. Despite being stored unused, the family continued to keep the car road registered until 1998 when the road-registration was cancelled.
Fortunately, all of the previous owners ultra-carefully conceived and preserved all of the original records and ownership documents going back to new. The original books, manuals, delivery documents and tools have also all been very carefully preserved with the vehicle.
In 2011, this vehicle was purchased by the well known Mexican collector, Emilio Cruz-Urquiza who began a restoration that would take more than eight years to complete.
Amazingly, the car retains the original born with engine, gearbox, rear axle and all of the other original as-delivered-new sub assemblies. I have carefully photographed all of these components and the individual numbers in careful detail. The individual numbers on the main items are as follows:
Chassis No 768
Body No 596
Engine No 666
Gearbox No 684
Rear Axle No 578
This Alfa Romeo is currently fitted with a fully race prepared, 1750cc engine and five-speed gearbox as well as ATE racing front disc brakes. The original fully rebuilt matching number engine and gearbox, as delivered new are included with the sale as are the fully rebuilt, original front, alloy-drum brakes.