Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA Coupe
Introduced in 1965, the GTA (the 'A' stood for Alleggerita - lightened) was the official competition version of the Giulia Sprint GT and was produced in both road and race variants. The latter, as usual, was the responsibility of the factory's Autodelta competitions department, which had been founded in 1961 as an independent company by Carlo Chiti and Ludovico Chizzola, and subsequently absorbed by Alfa Romeo.
Visually almost indistinguishable from the road-going Sprint GT, the GTA differed by virtue of its aluminium body panels, Plexiglas side and rear windows, and lightened interior fittings and trim. As a result the GTA tipped the scales at around 200 kilograms lighter than the stock steel-bodied car. Alfa's classic twin-cam 1,570cc four underwent extensive modification for the GTA, the angle between the valves being reduced from 90 to 80 degrees and the valve sizes substantially increased; there no longer being room between them for a central spark plug, a change was made to twin-plug ignition. In road trim the revised engine produced 115bhp with up to an incredible 170 horsepower available in race tune.
The GTA made its racing debut on 20th March 1966 at Monza where Andrea de Adamich and Teodoro Zeccoli triumphed in the Jolly Club Four-Hour Race. From then on the Autodelta-prepared GTAs enjoyed outstanding success, winning the European Touring Car Championship three years running from 1966-68. The Championship's 1,300cc class had long been the preserve of the Mini Cooper but that would all change in 1968 with the arrival of the GTA 1300 Junior, which for the next few years would enjoy dominance equal to that of the Mini in the early '60s.
An accompanying letter from the Archivio Storico Alfa Romeo states that the chassis number 'AR 752621' corresponds with a right-hand drive Giulia Sprint GTA manufactured on 27th July 1965 and sold on 16th April 1966 to one Salvatore Ferragamo of Firenze (Florence). Nothing is known of its subsequent history, though the copy of a French Carte Grise on file shows that the car was registered in that country in 2002. In September of that year the Alfa was sold at the Le Mans auction to the current vendor and brought to the UK, being registered here on 1st February 2003. The catalogue description (copy on file) stated that the car had had some racing history in Germany, as evidenced by the presence of a roll cage and fire extinguisher, and that it had been restored in 1999. Its condition was described as 'excellent'.
Since its acquisition by the current vendor, a well known and respected historic racer, the GTA has been used for competition on events such as the Tour Auto and the UT2C series at Paul Ricard, Monza, and the mighty Spa among others. Ongoing maintenance and preparation has been carried out by respected specialists Lanzante Ltd of Petersfield, Hampshire. Offered with V5C registration document and HTP papers issued in 2005, the car was last used circa 2010 and is currently SORN'd.
The Alfa Romeo GTA is the car for all competition seasons, equally at home on road, hill-climb or track.
Source/Photo Credit: Bonhams