Saloon. Early Eighties. Four doors. 1.6-litre engine. Stock steel wheels. Plenty of cheap plastics. Sounds appealing? Well, perhaps not. So let’s try again…
Warm-blooded Italian. Sharp wedge design. Twincam engine. Transaxle. Rosso paintwork. Unmolested factory spec. Legendary marque. Yup, that’s much better!
Last Saturday we had a look at a late eighties youngtimer from Lotus, and pretty much established that if you want value-for-money in the current classic car market, youngtimers are the way to go. So this week we’ll continue the trend, as we’ve found a lovely little Italian saloon, which is even cheaper than the Lotus and arguably more practical too.
Alfa Romeo introduced the Type 116 Giulietta to the world in late 1977 as a ’78 model. The compact four door saloon was based on the Alfetta chassis which saw the light of day in 1972. As such, it was sporting the well-balanced transaxle, which true to Alfa Romeo tradition was mated to a selection of rev-happy twincam 4-cylinder engines. Initially the Giulietta was only available with the 95hp 1.3-litre engine and the 105hp 1.6-litre engine, both breathing through a pair of dual carburettors. The design of the Giulietta was sharper than that of the Alfetta, with a fairly profound wedge shape – at least for a saloon. Especially the rear design was quite distinct with a short and pert in-the-air boot and rear lights mounted up high. Then early in 1979 two bigger engines were added with a 122hp 1.8-litre and not least the Giulietta Super offering a 130hp 2.0-litre. Regardless of engine, all of these Giulietta’s came with a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The Type 116 received two fairly subtle facelifts during its lifespan. The first in 1981 mainly addressed revising the complete interior where dashboard, steering wheel and seats were brought into the eighties. Externally it was largely just a matter of some added plastic trim. Mechanically there were no changes, except for the introduction of the rare and now hugely collectable Giulietta Turbodelta in 1982, with its 170hp KKK turbocharged 2-litre twincam still on two dual Weber carburettors.
For the ’84 model, the third series Giulietta was introduced in late 1983. This time it received redesigned bumpers and the dashboard was significantly reworked again. At the same time, the base 1.3-litre engine was dropped from the line-up. In this form, the small Alfa saloon soldiered on until 1985 by which time approximately 380,000 Giuliettas had been built, and the more modern looking Alfa Romeo 75 replaced both the Giulietta and the Alfetta, despite continuing to use largely the same chassis.
The youngtimer which caught my eye this week, is a very stock and unmolested Giulietta 1.6L from 1983. The private seller has owned the Alfa for two years, but points out that the previous owner bought it back in 1995, and has apparently maintained it meticulously for all those years. It only displays 81,000 miles on the clock, but unfortunately the service history has gone missing. However, the seller claims that the car is both rustfree and that it runs perfectly. It was recently treated to four new tyres and also comes with a current MOT. I must confess that it looks very appealing in the pictures…
Now, of course we all want the Turbodelta version, but they’re silly money these days and practically impossible to find too. Few would disagree that the normally aspirated 2.0-litre would be the next best thing then, and in all honesty, I concur. However, that’s not the same as saying we should by default disregard a 1.6-litre Giulietta like this one. For starters, I would personally much rather own a really good 1.6, than I would a rusty and tired 2.0 – it’s all about condition! Furthermore, the 1.6-litre engine is actually more of a free-revving unit than the bigger 2.0, so while it obviously won’t be as fast out right, it’ll arguably be at least as entertaining to work up and down its gears and through the full rev range. Ultimately – regardless of performance – at a very reasonable asking price of £ 4,495, I struggle to see where and how you will find as interesting, as clean, and now quite as rare a classic as this Giulietta, on such a humble budget. If you’re as tempted as I am, you’ll want to see the full advert by clicking here:
With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to firstname.lastname@example.org