1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA Stradale
Few car enthusiasts would deny that the sight and sound of an Alfa GTA at speed is one of the most evocative of post-war sedan racing images. Autodelta, the legendary tuning arm of Alfa Romeo initially built the GTA specifically for Group 2 racing and from 1966 onwards Alfa GTAs were a familiar and successful sight (in their various guises, race and rally) for the better part of a decade.
The 'A' stood for 'Alleggerita' which translates as ‘lightened’ in English, and in order to do such, Autodelta basically gutted the refined GT 1600 Giulia Sprint of all its sound deadening and replaced the steel panels with a special and extremely lightweight aluminum-derived material called Peraluman 25, as well as fitting Perspex side windows, lightweight seats and alloy wheels amongst other items; this resulted in a weight saving of some 400lbs! Furthermore, the now svelte sports car was 'breathed on' by the Autodelta works engineers to produce more power, the most apparent upgrade being the fitment of a new head with twin plugs per cylinder making the engine capable of 160bhp. Acceleration figures are impressive even by today's standards with 0-60mph in 8.2 seconds. Further suspension revisions were also made to improve the already well-balanced handling. Right from the word go, the GTAs trounced the Lotus Cortinas, BMW Tis, and even the big capacity American touring cars such as Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas fell victim to the Milanese rockets on tracks across the globe. The GTAs also proved to be a formidable force on the rally stages, particularly in the hands of Jean Rolland as well as winning back-to-back victories for Andrea de Adamich in the European Touring Car championships in ‘66 and ‘67.
We are delighted to present this example, a 1966 GTA Stradale (road) version, chassis # AR 613818 and still fitted with its original 1,570cc twin-cam engine and with an impeccable provenance from the USA; not only is the car presented in first class condition both mechanically and cosmetically but it also retains an extreme degree of originality rarely seen in these models.
In 1966 it was sold new to a Mr. Milton Riker of Plainfield, New Jersey and who owned it for five years before offering it for sale in February 1971 with the following advertisement: ‘First owner, in new condition, Autodelta air intakes with horns, Veloce cams, dyno tuned, always garaged, never out in rain or snow, for sale’.
The GTA did indeed sell and was purchased by someone who would prove to be an extremely worthy custodian, and Alfisti, Mr. John Wright from Erie, Pennsylvania, and who would subsequently cherish it for the following 47 years.
As an aside, it is worth understanding how Mr. Wright’s passion and enthusiasm for Alfa and racing started; aged 12 in 1953 he was handed a copy of Speedway magazine while recuperating from a hospital procedure and where he read all about the current racing of the day. At the same time, other major influences for him included watching the movie The Racers starring Kirk Douglas and which highlighted events such as the Mille Miglia, and then seeing an Abarth 207A with Boano coachwork at the Buffalo Auto Show in 1955. The following year Road & Track magazine featured the Giulietta Spyder…John was clearly smitten and the rest, as they say, is history. He joined the Alfa Romeo Owners Club in January 1959 when he was 18 and became member number 207 and it was around the same time, as an avid reader of Sports Car Illustrated that he had attended his first race event in 1958, becoming an immediate fan subsequently attending multiple events, particularly following the exploits of the various racing Alfa Romeos. In 1966 John was on a pit crew for the Sebring 12 Hour race and witnessed firsthand the outstanding victory by the young Austrian ace Jochen Rindt who won the 4 Hour Trans Am support race driving single handedly in a works entered Autodelta GTA.
John acquired his first Alfa Romeo, a Spyder Veloce, in 1965 and which became his daily driver until he purchased AR 613818 from Mr. Riker in 1971. Clearly, he relished the GTA; based on carefully annotated maintenance records and parts manuals from him and which come with the sale of the car, they show that he had the well-known firm of Bobcor Performance from Williamsville, New York fit a ZF gearbox. In 1978 he de-commissioned the GTA by putting it into store and it was not until some 32 years later, in 2010, that he decided to have the car fully restored. He subsequently took it on the show circuit the following year winning a Certificato d’Oro with 97 points at its first outing in Lexington, Kentucky; a month later at Concorso Italiano it won the Best 105 Trophy.
In late 2018 and after many years of enjoyment it was time to sell and the GTA passed to its 3rd custodian. He subsequently undertook a major mechanical overhaul and further continuing maintenance over the next two years (over $29,000 in receipts) before the GTA joined the current owner’s collection.
A recent test drive and inspection by us confirms that it is a delight and could be used for either show or go. It retains all the signature GTA items, including original pop-riveted coachwork and associated body stampings, its original twin cam twin-plug engine (with Elektron components), Weber 45 DCOE 14 carburetors, close-ratio gearbox, and Perspex side windows. The mileage now is recording a few clicks over 54,500 km and this could well be the original mileage from new.
Offered now with copious receipts and notes from its ownership history, and in on-the-button condition, a truly appealing Alfa Romeo. Just 500 were built in order for Alfa to meet homologation requirements, thereby making it rare and hence desireable.
Please contact us for further price information.