A Rosso Alfa Romeo Giulia GT 1300 Junior That Perfectly Epitomises La Dolce Vita
Images: Makarand Baokar
This Alfa Romeo GT Sprint Junior is the perfect example of a car that captures the spirit of affordable Italian sports cars from the 1960s and 1970s.
With more than 164,000 Alfa Romeo Giulietta sold over an 11-year period, the specialist carmaker from Milan needed a replacement for the extremely successful car. And that was the Giulia. It was first introduced in the form of the Ti saloon in June 1962, and then a coupe designed by a very young Giorgetto Giugiaro for Bertone in September 1963. Fans refer to this coupe as the “Bertone Coupé”.
Even though Giugiaro began his career at Fiat, he joined Carrozzeria Bertone as its one and only designer in December 1959. He replaced the legendary Franco Scaglione, who decided to cease his exclusive consultancy arrangement with the coachbuilder.
Into 1960, the young Italian designer had to meet his military obligations, however, with the intervention of his boss Nuccio Bertone, a special arrangement was worked out with the military authorities. In exchange for making portraits for officers during the day, in the evening, Giugiaro could devote himself to his new job as an automobile designer in the hotel room made available to him.
One of the first cars that Giugiaro designed was the 2000 Sprint, which was the coupe version of Alfa Romeo 2000 saloon. A very handsome and beautifully proportioned car, the 2000 Sprint provided the inspiration for the smaller car on the base of the Giulia, and the drawings were presented by Giugiaro to Alfa Romeo in May 1960. Alfa’s management loved the design, giving Bertone the go-ahead to develop the car.
The Giulia Sprint GT coupe, when launched in September 1963, made an impact with its clean, simple, and balanced lines. These characteristics made the 2+2 coupe an instant classic. A few complained about the excessive height of the beltline, yet that was what gave the car a different stance and proportion, clearly distinguishing it from its competitors. The success of the design could be seen in the simple fact that the coupe had an exceptionally long career—some 13 years!
The 1570cc, 106hp Giulia Sprint GT was unveiled to the press on 9 September 1963 at the brand-new Alfa Romeo factory in Arese, near Milan. A few days later, the car-buying public got to see the car for the first time at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
As the Giulia Sprint GT set the sales charts afire, Alfa Romeo unveiled the GTA at the Amsterdam Motor Show in February 1965. The Giulia Sprint GTA was a sportier version developing 115bhp, with a lighter body. The A stood for Alleggerita, or “light” in Italian, and to shave off 200kg from the weight of the car, the GTA received lightweight bucket seats, and the carpet, cigarette lighter, armrests were removed. The body was in light alloy, and the grille featured a simple wire mesh.
A month later, at the 1965 Geneva Motor Show, the GTC, a convertible version of the GT, was launched to complete the range. The production of the GTC was by Carrozzeria Touring (with the coupe bodies exclusively produced by Carrozzeria Bertone). After about a thousand of the GTCs were made, the model was dropped in 1967, the lack of rigidity being one of several issues.
At the Geneva Motor Show in March 1966, the Sprint GT Veloce, the 109bhp GTV, replaced the Sprint GT. But to make the Bertone coupe accessible to as many people as possible, Alfa Romeo launched the less powerful GT 1300 Junior in 1966, with the maximum power a modest 89bhp. The drop in power though did not prevent the GT 1300 Junior from being a fun car.
The car featured here is a GT 1300 Junior, from 1967. To be more exact, the car rolled out of the Alfa factory on 9 January 1967. Who was, or were, its first owners in Italy, is not known, but we do know that this GT 1300 Junior was imported into India in February 1968. The Maharani of Morvi subsequently acquired it and gifted the car to her son-in-law Adi Dubash (of ABC Dubash Shipping fame) as a wedding gift. Dubash, a serious sports car enthusiast had the car until 1976, when he sold it to his cousin’s husband Russa Ginwalla.
Eleven years later, in 1987, Ginwalla gifted the car to his son-in-law Behram Ardeshir. The latter, a true-blue (red?) Alfista—the Italian word for Alfa Romeo fans—had the car worked upon over a protracted period. Originally white in colour, this GT 1300 Junior was repainted red many moons ago. When the car was redone in 2016, Ardeshir had it resprayed in a more-appropriate Rosso Alfa, the one shade that has remained intimately associated with Alfa Romeos since the marque went racing very successfully in the 1920s.
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