It’s easy to forget what the Giulietta Sprint Veloce Lightweight was made for when caught up in pondering values, looking for restoration parts or simply pursuing an abstract historical interest in something like manufacturing techniques of 50’s Italian coach builders. A quote from d’Amico and Tabucchis ‘Le Vetture Di Produzione Dal 1910’ says it better than I could hope to.
“The Giulietta Sprint’s humiliating defeat at the hands of the Porsche 356 Super, itself a 1300cc car, in the Gran Turismo category of the 1955 edition of the Mille Miglia that Alfa had intended to dominate shook the powers that be at the Portello. The company needed to produce a car for the 1956 edition capable of beating the German coupe.”
Thus was born the Sprint Veloce and the seeds planted that would eventually yield the SVZ, SZ and SS. Below are two video clips that would probably cause most Giulietta Sprint Veloce Lightweight owners to faint if it were their car being driven this hard in this environment.
The Youtube video above is a segment from the 1958 Coupe Des Alpes featuring a Sprint Veloce.
This is another segment from the Coupe Des Alps, maybe from the same film. This Sprint wears a different number from the segment above.
These videos demonstrate the rigors these cars were put through in their early lives as nothing more than competative race cars. If you watch these videos several times, looking at different aspects each time you begin to realize how raw the racing was back then. Most of the roads outside of the villages appear to be half gravel or dirt. Transitions in hair-pin turns can be very abrupt and in a lot of places there is little more than a short rock wall separating the speeding cars from a certain death drop off the side of a mountain.
During this period it seems to be mostly British sponsored film crews that documented the races, producing short films that today occasionally come available to buy. I have seen a few used as episodes of ‘Legends of Motorsport’ on Speedvision. I’m not sure if the show is still aired. One memorable episode had a race on a track in Australia where the film crew focuses the whole race on a Lotus Cortina and then at the end a Giulia Super wins. A highlight of that film is a split window VW bus based tow truck fishes a Ford Fairlane out of a ditch.
If anyone knows the identity of the car and drivers featured above drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or post int he comments section. I’ll update this post if I figure it out.