A rerun since I’m tropically indisposed. Enjoy.
Originally posted July 5th, 2008: While not considered competitive on the race track in retrospect, the Sprint Speciale must none the less have been a somewhat attractive option for wealthy amateurs when it was first sold. The combination of an aerodynamic shape and powerful engine must surely have seemed like a winner if some weight could be shed and current engine tuning tricks being used by Conrero, Bosato and others could further improve the engine. This is supported by period race photographs and entry lists which document the occasional SS among the field of SV’s, SVZ’s and SZ’s.
The same modified SS at Monza for Coppa Intereuropa 1961.
An inevitable consequence of this presence on the race track was damage to the body work and a resulting need for repair , especially the nose and tail. As with the Sprints and Sprint Veloces, it was likely cheaper and easier to modify the body work in the event of a crash, rather than try and restore it to ‘as-new’ condition. Even if the cost was a little greater, I imagine an opportunity to try and improve on the aerodynamics and reduce or redistribute weight would be acted upon. It is not impossible that a wealthy amateur racer would take his newly acquired SS to a carrozzeria to be modified to suit his fancy or perhaps emulate another modified Sprint and in doing so differentiate himself on the field, but the near certainty of a future need for body repairs makes modifying an undamaged car a seeming waste of money.
A Giulia SS owner in Sweden wrote in to the Alfa BB looking for information about his car which has a modified nose and tail, and a highly tuned GTA twin plug head on its engine. The car was purchased new by Dr. Antonio Bertozzi and used in Rome area amateur racing until as late as 1970. When the car was sold to Sweden in 1970 it already wore the modified bodywork and no information was given to the Swedish owner about when and why the body was modified. Car is number 10121*380242 with engine 00121*00231 and had Rome registration 653702. If you know anything about this cars early years in Italy drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Craftsmanship and material quality indicate care was taken in finishing this car. Whether the trim details were present when it was raced or added later to pretty the car up for resale can only be clarified by period race photographs or other provenance. I suspect a this car was modified in its race life, though not to this level of detail, then, when it was retired the finish and trim were added in the style of the day to make it a street car.
Also discussed on the Alfa BB is this modified Sprint Speciale. The headlights here are not pulled back as much as they are on the Swedish car above, and remind me a lot of the light pocket recesses on a Duetto. This car is also said to have been modified early on in its life. It will be interesting to see it in paint.
Again from the Alfa BB is this picture of an SS discovered in the French countryside. Heavily modified with a questionable result and probably beyond saving without a Spider donor to graft what’s left of the body on. If this is the remains of one of the SS’s that competed in the Targa Florio it’s probably worth saving.
There you have it, four modified Sprint Speciales. If you have any information about or additional pictures of any of these cars or know of other modified Sprint Speciales and you would like to share please let me know. As more information or pictures come available I’ll do another installment. I’m also looking for a copy of the ‘SS versus SZ’ book if anyone has one to sell.