Modified Sprint Speciales

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.

An early SS (00045) running the 1960 Targa Florio, 00029 and 00040 also ran. 00045 went on to run in ’61 – ’64. Anyone know where 00045 is now?

R to L, An SVZ, an SZ and a modified SS possibly driven by Aristide Molteni in the Targa Florio.

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 sprints@giuliettas.com.

A sleek modification in the style of the car above. I wonder if it enhanced the already amazing drag coefficient. Bumperettes remind me of Duetto items.

Modified nose combines styling cues from Cangaro and TZ1 among others. Modifications are very clean and well done. I wonder if those headlight covers are common to another car?

TZ1 from one of those Supercar websites that link you to advertisements and glossy pictures. Similarities in nose treatment are not as pronounced as tail treatment.

Cangaro nose is similar with lights a little lower. Note marker light detail similarities. Cangaro has the coolest wheels around.

Those are SS tail lights. Badge script positioning and license plate light is similar to TZ below. The two bumper bars almost look like SS grill bars. Kamm tail is much more pronounced than stock SS.

TZ Kamm tail is a little more successful looking.

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.

If I didn’t know it was an SS and the engine wasn’t visible, my first thought might be a Ferrari 250 or 275 variant. This car looks like a pretty solid project.

Another view. Obviously some work has been done since the photograph above. Craftsmanship is said to be very good on the modifications, or at least on the same level as the original build of the car.

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.

It’s scary that you can see completely through the car if you look through the drivers side headlight.

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.

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