Market 436: 1956 Sprint Veloce Alleggerita 750 E 02239

Update 8/23/12: $310,000 hammer has members of the exclusive club known as ‘early lightweight Sprint Veloce owners’ all calling their insurance agent to up the agreed value, and then thinking about whether or not they really need that jewel in their jewelry box at that price.

8/11/12: Giulietta Sprint 750 E 1493*02239, 1315*30135, Bertone body number 77117.  This car will be auctioned by Russo and Steele next weekend with an expected hammer around $200,000.  With a high expected price comes high praise and/or high scrutiny.  d’Amico and Tabucchi list this chassis number as a 1956 Sprint Veloce 750E, good enough for me!  It has been magnificently restored to a semblance of ‘last raced’ specification, with lightweight seats, a lack of bumpers and other details deviating from stock.  It is doubtful it wore the Borrani wire wheels shown since -not only have I never seen a period picture of a Giulietta racer with wire wheels, they were very likely heavier than the usual Fergat or Borrani wheels due to the required extra splined hub adapter.

A lot of the ‘lightweight’ treatment was replacement of chrome-over brass parts with aluminum.  Body fits together with the typical Bertone precision.  Would be nice to see it wear it’s original, most likely lost 50 years ago aluminum bumpers.  I have read they are available -I know ClassicAlfa and Alfastop list a few of the aluminum parts, not sure if they have bumpers.

Did they really do without the air filter canister?  Looks nice underhood.

There was this big Italian guy with crazy teeth I used to see when I lived in San Francisco’s Italian neighborhood North Beach.  He had a ’69 GTV with Webers.  He said, almost whispered it like they came from the very hand of the pope or something.  Now whenever I see or read the word ‘Weber’ I hear his voice.

Incorrect font is tell-tale of repro build plate.  Screw heads are correct type -the fact that they are all aligned is, well, a bit of an eye-roller. 

I really like the blue/gray color combo.  Gauges were restored completely as is evidenced by the very gold backgrounds.  They usually fade to a near silver champagne color.  Nice wheel.  Interesting they chose to move the choke blank from the lower left side of the ash tray to the lower right -makes ergonomic sense to more easily be able to reach the fan or throttle control (which-ever they moved).  You can just see the edge of an extra gauge by the 10 o’clock steering wheel arm -probably an oil pressure gauge since the original would be in the original tach, but maybe an ammeter to keep an eye on the generator.  Off-white knob under the column is the pump for the Tudor wash bottle.  Nice chronometric tach, but don’t they usually turn the gauge housing to put the redline position at 12 o’clock on race cars?

If you’ve ever picked up a complete Sprint door you know the loss of the window winder mechanisms and glass must have been a huge weight savings.  With this set up you get the added benefit of arm rests and a cut-out to put your empty beer cans in (is that what I see here??)  I like the look of the dash without the glove box door.  I need one of these radio blank plates.  Interesting seat tracks/mounts.  Seats are neat!

I have been toying with the idea of getting some SZ copy seats -some bolstering would be nice!  Mr. Smith never told me how much he wants for them…

The auction description says Conrero tuned this car to 140 mph, but the Hughes and Da Prato Veloce book shows Conrero ‘high tune’ for an SZ to be 127.4 at 7400.  I could probably be persuaded to believe 140 mph if it was a 1400 or 1500 conversion, but then it would be out of it’s MM class.

Here’s the vin.  I’d really like to see the Bertone number stamped on the scuttle.  Anyone have a picture of it from when this car was at Pebble a few years back?

And here it is at Pebble in 2005.  Neat early tail lights.  Isn’t the sequence on that plate a little late for ’56?  I thought ’56 was A – G or so…

Read this sentence taken from the description: “This vehicle was raced to an impressive 11th place finish at the 1956 Mille Miglia. To prepare for the race, the car was tuned by Conrero with the engine receiving a boost in power, up to approx 140 hp and the car finished 4th in class in the 1957 mille.”  It is poorly written.  Which race did Conrero tune it for?  Why is the second instance of MM not capitalized?

Based on some comments on the AlfaBB by some guys I regard highly: The 1956 MM was run the 28th of April 1956, car 01981, which is generally believed to be the 11th oa 1956 MM finisher, was built 21st of April 1956 -300 cars before 02239.  Looking at cars in the number sequence, this car was probably built late June/early July of 1956.  They did build them out of sequence, and it is possible this car was built before the ’56 MM, but I doubt it.  Who cares if I doubt it though -I’m just some jerk with a squirmy 6 month old baby in his lap trying to keep track of all the Giulietta’s that come up for sale…

What about the ’57 MM?  I just don’t know.  Perhaps John De Boer would be so kind as to chime in.  He is the expert.

Alfa Additional Documents-1

The above PDF of additional information was found on the sale page.  It has no references to the 1956 MM and, while it does quote Stuart Schaller saying this car ran in 1957 and placed 4th, it doesn’t cite a source for this claim.  I’m not to say it didn’t, just nothing there-in tells me it did -at least that’s how I read it…


8 thoughts on “Market 436: 1956 Sprint Veloce Alleggerita 750 E 02239

  1. Hi Matt: Just to let you know, I care. A particularly terrific piece, in your always well-written blog. If I am not mistaken that can in the door is a 40 of Old English 800. But then again, the last time I saw one, I was pretty blitzed.

    • Nick,

      How goes? Haven’t seen you at the Flynn/Barbier xmas in a while.

      Thanks for the compliments -I’m sort of locked in now -having done it so long…


  2. “I’m just some jerk with a squirmy 6 month old baby in his lap … ”
    Never lose your perspective .. that squirmer is more valuable than all the Alleggerita’s ever made.

    • thanks. He’s rolling around right now alternating between crying when he’s on his stomach and laughing when he’s on his back.


  3. A can of Old English 800? What use is that in a car like this, except perhaps to pour into the windshield-washer reservoir in an emergency?

    On a more serious note, the deletion of the air filter/inlet hose is just plain stupid. AR went to a great deal of extra effort on the Veloces to provide for cold air supply to the motor–colder air means denser air, meaning more horse power, especially under high-heat racing conditions. Why would you then put the air inlet at the back of the engine where it’s the hottest? Form follows function, and I find the factory air ducting–including the humungous filter canister–elegant.

    • Totally agree with this comment on the air cleaner and cold air. The plenum on these cars is pretty good, but including the short velocity stacks on the carbs made by weber would have a really good effect on airflow. It would straighten out the flow from that tight corner the plenum makes. Also a good air filter can actually increase flow, by trapping dirt. Dirt is generally not combustable and causes wear on the rings, which lowers compression. There is no mistake that Alfa and other manufacturers have added a filter. The cold air effect and addition of the stacks can make a 10% difference in the total horse power.

  4. I was an Alfa lover growing up in L.A. In the 60’s. First car was a 1960 sprint coupe. I also owned a couple of spider veloce’s. I owned a 1956 sprint veloce with aluminum doors, hood, trunk, grey leather racing seats and borani wire wheels that said Alfa on the knockoffs. It had been parked for a long time and needed more than I could give it at the time. Sold it to an older gentleman who wanted to restore it for 400.00 dollars, just what I paid for it. I wonder what became of it. Dan Parker.

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