A Practical, Daily-Driven Sedan: My 1967 Alfa Romeo 1300Ti
Photography by Jethro Bronner
I didn’t think I’d ever own a four-door, and for the last few years I’d been bragging to my friends that I’d only ever owned coupes, and that I was dedicated, no matter how impractical it became, to daily-driving sports cars. At one point this got so out of hand that I was squeezing into a Lotus Seven for a while as my go-to car, and was parking it on the street as well. I would remove the steering wheel and the battery every night, and then just hope it would still be where I left it come morning.
Then, about six months ago, I set out to find a classic Alfa Romeo as a project car. You may be familiar with the Sprint GT that I drove from South Africa to Egypt, which helps to explain the decision to find another old Alfa. With the search underway, I started off looking at a very rusty 1300 step-nose Junior, and a couple of poorly-restored GTVs and Spiders. Nothing seemed to grab my attention. Then, during a visit to my local Alfa specialist Alan, who, shockingly, is a good friend of mine, I asked about any cars coming up on the market soon as everything online seemed to be just expensive (s)crap. He mentioned that someone had given him a bid on his unrestored 1967 Giulia 1300 Ti. Up until this point, I hadn’t thought about the four-door variant of the 105-series Alfas as an option. After all, I was going to daily coupes and roadsters for the rest of my life, right?
That weekend, I spent my time re-watching Petrolicious’s film on Dorian Valenzuela’s 1300 Ti, and looking through the world of classic Giulias on Instagram. On the following Monday, I offered Alan his asking price.
Although the Giulia is essentially the same as my Sprint GT mechanically, it has a very different character. For one, it’s taken a while to get used to the bench seat and the strangely upright seating position. Like anything though, you grow to appreciate it more with time, or it falls out of your favor as the flaws keep nagging. This car is part of that former group though. I’ve owned it for a few months now, and even though I bought it as a project car to rebuild, it’s become my daily driver during this time. While my GT is off the road for a full overhaul, the Ti has proven itself a wonderful daily driver, and it strikes the perfect balance between that classic sports car feeling, and practicality. It may be quite a few decades old, but it’s a usable car in the modern age all the same. It’s held up to the abuse I throw at my cars rather well too; I slide them around on dirt and in the mud on a daily basis. Such is farm life.
I’m still planning a rebuild for the Ti though, eventually. Its patina and those other, invisible marks of character have grown on me over the last couple of months, and so now I’m trying to figure out how to rebuild it in a sensitive way which preserves its original character. I bought it because it was so clean and straight, with no rust, and no accident damage, just some cracked and faded paint from the South African sun. Plus a smattering of hail dents from KwaZulu-Natal’s summer afternoon storms.
I still have a couple of months to put together a more formal plan for the Ti, so for now I’m just going to enjoy driving a practical, economical, four-door saloon car!