A Useless Alfa Romeo Giulia Becomes Essential
Owner: Emmanuel Pont
Year, Make, and Model: 1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT
Location: Saint Dizier, Champagne, France
Photographers: Emmanuel and Benjamin Pont
This Alfa was used for thirteen years (last road tax disc is 1977) and then abandoned in a garage for twenty-five years. I live in the “deep” country, and it is still not so rare to find old cars sleeping in a barn. I collected it in 2004, with another Alfa GT, as the garage it was stored in was sold. The owner was very happy to find someone to clean the place. He had sheltered both cars for friends, who had since nearly forgotten them.
I’ve enjoyed old cars since I was twenty-years-old. My grandfather had worked all his life for car factories: Cottin Desgouttes in the ‘20s, Citroen in the ‘30s, and then Zenith carburetors until he retired. Even though I didn’t see him much in my childhood, I think he might have passed on the car bug. I first had popular cars from the ‘50s and ‘60s (Citroen 2CV, Peugeot 403 and 404, Fiat 500…). Then I got a 1937 Salmson, later a Simca 5… But all these cars were really too slow! So I searched for better performance cars, and found by chance two Alfa Romeo GTs only a few miles away from my home.
The first was a 1971 1300GT Junior, that was in very good condition. I quickly put it back on the road, and after a mild tuning of the engine it entered several historical rallies (it ran the Monte Carlo Historique Rally four times finishing all of them!). The second was this Giulia Sprint GT. It is a quite rare 105.02 type, the original Giulia GT that is becoming rare nowadays. The body was very damaged, with lots of rust, and all the mechanics and electricity had to be rebuilt. Only the seats could be saved without intensive work. In fact, it needed so much work that I waited eight years before beginning (and have enough free time) the project.
To restore the body I built a rotisserie. Both side sills, and front and back floors had to be changed. All the mechanics were rebuilt, with an other “mild” engine tuning to get more HP, but keeping the original 1.6 liter capacity. I also added fast road camshafts, high CR forged pistons, electronic ignition and the color went back to its original Petrol Blue, or Bluette 506.
After two years devoting a lot of time (ask my wife!), the car was ready. It is always a great moment of joy and fear when you first drive it on the road. But all went well, and I gradually drove farther from the house. Of course, there were dozens of small adjustments, especially for carburation but now it gives all its power. I’m still missing bumpers and an original front grille in better condition (until now I’ve used a GT Junior front, that I actually prefer to the original).
The purpose of the build was not to make a Pebble Beach dream car, but to put it back on the road with maximum reliability (and performance!), but also with maximum original parts. For example: all the bushings, bearings, and wires are new, but the horns are original (and needed a complete afternoon to take them to pieces and make them sing again). The seats have lost some of the comfort but are original. I also asked the painter to “make it look older” and so he used a satiny paint that we then polished, giving the image of an old paint only “maintained”. So the car that was named “Bluette” by friends gives the sensation of a car that lived the last fifty years without any major work on it.
I love driving it on Sunday morning, on small, curvy country roads. I thought I would enter many classic rallies with it, but in fact I prefer driving it “freely”. In my mind it will remain a collectible car rather than a rally car. And after all the hours I spent on it, I would not like damaging it! So this car is now fully useless to me. And that makes it essential!
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