This Streamlined Alfa Romeo Giulietta 750G ‘Sebring’ Is One Of The Milanese Manufacturer’s Rarest Creations
Photography by Luca Danilo Orsi
Small sports car manufacturers and coachbuilders were proliferate in the 1950s and ‘60s, but the much larger and more robustly industrialized companies often played the same game—and often employed the same people running the smaller operations. Prototypes, limited-production re-bodies, and other low-volume specialty cars offered a way to probe the consumer market, experiment with new motorsport projects, and in certain cases both of these aims could be accomplished.
Which brings us to this car, the lightweight and competitively focused Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider “750G,” which has recently emerged from a full restoration by the Alfa Romeo motorsports specialists at Scuderia Del Portello after being found a few years ago in poor health in Portugal, where it had seemingly been socked away for decades untouched. Rarer than any other of the original Giulietta’s many variants (including the all-alloy Sprint Zagato), this car is one of just 24 Giulietta Spiders originally built by the factory in this special specification—it’s estimated that only about a dozen remain today.
This speedster-style Alfa competed in the United States for nearly a decade before its scent was all but lost in the mid 1960s. As the story goes, in 1955/1956 the well-known Alfa Romeo importer (among many other sporting European brands) in the United States, Max Hoffman of New York, had asked the Milanese manufacturer to build a spider version of the coupé-bodied Giulietta Sprint. Whether or not it was Hoffman’s impetus or otherwise, Alfa Romeo hired Pininfarina to design and build the Spider—which was the coachbuilder’s first large-scale production effort— and Hoffman committed to buy 2,500 units of the drop-top for the North American market, which had already proven receptive to the idea of roofless sports cars thanks in no small part to Hoffman’s foresight and relationships with manufacturers.
Alfa Romeo correctly reckoned that the enthusiastic American public, among which there were many potential customers of these models, were also particularly sensitive to the fascination of racing, so to better promote the new Spider models, Hoffman rang Alfa Romeo again and asked if its engineers and designers could also create a racing version of the Giulietta Spider to be deployed in the most important American races, as had happened previously for the Sprint.
Alfa was again keen on the idea, and besides campaigning the “750G” (the Spider Veloce at the time bore the “750F” code) in some of Italy’s greatest contests like the Targa Florio and Mille Miglia, the factory also pulled three cars from the series of 24 and specially prepared them to participate in the 12 Hours of Sebring, at that time one of the most prestigious races in the United States.
For the classic endurance race on the old airport turned circuit, the little Alfa’s aerodynamics were altered in accordance with the regulations that allowed for single-seat conversions in 1956. The main results of the modifications were an aluminum panel that covered the would-be passenger seat, the removal of the exterior door handles, and a low-slung tapered wraparound windscreen made from plexiglass, or as is the case here, a much smaller and simpler deflector in front of the driver. To lighten the already lithe Alfa, the car also received aluminum doors and other lightweight body panels, while the chassis was reinforced to cope with the rigors of endurance racing.
Two of the three cars destined for Sebring were shipped to the States, while the third seems to have remained in Italy, where Alfa’s longtime test driver Consalvo Sanesi took part in the Giro di Sicilia in 1956. He also started in the Mille Miglia, where, however, he had a serious accident from which the Tuscan driver came out battered. The car was practically destroyed. Since the cause of the accident was in all probability a technical problem, the project was effectively halted, and although there was one entered in the 1956 edition of the race, the 750G never even started at Sebring.
However, it still lived out a competitive career Stateside, racing in the SCCA in 1957 and 1958, as well as smaller and more localized sports car championships around the country until its records go dark sometime around 1965. Thanks to a tip, the car was rediscovered in Portugal in late 2017. In a sorry state but too rare to sacrifice to the all too common entropic fate of neglected old cars, this little-known Alfa Romeo was given a thorough restoration by Scuderia del Portello’s historic motorsport preservation arm, Museo Dinamico Alfa Romeo Storiche da Competizione.
The Portello has a close relationship with Alfa Romeo itself, which kindly lent the use of its museum and on-site circuit in Arese for this photoshoot.