Alfa Romeo Giulia 105-series Bertone coupé Buying Guide

Alfa Romeo Giulia GT 1300 Junior (1970) Bertone 4

The 1960s Alfa Romeo Giulia 105-series coupé combined stylish good looks with an athletic chassis to become a highly desirable sports car. Six decades on and it’s still as popular as ever.

If you are of the mindset that Alfa Romeo ownership is essential for any self-proclaimed petrolhead, then buying a classic Alfa surely comes with the highest automotive anorak rating. If you have yet to experience the soaring highs and crushing lows of this emotive Italian auto manufacturer then the stunning 105-series coupé is a fantastic place to start your journey.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA (1965) Bertone 5

Introduction of the Alfa Romeo Giulia 105-series

Introduced in 1963, the Giulia Sprint GT was a thoroughly updated coupé from its predecessor and featured a body by Giorgetto Giugiaro and a twin-cam 1.6-litre engine mated to a new five-speed manual transmission.

A Carrozzeria Touring styled Giulia Sprint GTC convertible also followed the GT, but the company closed its doors after only 1000 units had been built, making these variants extremely rare and desirable.

From 1965-on, the Sprint GT Veloce offered a slightly more upmarket alternative to the basic Sprint GT, a minor power boost improved performance too. Even more power was to come in the form of the 1750 and later, the 2000 GT Veloce. At the other end of the sporty coupé lineup was the eminently capable GT Junior models. 

The rare and even more focused GTA models featured aluminium panels and updated engines. These cars are so special and so frequently faked that they require extra vigilance in addition to the information in this buying guide. 

The balanced handling and easily tunable twin-cam engines made these cars sought-after in their day. Rust has claimed many Giulias over the years, making surviving models all the more desirable.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA (1965) Bertone 1

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Engine

Regardless of the variant, all Giulias featured an alloy twin-cam four-cylinder engine in various capacities. They also came equipped with twin-carburettors, although later US spec GTVs had fuel-injection. Timing chains and tappets can start to get noisy, so if they do not quieten down after a few minutes have a closer inspection carried out. 

The alloy cylinder heads can be troublesome and head gaskets have been known to blow. The most obvious sign is a mayonnaise-like paste under the radiator cap.

The carbs need adjusting periodically and other than needing regular servicing, these twin-cam motors are very strong. The SPICA fuel-injection system may require specialist attention to get right but works well when set up correctly. Mechanical parts in general are widely available too.

Few cars have remained standard and the parts compatibility across models means that many 1.3-litre and 1.6-litre cars may now be fitted with the larger 2.0-litre GTV units or even Alfa 75 Twin Spark engines. If originality is not your aim, then just make sure that the modifications were carried out by a reputable specialist – there are plenty out there.

Alfa Romeo Giulia GT 1750 Berlina (1971) Bertone 3

Alfa Romeo Giulia five-speed Gearbox 

The five-speed gearbox was unusual for the time and was praised for its good shift quality. The throws between gears are quite long, but if there is baulking between shifts (especially from first to second), then the synchros may need replacing soon. If reverse is difficult to engage the selector fork may be damaged.

A limited-slip differential was only standard on the 2000GTV although some cars may have had these retrofitted. Clutches stand up to general fast road driving well and post-1967 cars had hydraulic assistance. If track use is going to be a part of your Giulia experience, then upgraded components are a must.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Suspension and brakes

The Giulia suspension is a robust system and modern dampers and fresh bushes can make for a sweet-handling car. A recall early on in production resolved an issue in the front suspension where the lower wishbones could seize. While this issue is unlikely to affect surviving cars, it does highlight the need for regular maintenance.

The brakes are discs all-round and a common issue is seized calipers and servos on cars that have been standing a long time.

Bodywork of the Alfa Romeo Giulia

The big issue with the Giulia is its propensity to dissolve into a heap of rust if not properly cared for. Certain panels, especially on earlier cars, are hard to find too.

The first batch of rebadged Giulia Sprints are the worst affected, but all 105 series cars need to be thoroughly examined; a badly rotted body can make it financially unviable to resurrect a car. Finding replacement panels for the very rare GTC and Junior Z models can be even trickier than sourcing parts for the standard cars.

Be wary of fresh resprays as they may hide botched repairs. The usual corrosion hotspots such as the arches, footwells and around side sills and window frames should merely be a starting point when assessing a Giulia. Get it on a lift and inspect the jacking points, suspension mounts and firewall too.

Alfa Romeo Giulia GT 1300 Junior (1970) Bertone 3

Alfa Romeo Giulia 105 Interior

The interior trim may need a refresh on all but the most pampered of cars. Most parts can be sourced, but if your car is missing a lot of items it will become an expensive exercise to get it right.

The Giulias were not plagued by the electrics issues that some other Alfas have been notorious for. Most problems that do occur can usually be traced to poor earthing or corroded switches. Intermittent problems tend to occur from damaged wiring, which can be labour intensive to rectify.

Alfa Romeo Giulia GT 1750 Berlina (1971) Bertone 2

History of the 105-series Alfa Romeo Giulia

1963: 105 Series Alfa Romeo Sprint GT introduced with 103bhp 1.6-litre twin-cam four and five-speed manual gearbox. Bertone styling featured distinctive ‘stepnose’ bonnet

1964: Giulia GTC cabriolet introduced. Running gear based on GT, 1000 units built

1965: Alfa Romeo Giulia GT 1300 Junior introduced with 80bhp 1.3-litre engine

1966: 106bhp Sprint GT Veloce replaces GT featuring an updated interior and slightly more power. Giulia GT Junior released

1967: 1750 GT Veloce with 120bhp and much improved torque over 1.6-litre GTV. US versions received the SPICA fuel-injection system. Changes to the exterior removed that distinctive ‘stepnose’ bonnet and chassis upgrades significantly improved handling

1968: No Alfa Romeo imports this year into the US due to emissions regulations

1969: Limited edition 1.3-litre Junior Z introduced with aerodynamic bodywork by Zagato. 1108 built

1970: GT Junior receives same body styling updates as 1750 GT

1971: 130bhp 2000 GTV replaces 1750 GTV

1972: 2000 GTV becomes available in the US (fuel-injection only)

1972: GT 1600 Junior introduced alongside GT 1300 Junior excepting in the UK where it replaces the smaller engined model

1972: 1600 Junior Z replaces 1.3-litre model. 402 units built

1974: Final year of GTV imports into the US

1974: GT Junior models rebranded to 1.3 and 1.6 GT Junior and share much of their interior specifications with the larger 2000 GTV

1976: 2000 GTV production ends

1977: All Giulia production ends

Which Giulia To Buy

Production of the Giulia may have ended over four decades ago, but you would be hard pressed to tell judging by its enthusiastic following. There are numerous clubs and specialists the world over dedicated to keeping these little sporty coupes on the road.

Don’t be scared off by mechanically tired cars if the body is in good condition; the running gear is far more cost effective to sort out than a rusted shell. Make friends with your nearest classic Alfa specialist, as a professionally checked and maintained car is far more enjoyable to drive than a neglected one.

There are plenty of highly modified track and road cars out there but if you are looking for a fast road car as the factory intended then the 1750 GTV and 2000 GTV models offer the biggest thrills.

The majority of Giulias were built in left-hand drive and of all the models, the GT 1300 Juniors and early Sprint GTs were the most numerous. Collectors value the very rare convertible GTCs and Junior Zs. Even so, the base 1300 Junior has a sweetness and balance that make it a great little classic.

Alfa Romeo Giulia GT 1300 Junior (1970) Bertone 6

Alfa Romeo Giulia 105-series specifications

1.3-litre GT Junior

Power 80bhp

Top speed 100mph

0-60mph 12.6 sec

Economy 30mpg

1.6litre GT

Power 92bhp

Top speed 105mph

0-60mph 12.0 sec

Economy 30mpg est.

1.75litre 1750 GTV

Power 120bhp

Top speed 115mph

0-60mph 10.5 sec

Economy 30mpg est.

2.0litre 2000 GTV

Power 130bhp

Top speed 120mph

0-60mph 9.7 sec

Economy 30mpg est.

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Text John Tallodi Photos Garage Maastricht, Girardo & Co., Luigi Scalini

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