Paris | Lot 120
1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA by Bertone
€270,000 EUR | Sold
| Karlskron, Germany
13 February 2021
- Early hand built “pre-series” chassis, and just the 15th GTA to have been produced.
- Only four owners from new and in the present ownership since 1984.
- Delivered new to Team Lucien Bianchi and raced by the team from 1966 - 1970.
- Immaculately restored and eligible for many historic events including the Tour Auto, Goodwood Revival and U2TC events.
In accordance with the prevailing homologation regulations, Alfa Romeo produced just 500 of their delectable Giulia GTA 1600s between 1965 and 1968, as well as a further 490 GTA 1300 and GTAm derivatives over the next seven years. This particular car was one of the very first group of 1965-build “pre-series” 1600 GTAs, being only the fifteenth known example to leave the fabled Settimo Milanese factory. Unsurprisingly, given the model’s lightweight credentials, this initial batch of cars was very much competition focussed, with their ultra-lightweight chassis distinguishable from later versions by the use of aluminium - as opposed to steel - in their floor panels. Indeed, of the first 15 cars produced, just three were Stradale versions, whilst six were dedicated Autodelta Works cars - to be driven by the likes of Rindt, Baghetti and de Adamich - and a further six “Corsa Autodelta prepared” chassis, of which this is one.
Chassis 613015 left the Autodelta factory on August 3rd 1965, and was subsequently despatched to Alfa Romeo Bruxelles for onward delivery to the eponymous team of contemporary Belgian Grand Prix driver - and later Le Mans winner - Lucien Bianchi, in March 1966. Team Lucien Bianchi would compete with a team of GTAs in both domestic and European Touring Car Championships over the next four years, fielding a variety of accomplished Belgian drivers such as Yvette Fontaine and Christine Beckers, as well as several Autodelta pilots including Enrico Pinto and Jacques Demoulin.
Interestingly, chassis 613015 exhibits several features consistent with its modification to accept one of the intriguing twin-stage supercharged GTA-SA specification engines with which Autodelta experimented throughout the 1967 and 1968 seasons. The most obvious of these is the presence of a removable “inspection hatch” in the car’s right-hand inner wheelarch, through which access could have been gained to the superchargers in question. Only ten such cars were known to have been constructed to this specification by Autodelta, although it is believed that others were converted to GTA-SA specification from conventional 1600 GTA chassis, as appears to be the case here.
As with many other teams, Bianchi favoured the reliability of the normally aspirated 1600 GTA over the out-and-out power of the GTA-SA, although it is notable that they entered a GTA-SA for the aforementioned Pinto and Demoulin in the 1968 Spa 24 Hours. That car qualified an impressive second overall, behind the Porsche 911L of eventual winners Kauhsen, Kelleners and Kremer, but regrettably retired in the race with engine failure. This would appear to be the only recorded instance of Bianchi running a GTA-SA, but it is not known if that was the car on offer. Indeed, upon purchase by the consignor, chassis 613015 still showed evidence of several small holes in the roof and doors; markings consistent with the prior fixing of identification and number illumination lights, as used in long-distance races such as Spa.
The car appears to have been sold by Bianchi in around 1970 to his fellow countryman Joost Bytterbier, who shortly thereafter sold it in turn to another Belgian, Olivier Chambon. The latter continued to campaign the car - by now fitted with a 2000 GTAm motor, and with appropriately widened wheel arches - in low key National events until the late 1970s, retaining it until he sold it to the consignor in 1984. Interestingly, when the consignor acquired the car, it was accompanied by a significant quantity of spares, many of which were stamped “VDS” - alluding to a possible prior association Count Rudi van der Straten’s VDS team, who also campaigned a team of GTAs in the 1960s.
The vendor embarked upon a complete restoration of the car in the 1990s, with the intention of returning it to its original 1965 specification. To this end, a period correct GTA 1600 engine - featuring the correct magnesium electron sump and valve cover - was fitted, together with an appropriate Magnetti Marelli S119A twin-spark distributor, original Autodelta airbox and inlet manifold and a pair of correct specification Weber 45 DCOE14 carburettors. Additional GTA-specific items utilised in the restoration included an original-type gearbox (with magnesium electron bellhousing) as well as examples of a correct exhaust system, radiator, oil cooler, dashboard, rear axle, driveshafts and 1965-specification 7-inch wide, 14-inch diameter Campagnolo wheels. The appropriate steps were also taken to return the car to its original appearance, which included re-fitting narrow specification wheel arches, an original pair of Autodelta sports seats, a GTA 1600 dashboard and an original Hellebore wooden rim steering wheel.
Since completion, the car has been used only sparingly and is currently offered resplendent in its original Team Lucien Bianchi colours. Highly usable, and eminently eligible for all manner of touring and racing events - ranging from the Tour Auto, to the Modena Cento Ore and the Spa 6 Hours race -there can be few more accomplished “allrounders” than Alfa’s remarkable GTA. The model’s enhanced practicality, combined with the fascinating history of this incredibly rare early-series example, surely make this a “must have” for any serious competition-focussed car collection.