Alfa Giulia 105 Series coupé Buying Guide

The Bertone coupés are perfect classics in many ways – as long as you avoid the rust. Here's how to buy the best

Alfa Giulia 105 Series coupé Buying Guide

How much to pay

• Project £10,000-15,000 • Good £35,000-40,000 • Concours £50,000-60,000 •
• Most expensive at auction: £93,000 (1963 Giulia GTC)

Practicality ★★★
Running costs ★★★
Spares ★★★★
DIY friendly ★★★
Investment ★★★★
Desirability ★★★★★

It's long been asserted that owning an Alfa Romeo is a rite of passage for any aspiring petrolhead. If you subscribe to that theory, then this emotive brand’s highs and lows are perhaps most ably embodied by one of its finest small cars, the 105 Series coupé.

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

A Carrozzeria Touring-styled Giulia Sprint GTC followed the GT, but the coachbuilder 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, while a minor power boost improved performance. Even more muscle was to come in the form of the 1750 and, later, the 2000 GT Veloce, while the eminently capable GT Junior models kept the other end of the sporty coupé market entertained.

The rare and even sportier GTA models featured aluminium panels and updated engines. These cars are so specialised that we've produced a separate GTA buying guide.

Balanced handling and the easily tuneable twin-cam engines used by all derivatives made these cars sought after in their day. Rust has since claimed many Giulias, but surviving models that remain in broadly original form are rising in value year on year.

Your AutoClassics Alfa Romeo 105 Series coupé inspection checklist

Engine

Regardless of the variant, all Giulias featured an alloy twin-cam four-cylinder engine in various capacities. Most 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 do carry out a closer inspection.

Head gaskets have been known to blow, with early signs including oil leaks along the seals. If you see a telltale mayonnaise-like paste under the radiator cap, the gasket is definitely blown.

The carbs need periodical adjustment, but other than regular servicing these twin-cam motors are very strong. The SPICA fuel-injection system may require specialist attention to get right, yet it works well when correctly set up. Mechanical parts are generally widely available, too.

Few cars have remained standard, and the parts compatibility across models means that many 1.3 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, just make sure the modifications were carried out by one of the many reputable specialists out there.

Gearbox

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

A limited-slip differential was standard only on the 2000 GTV, although some cars may have had these retrofitted. Clutches stand up to general fast road driving very well, but if you plan to use your Giulia on track then upgraded components are a must.

Suspension and brakes

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

Disc brakes are fitted all round. Seized calipers and servos are a common issue on cars that have been standing a long time.

Bodywork

The Giulia’s biggest issue is its propensity to dissolve into a big heap of rust if not properly cared for.

This most seriously affects the first batch of rebadged Giulia Sprints, but all 105 Series cars should be thoroughly examined, as extensive rot can make resurrecting a car financially unviable. Finding replacement panels for the very rare GTC and Junior Z models can be much more tricky than sourcing parts for the standard cars.

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

Interior

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

Giulias did not suffer the electrical issues that plagued some other Alfa models. Most problems can be traced to poor earthing or corroded switches. Intermittent issues tend to occur from damaged wiring, which can be labour intensive to rectify.

History

  • 1963: 105 Series Alfa Romeo Sprint GT introduced with 103bhp 1.6-litre twin-cam four and five-speed manual gearbox. Bertone styling features distinctive ‘stepnose’ bonnet.
    • 1964: Giulia GTC cabriolet introduced. Running gear based on GT, 1000 units built.
    • 1965: 106bhp Sprint GT Veloce replaces GT, featuring an updated interior and slightly more power.
    • 1965: GT 1300 Junior introduced with 80bhp 1.3-litre engine.
    • 1967: 1750 GT Veloce with 120bhp and much improved torque over 1.6-litre GTV. US versions receive the SPICA fuel-injection system. Changes to the exterior remove that distinctive ‘stepnose’ bonnet, while chassis upgrades significantly improve handling.
    • 1968: No Alfa Romeo imports into the US this year, 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 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 – except 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. They share much of their interior specifications with the larger 2000 GTV.
    • 1976: 2000 GTV production ends.
    • 1977: All Giulia production ends.

AutoClassics says…

Despite having ended production over 40 years ago, the Giulia enjoys a very enthusiastic following. There are clubs and specialists the world over dedicated to keeping these little sporty coupés on the road.

Don’t be scared off by mechanically tired cars; as long as the body is in good condition, the running gear is far more cost effective to sort out than a rusted shell. 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 form, 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 highly, although even the base 1300 Junior has a sweetness and balance that can make it a great little classic.

Whatever you choose, a good Giulia will offer you the sort of immersive driving experience that no modern car can provide. Add to that continually rising values, and it becomes clear why the 105 Series Giulia is held in such high regard.

Specifications

1.3-litre GT Junior
  Power 80bhp
  Top speed 100mph
  0-60mph 12.6sec
  Economy 30mpg

1.6-litre GT
  Power 92bhp
  Top speed 105mph
  0-60mph 12sec
  Economy 30mpg

1.75-litre 1750 GTV
  Power 120bhp
  Top speed 115mph
  0-60mph 10sec
  Economy 30mpg

2.0-litre 2000 GTV
  Power 130bhp
  Top speed 120mph
  0-60mph 10sec
  Economy 30mpg

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