Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA Buying Guide

Lightweight GTA was developed to be the ultimate version of the already capable 105 series Giulia coupe – but you must choose carefully

What to pay

• Project £30,000-40,000 • Good £60,000-95,000 • Concours £120,000-300,000 •
• Most expensive at auction: £400,000 (Giulia GTA-SA and GTAm variants)

Overview

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

Alfa Romeo built an enviable post-war reputation with a range of superb driver-focused coupes and saloons, but it achieved legendary status with the introduction of the lightweight 105 series-based GTA models.

The A stood for Alleggerita – lightweight in Italian – and the very first Giulia Sprint GTA arrived in 1965, two years after the 105 series Giulia models had been launched.

Both road Stradale and track Corsa variants were produced, most featuring aluminium panelling among numerous other weight-saving measures. The 1.6-litre engine was massaged for extra power, and the gearbox received a set of shorter ratios.

All this meant that power was up, weight was down and performance was class leading. Road-going GTA 1600s provided 113bhp, while the track variants produced up to 163bhp.

A GTA 1300 Junior followed in 1967, with slightly less power and only some of the earlier weight-saving measures. The ultra-rare GTA-SA, featuring a twin-supercharged 250bhp 1.6-litre motor, also arrived the same year.

Production numbers were low overall for all GTA variants, and many modified Giulia GTs are out there masquerading as the real thing. Specialists also offer modern-day GTA clones with a range of bespoke parts. Then there are the Evocazione recreations, which are GTA builds based on the original specifications.

Even original cars will have been subject to modifications and upgrades. The racing versions in particular tended to have led a hard life, and finding a genuine GTA requires knowledge, patience and a fair dose of good luck, too. This guide should help with the first of those points.

Your AutoClassics Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA inspection checklist

Engine

All GTA blocks were based on the Giulia alloy twin-cam four-cylinder engine. The 1.3 and 1.6-litre models used modified twin-carburettors, with the 1.6 versions also receiving a magnesium timing cover, sump and camshaft cover.

The GTA-SA was based on the 1.6-litre motor, although with slightly different bore/stroke dimensions, and it featured two superchargers.

GTAm models boasted the Spica fuel-injection system. They were based on the GTV 1750 and, later, the GTV 2000 engines. These models did not have the weight-saving magnesium components fitted to the 1.6-litre versions.

All have proven to be strong units. The few issues to look out for mirror those of the standard Giulia GT and GTV models. Timing chains and tappets can get loud over time, but they should settle down once the oil pressure is up. Have a closer look if the noise persists.

While radiators were upgraded over the standard GTV's, head gaskets can blow – especially on cars that see regular track use and not such regular maintenance. Check for oil leaks around the seals and the side of the block.

Both the twin-carb and Spica fuel-injection system work best when professionally set up. A lot of flat-spots and rough-running issues can be traced back to the fuel system.

Mechanical components should be relatively easy to source, although this is not always the case for GTA-specific components. Many cars will feature parts from various models, the later Alfa 75 twinspark motor being a particularly favoured transplant.

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Gearbox

The five-speed gearbox was based on the standard Giulia GT unit. It featured shorter ratios and, in some models, a magnesium bellhousing. Racing versions tended to be fitted with more robust clutches, while all GTAs should have limited-slip differentials.

Look out for worn synchros, particularly in second gear. Damaged selector forks can make it difficult to select reverse.

Suspension and brakes

The suspension set-up comprised an independent front end with coil springs and aluminium lower control arms. The rear was still a live axle with trailing arms, and you may find that few GTAs have been left in this original state.

Common upgrades include modern-specification dampers, lowered spring kits and solid bushes. Track versions tended to receive more extreme modifications to allow for increased camber and caster settings.

Brakes were discs all round, and there was no servo assistance on most of the early GTA models. Those distinctive alloy wheels were not standard on the GTA 1300 Junior; they received a style update for the GTAm models.

Bodywork

The biggest visual difference over the GT was the riveted aluminium skin. Thinner-gauge inner steel panels were also used, but the GTAm models reverted to the original steel bodyshell construction.

Rust was a major concern on the standard Giulia, and the GTA's aluminium panels did little to improve matters. The riveting points can corrode and rust the inner steel panels, while all the usual areas such as the arches, footwells, side sills, window frames, jacking points and suspension mounts will need close inspection, too. Is it made of metal? Check it over.

Bodywork repairs on these cars can be the costliest portion of a restoration, and badly rusted cars may be financially unviable to repair. Accident damage is common, too, so check for poorly executed resprays and panel repairs.

Interior

All GTA models were left-hand drive, and track versions were mostly stripped of all but the most essential items. Even the road-going interiors were pared down compared with those of the GT/GTV. They featured plastic side windows and numerous interior changes such as bespoke door handles and buttons, all aimed at reducing weight.

Many cars have had aftermarket racing seats and roll cages installed. Not all were fitted with plastic side windows. While individual trim items can still be sourced, the cost difference between a serviceable interior and a totally original one can be significant.

History

  • 1963: 105 series Alfa Romeo Sprint GT introduced with Bertone-styled two-door coupe bodyshell. All forthcoming GTA models were to be based on this layout.
  • 1965: Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 GTA introduced with 113bhp 1.6-litre engine in Stradale specification. Racing versions produced up to 168bhp.
  • 1967: GTA-SA built to enter FIA Group 5 racing. Featured a 1.6-litre twinspark engine and two superchargers to produce between 220bhp and 250bhp.
  • 1968: GTA-SA ceases production with only ten units produced.
  • 1968: GTA 1300 Junior introduced with 1.3-litre engine producing between 95bhp and 110bhp in Stradale form, and up to 163bhp in Corsa trim.
  • 1969: GTAm introduced with enlarged 1.75-litre or 2.0-litre engine. Both units had Spica fuel injection and could produce up to a reputed 240bhp.
  • 1969: 1600 GTA ends production. Approximately 500 of both Stradale and Corsa variants were built.
  • 1971: GTAm ends production with an estimated 40 units having been produced.
  • 1975: GTA 1300 Junior ends production. Approximately 193 Stradale and 300 Corsa variants were produced.

AutoClassics says…

The Giulia GTAs have long been a favourite among Alfa fans, and their combination of lightweight chassis and superb handling characteristics made them excellent track machines.

The low production numbers, high attrition rate and decades of racing and modifying have made the buying process a somewhat complex affair, although buyers today have a few avenues to consider.

For the serious collector with deep pockets, there are still a handful of original cars out there – including some faithful recreations that feature most, if not all, of the period components. The GTA-SA and GTAm models are the rarest of the lot, and their values reflect this.

Then there are numerous race-prepped cars in various states of originality for those planning to enter historic events or attend track days. Many specialists also offer builds that follow the spirit of the original cars but with fully modernised running gear.

Values tend to favour the original cars, but some custom-built GTAs can command big figures, too. Whatever variant you settle on, the Giulia GTA, in all its forms, remains one of the most desirable drivers’ cars out there, and represents a high point in Alfa Romeo’s motoring history.

Specifications

1.3-litre Giulia GTA 1300
  Power 95bhp
  Top speed 109mph
  0-60mph 12 sec est.
  Economy 25mpg

1.6 litre Giulia Sprint GTA
  Power 113bhp
  Top speed 115mph
  0-60mph 10sec est.
  Economy 23mpg

2.0 litre GTAm
  Power 240bhp
  Top speed 143mph
  0-60mph 6.5sec est.
  Economy 20mpg est.

1.6 litre GTA-SA
  Power 220-250bhp
  Top speed 149mph
  0-60mph 6sec est.
  Economy 20mpg est.

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