1955 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Review

Aug 22, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)

Alfa Romeo had a particularly good year in 1955 when they released the popular Giulietta Spider. The renowned Italian automaker was known for crafting high-quality vehicles, and the Spider was no exception. The Italian roadster was designed by coachbuilder Pininfarina. They created a classic convertible that has a timeless appeal and inspired the famous Alfa Romeo Giulia.

Origins


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The 1955 Giulietta Spider was the third version of the 750 Series introduced at the 1954 Turin Motor Show. The 750 was a new platform with unibody construction equipped with a new aluminum-block DOHC 1.3L inline-four engine that was advanced for a production car at the time. The first model was a two-by-two coupé called the Giulietta Sprint joined by a four-door saloon (sedan) called the Berlina in 1955. By that point, the Giulietta had come to the attention of Max Hoffman, an importer of luxury vehicles to the United States based in New York. Hoffman recommended that Alfa Romeo release an open-top roadster to take advantage of the manufacturer’s reputation and style that he could bring to America. Alfa Romeo contracted the design firm Pininfarina to sculpt the convertible. The coachbuilder is renowned for their work with companies in Italy, including Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, and Lancia. The result was a timeless roadster with reserved elegance, sleek lines, and balanced proportions.

Release

The Giulietta Spider launched in the middle of 1955 at the Paris Auto Show, making this the first model year. The stylish convertible body was built on the 750 running gear and engine. Before the Giulietta, Alfa Romeo was known for expensive road cars and racing vehicles. The lightweight roadster inaugurated a new direction for the company that remains beloved by enthusiasts to this day. Drivers loved this vehicle for its attractive styling, lively performance, spacious interior, and state-of-the-art mechanical components. Especially for the time, the new engine, zippy drive, and coil-sprung suspension were highly attractive features. Max Hoffman had requested 600 vehicles to export to the United States and the roadster was first available in America, while Italian drivers had to wait until the last export was delivered to New York. However, while import taxes kept the roadster an expensive luxury in America, the beautiful convertibles were more competitively priced in Italy.

Availability


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While it is not as popular as later models among collectors today, the Giulietta Spider was the very first post-war convertible from Alfa Romeo, and it stayed in production until 1965. There were 14,300 Spiders put into production. However, the 750 was renamed the 101 and received an extended wheelbase and a new engine. The new style would be utilized and supplanted by the Giulia Spider in 1962.  If you are interested in trying to get one of the classic models from 1955 to 1959, prepare to spend a lot of money, as a 1958 version sold for just under $60,000. However, Alfa Romeo has a small but dedicated community of collectors in the United States that can provide an interested buyer with advice and directions.

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