Book Review by Pete Vack
Price: $34.95 from LuluOne day circa 1974, a young man having emerged from a taxicab knocked at our door, suitcase in hand. He seemed in a hurry and rather preoccupied. He was rather tall and lean. “Hi, I’m Evan Wilson and I’m here to pick up the Alfasud.”
He opened the suitcase, plied $900 into our hands, went straight for the Sud in the driveway and after spending the night, was gone the next day. He said he was driving the Sud back to Baltimore where he had flown in from after spotting our ad in the brown covered Hemmings, (the only way to ad in those pre-Internet days). I told him good luck, I have no idea if you’ll make it back without any problems. He drove the entire distance without a hitch, literally.
We’ll save the Sud saga for another time. The reluctant seller would eventually become the Editor of VeloceToday and Evan Wilson would become, amoung other things, the author of a delightful book on Alfa Giuliettas. The Internet being the engaging vehicle it is, after a period of some thirty seven years, out of the blue came an email message from Evan Wilson asking if we’d like to review a revised edition of his Giulietta book. Of course, we said, send it along and we’ll do it in conjunction with our planned series of articles on the Giulietta.
And so here we are. There are, of course, many books written about the Giulietta, the best of them being “Alfa Giulietta: all the models of the Giulietta” by Tito Anselmi for Nada in 1998, second edition, —that one is really hard to beat and highly recommended, even if in Italian only. Evan’s book—properly titled “Evan Wilson’s Giulietta Book”, is really a nicely written trip through Giuliettaville; informative, often witty, based on both experience and long time membership In the AROC (Alfa Romeo Owner’s Club, U.S.A.) Not only did Evan own an Alfa Sud, but was one of the few U.S. owners of the Giulietta 1300 Berlina and many other Alfas as well.
Alas, I don’t think I ever had a copy of the first edition of Evan’s book, but the latest fast press Lulu edition is a simple red hardbound book on pulp paper with exactly 200 pages accompanied by a few drawings and black and white photos, the illustrations are most certainly not the book’s strong point. It has about 50 percent more material than the original, so basically a brand new effort.
Wilson tells you what you need to know about Giuliettas in order to both buy and enjoy them, U.S. style. Nowhere else, for example, will you be led carefully through the minefields of the 750 and 101 series Alfas, complete with charts and serial numbers and a good stab at the logic which produced anomalies such as a 1958 Alfa Normale Sprint coupe with a new 101 body and the old 750 engine. For those unaware of the magic of the Alfa numbering system, a 101 body is a later (and to some, less desirable) body than the earlier 750. The engine of this particular transitional car was the earlier, less powerful and less robust 750 engine. So Alfa introduced a new car with a updated body with an out of date engine—backwards of what would be the ideal for the enthusiast (please, an early 750 sprint body with the neat unadorned grille and tiny taillights with a 101 engine!!) But just for a year.
Wilson understands all this very well and explains it even better—great stuff to know if you want to be sure that your Sprint Special really has the correct engine block (with a ‘00120’ prefix). No, not just great stuff to know, absolutely essential when buying today. Yes, most of the serial number information can be found in Fusi’s All Alfas from 1910, but the implications, meanings and importance is only laid out by Wilson.
Not only does he clarify the Alfa numbering system including body, chassis, engine and parts for the various 750 and 101 models, but he takes it all a step further by including the 101 1600 Alfas that were part of the Giulietta legacy; the 1600 Sprint, the 1600 Sprint Special, and the 1600 Spider and their Veloce counterparts. Wilson rightfully sees these as interim 1300s, cars which carried the badge before the onset of the true 1600 cars that began with the Satta 1600 Sedan, the Duetto and GT. Alas, these interim cars, equipped with more powerful engines and 5 speed transmissions, are probably the best drivers, the best handing, and most usable of all the Giuliettas. Ironically, the Giulietta which would have most profited from the increased power and torque of the 1600 was the Berlina, but because the new 1600 sedan (the model name Berlina would not be applied again until the 1750 Berlina, a laden and stretched version of the more than perfect 1600 that in one stroke destroyed the great charms of the Berlina and 1600 Sedan) was ready to replace it by 1963, it never got the chance.
But back to the book. Right in the middle of this review we will comment on its essentiality; thusly, if you have ever wanted a Giulietta, have one now or plan to buy one, you need this book. More whys:
Page 46 Detailed explanation of Giulietta part numbers
Page 48 Tables for transitional serial numbers of 750 and 101 cars
Page 52 Complete technical differences an sizes between 750 and 101 series engines
Page 62 Serial number Tables for Veloce and Sprint Speciale 101 Alfas
Page 121 Alfa Owner reference chart
Page 122 Common parts interchangeability
Page 128 Giulietta paint codes
Page 160-165 Tables of market values, conditions, asking prices as of 2009 by Matt’s Market Reports
Appendix 1 Selected principal technical data
Appendix 2 Coverage of the Giulietta Epoch in the Alfa Owner (indexed)
Wilson is taking advantage of the Lulu fast press which allows him to update and make changes. “Already, The map on page 6 has been deleted and an aerial photo of the Portello plant in 1958 substituted, the poor image of a Sprint in a street race on page 29 has been replaced with a nice image of Bertone’s Sprint paint line in 1961, and images of Spider racers (one Giulia and one Giulietta) have been inserted at p. 98. Appropriate captions have been inserted and the Index now reflects these changes. This flexibility is the principal advantage of print-on-demand,” says Wilson.
I should not fail to mention that the book is a breeze to read, enjoyable, understandable, and covers almost everything one would want to know about Giulietta cars (note not trucks). If you love old Alfas, don’t even THINK about not buying this book!