A glimpse into the glorious past of a model that has re-emerged this year.
She was the face Alfa Romeo - ugly, but charismatic. It has become a symbol of a new type of car - the sports sedan. It's powerful, compact and stable on the road, with a great engine under the hood. Her superior technique gave her 16 years of life, and then, due to the lack of heirs, she quickly became a myth. Now Julia has been reborn - an occasion to meet her three classic generations and experience the thrill of the once sworn alphas.
To make a successful career as a classic car, a popular production car must meet several conditions. It must be produced in a reputable company, with a unique glow and unique technique for its time. Success in racing is an additional ennobling factor, and the propensity to drive more actively increases interest even more. The absence of a famous heir also stimulates the birth of responsibilities. The Alfa Romeo Giulia meets all of these stringent requirements brilliantly - with the exception of sports, where its Alfa Romeo GTA derivative pre-selected all the cups and left almost nothing for the Giulia TI Super.
Driving a Giulia is a special experience because the car feels different than everyone else - with the exception of Bertone's relatives, Spyder or Berlin. This uniqueness further enhances the enjoyment of the road and makes the model more desirable. They have such a unique shine Jaguar E-Type, Citroën DS, Porsche 911, Mercedes 230 SL, Triumph TR 6 and BMW 2002 - all the cars that you can fall in love with for life.
A car enthusiast will almost certainly want to drive and own Julia when, for example, Ford Taunus 1600 or VW K 70 will rather leave him indifferent. There are many reasons for this, most of which have already been mentioned. Now, three models from three characteristic eras of Julia's long life will allow us to penetrate the essence of her irresistible charm.
As soon as you get into the late 1.6 Giulia Super 1973, your spirits are better with the excitement of driving. It is lacquered in a rare color "fajo" (red beech), has never been restored and belongs to the Alfa Romeo connoisseur Hartmut Stöpel. In our trilogy, she personifies the most characteristic version of Julia's most prosperous years.
Soft evolution of the first model
The 1600 Bianco spin Giulia 1965 TI manufactured by the pharmacist Jürgen Deckert helps us experience the tart charm of the original version. After three years of production, bourgeois automotive trappings such as the usual front seat and gear lever are a thing of the past, but the fancy broadband speedometer is still in place and will only give way to the classic round instrument in 1967 - the latest for this first version of Julia.
Plus, the uniquely shaped slim body still pays tax on chrome in the 60s. The evolution from a family sedan to a sports sedan is far from complete with the 1600 TI version. He is forced to be content with one two-chamber carburetor. At first, it even had four-wheel drum brakes, but they were quite effective - with stiffeners and large braking surfaces.
Julia Nuova 1976, born in 1300 by the medical technician Ulrich Byutov, has the features of a forced senseless modernization. Where has this characteristic sharp-nosed muzzle gone, which cannot be confused with anyone, but at the same time captivates aerodynamically? The coefficient Cx of the model is 0,34, i.e. at the level of Citroën DS. In the test of the car engine and sports of the time, the Giulia Nuova 1600 was almost as fast as its predecessor, so in terms of functionality, the restyling caused only minor damage.
The black radiator grille with the same large twin headlights annoys aesthetes and remains the hallmark of the dubious designer fashion of the XNUMX's. Although the Giulia has never been considered a classic automobile beauty before, its uniqueness of forms still gives the impression of some kind of whimsical harmony.
Even a seemingly unnecessary fold on the trunk lid has become dear to our hearts. At Nuova, our absence is painful. On the inside, though, Julia exhibits better quality than ever before - more wood, more beautiful technology, a deeply recessed steering wheel hub, just like the American sports model. As if the Italian wants to apologize for the bad makeup. But even Nuova is above all Julia, and today small stylistic flaws make her especially cute.
Julia - Designed by enthusiasts, for fans
The "Faggio", which serves as a benchmark for comparison, turned out to be the most enjoyable to drive. The compact Giulia Super looks like it was created by car enthusiasts especially for car enthusiasts. The mouth-watering three-spoke wooden steering wheel rests beautifully upright in your hands, rather than recline like many other Italian models. Beautifully painted devices showing speed, speed and time are right in front of the driver's eyes, while smaller scales for oil pressure and water temperature are in the center of the dashboard. All are covered with chrome bracelets.
The gear lever protrudes defiantly from the center console. When shifting gears - which is addictive even in dry workouts due to the precise double-click - the hand simply falls off the steering wheel right on the lever ball. The ignition key is to the left of the driver, as in a Porsche 911. Next to it is a vacuum cleaner and manual gas. Only Nuov's key went to the right.
Since 1971, Julia has suspended pedals and a dual-circuit braking system. Two years earlier, the Italian manufacturer parted ways with a reed handbrake, began fitting wider 14-inch wheels and gave Julia a stabilizer for the rear axle. Both measures are intended to further mitigate the innocuous tendency of shifting the rear axle to border modes. Alfa Romeo specialists have constantly improved their Giulia. The heart of Nuova is also a Perkins diesel engine with only 52 hp, designed to demonstrate the desire for radical fuel economy. What a stark contrast to the brilliant 1600cc twin-camshaft engine that reaches 170bhp in the GTA version with two spark plugs per cylinder. at 7500 rpm - without turbocharger!
Four-cylinder engine of the century
With an ecstatic rumble, he wakes up with the ignition key turned on, and a few drinks of gas keep his spirits up. The well-dosed food additive of the vacuum cleaner stabilizes idle speed. The enrichment doesn't have to take long, because the two Weber twin carburettors take care of themselves quickly at low idle and spontaneous acceleration.
For this moderate price point, the chain-driven twin camshaft is an unheard-of machine of no compromise. A technically complex structure pays off for the excellent qualities of the effort put into its creation. The textbook-designed high-speed motor is made entirely of light alloy and features cup lifters for direct, vibration-free valve actuation. Only the much simpler four-cylinder BMW M10 can compete with the Alfa engine as it also has exceptional potential. However, the characteristics of the BMW engine are by no means up to par.
The racing genes accumulated over decades are embodied in a masterpiece by Alfa chief designer Orazio Sata Puliga. The P1 six-cylinder engine from the 1923 Grand Prix shone with two overhead camshafts. Since then, the always beautiful twin cylinder head in the engine compartment has become part of the Milanese brand's credo. Spark plugs are conveniently located in the middle, hemispherical combustion chambers and large-area valves set in an 80-degree V shape ensure optimal filling.
Heat seven liters of oil
The four-cylinder Alfa unit - its predecessor in the 1900 model still has a cast iron block - celebrated its premiere in 1954 on the Giulietta Sprint as a 1300cc short-stroke engine. See, willingly picking up speed. The 1,6-liter version debuted in 1962; in the Giulia 1600 TI it is slightly longer, which improves traction at low revs.
About seven liters of engine oil circulate in the crankcase and cylinder head. They must be thoroughly warmed up to operating temperature. Unfortunately, there is no oil thermometer in the collection. With an outside temperature of 12 degrees, a 30-kilometer stretch seems long enough to allow us to surpass 3500 rpm; stable traction is available from 2000 rpm.
On top of that economical
Thanks to its uncompromising design, the Giulia engine is no-no. He just knows how to do everything - in the version with two carburetors, its qualities during operation after a cold start are as convincing as the revs and elasticity. Even with active driving, the consumption never exceeds 12 liters. With the Giulia, you can start carefully in fourth gear and accelerate to top speed without knocks. But it will be a shame - you will miss the great shifting of a well-matched five-speed gearbox.
The sophisticated chassis lends its signature imprint on the Giulia's driving pleasure, at least as much as the engine. Apart from the turning radius large enough for a rear-wheel drive car, the maneuverability is simply amazing. At high cornering speeds, the Giulia exhibits slight understeer and creates a sense of almost neutral demeanor until it starts to gently and well control its butt. At the same time, excellent road behavior should not be rewarded with uncompromising suspension stiffness. The Giulia was originally designed as a four-door middle class family car. It later received the nickname "sports sedan" from admiring automotive journalists.
The suspension bounces surprisingly well, the impacts are perfectly cushioned, and only when the road surface is uneven does the rigid rear axle tend to bounce. The chassis of the white 1600 TI does not run as smoothly and smoothly, the car does not move harmoniously, and these shortcomings underline its veteran character. At the front, the Giulia has a classic design with two transverse wheels per wheel, and at the rear is a perfectly steerable rigid axle with four longitudinal struts and a stabilizing T-shaped reaction bar above the differential. The reason the model doesn't have independent rear suspension is because of Alfa Romeo's unconventional philosophy, not a desire for a lower price. For the company's designers, track stability and vertical convergence have always been paramount, the rest is a matter of adjustment.
Julia beat her perennial rival BMW 2002 in 1970 in an automotive engine and sports test - not only on measurable criteria, but mainly because of the emotional assessment of an excited tester. A year later, in competition with the supposedly more modern Opel Ascona 1.9 SR and Ford Taunus 1600 GXL, it inevitably makes them breathe its dust. These two cars are a good example of a classic model's not-so-successful career. Then they cost the same as Julia, today they can be bought for a third of her price.
The Giulia Super's 50 kilometer marathon test was described by editors as a daring and risky undertaking. But fully loaded on a liter of 000 hp. / l the engine is exemplary and burns no more than half a liter of oil per 66 km.
Is this miracle child completely devoid of weaknesses? The question arises, isn't it? The sophisticated technology made the model too cheap and Alfa Romeo benefited little from it. His biggest flaw is that he cannot pass on his valuable genes to a worthy heir. The people at the company are wasting energy on powertrain circuits rather than continuing to refine Julia's great design.
Alfa Romeo plant in Arezzo - new plant for Giulia
Already in the late 50s, Alfa Romeo's main plant in Portelo, near Milan, reached full capacity. Construction of the new high-volume model, which was originally planned as a small front-wheel drive car with a 1961 liter engine, began in 40 at a new factory in Arezzo, XNUMX km from Milan. The idea for a front-wheel drive car was born, thank God, Julia, and the first versions of the compact sports sedan are still rolling off the production lines in Portelo.
Production began in Arezzo in 1963, and during the golden age around 1973, the production capacity was 700 cars per day. Giulia, Berlina, Alfetta, as well as GT and Spider models, whose bodies are produced by Bertone and Pininfarina, are manufactured or assembled in this plant. In 1987 g. Fiat takes control of Alfa Romeo. The successful new model 164 provides good capacity utilization, but after the merger with Fiat, the Arese plant is gradually losing its significance.
In 2000, the wedge-shaped GTV and Spider were the last cars to roll off the assembly line, and continued to produce excellent V2005 engines until 6. In 2009 Alfa Romeo closed its Centro Stile design department in Turin. Today the plant is in a dilapidated, half-abandoned state, and still suitable workshops are used as an industrial zone. The only Alfa Romeo museum has survived in a former factory complex.
Alfa Romeo Giulia TI, Giulia Super 1.6, Giulia New Super 1300
ENGINE Water-cooled, four-cylinder, four-stroke in-line engine, dia. cylinder x piston stroke 78 x 82 mm; 74 x 75 mm (Nuova 1.3), 1570 displacement, 1290 cc, 3: 9 compression ratio. Maximum power 92 HP at 6000 rpm (TI); 102 hp at 5500 rpm (Super); 87 h.p. at 5500 rpm (Nuova 1.3). Maximum. torque 131 Nm / 4000 rpm; 142 Nm / 2900 rpm; 120 Nm / 3000 rpm Cylinder head and alloy block, crankshaft with five main bearings, two overhead camshafts driven by a duplex chain, V-valves driven by cup lifters, 7,2-liter engine oil. Mixing: one two-chamber Solex carburetor (TI); two Weber horizontal flow twin-chamber carburettors. Ignition: battery / coil. Features: sodium cooled exhaust valves, wet cylinder liners.
POWER TRANSMISSION Rear-wheel drive, cable-operated single-plate dry clutch, hydraulic since 1/1969. Fully synchronized five-speed Giulia TI overdrive transmission until 1965 with gear lever on the steering wheel.
BODY AND LIFT Self-supporting all-metal body with four doors and reinforced floor platform. Independent front suspension with pairs of triangular struts, coil springs, stabilizer, rear rigid axle with longitudinal struts, coil springs, T-bar and stabilizer, front and rear telescopic shock absorbers. Ball screw steering system, disc brakes. Wheels 4,5 J x 15 (TI), 5,5 J x 14, tires 155 SR 15 (TI) Pirelli / Michelin; 165 SR 14 (Super, New).
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT Length x width x height 4160 x 1560 x 1430 mm, wheelbase 2510 mm, net weight 1049 kg, 1069 kg, 1053 kg, tank 46 liters.
DYNAMIC CHARACTERISTICS AND CONSUMPTION Acceleration 0-100 km / h in 13,2; 11,7; 13,9 sec, max. speed 167; 179; 165 km / h, consumption approx. 11 - 12,5 l / 100 km.
PRODUCTION TIME AND CIRCULATION All Giulia variants from 3/1962 to 9/1978, 572 646 copies, incl. New Diesel; of which 273 specimens. Super and Nuova
Text: Alf Kremers
Photo: Jörg Künstle