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Sunday, April 3, 2016

This ’63 Alfa Romeo Barn Find is For Sale, Rust Included


Copyright © 2016 Bold Ride LLC.

Beauty is most certainly in the eye of the beholder. For instance, many wouldn’t give this dirty and rusty barn find Alfa Romeo a second look. But peer beyond its decades of wear and you’ll find a lifetime of stories written across its bodywork. 
One such story pertains to its origins. And, well… surprise! This Alfa Romeo, a 1963 Giulia Sprint 1600, is part French. Peek under the long hood of this Italian classic and you’ll find a French plaque that reads “Distributeur pour la France; Régie Nationale des Usines Renault.” Yes, that Renault. But why?


The answer is simple: business. Beginning in the late 1950s, French automaker Renault was looking to expand its sales in the then Fiat-dominated Italian car market. To do so, it struck into a deal with—you guessed it—Alfa Romeo. Alfa would use its dealer network to sell Renaults in Italy, while Renault returned the favor by marketing Alfas in France. Both parties benefitted, and in fact, Alfa even assembled the Renault Dauphine in Italy.
According to historical accounts, a tax imposed by the Italian government eventually soured the deal in the early 1960s, and a few years later the gig was up. Regardless, this Giulia Sprint 1600 was one of those French-bound cars that Renault eventually sold.

It was built in December 1962, sold to Renault’s Boulogne-Billancourt factory two days later, and found its first French owner in March 1963. Amazingly, since then it has only had two other owners (sold in October 1967 and again in March of ’68).


Admittedly, its “Giulia” name is a bit of a misnomer. These cars were essentially early Giulietta Sprint coupes which in 1962 were renamed for the new “Giulia” line and given a larger 1570cc twin-cam engine to play with. The later (and boxier) Giulia Sprints adopted iconic styling all their own, but these Giulietta-bodied cars do surely wear their Bertone crafted lines well.

Nonetheless, this Sprint 1600 is a bit rough around the edges. The “tin worm” has made its mark on the Giulia’s Auteuil Silver body, spanning from the car’s front fascia to its rear end. Inside it’s a similar story. Life locked away in a barn has left its interior aged and weary, but like a true time capsule. Needless to say, it’s all original.


In its 53 years since it rolled off the assembly line in Italy, the Sprint 1600 has covered just over 37,000 miles. Now, it’s up for sale in the UK, and its barn find status doesn’t come cheap. The cherished Alfa Romeo asks £27,000 (around $38,000).