1956 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Normale

  • 1956 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Normale for sale
  • Fully restored after more than 40 years in storage
  • Sold new in Lebanon and incredibly original throughout
  • Extensive history file

Rescued from long-term storage by a marque enthusiast and painstakingly restored by its next owner, this early Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint is a beautifully presented example of the stylish Italian sports car. 

According to the Alfa Romeo Museum archive, this 750B-series Sprint was built on 16 July 1956 and sold new in Beirut on 7 August. It’s thought that the car was owned by Dany Chamoun – son of the President of Lebanon – while he attended Loughborough University in the late 1950s. 

With the Alfa having been sold new in Lebanon, it’s possible that young Chamoun – a future politician in his own right – drove it from there to England in order to begin his studies. A sticker that was in the windscreen from the famous Grossglockner pass even suggested that he came via Austria.

Further evidence linking this car to Chamoun came from the fact that, at some point prior to going into storage, it had been resprayed metallic green from its original light grey (Grigio Chiarissimo), a later post-1958 grille had been fitted, and the radiator sported a plaque suggesting that it had been repaired in 1959-60 by Northern Radiators of Leeds, York and Bradford. 

All of that work points towards front-end repairs having been carried out, and people who knew Chamoun at Loughborough recalled him having a minor accident in his Sprint on the road between Loughborough and Shepshed.

During the 1960s, the Alfa was acquired by Sergeant John Robert Granville Long, who had joined the RAF in July 1946 and had several overseas postings. It’s believed that one of those postings was to Beirut and, if Chamoun had taken the car back to Lebanon after completing his studies, it’s possible that Long bought it there. He soon put it into storage and the fact that it was still on Lebanese plates when it emerged decades later suggests that it had never been registered in the UK.

In August 2013, Alfa Romeo specialist James Wheeler received a call from a relative of Long, who had become something of a recluse in later life and passed away in April 2012. His old house and garden had been neglected and trees had to be cut down in order to reach the garage, but inside were two Giulietta Sprints – this car, plus a later UK-registered model that was soon sold on.   

This 1956 car was found to be in remarkably solid and original condition once it was cleaned up. It was UK-registered in December 2013 and sold to a new owner who embarked upon a full restoration – most of which he carried out himself.

Despite the car having spent at least 40 years in storage, bodywork repairs were limited to the boot floor, jacking points, front outriggers and one rear wheelarch. The owner reported that ‘the floor, doors, bonnet and boot lid were perfect, with no rust whatsoever’.

He subsequently went right through the car, rebuilding the original engine, the back axle, the gearbox, and overhauling all of the associated ancillaries. ‘All other mechanical parts,’ he said, ‘were stripped, blasted, repaired or replaced, then repainted.’

The rebuild was a family effort – his wife helped by cleaning components in their parts washer, blasting the shell and panels with fine grit, remaking the door panels and fitting a new headlining. A new wiring loom was also installed, the brightwork was rechromed, and the respray – in the car’s rare original colour of Grigio Chiarissimo – was taken care of by a local bodyshop.

Now being offered for sale at The Classic Motor Hub, this rare Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint is an exceptional example of a car that has become highly sought-after after thanks to its blend of Bertone styling, rev-happy twin-cam engine and well-sorted chassis. It comes with an extensive history file detailing the investigation into its early life and owners, and even its old Lebanese licence plates.

Model history

Few cars can match the timeless Italian chic of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint. The little coupé was launched in 1954 as the first of a Giulietta family that would eventually include Berlina, Spider and even a very rare estate – as well as the aerodynamic Sprint Speciale and competition-spec Sprint Zagato. 

At the heart of the Giulietta was Alfa Romeo’s all-alloy, twin-cam, 1290cc four-cylinder engine. Breathing through a single carburettor, the Giulietta Sprint Normale produced 79bhp at 6300rpm and boasted a top speed of just over 100mph. The Sprint Veloce model was fitted with twin carburettors and had a higher compression ratio, helping to boost power to 89bhp.

Designed by Franco Scaglione at Bertone, the Giulietta Sprint was built at the firm’s Grugliasco factory, apart from a short run that was assembled at Alfa Romeo at the very beginning of production. It featured unitary construction, with independent front suspension and drum brakes all round.  

When Car & Driver magazine tested a Giulietta Sprint, it said that it ‘can carry two people from point A to point B over all types of roads quicker than most cars twice its size. It does this not with blinding speed but with a wonderful combination of roadholding, compact size and sheer willingness.’

Production of the various Giulietta models lasted until 1965, by which time Alfa Romeo had introduced the new Tipo 105 coupé.

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