Thursday 5 September 2013

The Alfa Romeo Giulia timeline

The Alfa Romeo Giulia is one of the most iconic, affordable and enjoyable classic cars ever. Legendary shape, generous boot, 5 seats, frisky engine, great driving position and pure breed Alfa Romeo DNA make it a great car to own and to enjoy.
But how easy is it to recognise the year of a car that was produced from 1962 to 1978?
A little timeline should help understanding the evolution with the introduction of every model.



Giulia "TI" - Tipo 105.14 - the "Turismo Internazionale" was the first version introduced. 1570cc, 92 bhp, single double barrel carburettor, 4 drum brakes, steering wheel mounted 5 speed gearbox, under-dash handbrake, bench front seat, net paper holder on the back of front seat, trapeze-shaped instrument group, two-tone two rakes steering wheel, 2 points front seat belts.  Four front lights, chrome trimmed front indicators, chrome trim on the hood and rostrums on chrome bumpers.



"TI Super" - Tipo 105.16 - Upgrade to 112 bhp, 2 double barrel carbs, lowered ride, transmission and hand brake on central tunnel, single front seats, round instruments, compulsory front seat belts, no arm rests, no heater, fixed deflectors, rear windows in plexiglas and the introduction of the legendary steering wheel with three aluminium spokes and wooden rim. Central front lights turned into vents, model logo on the front of the hood, cloverleaf on trunk and front wings, lightweight Elektron rims, lighter body, removal of the rostrums. Since 1963 all the Giulia will fit full disc brakes.



Giulia "1300" - Tipo 105.06 - 1290cc, single double barrel carb, tunnel mounted 4 speed transmission, "TI" steering wheel, simpler dashboard, short front armrests. Two front lights, simpler grill Alfa Romeo emblem, no rostrums, rectangular indicators, logo in relief on wheel hubs, no reverse light and 4 disc brakes. Introduction of tunnel mounted transmission on the TI.



The Giulia "Super" - Tipo 105.26 - 98bhp, two double barrel carbs, three spokes aluminium steering wheel with black rim, new dials, wooden trimmed dashboard, upgrades in internal finishes, italic font in model logo, chrome trim under doors, gold trim on b-pillars, split emblem, taller rostrums, frameless bigger tail lights.



Giulia "1300 TI" - Tipo 105.39 - 82 bhp, 5 speed gearbox, rostrums, non-reflecting plastic dashboard, three spokes black trimmed steering wheel, new seats.

The 1600 TI abandoned completely the steering wheel mounted gear lever and received new dashboard, new dials, new seats, rear central armrest, steel bumpers, new "L" chrome trim under tail lights.



"Super" - black front grille, simpler emblem, simpler front indicators, two speed wipers, new three spokes aluminium black rimmed steering wheel, key lock on passenger door, vertical vents under windshield. Optional metallic paint and "Texalfa" hide.

"1300 TI" - black front grille, vertical vents under windshield, two speed wipers, "super" dials, two tone horn, steering lock, key lock on passenger door.



"Super" - New clutch, new synchro, no safety lock on reverse, upgraded seats, oil and water gauges on central dashboard, new rostrums, "Biscione" logo on B pillars. 
"1300 TI" - better soundproofing panels, flat hubcaps, bigger rostrums, boot inspection light, redesigned external handles. 
"1600 S" - Tipo 105.85. 95 bhp, 1 double barrel carb, same feats as 1300TI except for double front lights.



"1300 Super" - Tipo 115.09. 89bhp, 2 double barrel carbs, redesigned handles, adjustable light beams, "hung" pedals, 1300 style steering wheel, "super" specs on the interiors but no radio and armrests, hand brake on central tunnel, three dashboard switches, hand throttle, trunk service light. "Super" - Upgraded braking system, "hung" pedals, handbrake indicator light, adjustable light beams, fusebox relocated under the dashboard, switches on the tunnel, starter on steering column, new horn button, snap on central rear view mirror. "1300 TI" - snap on central rear view mirror, "hung" pedals.



"Super" - 4 front lights, wooden rim and hub on steering wheel, rubber carpets, bigger tail lights, 1.3 or 1.6 logo, matching window frames, logo on new, smaller hubcaps, 1.6 engine available on request.


"Nuova Super" - flat hood, plastic front grille, four equal front lights, bigger emblem, indicators framed in the front bumper, rubber rostrums, new front seats with head rests, redesigned instruments, starter on the right of the steering column, redesigned instruments, new dashboard, 1.6 engine available on request.


"Nuova Super Diesel" - Tipo 115.40, Engine Diesel Perkins 108U, thicker sound proofing panels, stronger battery, deeper steering wheel, 165 sr14 tyres.

Many thanks to Ruoteclassiche.

Friday 23 August 2013

1965 "Nembo Ford" Bizzarrini

In January 1966 Neri & Bonacini presented to the press their interpretation of the Gt Strada. This car wouldn't live for long nor would have attracted too much attention.
Built for a mysterious "American Client that wants to remain anonymous" as a one off car, it was supposed to be an experiment to push the italian body/american engine recipe to its limits.
It was simply called the "Nembo Ford".
Starting from what is obviously a Bizzarrini GT Strada chassis, the italian coachbuilders removed all the chrome trims and introduced some unique and interesting vents on the side and a unique bump on the bonnet to host two four barrel carburetors. Under the bonnet was a massive Ford Holman & Moody prepared 7-litre engine capable of and estimate of 500bhp. 
The car possibly never made it to the States and the "American Client that wants to remain anonymous" was probably a joint venture of Carlo Bernasconi and some undisclosed american companies exploring the possibilities for the Nembo Strale spotted testing in August (then nicknamed Daytona) and presented in October of the same year.

The chassis number B*0219 of the "Nembo Ford" matches the Strale Prototype presented at the Turin Motor Show in October 1966, with "Strale" being italian for "dart, arrow, but also for gibe or taunt.
Strale Daytona 6000GT Prototype image from

Seems so that the car didn't live long at all, and probably wasn't supposed to in any case. Neri & Bonacini would go bankrupt the following year getting rid of all spares and bucks and scattering men in the other companies in the area, including Giorgio Neri to Carrozzeria Sport Cars for Piero Drogo and Luciano Bonacini to De Tomaso.

Strale Daytona 6000GT Prototype image from

Thursday 22 August 2013

Autodromo Stringback Driving Gloves - Review

I just ordered my Autodromo Stringback Driving Gloves a couple of weeks ago and I was very happy to receive them in the mail today, just few days after our Citroen SM finally became part of the family. They once again managed to offer a great product in a nice packaging that contributes to the vintage allure of the item.
I particularly like how Autodromo captures the feel of the era with a very simple thick envelope with a "period-correct" one tone graphic. Another typical old days touch is the mark on the size of choice, obviously written by hand. Nice (and probably also very cost effective. Why don't other companies do that?).
The gloves are simply great. The drum-dyed leather is nice and soft and they the cotton crochet back stretches allowing a nice and firm fit. I don't particularly like how the elastic in the wrist bends when empty, but once fitted it perfectly wraps the hand. This was actually a pleasant surprise because my old driving gloves were always a bit loose in this area if not buttoned up and sometimes were getting entangled in the gear lever especially in cars with the steering wheel very close to the stick. 
The inside of each finger has a neat line of tiny holes that should take care of perspiration during long trips. I'm glad they are there and that they are relatively small since this is one of the parts particularly prone to wear. Another nice touch are the three thicker lines on the higher palm for this is an area on which I rely a lot when turning the wheel without gripping too much with my hand. Thumbs and wrists have double stitches but not the fingers, which makes sense for they need to be thinner and more nimble.
Compared to other driving gloves available on the market they are a tad on the expensive side but they really have an extra value on a design specifically tailored on driving pleasure and nothing else. There's  a lot of cheaper alternatives and just as many more expensive ones. none of them seemed so purposeful as durable thou. 
Are these racing gloves? No. 
Are these supposed to make me drive faster or better? No.

Then why?
- Because I don't want to remove my wedding ring when I drive cars with hard steering wheels and I'm afraid to scratch them (see Volvo P1800s).
- Because I want to reduce the amount of acid that my hands release on soft vintage steering wheels (see Citroen SM)
- Because they allow me to have more grip with less effort, hence allowing me to relax more at the wheel.
- Because putting gloves on while the engine warms up is a magnificent ritual.
- Because they look extremely cool.