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  • Writer's pictureMatteo Licata

Book: Alfa Romeo Giulietta - The Story 1977-1985

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

The story of how my first book came to be, and why.

The 1977 Giulietta was the first production Alfa to be fully designed under the direction of Ermanno Cressoni, nicknamed “Arch” because of him... being an architect! I love its design's purity and sense of purpose: it was so minimalist in its appearance (at least in its original form) that it even did away with an Alfa badge at the back... But at the same time it could only have been an Alfa because, with its marked wedge and short tail, its actual shape suggested speed in an almost transgressive way compared to the more “formal” appearance of the Alfetta... The Giulietta looked younger at heart, more playful than its bigger sister Alfetta, yet wasn't devoid of grace for that.

It sold in almost four hundred thousand copies, anyone who's owned one remembers it fondly, yet no book was ever written on the "116" Giulietta.

A meticolously researched book (...) A love song to that era of Alfa Romeo design and engineering.

Car Design News

Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Sharp as an arrow, full of personality... Why everyone seems to have forgotten it?

I believe I've had this book inside of me for years, quietly waiting for the right moment to come out. I had noticed the conspicuous absence of a title devoted to the “116” Giulietta generation many years ago but for me, to “feel” able to take on such a project personally, it took quite a long time and several incremental and apparently unrelated evolutionary steps: First, I taught automotive history and design at design academies in Italy and Spain with great satisfaction, which got me to realize I was actually good at communicating such stuff, no matter which audience I had. This was further confirmed by the overwhelmingly positive feedback I got about the small “design talk” I gave to the public of the 2015 Barcelona Motor Show, which was supposed to last 30 min... But ended up lasting two hours!

The second, big, evolutionary step has been Twitter: I enjoy a lot talking cars with car enthusiasts from all over the world, and while doing so I’ve gradually come to the realization that my "geekiness" about cars (admittedly of limited use in "normal" life) could be put to good use and be appreciated... At least by the “right” bunch of people!

The third step has been a direct result of such realization: why limit myself to 280 characters when I often got so much more to say? So Roadster Life was born: while it does serve as an online portfolio, it was meant from the start to be much more than that: it’s my space to write about cars, design and motoring culture at large, always from a very personal point of view and, most importantly, with no holds barred...


Because there’s much, much more to a designer than his/her sketches... Or at least there should be: You hire a designer as much for how and what he/she thinks then you do for his/her drawings...


As I was getting more familiar with the new (well, to me!) medium, the web grew richer in content, and on some articles, I started to get very good feedback.

That was the tipping point: I was now ready to take the plunge and send a book with my name on the cover out in the world.

But how? Since Alfa Romeo is one of the brands I’m more knowledgeable about, setting up the basic structure of my “Giulietta book” has been relatively easy, and I could always rely on my own extensive personal library for reference.

Matteo Licata's book on the much ignored Giulietta from 77-85 is an absolute must.

The Gay UK

Once I got the first manuscript into some semblance of shape, it was time to knock some doors, as nothing could replace the good old "hands-on" research-based over period documents.

The first called were the “old friends” of Turin’s Museo Nazionale Dell’Automobile, then the ever-helpful young staff of the Centro Documentazione Alfa Romeo in Arese, which I’ll never thank enough: It’s been a real privilege to “touch” the "live" history of Alfa Romeo through all those 40 years old papers that were brought out for me to study. But the more I studied, the more questions came up, as I unearthed unexpected Giulietta variants built for specific markets... And Alfa Romeo itself had nothing on those! Thanks to the Internet, I could quickly get in touch with like-minded enthusiasts that helped me immensely, by directing me to the right sources or connecting me to the right people. As I’ve often seen, car people are the best people: many thanks to all the “Alfisti” who helped me with this, their help is duly acknowledged in the book, which could not have been made without them, as well. In the end, all I can say is something I said in that 2015 talk in Barcelona: never give up on your dreams, believe in yourself, and work to get where you want! Hope you’ll enjoy reading my first book as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you!



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