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  • Writer's pictureMatteo Licata

Seeing The World From An Alfa

Some say that Alfa Romeos aren't reliable.

Well, today, let me bring you one that's proven itself far beyond what you'd expect from any vehicle.

Automobiles raced for the first time between Beijing and Paris in 1907. The car that won that year, an Itala 45HP driven by Prince Scipione Borghese, is one of the most outstanding pieces in the Turin's National Automobile Museum's collection, preserved in complete working condition to this day.

A re-enactment of the race, reserved for vintage cars, was first held in 2007 and, since then, it's been held every three years, strictly with vehicles built before 1975.

Over a hundred years have gone by, but the roughly 16.000 Km route still presents plenty of natural hazards and obstacles to those who dare following the Prince's footsteps. Yet this Giulia not only survived but, driven by Roberto Chiodi and Maria Rita Degli Esposti, finished 2nd in its class in the 2016 edition of the grueling marathon.

Purchased by the Scuderia del Portello as a standard 1300 cc road car from 1973, it was wholly disassembled and meticulously prepared. First, the body and suspensions were reinforced, then all necessary safety equipment and an uprated fuel system were installed.

The engine was replaced by this mildly tuned 1600 cc, fed by a set of double-choke 40mm Weber carburetors. It's been overhauled after the rally, and it's believed to produce a healthy 120 HP.

But I'm sure you're asking yourself why someone would choose a Giulia for such a demanding journey, so I asked precisely that to Mr. Marco Cajani: the founder, heart, and soul of the Scuderia del Portello. His memories about the trip are a true pleasure to listen, so enjoy the video!



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