• Matteo Licata

Three More Never Made Alfas

Alfa Romeo's history is littered with fantastic cars that enthusiasts all over the world revere, but what we got to see is just a fraction of all that went on behind the scenes. Here are three Alfa Romeos that, for different reasons, were denied their chance to shine...

1 - Giulia Sprint Speciale

Nuccio Bertone's company had been building the Giulietta Sprint and Sprint Speciale bodies for Alfa Romeo since 1954. By 1963 Alfa Romeo had begun production of the new Giulia GT in-house at its Arese complex. This sleek, modern two-seater coupé designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro was a Bertone proposal for a Sprint Speciale replacement model, based on the Giulia's floor pan and running gear.

But Alfa Romeo's management didn't see a market for another Giulia coupé variant alongside the GT, so this example remained a prototype.

Thankfully, it's been perfectly preserved and is currently on display at the Alfa Romeo museum near Milan.

2 - Scarabeo 2

This red beauty looks like a Junior Zagato, but in this case, appearances are deceiving, as under the Zagato body lies an Alfetta... With a mid-mounted engine!

This experimental prototype was built around 1973 and was an initiative of legendary engineer Giuseppe Busso, keen to continue the mid-engine experiments made a few years prior with the so-called "Scarabeo" prototypes.

The new "Scarabeo 2" shared with its predecessors its peculiar driveline layout, devised to maximize the use of off-the-shelf parts available in production.

The 2 liters twin-cam four cylinders engine from the 2000 GTV was mounted transversely behind the seats, together with its gearbox.

Power went to the rear wheels through a gear set that connected the Giulia gearbox to a short prop shaft that was angled at around 45° to reach the differential.

The whole contraption sat on a modified Alfetta floor pan, with hastily modified Junior Zagato body to cover it all and allow testing. Sadly, the "Scarabeo 2" never got the development it deserved, as the oil crisis put it well down the list of priorities.

Thankfully, the fully-functional prototype has been preserved and is part of the Alfa Romeo Museum's collection.

3 - GT Cabriolet

The story of the 2003 Alfa Romeo GT, designed by Bertone on the 147's platform and running gear, is one of a market success but also the sad end of a long and fruitful relationship between Bertone and the Alfa Romeo brand.

The management of the storied design firm hoped to build the GT in Bertone's own Grugliasco factory, but that was not to be.

Production of the new coupé was allocated to the Pomigliano plant, where the 147 and 156 were produced. A decision that certainly made sense, as the GT shared its bones with those two models, but did not help Bertone's increasingly precarious financial position.

This prototype, made in 2005 to entice Fiat's management on the idea of a convertible GT, currently belongs to the Automotoclub Storico Italiano, which acquired it, together with other 78 models at Bertone's bankruptcy auction in 2015.

It's now on display at the Volandia museum, located near the Milan Malpensa airport.