Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
Coupled with the launch of the new 1750 Berlina saloon was the 1750 GTV coupe. The 1750 GTV had the same coupe body as the previous GT1300/GT Junior 1.6, although the GTV featured four headlamps and less fussy external trim details. The Alfa GTV and Berlina were born from the experience Alfa
had gained from nearly 40 years of racing.
The engineers at the Alfa
factory in Arese achieved excellence in three main design features most manufacturers had attempted but never quite perfected - a light alloy twin-cam engine, five-speed gearbox and a good suspension
system. Originally, the GTV was powered by a 1570cc unit. This was upped to 1779cc, raising the power output from 125 bhp at 6200 rpm to 132 bhp at 5500 rpm.
To achieve this, the bore was increased to 80 mm and the stroke to 88.5 mm. Despite such a long stroke the engine would still rev freely to 6200 rpm, although going above 6000 rpm did not help performance figures. Alfa remained with the small capacity twin-cam engine because of the then high toll charges, based on engine capacity, on the Italian Autostradas.
Both the 1300 Super and the 1750 GTV shared the same body shell and it took a very astute observer to pick the difference between the two cars on the road. The only real give-away was the 1750 badge on the boot lid and the QI driving lights. The difference between the Berlina and Giulia Super was, however, more distinctive. The Berlina still carried a very un-Latin square look but the angles were not as acute as the Giulia and as a four door sedan it was a far more attractive machine.
A heated rear window was standard and was operated by a large push-button switch on the right hand side of the facia which was self-illuminating. A pair of round QI driving lights mounted beside the headlights was also standard on both 1750 models. The handling
of both the GTV and Berlina was superb, achieved by the independent front suspension
and the well located rear axle. The tighter the corners the more the cars revelled in the conditions. If you pointed the car and told it "go there" it would answer your directions faithfully.
On the Road
Highway cruising in fifth gear at 60 mph was smooth and effortless, allowing you to relax and enjoy the brilliant body hugging seats. The driving position was typically Italian, designed for people with short legs, but with a little adjusting of the backs a full arm driving position could be enjoyed.
Behind the wheel you would first see that the GTV had the biggest tacho and speedo outside of the famed Mercedes 300 SLR. All other controls were placed just where you wanted them, except for the choke and hand throttle which were mounted on the underside of the facia. If the seat belt was done up, you had no hope of reaching them. The idea was to start the engine and let it warm-up before you belted yourself in and moved away.
Swapping cogs was a delight given the GTV had arguably the best gearbox ever made up to that time. It would accelerate to 30 and 50 mph in first and second, with third running out at 78 mph, fourth to 100 mph and fifth 120 mph. Over the standing quarter the GTV ran 17.1 seconds. It was very much a car made to drive and revel in high speed open road cruising, but around town it remained flexible, although there was still a flat spot in the engine around 2000 rpm. In 60 km/h zones 3rd gear was usually the best - this kept the revs up, which was important in the rev-loving engine, and left the car flexible.
The GTV was obviously a two-plus-two, with little room for adults in the rear seats. Boot space was excellent for a car of this size. But Alfas didn't come cheaply. The marque had a reputation for high performance and exquisite engineering – and the GTV showed why. It was not cheap - priced at £2248 in 1968, it was much dearer than Lotus Cortina
(£1162), Fiat 124 Coupe (£1438), BMW 2002
(£1597) and even Lotus Elan +2
(£2119), simply matching Jaguar E-Type
(£2300). Despite that, Alfa Romeo sold 44,000 Giulia 1750 GTV in 6 years, and then another 37,000 Giulia 2000 GTV - a 133 hp 2-litre version. The 1750 GTV remained in production until 1972