Alfa Romeo Giulia SS Bertone. The most beautiful prototype ever

ER Classics Desktop 2022

The coupé is becoming a dying breed. It seems not so long ago that every manufacturer had a nice coupé in the range, and that within several segments. Today, a handful of manufacturers are still willing to keep the coupé alive. But many manufacturers ignore the coupé. Alfa Romeo for example, that recently said goodbye to the 4C and also did not put a new Disco Volante (have a look at the Top Gear archives). As they forgot to build the Alfa Romeo Giulia SS Bertone in the mid-XNUMXs.

Why do I call that incredibly beautiful coupé? Well, I saw it in 2015 at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo in Arese. I was completely overwhelmed, with my mouth open I realized that I was in the flesh with something that the outside world would never be. And then the Area Bellezza was yet to come, with Touring's ultimate 8C 2900 B Lungo.

But here was the Alfa Romeo Giulia SS Bertone. The coupé I wanted to see, a design masterpiece. A creation, in which quite clean lines were paired with exact proportions and wonderful properties. The folded rear window and the panoramic windscreen combined nicely with those glass areas in the doors, which later could be described as Montreal-like. But then ten times more subtle. A centrally placed exhaust pipe. Decent light units. And then the low cut. This gave the Alfa Romeo Giulia SS Bertone its dynamism, the cut-outs and profiles were precisely drawn so that the sporty model also conveyed a touch of avant-garde elegance. The wheel covers also betrayed the time it came from in 2015, but it was actually timeless.

At that time already fifty years young, this magnificent prototype, the Giulia SS Bertone. And fifty years old when the thick and colorful dimensions of today are taken into account. Absolutely nothing of the coupés being built today comes close. Elegance is increasingly becoming a classic word, an ancient word. It was the trademark of Alfa Romeo coupes. Just look at the Bertones from those years, or the Giulietta Coupés (Tipo 101) that were later also allowed to bear the name Giulia. Or to all compartments with a historical character. Speaking of Sprint Special: Alfa also knew what to do in relation to the Giulietta and the Giulia.

The latter is also beautiful, but is a little bit amusingly strange compared to this strakmans drawn by Bertone. Fifty years later, he also said in the Museo Storico that he was ready. Take the technique. Proven Alfa work, an alloy block and head that held 1570 cc together and was linked to a fully synchronized five-speed gearbox. An engine, good for 109 HP at 6.000 rpm, equipped with 2x two-stage. The package should be good for a top 185-plus. The modern chassis was ready, also to steer the dynamics of the rear-wheel drive in the right direction. And speaking of that: disc brakes all round, hydraulically operated. Ready for production, it was. And it did not happen, painfully strengthening the desire. Although I thought otherwise later on. That has a reason.

Alfa Romeo forgot to build the Giulia SS Bertone, except for the prototype. And he was ready. Still, it is fine, actually I am glad that Alfa did not choose that. Purely, because the fantasy stays alive. Pure, because the imagination remains. And purely, because some cars are just too heavenly to expose them to earthly customs. No car was more appropriate in the museum in Arese like this Alfa Romeo Giulia SS Bertone. Only a few have been given that honorific title. The most beautiful prototype ever deserves it. Also, because it shows why every car brand deserves a coupé. Although the sporty elegance of this Alfa Romeo can never be matched.



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  1. Regarding the Alfa Romeo prototypes, I still think the “Canguro” is the most beautiful. Designed by Giugiaro, employed by Bertone. Total loss driven by a German auto journalist; the wreck was found at Bertone by Rob de la Rive Box. Ultimately restored and ended up at a collector in Japan, after the car was awarded in 2005 in Villa d'Este. Google "Alfa Romeo Canguro", which can also be found on YouTube by the way.

    • Not bad, that Canguro. Reminiscent of those comic books with racing cars & Michel Vaillant. Rear has a lot of the Jaguar D? The version adapted to this time that is somewhere on Pinintrest, I think is even better, is a bit less round.

  2. Very nicely written article, apparently comes from the “pen” of a true enthusiast / hobbyist. As a former Alfist I think such articles are simply beautiful

  3. Very well written article. Governments and government in general do not seem to understand that for some of us “the car” is much, much more than a means of transport that mainly pollutes ... that is preferably taxed as heavily as possible. A car can make us dream, by its looks, by the engine sound ... the freedom to explore new horizons simply by turning a ignition key. And then there is the driving pleasure itself. Add to that the myth of a brand, even though it involves a lot of marketing and it is like many things: the more you know, the further away the dream and therefore the attraction. Cars… they can be beautiful!

  4. Heavenly beautiful car! Own a later model coupe from Alfa Romeo, the Brera. Also very beautiful, but somewhere this Giulia SS Bertone is even more beautiful because you know that with the more limited technical possibilities of that time such highlights were produced. With such Alfa classics you always have that wonderful dashboard and that pure Alfa sound ...

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