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.