The Italians have always had a flair for creating beautiful cars, as well we all know. There is something they do, something that courses through their veins that sees to it they are only capable of creating cars of utter beauty. At least for the most part anyway, there are some exceptions like the Lancia Thesis, but for the purposes of this story, we’ll gloss over those and instead focus on the good.
So what, then, of the car you’re looking at here? Finished in deep, gloss blue and in frankly astonishing condition, this has to be one of the finest Alfa Romeo GT Juniors out there. It’s actually a car that is currently available via our auction platform. But so stunned were we by the condition, we thought it would merit a feature here on the Car & Classic Magazine pages. It really is that special.
Penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro for Bertone, the Alfa Romeo GT was billed as being a small, light, sporty coupe that bled Italian automotive passion. And that it did. It was a fun, soulful little car that was a hit as soon as it landed in dealerships. Delicate but with a strong heart, it was and still is a beguiling little thing.
Needless to say, as the years rolled on, the GT soon found a place as a celebrated classic. Look through the listings here on Car & Classic, and you will find no end of them. The Alfa Romeo GT Junior is more than just a generic classic car, it’s the sort of classic that people aim for, that they set their sights on and move heaven and earth to own. That’s a special thing, not something every classic can say about itself.
The Bertone lines are light but carry purpose. Giorgetto worked his magic and created a balanced, flowing design that not only gave the car a light and sporty look, but also left it as a car you could actually live with. It’s not a cramped coupe or a fiddly drop-top. Instead, thanks to its ties to the Giulia, it’s a well proportioned four-seater. With a boot. It was sporty, but useful.
Built in Italy, this GT Junior 1300 was no sooner off the assembly line than it was on a boat heading for Australia of all places. Proof of the brand’s global appeal, that’s for certain.
The 1300 version was introduced as a way to open up the GT Junior range to buyers who may have been taxed out of them otherwise. Italy’s vehicle tax system was aggressive in the 1960s and as such, bigger engine cars were often overlooked. Alfa’s solution was to offer a 1300 version of its twin cam unit in the already popular GT Junior body. Sneaky, but it did the trick.
This car’s 1300 days are long behind it though, as in the 1990s it was fitted with the more powerful 1750 twin-cam engine. But that’s not the only thing that makes it special. For that, we have to fast forward to 2015, when the car was sold, after which it was immediately sent to a restoration specialist for complete, unlimited budget revamp. And that’s exactly what it got.
The car was stripped down to its component parts and an inventory was taken. The car, having spent its life in the dry climate of Australia, was in remarkably good condition and had never been in a bump or prang. However, there was some work to do. Minor corrosion in some of the arch corners, that kind of thing. The shell was stripped to bare metal and panels were given an acid bath to kill any corrosion. What small rust there was was repaired and the body was built back up.
GT Motors in Bowen Hills, Brisbane, were responsible for the body and paint and, man alive, they knocked it out of the park. The panel gaps are exquisite, the paint flawless and the final finish so deep and inviting, you want to lick it. But don’t, because licking cars is weird. Or so we’re told.
The brightwork was polished up and fitted, as were new rubbers. All the hinges and strikers were stripped and re-plated (in fact, every bolt and fixing was), the wheels were fully refurbished and the interior was also restored to ‘as new’ condition. In fact, the interior was fully insulated and silenced with a liberal application of Dynamant and high-quality carpets and is now an inviting cocoon of Italian style and comfort. Exquisite.
Mechanically, it was much of the same kind of care and attention. This time from Automation in Enoggera. The suspension was stripped, cleaned and powder-coated before being fitted with new bushes. Koni shocks and lowered springs were fitted, the brakes were cleaned and overhauled, the fuel lines and system, the cooling system and of course, the engine. The 1750 twin-cam unit remains, but with the added benefit of electronic ignition. It has, of course, been completely rebuilt and detailed.
The final car is, quite simply, astonishing. We were in awe of the fit, finish and quality of the restoration. A car that has had so much care, so much time and so much money lavished on it is always exciting to see. But what makes this special is the fact it has clearly been built by people with passion, who take huge amounts of pride in their work. Nothing is rushed, nothing ‘will do’, it’s all proper. It is a masterclass of vehicle restoration. One that Alfa Romeo themselves would be proud of.
This one could be yours…
And now, unlike the other cars we often feature here, this car can be yours. The current owner loves it, but alas time and other projects means the Alfa has to find a new home. And wherever that home is, it will be with people very, very happy they took the plunge. This little Alfa Romeo GT Junior isn’t just good, it really does have the potential to be the finest of its kind.