History of the 1969-1974 Alfa Romeo GTV
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint coupe debuted in 1963 on the new 105 Series wheelbase. It was the work of Giorgetto Giugiaro, who was working for Bertone at the time, and it was such a subtle masterpiece that it was continued for 14 years with minimal changes. The car was initially available with a 106-hp, 1,570-cc DOHC four-cylinder engine, which progressively increased to 130 hp and 1,779cc as the “1750” in 1966, and finally the “2000” 1,926-cc, 129-hp engine in 1971. The top street model of this line was the Gran Turismo Veloce, which appeared in 1967.
Giugiaro’s Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV coupe was supremely elegant and also quite usable, with a 5-speed transmission, four-wheel disc brakes, reclining seats, and full instrumentation. The 2000 model was available in Europe in 1971, but did not go on sale in the U.S. until 1972, where it’s most easily distinguished by the grill with multiple horizontal slats. Top speed remained about the same as the 1750 at around 120 mph, though aficionados note that the bigger displacement trades low-end torque for the high-revving willingness of the earlier motor.
The Alfa Romeo GTV was sold in Europe until 1977, but its last year in the U.S. was 1974, as bumper regulations and emissions requirements were stiffened. To further confuse things, there were no Alfa Romeos imported into the U.S. in the 1968 and 1970 model years, also due to emissions regulations. Alfa Romeo solved most emissions issues in 1969 with its SPICA mechanical fuel injection, which works extremely well when properly maintained (and doesn’t when it’s not). The lack of a 1970 model was due to labor strikes in Italy.
All Alfas of this period handle extremely well, with superior turn-in to any equivalent British sports car. The 1750 and 2000 GTV models have a cult following, with certain sects favoring the smoothness of the 1750 over the power of the 2000, and vice versa. Similarly, some enthusiasts prefer early “stepnose” cars with their raised hood lid, while others feel the 1969’s purity is preferable. Despite the subtle differences of design and opinion, the most important trait of any GTV of this generation is its lack of rust. Alfas of this era are especially susceptible to the tin worm, and a rusty example is best avoided at any cost. Detailed examination and full records of ownership location are also absolutely vital, as cars that haven’t seen routine maintenance usually require plenty of expensive sorting. On the bright side, parts are readily available, the driving characteristics are delightful and the right exhaust will produce absolute music.