This 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale 1600 is a bit of a legend here at BaT, being discovered on Craigslist as a rolled project that had been parked for 33 years. A high-school art teacher from SoCal, known as Mr. Vespa on BaT, purchased the car and embarked on a restoration. He calls the car his Little Gem, and has documented the entire story here on BaT in 6 features that won him the BaT Readers’ Choice Car of the Year honors in 2012. He has had the body totally restored in its original Graphite Gray color by Robert Aubrey of Custom Classics in Lancaster, California, who has restored countless SSs and is responsible for the majority of the big dollar auction cars. Mechanical work was performed by Santo’s Italian Car Service in Van Nuys, likewise a notable and respected expert shop.
Mr. Vespa now calls the car totally turn-key and no excuses after 132 miles of sorting and driving, and with a clear California title. He is thrilled to offer it as a BaT Auction after the wild ride of the last two years due to changes in his housing situation, and we are running it through the site in our new $1 start price reserve auction format after several readers expressed that they had wished they had bid on the car one week ago.
Here is what Mr. Vespa has to say about the sale, in his own classic style: “Dear Friends in Cars! The Little Gem has come full circle…..sorta BaT-to-BaT……yeah….in full view of tough, knowledgeable car enthusiasts, known as BaTers. Born/found/adopted, nurtured/healed and lauded (omg the SIZE of that trophy!), scandalized/vilified/resurrected……made whole, and loved. And now BaT will also be giving the bride away……bittersweet……sweet…. I’m ‘cited!” -Vespa
The entire process, from purchase to 100% restoration, was documented in front of the nation on BaT….the stories, the comments, the specs. Says Vespa: “I would think if someone was really into this car, and gonna spend the bucks…..they should read my 6 articles mitt comments! Its homework!!” All the stories (1-6) have their own extensive photo galleries of the restoration process, and are linked here along with the feature that got everything started: Priceless Seller: 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia SS BaT Success Story: Vespa’s Alfa Romeo SS Episode I BaT Success Story: Vespa’s Alfa Romeo SS Episode II BaT Success Story: Vespa’s Alfa Romeo SS Episode III BaT Success Story: Vespa’s Alfa Romeo SS Episode IV BaT Success Story: Vespa’s Alfa Romeo SS Episode V BaT Success Story: Vespa’s Alfa Romeo SS Episode VI BaT People’s Choice: Best Feature of 2012
The body restoration was impressive, and the rotisserie shot below was just the beginning.
There is now zero rust anywhere on the car according to Vespa, and the photos do a good job to verify. The numbers all match on the engine and transmission.
All gauges ere rebuilt and calibrated, but mileage was left at original 57,700, with the trip-odometer keeping score of new miles on engine and car….currently 132. Vespa says she really drives great. This car was restored to bone-stock original….with the exception of using leather instead of vinyl , and color of interior (seats were butterscotch, now red). There is some orange peel on the dash in the photo below, but the car was actually returned to the paint shop for a finish polishing that has the dash looking even better today.
Vespa wanted the car to be as true to the original under the hood as possible… meaning no over-polished valve cover or plenum. The decals and finishes look great, and of course the factory airbox is in place.
More from Vespa: “As you know, a Doctor owned the car when he flipped it, in 1979. Then a couple, whom I call Layla and Eric, bought the car at auction for $539…..then the car sat in their garage from 1979 to April of 2012, when I bought it for $45K……then the BaT Commentors attacked Layla and me with about 250 negative comments, and I had to respond with my articles…. Besides right front roof being greatly dented (squashed down), and other dents on fenders caused by the roll-over, most other components survived quite well…..engine,trans, interior, gauges, steering wheel. It was not a complex fix, nor one that needed a lot of torch work. Robert’s guys pushed the roof/front windshield back in place with hydraulic jacks. Every step of the way is recorded in the BaT stories.”
More from Mr Vespa regarding provenance: “The only Old Document I got with the car was a Miller High Life bottle-cap that was underneath the drivers seat…..was THAT the reason for the roll-over??? Marco Fazio at the Automobilismo Storico Centro Documentazione says this about the car: “According to the documentation files, the chassis number AR381323 originally corresponds to an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale (101.21) manufactured on the 15th December 1964 and sold on the 31st of March 1965 to Alfa Romeo Inc., Newark, USA. The body color is graphite grey, with leather skai interiors.” ….well the interior was definitely NOT leather, and I am still unsure of what color “skai” is…..but what was in the car was vinyl, and butterscotch.”
There are a few of these cars going across the block this week in Monterey. A couple are messy and still likely to fetch $100k. The cars crossing the block in this condition, and any restored by Aubrey, will be well north of this opening bid. Vespa is a big believer in Karma, and thinks that us just starting our BaT Auctions when he was ready to almost list it elsewhere means it was meant to be. We think it is as good of an SS as you will find and just love the factory Graphite color.