Alfasud Sprint: The Scirocco’s Suicidal Kissing Cousin

Freelance automotive designers are no different than anyone else in the creative field: they like to get more bucks for their bang. Pininfarina’s Florida Coupe created a raft of design jobs, and the Florida’s lines were recycled across the globe. Giorgetto Giugiario penned two very similar cars in around 1972-1973, the VW Scirocco and this Alfasud Sprint, later know as the the Alfa Romeo Sprint. The Sprint had many endearing qualities, including a low front-mounted boxer four. But it had one quality that practically destroyed it.

The story of the Alfasud, the basis for this coupe version is quite fascinating in its own right. A brilliantly advanced FWD sedan designed by Austrian Rudolf Hruska, it was a cornucopia of all the most technically leading edge engieering concepts: water-cooled boxer four driving the front wheels (a la Panhard and others), inboard front brakes, and a very light but roomy body.For 1971, it was extremely advanced, and perhaps the Golf’s closest progenitor except for its drive train configuration. Incidentally, or not, the Alfasud was also penned by Giorgio Giugiaro.

But the Alfasud was flawed in its execution by several minor issues and a truly fatal one: one of the most rust prone car ever, at least the ones from the first few years of production. It has been alleged that many Alfasud bodies were already rusting before they were even painted, by virtue of the fact that they were sometimes exposed to the elements in a totally bare state. And its not like there were any rust-preventive measurements taken prior to painting.

Let’s leave all that oxidization behind and briefly enjoy what could have been, but is no more. The Alfasud Sprint was available in with a choice of 1300, 1400 and 1500 cc engines, with horsepower ratings from 75 to 105.  About the exact same size as the Scirocco, it was praised for its smooth and zingy engines, and good handling.

In 1983, the Sprint was majorly revised, renamed the Alfa Romeo Sprint , and now sharing underpinnings with the Alfa Romeo 33 (above), itself the successor to the Alfasud and its boxer drive train. Engine choices included a 1700cc version with up to 118 hp. The Sprint endeared itself to those that were able to make its body last long enough.