Some cars have a split personality. It’s all in the front fascia. The headlamps, the trim, the model year changes and the colour all play a part, too. Take the Alfa Romeo Giulia, for instance. If it’s a midnight-blue quad-headlamp like this one, it definitely has a slightly aggressive air, with that slight hoodline frown. But our Giulia’s slightly bigger younger sister, the 2000, lost that edge. Especially in this case.
I hate finding a CC (especially a dark-coloured one) at night, as my lack of photographic skills usually render the pictures unusable. But with a little bit of work on contrast, brightness and the like, some of this late ‘60s Giulia was salvageable, including this profile shot. It’s not especially beautiful, but then the Italian (and some French) saloons were right in their “three-box brick period” at the time. It never ceases to amaze me how low this car’s Cd is compared to its shape.
And though it’s no oil painting, it does convey the sports saloon image very convincingly – more so than Lancias of the period, certainly. But when Alfa launched their Giulia saloon in 1962, did they figure it would remain in production for the next fifteen years? I have no idea, but this boxy little thing carried on despite its outdated panoramic windshields and high beltline, oblivious to the new trends.
Most cars with long production lives are subjected to at least one major facelift – the Giulia certainly didn’t escape that fate. The 1974 Nuova Giulia came with a black plastic grille and a redesigned trunklid – a mercifully light-handed restyling. The previous generation’s 1.3 and 1.6 litre engines were carried over, but (sign of the times) a Perkins Diesel option appeared in 1976. That was only good enough to make the model last until the end of 1977. Well over half a million of these were made – not including the legendary Duetto Spider, which used the Giulia’s underpinnings through to the mid-‘90s.
Glance inside and you understand why Alfa made so many Giulias: these are very nicely appointed cars. Beautiful seats, instruments and a classic steering wheel design that just screams “Take me naaooow!” – all within a relatively small space, but with good headroom and excellent all-round vision. The Giulia’s looks may be a bit gauche (for an Italian car), but they certainly make for a happy driver. The 95 hp DOHC all-alloy 4-cyl. engine also added to said driver’s merriness, while also providing a great soundtrack.
I don’t know how many RHD Giulia Super saloons were made, but I bet finding one would take some doing. It’s not unlikely that this Alfa was bought new here, though Alfas, old or new, are a very rare sight in Bangkok. One sees more prancing horses than Bisciones, certainly. So I quickly snapped this nightly vision and thought that would be that, but the famous CC Effect went into overdrive: I bumped into another one a couple weeks later.
Night turned into day and the sporty, angry blue Giulia turned into a slightly dumpy-eyed 2000 – also a RHD, so perhaps imported new from Italy back in the ‘70s. The square headlamps are pure weird – no idea why this car has them. Perhaps some local workshop’s bright idea for rejuvenating the 2000’s face? Replacing the original quads with these rectangular units makes it look like the Alfa has gone to the optometrist and got itself a pair of thick-lensed horn-rimmed spectacles.
Here’s how the Alfa Romeo 2000 saloon’s snout should look like, just in case. Though very much based on the Giulia, the 1750 / 2000 berlinas wore a smoother body courtesy of Giugiaro at Bertone. The bigger Alfa was launched in late 1967 as the 1750; the 2-litre version arrived in 1971, eventually replacing the smaller engine and giving the model a new lease of life – until the axe came down in 1977, just as it did for the Giulia. Altogether, Alfa Romeo made over 190,000 of these in ten model years.
The tails of the Giulia and the 1750 / 2000 were also slightly different; a moot point here, as I did not manage to photograph either car’s behind. So here’s what they look like. The Giulia’s complicated and rather Edsel-esque rear end was completely changed and enlarged in the 1750 / 2000. Somehow, in doing this, Giugiaro erased the original’s, well, originality. By straightening everything possible and ironing out all creases, the 1750 / 2000 lost all of the smaller car’s personality. To me, this is strangely made even more evident with our Siamese oddball’s big square lights.
While I’m relatively confident in my guestimate for the Giulia’s model year, this grey 2000 is harder to place, given the tinkering it underwent. But someone more knowledgeable about these cars might know better. The car was unfortunately out of bounds and impossible to get from more than a couple of angles. I’d be anxious to see the rear one day – perhaps something strange happened there as well…
It was quite strange seeing these Milanese fraternal twins, both looking fairly decent for an Italian car that age. The 2000 looked a bit forlorn and seems to be up for sale, but the Giulia was obviously getting the care and attention it deserves. There are Alfistas everywhere it seems – even in the tropics.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Design Inspiration Discovered (And Vice Versa), by PN
CC Outtake: Blue Jewel, by Robert Kim
I rather like these. Small Italian sedans were pretty much absent from my part of the world so I am looking at these with fresh eyes. Sort of a BMW 2002 with less power but more personality?
I was fairly automotively aware when the 1750 Berlina was launched, and it seemed more sophisticated and modern than the familiar, and slightly dumpy Giulia Berlina. Looking at them now, the restyle seems a bit bland and lacking personality. And though I briefly owned an Alfetta Berlina, I never liked its droopy trunk and awkward curves compared to either of its predecessors.
Regarding the rectangular lights on the gray example, those were used on some Alfettas, depending on year and model, as an alternative to round quad lights. Could they have been an OEM offering on the 1750/2000 also?
Beautiful cars, I do love me some four-eyed Alfa grille. The square headlights are a little jarring at first but with familiarity would likely become at worst acceptable. The overall shapes are quite lovely and completely unexpected for those whose main familiarity with Alfa are Spider and GTV.
The timeline on thes cars is odd. The 1750 came out in ‘67, with the 2000 a few years later, and the Alfetta in ‘72, but the Giulia lasted until ‘74 and the 1750 until 1977. So for two years all three were available.
No, 1750 Berlina production ended in 1971 being superseded by 2000 with bigger 2-litre engine for 1972 model year.
You’re right about the 1750 being replaced by the 2000 with a few updates and 2 liter motor. Nevertheless, my point was that the old Giulia, newer 1750/2000 and similarly sized but technically completely different Alfetta all overlapped. I don’t think Alfa needed that many sedans, which would seem to dilute volume, though once the tooling was paid for maybe it didn’t hurt.
Looking at the rectangular headlamps on 2000, they are from 1977-1983 Alfetta (before its final facelift for 1984 model year). Even the grille is from Alfetta. When I saw this photo, my brain went fizzle up because it looked so unreal and so totally wrong.
There are visual differences between 1750 and 2000, mostly the headlamps, taillamps, and grilles as well as dashboards and centre consoles along with hubcaps.
My family owned a 1971 1750A Berlina (yes, one with automatic gearbox) for a number of years until it was totalled in the collision.
Front of 1750 and 2000
1750 uses dog dish hubcaps that pop out too easily. We lost a couple while driving so we removed rest of hubcaps.
Actually, I think 1750 dashboard is more beautiful and simple than 2000.
That is an understatement. The 1750 dash is a masterpiece. The 2000 dash with its faux nautical theme on the gauges was rather horrible. The drop in aesthetics was consistent with the downward progression from the 1750 coupe to the 2000, which had ghastly perspex covers on the disks that would go milky with age.
I absolutely love the Guilias and Berlinas. If I had my time again I would have sought out a good 1750 as my first car all those years ago, rather that the Fiat 125 Special as it would have been a better car dynamically. Even at that time the Guilias were very rare in Australia., and so the relatively more common and newer Berlina was a more logical choice.
Can’t agree more. My series 2 1750 coupe dash came with the central console from the 2L, but still had those gorgeous mounds through the steering wheel.
Taillamps on 1750
Looks much more smooth than bilevelled taillamps on 2000
Another oddity is the rubber bumpers on this US 2000 Berlina…
Hey Oliver – knew this post would pique your interest. Many thanks for detailing the differences between the 1750 and the 2000. I thought the 1750 was much better-looking of course, but that interior seals the deal.
The phrase “Rubber bumper Alfa” is one that fills me with dread. The result is not half as bad as I thought it would be though.
Some find the front end styling a bit off, but I like it, especially in that dark blue. My favorite of these was the 1750. Its character just seemed more like an Alfa, a little bit “nerveuse” as good Italian sedans should be. I remember in the movie “After the Fox” one of these was driven by the Italian policemen shadowing Peter Sellers and Victor Mature.
I’m a sucker for almost any 4-round-light setup. When I was 3, my mother had a 1st gen Capri. Pretty to me then and now. Most of my opinions on looks are still viewed through that lens. Old Alfas satisfy the itch. New stuff, not so much…
To me, the 1750 and 2000 lose some of the appeal of the original Giulia, partly because of the extra length but mostly because the smooth, later sides look a bit anonymous compared to the characterful Giulia. Alfas are characterful, aren’t they? It’s aless successful update than the Triump 2000 Mk1 to MK2, which was done in similar way, IMHO.
Is it that the square lights were added to replace some defective or damaged and difficult to obtain round originals, and made to fit with an Alfetta grille?
It is like the Triumph change. That update was successful in that it looked like quite a different car, but to me, a far less pretty one, particularly as subsequent mini-lifts gave it plastic grilles and blackouts and ill-suited mags and, in short, everything short of actual mutton chops and wide collars that the ’70’s poor taste could offer.
When I saw these Alfas, I thought mainly of the ones used in Italian flicks movies like “Roma Violenta” and others mentionned in Hemmings blog. https://www.hemmings.com/blog/?p=620651
It sucks finding a cool car at night time, doesn’t it? Or as is often the case with me, in a poorly-lit parking structure. You’ve done a good job salvaging the pictures though.
The 2000 may be blander up front and at the back but I adore the beautiful, sweeping sheetmetal on the side! Very elegant!
Thank you, William, but you’re too kind. My lack of any photographic skill is legendary, but in nighttime / underground conditions, it’s just impossible for me to get the stupid smartphone to see what my eyes are seeing.
And that Giulia is a perfect example. In the metal, it was simply gorgeous, all glistening chromes and sublime paintwork. The phone, however, just picks up the glare, dust and reflections and makes them more prominent.
There is an ancient Mercedes 170 closeby, where I caught the 300 limo and a Traction Avant. I’ve managed to get in the car park a couple of times, by day and by night, but no dice. My phone just won’t take its picture.
Gulia? Sure, not an overtly pretty girl for that family (especially when you see photos of some of her grandparents, mumma mia) but I still reckon she’s got it in spades, in a characterful way. Her younger sister, nicknamed Sev (later “Milly” for “Millenium” I think, & btw there’s a rumour they never did remember to give her an actual name), she kinda proves the point. Looks a lot like Jules at first, then you realise, man, she’s really plain, and to be honest, she’s pretty boring.
I gotta say, just between you and me, that silver Siamese is a bit freaky, because it seems Milly’s gone a bit wild in the tropics and taken to wearing her younger brother Alfetta’s face, but look, I’m not going to judge.
In my view these two cars are among the most pleasing sport saloons of the 1960s. The Giulia is remarkable for its combination of compact size and comfort. I have sat in these and while you aren´t lost in a cathedral of space the seating is wonderful. Alfa did the same on on the 2000 and Alfetta (another one I have sat in). The haptic sense of comfort and being well-positioned means a lot more than mere space. Modern cars are bigger inside than these vehicles but cursed with hard flat seats with useless contours.