The Salon Privé Sale 2017

Back to lot listing

1968 Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider Duetto

Lot No.: 205

Registration: FND 457F
Chassis Number: AR1470070
Engine Number: AR6054813420
Number of cylinders: 4
CC: 1750cc
Year of Manufacture: 1968
Sold for (£): Unsold

The Alfa Romeo Duetto was publicly launched at the Geneva Motor Show on 10th March 1966 as a replacement for the 101 series Giulia Spider and, unusually, only a single model was ever offered with very few optional extras and minimal changes during its production cycle. The round-tail is also nicknamed "boat-tail" and "Osso di Seppia", which means cuttle-fish-bone. The choice for the name of the new car was decided by a competition with “Duetto” being one of more than 140,000 entries and the lucky winner was Sig. Guidobaldi Trionfi from Brescia who got a brand new car as a prize.

As the time for refreshing the model approached, it was intended to replace the 1600cc engined Duetto with a two-model range - the 1300 Junior and the 1750 Spider Veloce. The 1750 Veloce was ready for launch in January 1968, whilst the 1300 took until June 1968 to arrive. 

The Duetto was a true Italian sports car in every sense with incredible handling and advanced mechanics combined with a very attractive 'cigar' shape design penned by Pininfarina himself as his swansong. Very few cars can claim to be counter-culture heroes, but when Dustin Hoffman had his epiphany in 1967's generation-defining movie "The Graduate", he not only did so in the vehicle itself, but the ensuing drama established the film and the vehicle as inseparable in our collective conscience. 

This lovely example started its life in South Africa before coming to England via Ireland. The car has clearly been very much cherished throughout its life and has been subject to much restorative work when needed to ensure it remained in fine fettle. Most notably the engine has been fully rebuilt (full details in the history file) and its performance was enhanced by fitting high compression pistons, fast-road camshafts and new valves and seats. MDS electronic ignition was also fitted to ensure that the car runs and starts with out any ‘Italian tantrums’ and the Webers have also benefited from a strip and complete rebuild. 

Along with the engine, the gearbox was also subject to a full rebuild with new bearings and all new synchros eliminating the infamous 2nd gear crunch commonly attributed to 105 series Alfa Romeos. The prop shaft has also been overhauled with new joints, central bearing, and most importantly a new front rubber doughnut mount, a commonly overlooked but very important part of early Alfas.

The suspension and steering were not left out and benefitted from new ball joints and bushes on the front and rear of the car and a set of new 'Gaz' shock absorbers. The brakes have been refurbished with new discs and pads and a replacement servo fitted. A recovered dashboard and new carpets ensure that the interior lives up to the rest of the car, and finally, the Alfa was treated to a set of attractive, four-stud, wire wheels which really add to the car's classic styling. The history file contains a number of invoices relating to all of this work.

The Duetto is without a doubt the most attractive and most desirable Alfa Romeo Spider built and this car, benefiting from its subtle upgrades, is an excellent example to use and enjoy.