|Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint|
Alfa Romeo Sprint
1978–1983 Alfasud Sprint
|Assembly||Italy: Pomigliano d'Arco|
South Africa: Brits, North West
|Designer||Giorgetto Giugiaro at Italdesign|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||3-door coupé|
|Wheelbase||2,455 mm (96.7 in)|
|Length||4,019–4,024 mm (158.2–158.4 in)|
|Width||1,610–1,620 mm (63–64 in)|
|Height||1,305–1,297 mm (51.4–51.1 in)|
|Curb weight||915 kg (2,017 lb)|
|Predecessor||Alfa Romeo GT Junior|
|Successor||Alfa Romeo GT|
The Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint (later only Alfa Romeo Sprint) is a boxer-engined coupé produced by the Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo from 1976 to 1989, and based on the Alfa Romeo Alfasud. 116,552 units of the Alfasud Sprint and Sprint were built in total. The Sprint was sold in Europe, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
1976–83: Alfasud Sprint
The Alfasud Sprint was presented to the press in September 1976 in Baia Domizia (Caserta), and shown at the Turin Motor Show in November. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro like the Alfasud, whose mechanicals it was based on, it had a lower, more angular design, featuring a hatchback (although no folding rear seats). The Alfasud Sprint was assembled together with the Alfasud in the Pomigliano d'Arco plant, located in southern Italy—hence the original "Sud" moniker, which means south in Italian. Under the Alfasud Sprint's bonnet there was a new version of the Alfasud's 1186 cc four-cylinder boxer engine, stroked to displace 1,286 cc (78 cu in), fed by a twin-choke carburator and developing 76 PS (56 kW; 75 hp) at 6,000 rpm. Mated to the flat-four was a five-speed, all-synchromesh gearbox. The interior was upholstered in dark brown Texalfa leatherette and tartan cloth. Options were limited to alloy wheels, a quartz clock and metallic paint.
In May 1978 the Alfasud Sprint underwent its first updates, both cosmetic and technical. Engine choice was enlarged to two boxers, shared with the renewed Alfasud ti, a 79 PS (58 kW; 78 hp) 1.3 (1,350 cc) and a 85 PS (63 kW; 84 hp) 1.5 (1,490 cc); the earlier 1286 cc units was not offered anymore, remaining exclusive to the Alfasud. Outside many exterior details were changed from chrome to matte black stainless steel or plastic, such as the wing mirrors, window surrounds and C-pillar ornaments; the B-pillar also received a black finish, the side repeaters changed position and became square, and the front turn signals switched from white to amber lenses. In the cabin the seats had more pronounced bolsters and were upholstered in a new camel-coloured fabric. Just one year later, in June 1979, another engine update arrived and the Alfasud Sprint became the Alfasud Sprint Veloce. Thanks to double twin-choke carburetors (each choke feeding a single cylinder) and a higher compression ratio engine output increased to 86 PS (63 kW; 85 hp) and 95 PS (70 kW; 94 hp), respectively for the 1.3 and 1.5.
In February 1983 Alfa Romeo updated all of its sports cars; the Sprint received a major facelift. Thereafter the Alfasud prefix and Veloce suffix were abandoned, and the car was known as Alfa Romeo Sprint; this also in view of the release of the Alfa Romeo 33, which a few months later replaced the Alfasud family hatchback. The Sprint initially kept the platform of the earlier Sprint with inboard brakes, but updated body details described below. This model was sold from 1983 in its markets & in Australia only until late 1984. It later received a platform upgrade, which was now the same as that of the Alfa Romeo 33; this entailed modified front suspension, brakes mounted in the wheels instead of inboard like on the Alfasud, and drum brakes at the rear end. Three models made up the Sprint range: 1.3 and 1.5, with engines and performance unchanged from the Alfasud Sprint Veloce, and the new 1.5 Quadrifoglio Verde—1.5 Cloverleaf in the UK. The Australian market received the green striped 105 BHP model at the end of 1984 and the 95 BHP model was dropped. A multitude of changes were involved in the stylistic refresh; there were a new grille, headlamps, wing mirrors, window surrounds and C-pillar ornaments. Bumpers went from chrome to plastic, and large plastic protective strips were added to the body sides; both sported coloured piping, which was grey for 1.3 cars, red for the 1.5 and green for the 1.5 Quadrifoglio. At the rear new trapezoidal tail light assemblies were pieced together with the license plate holder by a black plastic fascia, topped by an Alfa Romeo badge—never present on the Alfasud Sprint. In the cabin there were new seats with cloth seating surfaces and Texalfa backs, a new steering wheel and changes to elements of the dashboard and door panels. Sprint 1.3 and 1.5 came with steel wheels with black hubcaps from the Alfasud ti.
The newly introduced 1.5 Quadrifoglio Verde sport variant was shown at the March 1983 Geneva Motor Show. Its engine was the 1,490 cc carburated boxer, revised to put out 105 PS (77 kW; 104 hp) at 6,000 rpm; front brake discs were vented and the gearing shorter. In addition to the green bumper piping, also specific to the Quadrifoglio were a green instead of chrome scudetto in the front grille, a rear spoiler and 8-hole grey painted alloy wheels with metric Michelin TRX 190/55 tyres. Inside a three-spoke leather-covered steering wheel, green carpets and sport seats in black cloth with green embroidery.
In November 1987 the Sprint was updated for the last time; the 1.3 variant was carried over, while the 1.5 engine was phased out and the 1.5 QV was superseded by the 118 PS (87 kW; 116 hp) Sprint 1.7 Quadrifoglio Verde. The 1,286 cc (78 cu in) engine was directly derived from the 33 1.7 Quadrifoglio Verde, and could propel the Sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in 9.3 seconds; to cope with the increased engine power, the 1.7 QV adopted vented brake discs upfront. the coloured piping and side plastic strips were deleted, and the Quadrifoglio had alloy wheels of a new design. A fuel injected and 3-way Catalytic converter-equipped 1.7 variant, with an engine again derived from a 33, was added later for sale on specific markets.
There were a total of 116,552 Sprints produced during its lifespan, which lasted from 1976 to 1989. 15 of these formed the basis of the Australian-built Giocattolo sports car, which used a mid-mounted Holden 5.0 group A V8 engine. The Sprint had no direct predecessor or successor. In more recent times it found an heir in the Alfa Romeo GT, a coupé derived from the Alfa Romeo 156 and 147 - three generations newer than the Alfasud and Alfetta.
The 4.02 metres (158.3 in) long coupe has a very low profile and is representative of late 70s and 80s Italian car design. A year earlier than the Sprint but from the same drawing board, although with slightly different proportions, another classic 70s design was created - the Volkswagen Golf.
Until 1983 the Alfasud Sprint had stainless steel bumpers, restyling in 1983 brought plastic and lower bumpers, a different grille, and some other upgrades like 14-inch (360 mm) Italspeed wheels with 8 circles and nonstandard Michelin 340 mm tyres. Depending on equipment, some Sprints had plastic side bumpers and rear spoiler (mainly Quadrifoglio Verde). The most common was the Zender pack add-in, with lower bumpers and side-skirts, sold mostly in the UK and a few other countries.
The Alfa Sprint is a 2+2, with two seats in front and two in the rear. The two front seats came in two versions, an ordinary version and sport version with elongated thigh bolsters. An uncommon feature is the ignition key, which is on the left side of the steering wheel (instead of the more common right). On the middle console there are a few switches for the front and rear fog lamps, the rear window defroster and rear window wiper. Next to this is an analog clock by Jaeger instruments; until 1983, after which it was replaced with a digital one. Underneath are the ventilation control levers, one for hot, a second one for cold air intake, and a third to distribute flow to upper or lower vents. The rear cargo area has a capacity of 425 litres (15 cubic feet), largely due to the high-profile at the rear, and it has a leather cover to conceal items from view.
Initially the Sprint had disc brakes all around, the front ones being the inboard brake type. At the front there is independent MacPherson strut suspension, and at the rear a rigid axle with trailing beams and a Panhard rod. From 1984 all Sprints got the Alfa Romeo 33 floorpan and modified front suspension and front brakes (no longer of the inboard type). The rear end now had drum brakes. This means that the Alfa 33 (1st generation) and Sprint 83-89 practically share the same mechanics. This is helpful when finding parts for 2nd generation Sprints, since 10 times more Alfa 33s were produced.
|Model||Years||Displacement||Bore × stroke||Fuel system||Peak power||Peak torque||Top speed|
|Alfasud Sprint||1976–78||1.3 L
|80.0 mm × 64.0 mm
(3.15 in × 2.52 in)
|twin-choke carburettor||76 PS (56 kW; 75 hp) at 6,000 rpm||Unknown||165 km/h|
|Alfasud Sprint 1.3||1978–79||1.4 L
|80.0 mm × 67.2 mm
(3.15 in × 2.65 in)
|twin-choke carburettor||79 PS (58 kW; 78 hp) at 6,000 rpm||111 N⋅m (82 lbf⋅ft) at 3,500 rpm||165 km/h|
|Alfasud Sprint Veloce 1.3||1979–83||2 twin-choke carburettors||86 PS (63 kW; 85 hp) at 5,800 rpm||119 N⋅m (88 lbf⋅ft) at 4,000 rpm||+170 km/h|
|Sprint 1.3||1987–89||173 km/h|
|Alfasud Sprint 1.5||1978–79||1.5 L
|84.0 mm × 67.2 mm
(3.31 in × 2.65 in)
|twin-choke carburettor||85 PS (63 kW; 84 hp) at 5,800 rpm||121 N⋅m (89 lbf⋅ft) at 3,500 rpm||170 km/h|
|Alfasud Sprint Veloce 1.5||1979–83||2 twin-choke carburettors||95 PS (70 kW; 94 hp) at 5,800 rpm||130 N⋅m (96 lbf⋅ft) at 4,000 rpm||+175 km/h|
|Sprint 1.5 Quadrifoglio Verde||1983–87||105 PS (77 kW; 104 hp) at 6,000 rpm||133 N⋅m (98 lbf⋅ft) at 4,000 rpm||+180 km/h|
|Sprint 1.7 Quadrifoglio Verde||1987–89||1.7 L
|87.0 mm × 72.0 mm
(3.43 in × 2.83 in)
|2 twin-choke carburettors||118 PS (87 kW; 116 hp) at 6,000 rpm||152 N⋅m (112 lbf⋅ft) at 3,500 rpm||196 km/h|
|Sprint 1.7 i.e. Quadrifoglio Verde||1987–89||fuel injection||105 PS (77 kW; 104 hp) at 6,000 rpm||Unknown||Unknown|
Alfa Romeo Sprint 6C
In 1982, Autodelta built the Sprint 6C as a prototype for a possible race car. The prototype was given a mid-mounted, rear-wheel-drive, 2.5 L V6 engine that made 158 hp (118 kW) at 5600 rpm. The 6C also received new bumpers, a rear spoiler, widened wheel arches, and wider 205/50VR15 wheels. Autodelta built a second car with a reinforced chassis for the purpose of rallying, but neither car resulted in production.
Giocattolo Group B
Giocattolo Motori Pty Ltd. in Caloundra in Queensland, Australia, produced a sports car using the Sprint as a base donor car for their Group B model. The Giocattolo Group B was developed by entrepenour and car fanatic Paul Halstead along with Formula One engineer Barry Lock. The chassis and body along with parts of the front suspension and door handles, glass etc was kept from the Sprint. The use of a donor car allowed Giocattolo to focus on the design and engineering as door hinges, locks and other items where already done for them.
The original idea was to use the Alfa 2.5 L (2,492 cc) V6 (160 hp [120 kW; 160 PS]) as engine and was mid-mounted in a few prototypes.
The sourcing of the V6-engines proved too expensive and difficult hence the Giocattolo went on to produce the cars with the Holden 5.0 Walkinshaw group V8, as fitted to the VL Commodore group A cars, along with a ZF 5 DS-25-2 transaxle, giving them a power-to-weight ratio on par with a Mclaren F1.
In total, 15 Giocattolo Group B cars were built from 1986 to 1989, including 3 prototypes. 14 of these cars remain, while one - Build No. 007 - was destroyed in a high-speed crash at the Eastern Creek Raceway in February 2001, killing the driver, 29-year-old Todd Wilkes.
The Alfa Sprint used to be a very popular racing car in the late 70s until 1983. Sprint Trofeo was a well known European GT competition in those years. Still, Alfa Sprints are being used in significant numbers as racing cars, mostly in historic cups or hill climbing races, its popularity mainly due to its good handling capabilities.
- "Alfasud International". alfasud.alfisti.net. Archived from the original on 2008-10-30. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
- "Production Figures". alfasud.alfisti.net. Archived from the original on 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
- Fusi, Luigi (1978). Alfa Romeo—Tutte le vetture dal 1910—All cars from 1910 (3rd ed.). Milan: Emmeti Grafica editrice. pp. 779–782.
- Rogliatti, Gianni (28 September 1976). "Alfasud Sprint 1300, "napoletana" vivace". La Stampa (in Italian). p. 15. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- Cinti, Fulvio (10 November 1976). "Le vetture dei giovani". Stampa Sera (in Italian). p. 10. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- Villare, Renzo (20 May 1978). "Altre due Alfasud, e fanno otto". La Stampa (in Italian). p. 13. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- "Ancora più potenza per il coupé Alfasud". La Stampa (in Italian). 23 June 1979. p. 17. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- "Alfasud sprint, ora più veloce". La Stampa (in Italian). 19 June 1979. p. 13. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- Fenu, Michele (25 February 1983). "Sempre più Sprint e sempre più veloce". La Stampa (in Italian). p. 15. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- Fenu, Michele (24 February 1983). "Uno, "regina" anche a Ginevra". Stampa Sera (in Italian). p. 23. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- "L'Alfa Romeo rinnova i coupé Sprint". La Stampa (in Italian). 13 November 1987. p. 19. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- "History". giocattolo.com.au. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2007.
- "Alfa Romeo 33". carsfromitaly.net. Archived from the original on 31 July 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2007.
- "Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint". alfaworkshop.co.uk. Archived from the original on 10 August 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2007.
- Sprint 6C Prototipo: About the Alfasud Sprint 6C - Sprint 6C Prototipo, accessdate: 27. May 2019
- "Reaparece el misterioso Sprint 6C en el Rétromobile de París". perso.wanadoo.es (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 30 April 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
Media related to Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint at Wikimedia Commons