These derivatives dominated the first two years of the F1 world championship, winning between 1947 and 1951, an incredible 47 of the 54 grand prix it entered. This car was thus quintessence of Enzo Ferrari’s dictum that the most beautiful car is the one that wins. The long, graceful nose contained a 1500cc straight-eight supercharged engine, and that leather seat was occupied with supreme style by Juan Manuel Fangio. Need we say more?
2 Alfasud Giardinetta
The Sud’ wasn’t the prettiest car in designer Giugiaro’s portfolio but anyone who has driven one will testify that its supreme chuckability more than makes up for its workaday looks. Not far short of a million of these pocket rockets sold during its sixteen year currency. The Giardinetta wagon would be the utility vehicle with supremely leftfield Kudos.
3 105 – Series GTA_M
The lightened, larger-engined M derivative of the Bertone bodied GTA is our favourite for its mystic phatness. Built by Autodelta – Alfa’s motorsport workshop as well as pieced together as an idea in various other private operations, no-one really knows how many true examples there are, which only adds to the appeal. There’s something about that Guilia design that reeks of high-octane Italian testosterone.
For our money the Canguro concept, built on the platform of the Guilia TZ2 racing car, is one of the most aesthetically appealing machines ever to bear the Alfa badge. At the other end of the ugly scale to the ‘Sud, the Canguro is a mellifluous flow of Giugiario drawn curves and angles blended together with the unity of a true masterpiece. Unique magnesium wheels, check. Starkly cool interior, check. Curved, glazed cabin, yessiree.
The 166 was a woefully neglected Alfa. The result of the company’s attempt to step up to the challenges of BMW and Audi motorway-eating executive rides, it had in its earliest form that audacious droop-eyed, wedgy stance that put many people off. This was updated with a very successful facelift in 2003 – but we loved the early version too. It drove brilliantly, ate oil by the supertanker (especially the 3Litre V6) and if you didn’t treat it with kid gloves it deteriorated like a fragile starlet with obsessive-compulsive disorder. So much more stylish than and interesting than the ubiquitous A4 – and these days you can pick them up for a song.
6 Disco Volante
The Disco Volante (flying saucer) was based on the very lovely 1900 series of cars, and were racing concepts that, many insist, inspired Malcolm Sayer’s epoch making E-Type Jaguar. If you’d ever wondered where the otherworldly lines and curves of the E-type came from, this is a revelation. Only a fistful were ever produced, one for the great Fangio himself.
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