‘We thought to get noticed, to get invited, we’d need something different’, so says Geoff Gordon (not that one, ed) standing next to his immaculate 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Ti. He’s referring to his ambition to compete in the St Mary’s Trophy at the Goodwood Revival, one of the star events of that particular motor sport weekend. Geoff’s Alfa did indeed catch everyone’s attention, especially when it finished a fighting second overall on the Saturday with Goodwood favourite Emanuele Pirro at the wheel.
For all its proven performance, the little Giulietta, with its deep red paintwork and period-60s livery of Turin-based tuner Almo Bosato, is one of those cars that it’s hard to resist not giving a friendly pat on the roof to. It has charm by the bucket load.
But under that cheery front end expression and Italianate curves lies a finely developed racing machine: ‘There hadn’t been one of these built from a fresh, modern perspective,’ says Geoff.
By that he means the kind of exacting attention to detail, professional finish and engineering standards that until recently were associated with contemporary touring car manufacture rather than a historic. As an example, the beautiful dashboard isn’t all that it seems: it’s a lightweight replica. ‘We agreed a 25% increase in engine capacity, which took us to 1600cc, and we then built the car around the St Mary’s rules, moving away from the FIA. If we do UTCC I run in an invitation class.’
‘We found two cars originally,’ he adds. ‘One in Verona and one in Brescia, I couldn’t decide which one to buy so bought both, although the first one at 1300cc was underpowered so we sold it and started on this one.’ When Geoff says ‘started’ he really means it, as in acid dipping the ‘shell; ‘finding panels was tricky, but Jon Dooley (a great Alfa authority and racer of note) has been a mentor, and that’s made things easier. The car has actually proved far quicker than we imagined,’ adds Geoff with a grin.
‘Although it’s lively. If you let off in a corner, it spins. She’s fairly neutral, but you’ve got to stay on the power – and we’ve got great power for a single spark engine.’
Photography by Chris McEvoy