By Will Silk
With Alfa Romeo celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2010, Auto Art released a line of Alfa replicas in 1:18th scale diecast metal. While many will remember the Italian manufacturer for the 1967 1600 Duetto Spider that appeared in the American film classic “The Graduate”, hard core enthusiasts will gravitate more towards the Milan auto maker’s production coupes of the 1960s, known at first as the Sprint GT model and later as the more famous GTV.
Alfa would debut their small sports coupe in late 1964 to the North American market as the Sprint GT, and the car quickly gained recognition amongst small bore GT enthusiasts. The 1964 model boasted a curb weight of 2200 pounds and was able to accelerate to sixty from a standstill in 10.6 seconds. According to Road and Track the car took just over 31 seconds to top 100mph, a very nice achievement given that the small Italian coupe was powered by a robust twin cam four cylinder engine of just 1570cc.
The 1967 model year saw Alfa introduce a hotter engine to the Sprint GT, thus bringing about a name change to GTV, the “Sprint” moniker being dropped and the “V” was added for “Veloce” which in Italian means fast. The engine gained 3bhp over the previous model, which in the eyes of those at Alfa Romeo was significant enough to change the name of the car. The GTV also enjoyed a swap to ATE brakes from the prior Dunlop systems the Sprint GT models used. The GTV was also given new seats and simulated wood grain dash and console trim. The exterior was revamped that year to sport four headlamps as opposed to the out going models two headlamp design.
The model that Auto Art selected to replicate is the 1750 GTV that first appeared in 1967. From 1967-1971 Alfa Romeo produced over 44,000 1750 GTV models. It is important to note that there were no Alfa Romeos imported to the United States for 1968, as new federal emission regulations went into effect and Alfa Romeo decided to wait a year to re-launch its line in North America in 1969, only to get caught out again in 1970 and not bring their new models into the largest market in the world at the time. While 1750 GTV models outside the North American market used dual Weber carburetors as their source of induction, North American cars sported a 1779cc engine with SPICA fuel injection to help comply with the increasing involvement of Washington in the auto industry. The 1779cc twin cam unit still offered spritely performance with 115bhp on tap backed by the traditional 5-speed transmission and live axle rear set-up. When 1971 came around, Alfa Romeo was set to debut the new 2000 GTV to replace the 1750 GTV model, though the successor to the 1750 would fall 10,000 units short of the popular 1750 GTV model’s production total.
While many will agree that there are much more significant cars in Alfa’s rich 100 year history to concentrate on replicating in scale, Auto Art has focused on perhaps one of the Italian marques most mass produced sporting successes, and the detail that they provide is really quite good. The packaging is attractive, as the box offers several nice pictures of the model that rests inside. Once you open the box and unseal the replica from its Styrofoam “tomb”, the general heft of the piece becomes quite noticeable. There is no doubt that diecast metal is in abundant use. The scale version of the 1750 GTV measures out to almost 9 inches long, roughly 3.75 inches wide, and 3 inches tall. The car we reviewed was painted in a classic white hue. The fuel filler door was engraved, and therefore did not open. The grille was very well detailed with nice chrome work around the headlamp bezels. All the lenses for the external lighting of the replica are of great quality and assist in making the replica’s appearance even more profound. The Alfa Romeo crest and “1750” script on the rear deck lid were done with tampo graphics. The paint quality is nice, but the panel fit of the rear deck lid was a bit off, something to be noted on a model in this price range. The windscreen wipers were replicated in chrome finished plastic, which was also used to replicate the metal trim around the model’s windows.
The attention to detail seems to carry over in the interior with realistic grey carpeting standing out the second you open the doors. The steering wheel is appropriately detailed, complete with a decal of the Alfa crest in the center. The multi-function switch is painted, as are the seatbelt release buttons, gear shift, and handbrake levers. The seats are replicated in plastic, but a nice job was done on the seat belts by using actual cloth material to recreate the real item. The plastic dash uses decals for the gauges and wood grain trim. Inner door panels are of some mention, as they offer two chrome strips, one running high, the other low on the panel; as well as detailed window cranks and armrest.
Under the hood you find a fully detailed Alfa Romeo twin-cam four-cylinder engine complete with plug wires and detailed cam covers along with the Alfa Romeo script across the timing chain cover. The brake booster is clearly visible and painted accordingly, as are all reservoirs as well as the battery.
The undercarriage features a large and accurately painted finned oil sump, transmission, and live axle differential. The front suspension is plastic and offers no actuation, and although there are springs present at the rear, the rear suspension still offers no movement. The exhaust is painted, but one must watch turning the front wheels as the steering linkage pushes on the exhaust enough to cause some concern. There is also no brake detail visible on the model, which is surprising since most other replicas by Auto Art offer such a feature.
Auto Art’s 1:18th scale Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV weighs in with a price point of $113.99, which seems to be right for a replica from a higher end middle weight diecast company. The absence of brake detail and the rear deck lid offering a slightly larger panel gap are of some concern though. As diecast prices continue to climb, particularly in the mid-range market that Auto Art has a substantial footing in, we hope that Auto Art increases its production quality to coincide with the rise in the price of their replicas. That aside, the 1:18th scale Auto Art 1750 GTV offers the collector a chance to have a fine replica of one of Alfa Romeo’s most sporting GT cars.
Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV by Auto Art – Model Car Profile
Material: Diecast metal with plastic parts
Quality: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Value: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
[Source: Auto Art; Diecasm]