Mid Century Milanese Masterpiece: AUTOart 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1300 Spider
Close your eyes and picture yourself at the wheel of a vintage Alfa, enjoying the crisp mountain air as you glide through the winding roads of the Italian Alps. And of course, Matt Monro’s “On Days Like These” plays in the background...
That’s enough of me rambling about my idea of the perfect million-dollar road trip, time to get on with this review. The Giulietta Spider was introduced at the 1955 Paris Auto Show as Alfa’s first post-war convertible, built at the insistence of Max Hoffman, the American importer who also played a big part in creating icons like the 300SL and Porsche 356. Featuring what is undeniably one of Pininfarina’s greatest designs, AUTOart absolutely nailed the car’s silhouette.
The process of getting my hands on the car was a lot more strenuous than the daydream I just wrote about. The seller took forever to reply to all of my messages, and trying to arrange a meet up time around my busy schedule wasn’t easy either. There were a few close calls taking it through public transportation, so when I got home I was quite relieved to say the least. Yes, the car also has quite a few issues. The steering mechanism doesn’t work properly on one side, nor do the hinges on the hood. Still, it’s a gorgeous car and visually at least the damage isn’t too noticeable.
So let’s have a look at the details of the model itself. Just like most other AUTOarts, the doors, trunk and hood all open, the latter two come with struts to prop them up.
Had to literally hold the hood open to get this shot.
Years of shelf wear have taken a toll on the car’s interior, and the damage is visible. The red carpeting that separates the driver’s seat from the passenger side is starting to show its age, and you can see that glue is starting to trickle out from under the seats, leaving ghastly stains on the floor. The dashboard however, has to be one of the Alfa’s best features, everything from the vents to the speedometers to the chrome that stretches across the entire dash looks impeccable.
Do keep in mind that this is my first AUTOart, so I may not be able to look at all the details with a critical eye like all of you veteran 1/18 collectors.
Now onto the engine bay. As I mentioned earlier, this car isn’t anywhere close to mint, as evidenced by the broken hinges on the hood. Engine detail is pretty good for a mid-range model, I suppose the only criticism I have for it is the overuse of plastic, but hey who am I to complain.
The Pininfarina penned body is hands down the best part of the whole model, I would’ve paid good money for a sealed resin version of it, that’s just how pretty the car is. The Rosso Chiaro finish on this thing is perfect, the proportions are spot on, and the chrome is some of the best I’ve seen on any model car…if you ever wonder why or how Pininfarina became such a prolific and respected design house, one look at the Giulietta should explain everything.
After having the car for a couple days, I’m starting to understand why AUTOarts from this era are so sought after now. The details are there, the accuracy is there, the parts open and close smoothly, what’s there not to love. I’m honestly surprised that there are no other 1/18s of the Giulietta Spider out there, prices for the AUTOart are high and they’re not gonna drop anytime soon. I think it’s time someone makes another model of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider to give this Milanese masterpiece the recognition it deserves.