Introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1957, the Alfa Romeo „TI” Berlina is a four-door 1300 Giulietta fitted with the 65 hp Sprint engine. With the introduction of the „Turismo Internazionale”, Alfa has added a fast machine designed specifically for international touring car competitions in 1958.
Remember the last Mexican Road Race in 1955, when a team of the famous Alfa 1900 “TI” machines swept the board in their class as well as showing their heels to numerous higher powered cars in the mountains? Well, Alfa Romeo is at it again, going after the 1300 “family car” laurels with this souped-up, sawed-off little bomb that is a tremendous surprise from behind the wheel.
Mario Bernasconi, Alfa press relations chief, put a TI test car at our disposal for a week to do a tour of Italian factories. We picked it up at the Lugano (Switzerland) distributor, and ith over
The machine is basically a Giulietta from the ground up. Chassis, suspension and running gear are the same as the Sprint, except for the four-door sedan body welded to the platform frame. Distinguishing marks are hard to find. A plate on the dash says that it is a TI but there’s nothing on the exterior. A half-pint’rev counter is set into the left side of the dash an easy glance away by the driver. The rest of the instruments are simple and well grouped, especially easy to read at night when illuminated. With the
The most pleasant surprise was the discovery of a hand throttle just under the steering column. This proved to be a big help when warming up the car after a freezing night. Instead of having to stay in the car and spend a minute playing footside with the accelerator pedal, you could step up the idle and ho back inside for a second cup of coffee. It seems to us that any sports-touring car should have a hand throttle, and Alfa is to be congratulated for providing this small but very convenient control. Turn indicators and a hand-operated dip switch complete the instrumentation.
Driving position was comfortable and pedal placement so ideal that is was almost a pleasure to heel and toe. Alfas are famous for this, even the pre-war machines had closely spaced pedals, but in those days the accelerator was between the clutch and brake. Thought had gone into seat design of the TI also, for there were slight naturally-fitting side braces in the seat squab offering a lot of lateral stability.
Physically, the TI lacks the beauty of line that the Sprint possesses: it has a stubby appearance that detracts from its Italian birthright. But like most Italian products, appearance does not necessarily indicate what is below the surface. The TI proved to be a lot fu, from the spot behind the wheel.
It is surprising how much space Alfa has been able to provide inside their four-door Giulietta, for it is still a small car. It has the same wheelbase as the Sprint series, but there is ample room for four passengers and their luggage. The trunk is surprisingly large. Storage compartments inside the car are small: the glove compartment and the map pockets in the doors are too narrow to be of much use.