Alfa Romeo GTA cars: the history of Gran Turismo Alleggerita

Special edition lightweight Alfa Romeos have carried the GTA badge since the 1960s. We explore the history of the lightweights…

Alfa Romeo built the first Giulia GTA in 1965 and the second has just been unveiled. In between we’ve seen a short but sweet series of other GTA badged Alfa Romeos with performance and light weight at their hearts.

GTA in Alfa Romeo speak stands for Gran Turismo Alleggerita, the crucial Alleggerita part translating literally as ‘lightened’. From the classic lines of the original Guilia GTA through the ‘Busso’ engined 156 version, to the 147 GTA, a forerunner of today’s mega-hatches, below we look at the GTA brand’s highlights…

1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA

The original Giulia GTA reinforced Alfa’s reputation for building beautiful drivers’ cars. A number of versions were offered throughout the production run, but all were lighter and more powerful than base models. Compact dimensions meant agility was assured, and huge success in competition cemented the GTA’s status as being among the most collectable Alfas.

2001 Alfa Romeo 156 GTA

The 156 GTA remains one of the more evocative recent Alfas, with gorgeous saloon and estate styling cloaking the firm’s famous ‘Busso’ 3.2-litre V6. The cars were assembled on a separate line to standard 156 models, and featured faster steering and stronger Brembo brakes.

2002 Alfa Romeo 147 GTA

Like other hot hatches of the time, the 147 GTA relied on displacement rather than turbocharging. Its V6 engine produced 184kW, which was good for a 246km/h top speed, and also managed to spin the front wheels through the gears. Not that it mattered to fans; the sensational looks and that six-cylinder rumble were all that really mattered.

2009 Alfa Romeo MiTo GTA

Only ever shown as a concept, the MiTo GTA used a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine to produce 179kW – more than the VW Golf GTI of the day. Like all GTAs, it was lighter and sported more aggressive styling, while its Maserati-derived advanced damper system gave a tantalising glimpse of what could have been.

2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA

The acclaimed Giulia Quadrifoglio performance sedan is taken to another level by the $300,000 + GTA version. Power from the 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 rises to 397kW while a series of weight saving and aerodynamic changes produce what promises to be a serious performance car with its sights set on the Nurburgring 4-door lap record.

James Brodie

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