Quite simply this stunning Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint epitomises why Origins Classic Cars has been established. For us, it is not necessarily about the make, model or value, it is about the quality of workmanship, build, finish and the overall driving experience a classic car can provide you with.
Happily, we can confirm that 172 YUJ meets and exceeds all that criteria. Its hardly surprising as 172 YUJ was the subject of a professional, three year, bare shell, full ‘Nut & Bolt’ rebuild and has been kept in a private collection since completion.
This is no exaggeration, when we were first invited to come and see 172 YUJ and we were shown into the garage, on laying eyes on the car for the first time, a small intake of breath was taken. They call it the “11 second rule” in the property market, where you know within the first 11 seconds of walking through the front door that this is the house you are going to own. Well within seconds it was obvious that 172 YUJ was a car that we would happily own for ourselves.
About 172 YUJ
The Alfa Romeo Owners Club has confirmed in writing that 172 YUJ, chassis number AR 1493.22433 was manufactured on the 24th February 1960 and sold on the 30th May 1961 in Panama. Christopher, the current owner (who commissioned the rebuild of 172 YUJ) believes that it may have been purchased by an American serviceman based there at the time. Christopher by the way, has had a passion and a long association with vintage Alfa Romeo’s and Bugatti’s for many years and is a well known and active member of the VSCC. Christopher fancied a more ‘modern’ classic to run around in generally and being an Alfa man, his search led him to California and classic car restorer named Bruno Corsi who had 172 YUJ in part restored condition. A deal was struck and 172 YUJ was shipped back to the UK at the end of 2010.
Initially Christopher was planning on just finishing off the few jobs to get 172 YUJ back on the road. However, whilst it had already been re-painted he was not happy with the quality of finish. So, he took 172 YUJ along to RedCastle Classics, a father and son restoration company. Brian the father, has an excellent reputation for restoring classic Mercedes Benz 190 SL’s and his son Simon has restored his own Alfa Romeo Guilia Spider to show winning standard. The initial concept of just improving the paint was soon thrown out and a decision was made to start again and to do it properly.
Whilst we would say Christopher would not have allowed an “open cheque book” restoration, having met him and seen his other cars it is quite clear that if it was going to be happen, it was going to be done properly and no corners would be cut during the process. The shell was completely stripped, shot blasted, repaired correctly where needed and then etch primed. The shell was then re-painted to a high standard. During the rebuild everything was either replaced with new or properly refurbished. The underside photographs best demonstrate the high level of workmanship that went into the rebuild. As you can see all the suspension is detailed and was rebuilt using all new bushes, fittings and shock absorbers. The brakes, which have front discs fitted were completely rebuilt. A new wiring loom was installed. The radiator was re-cored. All the chrome was re-chromed. A new front windscreen was fitted. The interior was completely re-upholstered and carpeted throughout. The only item still required is the fitment of a period radio. The 2-litre engine had already been rebuilt and only required a bit of preparation and detailing prior to installation. The 5-speed gearbox required no attention prior to installation. Out of personal preference Christopher opted not to re-fit the bumpers (they are supplied with the car in original un-restored condition) and finished off the look by fitting TZ alloy wheels. A look, that we hope you will agree, really suits the lines of the car, making it more aesthetically pleasing and giving it much more poise and purpose. The rebuild in the end cost Christopher in excess of £30,000 and invoices supplied by RedCastle Classics, that will come with the car, total just under this figure. Since completion YUJ 172 has been used sparingly and has covered a little over 500 miles.
Take a walk around YUJ 172 and from every angle, it’s just so achingly attractive. Such beautiful Italian styling. A piece of automotive art if you like. But something else the Italians get so right is your actual connection with these cars from a driving perspective.
This is where YUJ 172 really shines. We have had the pleasure of putting a few miles on YUJ 172 recently and from the moment you turn the ignition key and the twin webers bark into life there is a real sense of occasion. The throttle response is sharp and the engine sounds crisp. The clutch is relatively light and easy to select all its gears. Based in rural Wiltshire we are blessed with some of the most perfect driving roads and this is where the smile on your face will appear. On the open road this car excels. It pulls cleanly all the way through its power curve without complaint with a corresponding rasp and sense of purpose that means the experience of looking at the car is matched by driving it. Through the twisty bits everything feels just right, planted and reassured and when required the brakes pull you up in a nice straight line.
YUJ 172 embodies all that a classic car should deliver; a moving experience to view, a reward to drive and a pleasure to own.