1981 Alfa Romeo Barchetta Up For Grabs

The appeal of a classic car is as much about the story as it is about the object itself. It is a very different approach from buying your average second-hand motor.

With a run-of-the-mill used car you want to see evidence that it has led as quiet a life as possible, being treated with kindness all the way from one main-dealer service to the next.

With proper classics, though, a bit of a mischief is not necessarily a bad thing. You want the car to have had an interesting life, maybe being driven at full tilt in road races that have long since been banned for being too dangerous. Or perhaps it was lost in a high-stakes card game by an irresponsible aristocrat. All of these things add a bit of spice.

The car pictured here uses the engine and chassis of an Alfa Romeo Giulietta, but the body is a one-off, commissioned in 1981 by a customer of an Italian coachbuilder called Ugo Dall’Ara, a highly skilled restorer that occasionally built replicas of classic Italian sports cars.

This particular car is not a replica, however, but a design of Dall’Ara’s own creation. It is clear to see the influences of mid-century barchettas – two seater sports cars that took their name from the Italian word for “small boat”.

This car is best seen as a well-designed tribute to cars such as the Ferrari 166, as well as Alfa Romeo’s own two-seaters of that era, but one that has a distinctive look of its own.

By the slender accounts that we have of Dall’Ara, it seems that his name didn’t make it far beyond his own roster of clients. That, combined with the fact that this car is a tribute to an era three decades before it was made, means that this is in no sense the purest of bloodlines.

But no matter what other factors come into play, ultimately a car’s worth comes down to how much someone is willing to pay for it. And what it lacks in heritage, this one-off Alfa definitely makes up for with beauty. And however far you travel, you can guarantee you will never see another car quite like it.

The stunning Alfa was put up for auction last weekend in Italy with a guide price of £30,000 to £40,000!

You can see some alternative purchases to the Barchetta here.