For those of you that didn't see the article and are interested, (I'm a little behind on my reading):
FEATURE ARTICLE from Hemmings Sports & Exotics
Performance Builder's Guide
Hemmings Sports & Exotics - MARCH 1, 2007 - BY CRAIG FITZGERALD
Alfa Romeo GT Junior/Giulia Super
Attend any average car show in America and you're likely to see at least one MG, Triumph, Porsche or Jaguar, but you'll be lucky to find a single Alfa Romeo. But on the track at every vintage racing event in the country, there are as many coupe- and sedan-based Alfa Romeos as there are more popular makes and models. In its heyday, Alfa Romeo built cars to race. The fact that they were excellent road cars was simply a bonus; in the veins of every single Alfa Romeo coursed the blood of a proven race winner.
Dual overhead cam Alfa Romeo four-cylinders are among the most durable, reliable and tunable engines in the vintage racing scene. Link that engine to a sublime gearbox and a stout rear differential, add in one of vintage racing's most capable suspensions, and wrap it all up in stylish, pace-setting bodywork, and you've got a package that screams "drive me."
The engine's essential design parameters were unchanged, even as displacement grew increasingly larger over the years. According to Pat Braden, who wrote the Alfa Romeo All-Alloy Twin-Cam Companion, Alfa's wet-sleeve cast-iron cylinders are the key to the alloy engine's track performance. Other pressed-in or "dry" cylinder liners are not washed directly by coolant, resulting in poor heat dissipation. "The advantage of the Alfa wet-sleeve design is not only that it gives superior cylinder cooling," writes Braden, "but also easy cylinder replacement when a rebuild is necessary." This design lays the foundation for great racing and road-going engine performance.
The twin-cam layout goes on to improve the engine's volumetric efficiency. The head's V-shaped casting carries the hemispherical combustion chamber, the camshafts and the valves, all working in concert to take in fuel and air, uniformly expand the flame front over the piston's top, and expel the gases as efficiently as possible.
Beginning in 1959, Alfa introduced a five-speed gearbox that was the envy of many a sports racer, when a five-speed was the exclusive domain of some of the world's most expensive sports cars. With the exception of notoriously weak second-gear synchronizers, Alfa Romeo built a reputation for gearboxes that were as smooth and responsive as any on the road or the race track.
According to Pat Braden, "Alfa's suspensions have always been optimized for sporty driving. Even the most sedate of the Alfa sedans offers superior roadability, and under most circumstances, the suspensions are more competent than the drivers." Factor in a thriving aftermarket that can make a great handling car corner even faster, and it's no wonder Alfa Romeo coupes and sedans are such common sights on the track and at autocross events.
The emphasis on performance, durability and handling makes the Alfa Romeo GT Junior and Giulia models natural starting points for vintage racers. But you don't have to be a weekend racer to reap the benefits in your road-going Alfa Romeo. You can apply more than half a century's worth of racing knowledge to your street Alfa and make your car perform to the best of its ability. Our Performance Builder's Guide will show you how.
Engine: 1,962cc inline four-cylinder, alloy block and head, cast-iron "wet" cylinder liners
Horsepower: 195 @ 6,800 (Giulia Super)/205 @ 6,700 (GT Junior) (as modified)
Torque: 118 @ 6,300 (Giulia Super) 120 @ 6,400 (GT Junior) (as modified)
Gearbox: Five-speed Alfa Autodelta GTA (Giulia Super) / OS Giken (GT Junior)
Ratios, 1st: 2.667
Length: 166.0 inches (Giulia Super) / 153.5 inches (GT Junior)
Width: 61.4 inches (Giulia Super) / 61.1 inches (GT Junior)
Height: 56.3 inches (Giulia Super) / 50.4 inches (GT Junior)
Wheelbase: 99.0 inches (Giulia Super) / 88.6 inches (GT Junior)
Curb Weight: 2,100 pounds (Giulia Super) / 2,300 pounds (GT Junior)
Brothers Anthony and Fabrizio Rimicci both opted for 2,000cc engines from 1972. The engines were both assembled by their father, Santo Rimicci, with machine work done by Engine Machine Service in Los Angeles, California, who knife-edged the cranks to reduce rotating mass. Both engines had passages drilled to get lubrication to all the bearings. "It's important that oil is going to each and every bearing in race conditions," says Anthony. The Giulia Super uses JE pistons and Total Seal rings, while the GT Junior uses pistons and rings from Cosworth, both delivering a 12:1 compression ratio. Both Alfas' heads were polished and ported, and use 45mm stock Alfa Romeo valves, with Iskenderian race valve springs. The Giulia Super runs a Colombo & Bariani 11.4mm lift cam, while the GT Junior relies on a Megacycle 10.5mm lift cam. Both engines use Weber DCOE 45 carbs breathing through the stock Alfa intake. Headers come from an Autodelta GTA. The Giulia Super uses a 2˝-inch Magnaflow muffler, while the GT Junior uses an Autodelta GTA muffler of the same size.
While Alfas are famous for second gear synchro problems, both of the Rimicci brothers use original synchros in their rebuilt transmissions. "The aftermarket ones don't last as long. We both have two seasons on our transmissions right now," says Anthony.
Alfa offered a range of possible gear ratios for 105-series transmissions. "The gear ratios we chose were perfect for the kind of tracks we race on," both brothers noted. The transmissions were built by Santo at his shop in Northridge. Gears for the Giulia Super are from an Autodelta GTA, but the GT Junior relies on aftermarket gears from OS Giken. The Giulia Super has a Sachs single-disc racing clutch, while the GT Junior uses a single-disc unit from AP Racing. Alfa Romeo specialist Spruell Racing provided the aluminum flywheel for both cars, which reduced rotating mass by 13 pounds. Rear differentials are both 4.56:1 limited slip, supplied by OS Giken.
The specifications for the Rimiccis' suspensions are nearly identical. Both use Koni Sport adjustable shocks front and rear, using the hard settings up front, medium in the rear. Front and rear springs come from Alfa Romeo suspension specialists Ward & Deane Racing, and are rated at 1,200 pounds up front, 200 pounds in the rear. Both cars have a stock Alfa Romeo solid anti-roll bar up front, and both added a panhard rod to the rear suspension, which helps to locate the height of the rear roll center, and also prevents lateral movement of the rear axle. Bushings were updated with polyurethane replacements with heim joints tying suspension links together. The shock towers were seam-welded to the rollcage for added stiffness. Panasport FS-14 wheels are fitted to all four corners, but the GT Junior's are an inch wider at 14 x 7. The Giulia Super runs Kumho Ecsta 195/55-14, while the GT Junior has Nitto NT01s in the 205/55-14 size.
Another bonus for potential Alfa racers and performance modifiers is that you're starting out with an already impressive braking system. While performance builders of other marques have to figure out how to install rear disc brakes, the Giulia Super and GT Junior were both equipped with four-wheel disc brakes from the factory, and even in stock form, they provide excellent stopping power. That doesn't mean you have to stick completely to the playbook, though. The Rimiccis chose ATE discs for their even more rigorous braking needs, and when it came time to select calipers, the parts came from an unusual source. "We used ATE calipers front and rear, but the fronts were from a Volkswagen bus," Anthony explains. "The VW bus calipers use bigger pistons, yet use the same pads as a stock Alfa." The calipers in the rear were straight replacements. Up front, the calipers carry Hawk Blue pads, with Porterfield R4 pads in the rear.
Anthony's only complaint with his GT Junior is with its rollcage, which he fitted when the car was originally put together. Today, he wishes he'd spent the money for a custom-welded cage. "The bolt-in cage fits well, but I want something that is welded in and tucked into the corners and edges better," says Anthony. "By going with a custom cage, I can put the bars and tubes where I want them. Fabrizio has a weld-in cage designed by Sparco. It's done really nice and the fit is perfect."
Sparco also supplied the fire suppression system and the racing harnesses. "We are running five-pound bottles with spray nozzles in the engine compartment and the interior. Both cars have an 8-gallon Fuel Safe fuel cell in the spare tire well. We put them in the tire well to distribute some weight to the right side of the car. The tank was originally located on the left side." Holding the Rimiccis in place are a pair of 3-inch Sparco five-point racing harnesses.
SELECT COMPONENT PRICES
Brakes : ATE Calipers (Rebuilt) - $76 each plus core
Brakes : Hawk Blue Compound/Porterfield R4 - $116 (Front)/$100 (Rear)
Drivetrain : AP Racing Single Disc Clutch - $675
Drivetrain : Spruell Aluminum Flywheel : $549
Engine : Cosworth Pistons/Rings - $900
Engine : JE Pistons - $690
Engine : Carillo Connecting Rods - $275 each
Engine : Megacycle Custom Camshaft - TBA
Engine : Iskanderian Valve Springs - $100
Interior : Sparco racing seat - $599
Safety : Sparco Bolt-in Roll Cage - $650
Safety : Sparco Harness - $239
Safety : Sparco 5-lb. Fire Supression System - $489
Suspension : Shocks : Koni - $219/pair
Anthony and Fabrizio Rimicci are the sons of Santo Rimicci, owner of Santo's Italian Car Service, legendary Alfa specialists in Northridge, California. Both were steeped in the Alfa mystique as children. "I've been in love with the styling since I was a little kid," says Anthony, 26, a sales rep for Sparco USA. "Nobody was racing Giulia Supers when I built this car," says younger brother Fabrizio, 22, a senior at Santa Clara University. "Everyone had GTVs. I wanted to be different."
Because both brothers were students when they bought their twin-cam Alfas, their budgets were restricted, though they had the distinct benefit of their father's knowledge. Anthony spent just $450 for his 1968 GT Junior in 1998, but that sounds positively extravagant compared to what his brother paid for his 1967 Giulia Super in 2001. "I traded two bottles of cheap wine for it," says Fabrizio. "It cost me $36." The car belonged to a customer at Santo's.
In the coming years, both brothers embarked on race-ready restorations. On their student budgets, they scrimped to get the cars ready for the track. Both advise doing the job right the first time to avoid having to do it again later, especially if you're spending time keeping the car up to track duty. "I should have had the car acid-dipped so I could get all the undercoating off," says Anthony. "I'd also weld in a full custom cage. I built it when I was in high school, so money was limited."
Both brothers strive to race their cars at local events six times a year.
Koni North America
ATE Brakes (Germany)
Telephone: +49 69 7603-1
Porterfield Racing Brake Pads
Cosworth Pistons (US Office)
Sparco Motorsports, Inc.
AP Racing Clutch (U.K.)
+44 (0) 24 7663 9595
Santo's Italian Car Service