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A Restomod on a (Relative) Budget, this is the Superb Mecanica Alma Sprint

The Alma Sprint finds its spiritual origin in Alfa Romeo's ill-fated Sprint 6C Group B Rally concept.

| By Robin Nooy | 4 min read |

The words “Alfa” and “Romeo” are enough to get most car lovers and petrolheads drooling with excitement. The famous Italian manufacturer is loved for its gorgeous designs, lively driving characteristics and boatloads of charm. But, despite their reputation for glorious cars such as the 8C, Giulia, Disco Volante and many others, there have been plenty of lesser-loved cars coming from the Turin-based carmaker. One such car is the Alfa Romeo (Alfasud) Sprint, which has pretty much always been outshined by its sexier and more potent brother, the GTV. With the Mecanica Alma Sprint, that might change indefinitely, though, as this rather budget-friendly restomod ticks all the right boxes!

The Alfa Romeo Sprint, which was initially called Alfasud Sprint, was derived from the Alfasud. The compact two-seater coupe had quite a striking look and was fitted with a four-cylinder boxer engine in the front. It was in production from 1976 to 1989 (if you consider the Alfasud Spring and Sprint as one), and Alfa Romeo built about 116,000 of them. Its angular design was the work of Giorgetto Giugiaro, who also penned the fabulous Giulia Sprint GT, but also the Maserati Ghibli and the Lancia Delta.

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An original Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint –

The Sprint started out with a humble 1.3-liter four-cylinder boxer engine pumping out a not-so-impressive 76 horsepower, although it would grow in size and power later on. Towards the end of its production run, the Sprint 1.7 Quadrifoglio Verde pushed this to 118 horsepower and a top speed of close to 200kph, a big step up over the original v-max of 163kph.

Alfa Romeo Sprint 6c

By 1982, Alfa Romeo, like so many others, realized that motorsport would be a perfect advertisement for its sports cars. It tasked Autodelta, Alfa Romeo’s factory racing department, with starting work on a high-performance version of one of its cars for racing. But it wouldn’t be the bigger, more powerful and faster GTV that would be the base car, but rather the humble Alfa Romeo Sprint. And it wouldn’t be built for circuit racing, but rather for Group B rallying instead!

The Zagato-designed and -built Alfa Romeo Sprint 6C was the result, and it meant a radical shift in power underneath the exterior. The 4-cylinder boxer engine in the front was replaced with the 158 horsepower 2.5 litre V6 engine from the Alfa Romeo GTV6, which also moved to behind the rear seats. On the outside, the Sprint 6C received some updates as well, with wider wheel arches, new bumpers, and a new rear spoiler. Despite this promising start, a road-going homologation version, let alone a proper full-fledged competition car, would never be built. And that is where Mecanica Alma picks up, sort of, with a very surprising result!

Mecanica Alma

The Portuguese company has a reputation for repairing, restoring and modifying vintage sports and racing cars, mostly of Alfa Romeo origin. Its founder, Rafael Soares, has a background in engineering and treats every car with the same passion and attention to detail. For the Alma Sprint, as this lovely little restomod is officially named, the team thought that the original concept of the Group B Sprint 6C could be a bit more refined and enhanced.

Drawing inspiration from cars such as the Lancia 037 and Maserati Shamal, the Alma Sprint gets a more muscular profile thanks to new bumpers, reshaped fenders, more streamlined Vitaloni mirrors and so on. Up front, a double pair of modern Hella headlights are integrated into an aluminium housing. The back is characterised by the little upswept rear spoiler, a pair of very 1980s tail lights and a stainless steel exhaust system.

On the inside, Alma shows restraint and keeps the interior looking very much like stock. Don’t be fooled, though, as the Sprint’s interior is retrimmed in Alcantara, has new aluminium components for the instruments, and Bluetooth connectivity. A 4-point Sabelt harness keeps you planted firmly in your seat when you give it the beans.

And speaking of which, the Alma Sprint received a mechanical update over the original Alfa Sprint as well. Sadly, the engine isn’t nestled in the rear but remains in the front. However, the original four-cylinder boxer has been enlarged to 1.8 litres of capacity. Extensive modifications like Dellorto carburettors with velocity stacks bump the power to 160bhp, although you can push that to 220bhp if you want (and you should!). New brakes and upgraded suspension components are installed to make it turn and stop on a dime. Given its kerb weight of just 880 kilos, the Alma Sprint should be quite the exciting little machine!

But best of all, and this is where it differs from most other restomod projects, its price is rather friendly! Mecanica Alma does require you to provide a donor car, but the cost of converting an Alfa Romeo Sprint to an Alma Sprint is just EUR 50,000! Now, isn’t that a lovely surprise? Be quick, though, as Mecanica Alma will build only 20.

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Editorial Note: The information and images for this article are sourced from and used with permission by Mecanica Alma unless stated otherwise.

1 response

  1. Great alternative to GTIs (VW or Peugeot). With small mods, the proportions and stance become quite right on this Alfa Sud Sprint.

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