Via Veloce by Wille R. www.veloce.se since November 1995 and still here.
Back to FAQ. First published Nov 1997 Next
The body trim
One of the most attractive aspects of the Duetto was the extreme cleanliness of its shape, making do without cosmetic flourishes and superfluous bright work. What body trim there was, was perfectly integrated within the whole.
A perfect example was the front grille. The traditional Alfa Romeo shield grille was incorporated very low-down so as not to interrupt the curvaceous line of the nose. The grille itself was wider than the Giulia saloon’s, and consisted of a chrome surround fitted with five chrome horizontal bars. The circular Alfa Romeo badge sat at the top of the grille, protruding slightly above the nose line to create a small ‘character’ prominence in the metalwork that drew attention to the badge itself.
The chrome front bumpers were also beautifully and unobtrusively integrated within the overall shape. To each side of the grille, the bumpers were made up of two main sections. They were mounted on a stumpy T-shaped bracket: an upper ‘moustache’ with the sort of hockey stick shape that was so popular in the 1960s, and a lower bar that followed the gentle curve of the upper bumper. The bumpers were set back within indentations that led to the air intakes that actually channelled cooling air to the engine bay.
Alfa Romeo has often faced problems over where to site the registration plate. The logical central position is often taken by the prominent grille. The Duetto was a prime example. In Italy, the small front plate then specified by the authorities could be attached quite inconspicuously below the lower bumper on the right-hand side looking at the car head-on. Other countries’ larger front plates posed more of a problem, more because of aesthetic awkwardness than ground clearance difficulties. As a result many Duettos had their plates mounted from the top bumper bar, looking rather out-of-place (in California this was mandatory according to the safety regulations). Alternatively an adhesive plate was often stuck on the nose, between the grille and leading edge of the bonnet.
The windscreen surround was in stainless steel, as was the fill-in bar at the top of the doors. A chrome-surround swivelling front quarter light with thief-proof catches formed the only framed glass aft of the windscreen, the winding windows having no framing. The windscreen wipers – which were of the ‘clap-hands’ variety, pivoting from a base towards the windscreen pillars and parking one on top of the other (with a self-parking facility) – were also chromed, with the exception of the black base. Likewise, the twin screen washer jets, fixed on the scuttle panel next to the ventilation louvres, were chromed. The chromed door handles were of the raised type with a fixed door pull and a push button.
The slim-line rear quarter bumpers folded around the curved rear end, terminating towards the centre rear in chromed end pieces with rubber edging to act as overriders. Small circular reflectors were positioned on the top edge of each quarter bumper, one on each side – not a particularly handsome arrangement, it must be said. The circular petrol filler flap was placed on the left-hand side of the car towards the back of the rear wing and had a chrome toggle at its rear end.
Badging on the Duetto was notable by its absence. Indeed there were only four badges: two Pininfarina ‘F’ crests (one on each lower rear wing just aft of the doors), the Alfa grille badge and chrome script on the boot lid reading ‘Alfa Romeo’. There was not a single reference to the car’s actual name, Duetto.
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