Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Chapter Book Alfa Romeo

The book is The Red, Red Roadster, by Gene Olson, and published by Scholastic Book Service for the juvenile market. My first reaction was, "Hey, an Edsel! They think an Edsel is a hot roadster?" but then I did my research; by which, I mean, found the car's name in the book. While other cars are referred to by made-up names, the book is very specific about what car the teacher wanted:
Miss Barberry fought a sharp urge to spin and flee. She pointed tentatively at the little red car. "What is it called?"

The young man folded his hands behind him and stared upward at a large light fixture as if hoping that it would fall on his head. "Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Spider," he murmured. "And please, madam, don't say that it's a very large name for a very small car."

"Alfa Romeo . . . Giulietta . . . Sprint . . ."

"Spider. In Italian terminology, a light roadster to be used for competition or high-speed rally work. This is an Italian car. Now if you'll excuse me..."
An actual Giulietta Spider can be seen here - the cover artist was very faithful to the original. The book identifies the price of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, in 1962 dollars: $3,617. The 1960 Edsel sold for around $2,700. I tried to find the actual original sticker price of an early-60s Giulietta, but was unsuccessful, but I'd gather at Ms. Barberry got an enormously good deal on an Italian sportscar for under $4,000 in the early 1960s.

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