Covering several body shapes, almost 178,000 units were built, with the saloon being the most common variant. Other options included the 2 + 2 coupe, Sprint, Sprint Speciale and Sprint Zagato, and the Spider.
Carrozzeria Colli even built some units for a van, Promiscua, but these are now extremely rare with only 91 units manufactured. Another bodybuilder, Carrozzeria Boneschi also produced a similar version called the Weekendina.
Although the general lines of the model were pencilled by Franco Scaglione of Bertone, the Spider version was designed and built by Pininfarina. The Spider brought a level of refinement and sophistication never seen before in the small sports car segment, making its competitors look outdated.
The Giulietta has monocoque construction with a front-engined rear-wheel drive architecture. The front suspension is independent, consisting of coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers and control arms. At the rear, Alfa employed a more traditional rigid axle with coil springs. All Giuliettas (with the exception of the SZ) were equipped with drum brakes on all four wheels.
With a total weight of 860 kg, the Spider, in its original configuration, was equipped with a 1.3 litre, four-cylinder, double camshaft engine and delivered 80hp at 6300 revolutions per minute. In total, 14,300 units of this version were built. However, the Veloce version of which only 2796 units built, received a different treatment. The result was a more elaborate carburetion system with two double-body Weber carburettors as well as a higher compression ratio (9.1: 1 vs. 8.5: 1). It now produced 90hp at 6500 revolutions per minute. The Veloce had an announced top speed of 185 km/h, something quite extraordinary for the time.
Despite the extremely elegant and almost feminine lines, the Giulietta, especially in this Veloce version, was seen a wolf in sheep’s clothing. At the time, it almost always came out on top in competition against Porsche and other equivalent and often superior brands.
In 1962, Alfa Romeo launched the Giulia, which gradually replaced the base version of the Giulietta. The Giulia only offered a 1.6 engine until 1964. The Sprint, Sprint Speciale and Spider versions would eventually be equipped with this engine and, with some changes, continued to be sold under the name Giulia until they were replaced in 1965.