• The Totem Electric GT Is A Guilt-Free Alternative To the Alfa Romeo GTA

The tiny Giulia GTA represents one of Alfa Romeo’s defining moments and Totem has recreated it in painstaking detail, minus the smoke out of the exhaust

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The Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA is an all-time classic. Based on the Giulia Berlina of the mid-’60s, this sporty two-door model racked up countless wins for Alfa Romeo on the tracks where the GTA built its giant-killer reputation.

Now, some 55 years later, Totem Automobili is finally ready to reveal to us the Electric GT, a hand-built, modern take on the GTA that packs 518 electric horsepower and 518 and 692 pound-feet of torque. Detractors, however, argue this is nothing more but an exercise in automotive sacrilege. Read on to find out why.

Just 20 Totem Electric GTs will be built

The Totem Electric GT Is A Guilt-Free Alternative To the Alfa Romeo GTA Exterior
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When the Alfa Romeo Giulia (Tipo 105) replaced the Giulietta in 1962, the company was still thoroughly immersed in the world of racing. Its in-house competition named Autodelta was thus tasked with developing a track-only version of the new model for entry in the European Touring Car Championship and other such sedan-based series. The starting point was the Berlina’s smaller, two-door sibling nee Giulia Sprint GT.

Shorter than the four-door Berlina, the Sprint GT featured Bertone-penned cues and was basically as heavy as a ballet shoe, meaning it ended up handling as gracefully as a ballet dancer after Autodelta was done with it.
The Totem Electric GT Is A Guilt-Free Alternative To the Alfa Romeo GTA Exterior
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The process, though, wasn’t that straightforward as Autodelta took the time to fit what would end up being called the GTA (with ’A’ for Alleggerita or Lightweight in English) with featherweight aluminum outer body panels over thinner gauge inner steel panels. The two sheets were pop-riveted together to save weight. More weight saving could be discovered under the skin with the rear upper control arms being made out of aluminum too.

The side windows were plastic, the wheels were magnesium and the cabin was stripped out of most niceties. Under the hood sat a 1.6-liter, twin-cam inline-four fed via a bigger two-barrel Weber carburetor and with magnesium cam covers, sump, timing cover, and bell housing. With a Marelli distributor straight out of a Ferrari Dino, the engine of the homologation version developed 113 horsepower, up by 8 horsepower and quite reasonable for a car tipping the scales at just 1,640 pounds.

In full Group 1 spec, however, the GTA 1600 put down 170 horsepower.

The 1.6-liter GTA was soon followed by a 1,300 cc version named the GTA Junior and, then, 1969 heralded the appearance of the famous GTAm with a 2.0-liter engine under the hood and flared arches that were accepted in Group 2. The base of the 2,070-pound GTAm (’Am’ standing for either Alesaggio Maggiorato, meaning Increased Bore, or Alleggerita Modificata, meaning Lightened Modified. The basis of the GTAm was the Giulia 1750 GTV and only about 40 race cars were ever built.

While that makes the GTAm a very rare bird by anyone’s standards, Totem only plans to build 20 Electric GTs and there’s a good reason for it and it’s the reason that’s got Alfa Romeo lovers up in arms over it. You see, in order to have the Totem Electric GT of your dreams parked in your driveway, you must first supply the Italian company with a Giulia GT Junior 1300/1600 donor car. As you’d expect, fans say that’s heresy as the glorious-sounding twin-cam engine is extracted and in its place comes an electric motor while the floorplan houses the battery.

The Totem Electric GT Is A Guilt-Free Alternative To the Alfa Romeo GTA Drivetrain
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But Totem Automobili deserves massive props because, just like Alfaholics, the details on the finished Totem Electric GT literally take hours to enjoy. The attention to detail borders insanity and everything about it, in our view, works: from the restyled body to the retro-looking cabin, it’s as if Alfa Romeo itself redesigned the GTA for the third millennium.

As mentioned, the new drivetrain is good for 518 horsepower and 692 pound-feet of torque, roughly three times the figures of the original.

That’s why Totem makes a new rear subframe and aluminum multilink rear suspension for every Electric GT since the original assembly would probably shatter to bits when you floor it. In the end, only about 10% of the original chassis is actually still left as Totem reinforces everything with aluminum while the body panels are made out of carbon fiber. The presence of a bespoke 50.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that allows for a 200-mile autonomy at a leisurely pace doesn’t make the Electric GT obese since the interior is quite spartan as well.

The Totem Electric GT Is A Guilt-Free Alternative To the Alfa Romeo GTA Interior
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Getting inside involves avoiding the full-on roll cage and trying not to drool all over the aluminum wheels that replicate the classic Autodelta design. Once inside, you’ll feel quite snug in the leather-wrapped bucket seats and you’ll be facing a classic three-spoke wheel wrapped in leather (of course) that can’t hide the two big, round dials right on top of the dash (they’re digital, in spite of their appearance). The old-school feel is kept in check by the presence of many modern features such as an A/C that actually works, electric windows, and an infotainment system camouflaging as the car radio. Bluetooth and on-screen apps are part of the deal and both the windscreen and the rear window are heated.

Totem says the Electric GT will do naught-to-60 in just 3.4 seconds which is fast but one thing that’s faster is the rate at which money will start leaving your bank account the moment you start customizing each and every aspect of the Electric GT to fit your tastes. That’s why it’s hard to give you an actual price tag for this thing but consider this: Alfaholic’s near-pornographic GTA-R will set you back at least $315,000 and that one doesn’t come with an electric drivetrain featuring a bespoke ultra-light battery pack.

Michael Fira
Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read full bio
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