Never Heard Of The Giocattolo? You’re Probably Not The Only One
Today’s Aussie Muscle Car Lesson

Talk about a rare occurrence.

Down at West Racing in Perth, Western Australia, I was fortunate enough to photograph not one, but two very unique Giocattolo Group Bs. How rare are these cars? Try only 12 production versions and three prototypes in Australia.

The Giocattolo was the brainchild of Aussie Paul Halstead who was an Alfa Romeo dealer as well as owning the Australian distribution rights for DeTomaso vehicles. It was a dream of his to produce something out of the ordinary which would rival many supercars in both looks and performance.

Halstead knew of a unique car that Alfa Romeo had created during the crazy times of the boundary pushing Group B in the mid ’80s – it was named the ‘Sprint 6C’. Based on the Sprint coupe, it was fitted with a mid-mounted 3.0-litre V6 engine running through a ZF transaxle and was intended to be a loose fitting, Group B machine.

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It never got off the ground though, because Alfa Romeo determined that it would be far too expensive as a road car, and would never become a race car because it would interfere with Lancia’s own race program. Halstead still loved the concept and decided that it was something that he just had to replicate back in Australia. Thus, the Giocattolo was spawned.

The Starting Point

Halstead’s idea was to get brand new Sprints direct from Alfa Romeo at a reduced price, ditch the front-wheel drive 1,500cc boxer motor and replace it with the Alfa Romeo V6 in the mid-mount position. The idea was simple enough, and the plan was to let them carry a combined Alfa Romeo/Giocattolo warranty, so the cars could be serviced at any Alfa Romeo dealership.

Unfortunately his enthusiasm wasn’t shared by the big wigs at Alfa Romeo Australia who ultimately refused to supply him with the vehicles. Not a problem for Halstead, he decided to pay full whack for the cars and purchase them one at a time. Once Alfa Romeo caught wind of the first prototype being produced, they screwed with Halstead threatening to take his dealership away if he continued with his programme. It seemed as if it was over before it began for the Aussie genius.

Not one to back down, Halstead gave Alfa Romeo the two finger salute and decided to shoehorn a modified version of Holden’s 304ci V8 from the Walkinshaw VL Commodore into the body. His connections with DeTomaso led the team to choose the super strong, ZF 5-speed transaxle that was used in the Pantera GT5, but at $15K a pop it was a majorly expensive piece of the puzzle.

The car’s impressive, hand-made bulletproof Kevlar / fibreglass bodywork was another massive cost because Halstead was purchasing the cars brand new, stripping them back to bare shells, only to end up using the body shell, doors and a few assorted trim and interior pieces and then making the rest from moulds.

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The original leftover Sprint parts were discarded and not worth a penny on the secondhand market. With such odds stacked against him, insane build costs and labour times exploding, the company eventually closed after just a total of 15 cars had been produced and the dream was over. However, with such low production numbers it was obvious that the cars were going to become hot commodities amongst collectors one day.

The two I viewed are owned by the same enthusiast but are two very different examples – the white version is a factory spec machine and the blue car is a heavily modified version, so for interest’s sake, I will focus on that weapon.

Modifying A Rare Car; Would You Do it?
2019 Giocattlo by Jordan Leist Speedhunters-03

Tim Slako from West Racing is the man responsible for the comprehensive build on the ‘F*cken Blue’ Group B car, and it has taken 5 years to get the car road registered and fully approved for street use.

One of the biggest changes to the car has been the upgrade in the horsepower stakes. The old school V8 has been replaced by a 300kw (402hp), 5.7-litre LS from a later model GTS Commodore. A Motec M800 ECU talks the talk, a reworked fuel system and an improved exhaust system round out the necessary engine mods.

2019 Giocattlo by Jordan Leist Speedhunters-05

The car now wears modified 4-pot Alcon calipers with 2-piece rotors all round, which are somewhat hidden away by the charcoal coloured 18-inch Simmons wheels. The modified suspension, which was originally designed by ex F1-engineer Barry Lock, now consists of custom fabricated control arms with cast alloy uprights and coilovers.

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2019 Giocattlo by Jordan Leist Speedhunters-14

The interior is a mix of stock Alfa Romeo and race car. It is a tight fit within those Velo bucket seats, too. The pedals are close together and hard to the left, you can’t see out the back at all and you are seated down, super-low. It might be a tad uncomfortable but boy oh boy, it felt good to me when I was taking the car through its paces out on the road, thanks to that noisy LS nestled behind my head.

The Giocattolo Group B was modified from the standard Sprint in the body styling department and as mentioned earlier, it was a costly exercise. The main changes at the rear have been achieved by extending out the small kick-up spoiler the Sprint had and then really amplifying the size of the rear wing to supercar proportions.

2019 Giocattlo by Jordan Leist Speedhunters-17

A small, unobtrusive bumper has been incorporated into the sheet metal and replaces the bulky plastic version of the Sprint. The rear guards have been heavily pumped to contain the massive rear wheels and the side vents.

2019 Giocattlo by Jordan Leist Speedhunters-01

The Giocattolo designers altered the front heavily – only the factory headlights remained. The front guards have been flared like the rears and replicated in Kevlar and the bonnet maintains the same overall shape but has been modified for the new grille and been treated to matching strakes like the side of the car. The one-piece integrated front spoiler bares no resemblance to the Sprint’s original bumper at all.

Being a rare commodity; some people may be mortified that the car has been modified but remember, there is already the standard version in the owner’s collection and every modification on the blue car has been executed with performance in mind.

The way I see it, Tim took the owner’s diamond and just polished it some more to really make it sparkle.

Jordan Leist
Instagram: jordanleist



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What a car! When I read the description of the trans, I thought, "but that would put the motor in the back...."

Uh-huh. That may be the *least* of the craziness here. At first my subconscious blocked out the ginormous rear wing, and then eventually I was just glad it looked removable-- because the rest of the car looks awesome to me. Personally I'd have kept the Alfa badge/grille...and blown all of my money building a Busso V6 to replace the original noise in the trunk, but that's just me.

SO JEALOUS that you got to drive this thing!

About 100 more pics of both and I'd be satisfied :P


I don't see why not modify it. If it impacts the resale, it doesn't sound like it'll matter much to the owner, and someone else will still get something cool and special, maybe at a bargain

What I'm saying is if he wants to let it go for cheap, I'm right here


Love seeing (new to me) cars, thanks for sharing!
When I saw AUS and Simmons wheels I was waiting or the Sex-spec interior shots :)


Didn't one or two of this car catch fire a decade or two ago and burned down completely? Looks good and aggressive but design safety wise was inferior to establish names like Volvo, Saab, BMW


Yes unfortunately chassis #007 was involved in a crash at Eastern Creek, killing the driver.


Yeah I was there search Todd Wilkes "Judge" and you'll see the yellow twin turbo one. amazing in its day.


I read about this car many many years back from an Aussie car mag.


"Giocattolo" means "toy" in italian: I guess it's the right name for something like that!


Nice, thanks for that!

Are there by chance any pictures of the white car in comparison?


To be honest I think the blue one looks way cooler than the "original" (Alfa) base car.




I was sorta hoping to see the original as that blue thing is hideous! Only to then find that the original is equally as grim, albeit, factory grim. I can't believe that these things were birthed from Alfa and DeTomaso, two makers of some of the most beautiful cars ever. I sorta wish I hadn't learned of the Giocattolo...


dreamcar right there


Alfa was not part of the same company with Lancia when the Sprint 6C was made in 1982. They were just too short on money to produce it. It was only in 1986 that FIAT bought Alfa. By the way the Sprint 6C looks absolutely fabulous. Giocattolo looks a bit ott but cool nonetheless


Man, does everyone really condone this type of modification? When I saw “heavily modified” and the very very limited production numbers, I was already a little bit taken back and that was before I knew the whole original engine was completely swapped out, with basically an LS swap. I cant see the justification for even heavily modifying one but, I mean come one, an LS swap?? Man, maybe down in Aussie there are no stubborn people like me who care at least a little bit about the originality of a very rare vehicle and it’s not seen as sacreligious. Even if it took the LS swap to make this thing street legal, I still wouldn’t do it. In my opinion its a little selfish to take such a piece of Aussie’s car history and turn it into something you like because the original wasn’t good enough for you. I dont know, maybe I’m going a little far with this but at the least I would never condone this type of modification. Nonetheless, at least it’s not some passionless fool just modifying a car to get a bunch of likes on social media, so, for that at the least, I salute! Not the LS swap though, lol.


You dont understand the way an aussie thinks.

We dont care about doing it for facebook likes, we do it because we can. And unless your car is a one off hand built etc etc, a car is just metal & paint.

Hell, I have the lowest numbered public starion in Aus(the only one with a lower number is in Mitsubishi Aus head office) & I have put a cage in it & am turning it into an X235 radial drag car.


I say Hell Yes to modifications.

Too many people think of cars as investments, as if they're paintings. They're CARS. They were made to be driven. They were made to be fun.


Couldn't agree more, it is a possession, treat it like one. If you want it original great, if you want to modify the hell out of it more power to you. I can understand that some people have a preference one way or the other, but to do what you want with your possessions doesn't come across as selfishness or sacrilege to me.


So very very australian. Not sure how they took two Italian cars as inspiration and build what looks to me like a boy-racer mid engine Mk3 Ford Capri with a Testarossa bodykit. I don't get it.


What a cool car and concept. As for modding it: The way i see it is it was done in the correct Aussie fashion and it looks so good with those big Simmons.


For everything you need to know about these cars visit Giocattolo - the Supercar from Caloundra on Facebook.


That car is gorgeous!



Hi “guys” a great story And good comments Thank you. This is a new Giocattolo “Marcella” underway. Our engine/transmission and rear suspension was just voted # 1 at SEMA. I am again working with Mc Larens ex Design /Engineer Barry Lock. Both Barry and I applaud Tim Slako’s modifications They are beautifully executed.