www.QV500.com - Alfa Romeo 33 Part 1: 33 Stradale

33 Stradale chassis 750.33.101
After winning back-to-back World Championships with the mighty 158 and 159 'Alfetta' Grand Prix cars in 1950 and '51, Alfa Romeo announced they were officially withdrawing from works participation in motor sport. Despite the fleeting but largely unsuccessful Disco Volante programme of 1953, Alfa were true to their word and the firm's involvement in racing was limited to manufacturing a limited range of small capacity production-based GT cars for use by privateer drivers.
By 1962 though, the racing bug was beginning to bite and a new unofficial subsidiary, Delta Automobili, was created for Alfa by Carlo Chiti and Ludovico Chizzola. Charged with the design and manufacture of a new tube chassis model known as the TZ, Delta Automobili became Alfa's one-stop back-door race prep division and in 1964, the official Alfa Romeo racing department. Duly re-named Autodelta, the firm were responsible for building and racing the TZ2 and GTA, but in 1967 came an announcement everyone was waiting for. Alfa would be returning to the track in a works capacity with an all-new two-litre sports racing car, the Tipo 33. That March the stunning Tipo 33 was introduced at Alfa's Balocco test track, but whilst its rivals from Ferrari and Porsche (the 206 and 910 respectively) were made strictly for competition use, Alfa decided to offer a road-going version of the 33 known as the Stradale. With state of the art underpinnings, the Stradale would certainly not be cheap, indeed, retailing in the US at $17,000, it was just about on a par with Lamborghini's stunning Miura.

33 Stradale chassis 750.33.101
Based on the big tubed perimeter frame of the 1967-spec Tipo 33 racecar (of which 8 would be built and raced by the works that year), this consisted of two light-alloy side members that doubled up as fuel tanks and a similar cross member to the rear of the cockpit. The steering (rack and pinion), double wishbone suspension and engine were hung from magnesium-alloy bulkheads. Brakes came in the form of ventilated discs at each corner and meant the 33 could stop as well as it could go.

Inevitably the Stradale featured a number of subtle differences from the racer. Extending the wheelbase by 100mm freed up substantially more cockpit space whilst the two magnesium bulkheads were now reinforced with steel to afford greater impact protection. Fitting inch wider Campagnolo 13-inch cast alloy wheels led to increased track, but otherwise the underpinnings were fundamentally unchanged. Meanwhile, Chiti's lightweight alloy V8 was another complex piece of kit. With two chain driven overhead camshafts per cylinder bank, four ignition coils, Lucas fuel injection and 16 spark plugs (two per cylinder), your average Alfa dealer wouldn't have known where to start. A capacity of just under two litres (1995cc) and compression set at 11.0:1 was enough to develop 250bhp in race trim, but for road use it came slightly detuned. Compression got reduced to 10.0:1 and peak output dropped to 230bhp at 8800rpm. The redline was set at 10,000rpm and the engine coupled to a six-speed Colotti gearbox.


33 Stradale chassis 750.33.101
Whereas the 1967 Tipo 33 racers had been styled in-house at Autodelta, the Stradale's gorgeous bodywork was designed by Franco Scaglione and fabricated at the new Marazzi coachworks in Milan. Each car was built entirely by hand from scratch so no two were 100% identical, variations most notably coming around the headlight, front grille and various vent / duct treatments. Cars would arrive at Marazzi's from Autodelta with the drivetrains installed and ready for bodywork.

Fabricated from aluminium as opposed to glassfibre used on racing Tipo 33's, Scaglione's magnificent creation remains one of the sixties greatest supercar designs. Perfectly proportioned with the tightly wrapped shell boasting new dihedral butterfly doors hinged at the top of the roof, side-by-side it made even the Miura look bloated. A few concessions to comfort were made inside, bucket seats being trimmed in either fabric or leather, the whole cockpit being insulated with carpet. Unnecessary for track work but essential for the road, speedometers were positioned centrally in the cockpit on a hastily erected centre control panel that sported a host of flick switches. Whilst it was never going to win an award for cabin ergonomics or comfort, the Stradale's cockpit was decent enough, but you could forgive a car that looked this good practically anything.

Weighing in at just 700kg, this 39-inch high projectile was capable of topping 160mph and 0-60 in 5.5 seconds. Debuted at the Turin Salon in November 1967, a mere 13 Stradale's were manufactured over the next 18 months, the labour intensive construction process dictating the original plans for a batch of 50 cars never materialised. Too complex and accordingly expensive, Alfa decided to focus on the front V8-engined Montreal instead. That wasn't quite the end of the story though as five naked Stradale's were despatched to Italy's top designers for conceptual bodies taking total production to 18 units. Chassis numbers ranged from 750 33 101 to 117, the factory prototype and first production car sharing the same 101 number whilst 113 was re-numbered 133 for its superstitious owner.


33 Stradale prototype chassis 750.33.101

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