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19 de janeiro de 2020

Alfa Romeo 33/2 1967


Antonio Eiras

The Alfa Romeo Type 33/2 was presented to the press in early 1967 and was the origin of the most famous racing car series of the Milan brand, which competed, during the next 11 years, in the most prestigious tests of resistance of the World.


It was designed and built in the competition department of the brand, Autodelta, under the orders and guidance of Carlo Chiti, at the time the technical director. This was also responsible for the engine of the new car, while Oracio Satta designed the chassis.


The original model was a two-seater spider, designed to compete in the 2-liter Sport-Prototype class. The engine, placed in the rear center position, was a V8 to 900, with 4 camshafts to the head, fed by direct injection and with two valves and two candles per cylinder, which was about 270 CV at 9,600 rpm. A 6-speed gearbox was used for the transmission.


The chassis, made of aluminum, was tubular and had, at the front and rear ends, two structures, built in alloy, to serve as support for the suspensions. These resorted to triangles superimposed on the front and lower triangle and upper tie rod at the rear, coupled with classic sets of dampers and helical springs. The brakes were of ventilated discs, like most of the cars of competition of the time, being the backs placed next to the gearbox. The tires were supplied by Dunlop.


The bodywork, made of fiberglass composite had a dynamic, elegant and original air intake for the engine. From here derived the nickname "Periscopica" attributed to this model.


The new Alfa Romeo debuted in 1967 with a victory at Fleron Hill, a mountain race in Belgium with Theodore Zeccoli at the wheel. This was the harbinger of a brilliant career, with absolute victories and in the class of 2 liters, in different races, as in the classic 24 Hours of Daytona and Le Mans that year and the Targa Florio in 1968 and 69. In those years, the Type 33/2 also won in its class. Five to six copies of the original 1967 model were built, totaling about thirty of the 33/2.

For 1968 the team of Carlo Chiti prepared new 33/2 with a more robust mechanics and a new bodywork, of aerodynamic more effective, that would be dubbed "Daytona". Although penalized by a regulatory change that passed the engine capacity limit to 3 liters, the new Type 33/2 proved to be competitive against the opposition of the Porsche 908 with 2.2-liter engines. A new 2.5-liter, 315 hp engine was released mid-year, allowing Alfa Romeo to finish the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year in 4th, 5th and 6th place overall.


The following year would be presented the Type 33/3 of 3 liters of capacity, destined to compete for the absolute victories in the tests of resistance, but the 33/2 would continue to compete in their class, registered by private teams, in the following years, in races on circuits around the world.


Derived from the competition model, the Type 33 Stradale was introduced in 1967 and in the two years of production only 18 examples were built and sold. Regarding the competition model, the Stradale had the wheelbase increased by 10 cm, aluminum panels reinforcing the chassis and engine power was reduced to 230CV at 8,800 rpm. The elegant bodywork was designed by Franco Scaglione. Despite the changes introduced, the Type 33 Stradale proved to be a very nervous and somewhat unstable car, but also very fast and effective. Its very high price has limited its potential commercial success.


This work was carried out in 1993, in close collaboration with my late friend Manolo Domenech, and was published in the magazine Gran Auto 16, of which he was Director.

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Antonio Eiras


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