Page 1 of 2 Next >> Now officially Alfa Romeo's competition department, Carlo Chiti's Autodelta began the development of the replacement of the highly successful 'TZ' and 'TZ2' GT racers late in 1964. Dubbed the type '33', the new Alfa Romeo was an altogether more ambitious machine as it was intended to run in the small displacement prototype class where Porsches reigned supreme. Very few existing parts could be used on this project so it took over two years before the first car was actually raced.
In order to keep pace with the competition, Chiti's men designed Alfa Romeo's second ever mid-engined chassis. The first was the stillborn type '512' Grand Prix racer of 1941. Unlike the TZ, which used a multi-tubular 'spaceframe' design, the 33 featured a simpler chassis built around three large diameter tubes constructed from riveted sheet aluminium. Two were used as side-members with the third connecting the two in the middle to create an 'H' shape. On both ends more conventional magnesium cross-members were also used to add further rigidity. The two side-members also housed the rubber fuel tanks.
The 33's suspension was more conventional with double wishbones at the front and lower wishbones, top links and twin trailing-arms at the rear. Ventilated discs were used on all four corners, with the pair the back mounted in-board. A six-speed gearbox was also developed specifically for the 33. Towards the fall of 1965 a first, very rough prototype was ready. It was still powered by a four-cylinder engine, while the proposed V8 was still under construction. The prototype was extensively tested and up to three chassis complete with suspension were supplied to OSI and later re-appeared as a closed and open show car.
While the chassis was submitted to rigorous tests, the Autodelta engineers put the final touches on the all-new V8. Chiti had learned valuable lessons developing the ATS V8s, so much was expected from the new Alfa Romeo engine. Constructed from light alloys, it featured a twin-cam head with two valves and two spark plugs per cylinder. The earliest examples still sported Weber carburettors but by the time of its debut a more modern fuel-injection system was fitted. Despite its modest displacement of just 1995 cc, the high revving V8 produced a hefty 270 bhp at 9600 rpm. This was about the same as Porsche's similarly sized flat-8. Page 1 of 2 Next >>