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  Alfa Romeo T33/3 Spider

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1971
Predecessor:Alfa Romeo 33/3 Spider
Successor:Alfa Romeo 33/TT/3
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:April 05, 2005
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAlfa Romeo had returned to sports car racing in 1967 with the purpose-built Tipo 33. Powered by a two-litre V8 engine, the Autodelta developed machine had originally been intended to fight for class victories. A rule change that came into effect at the start of 1968 brought outright victories within the grasps of the prototype racers. The displacement limit for these machines was set at three litres, so some work was required for the Tipo 33 make the most of these rule changes and Alfa Romeo continued with the two-litre version in 1968.

Autodelta's Carlo Chiti had anticipated the need for displacement increases in the future and had left enough 'meat on the bone' of the all-aluminium to make this possible. One of the reasons for this was that Formula 1 also had a three-litre displacement limit. Both the bore and stroke were increased for a new swept volume of 2,998 cc. The heads were also upgraded and featured four valves per cylinder for the first time. Equipped with a Lucas-sourced fuel injection system, the enlarged V8 produced around 400 bhp in its original guise.

The existing space frame chassis was not quite up to the task of coping with the increased power of the larger engine. Instead a brand new, full length aluminium monocoque was constructed. Suspension was by double wishbones at the front and reversed lower wishbones and top links with trailing arms at the rear. The engine was mated an Alfa Romeo gearbox, which had five forward gears. While the two-litre Tipo 33 was usually raced with a coupe body, the new-for-1969 Alfa Romeo racer was developed and tested with an open 'Spider' body.

Although effectively a brand new car, the three-litre Alfa Romeo sports racer was again referred to as a Tipo 33. It was ready for testing early in 1969 and Alfa Romeo announced a very ambitious program, signing John Surtees among others as one of the drivers. Three examples were entered in the Sebring 12 Hours but struggled both with pace and reliability. A single car was tested at Le Mans but none were raced due to reliability concerns. After Le Mans, the T33/3 returned to the track, one fitted with a striking coupe body. Nino Vaccarella qualified it on pole at Hockenheim and drove it to victory at Enna.

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  Article Image gallery (10) Specifications