Awarded - "Alfa Romeo Champions Award 2016" from Scuderia del Portello
From the moment of the first T-33 victory at the Fléron hillclimb in Belgium to support the growing success of Alfa Romeo racing cars on the circuits of the world and to contrast against other competing European “dream cars”, President Luraghi (CEO of Alfa Romeo S.p.A.) absolutely wanted to start small production of a high performance road car.
He appointed Ing. Chiti to accomplish his desire, and Chiti in turn approached Franco Scaglione, the genial Tuscan car body designer...and probably the most talented car design artist in the world of automotive design at that time..
Speaking about Scaglione, one must remember his impeccable sense of beautiful, artistic "design language", his low tolerance for compromise and his driven fury to transform anything into a perfect artistic shape.
Of noble origins and an extrovert, Scaglione was considered a kind of arbitor in car design circles. Observing Mr. Scaglione's preliminary drawings laid before him, Luraghi chose just one of extraordinarily rare beauty and proclaimed;
“Let us produce this one”.
The proposed car was an amazing design achievement for those days, and the initial proposal was to build 50 units based upon the winning “Fléron” chassis.
The Fléron chassis was based on the large diameter, riveted magnesium tubes, connected together with the same diameter-sized tubular cross member at the rear of the cockpit, forming an irregular H shape perimeter frame of the car.
Another peculiarity was its fuel tank situated inside those huge tubes that ensured the 'roll center' and perfect balance of the chassis would always be maintained...regardless of remaining fuel weight.
The steering, double wishbone suspension and engine were mounted on magnesium-alloy subframes. The chassis was produced by a small aircraft factory "Aeronautica Sicula" located in Palermo (riveted magnesium tubes) and "Campagnolo" from Vicenza (front and rear subframe).
The “Stradale” road version featured a number of differences from the race version.
The mainframe tubes were produced of steel, and the extended wheelbase (+10 cm) allowed substantially more cockpit space while the two magnesium subframes were reinforced with steel to afford major impact protection. Even in that road version, the chassis was not so different from the one used for racing.
Scaglione demanded and was granted full freedom in designing this dream car with the outcome resulting in an uncompromised layout of stunning proportion.
The engine was slightly detuned for road use, with the redline set at 10,000 rpm. Compression was reduced to 10.0:1, yielding 230 bhp at 8,800 rpm with Italian SPICA fuel injection.
The car followed Alfa Romeo President Luraghi’s edict that the specifications must not be inferior by more than 5% than its competition version. While everything else was conceived at extreme Spartan levels, the cockpit was sufficiently comfortable and had its own slick, sexy racing appeal.
The major problem for the extremely low Scaglione design of the car (99 cm) was the difficulty in accessibility (getting in and out!) . To resolve that inconvenience Scaglione conceived and produced a vertical opening of the doors along with part of the roof. That solution gave an absolutely stunning appearance to this already exotic design.
To fabricate the body Ing. Chiti and Designer Scaglione adopted Peraluman H350 lightweight alloy, and it was mutually decided to build the first prototype car directly inside the Autodelta premises at Settimo Milanese. The working space was allocated in the same section of the building where racing engines were assembled.
The shortage of experienced technicians capable of shaping Peraluman obliged Scaglione to loan skillful workers from Zagato, and to start traveling daily from Torino to Settimo Milanese to supervise building progress on the car.
Two genius' hardly coexist together comfortably...and sure enough...problems arose between Ing. Chiti immersed in his racing world, and Scaglione compelled to resolve the growing technical and assembly problems by himself.
That silent war was flavored with numerous embittered letters that Scaglione sent without effects to all pertinent addresses.
Years later, Scaglione would describe his permanence at Settimo Milanese as “the worst period of his life”. However, with proverbial Tuscan obstinacy, he finished the first prototype in a relatively short time... from January to September 1967.
The finished product was proudly presented to the public at the occasion of the Sport Car Show in Monza. Some remaining testing were finished up just before the point of its official presentation at Turin Car Show in November 1967.
The car shocked the public with its aggressive appearance, its appeal and its price... that was at the top of almost every automobile pricelist at the global level.
After the initial example was completed under the huge, expansive cathedral-like Autodelta ceiling, Scaglione left Settimo Milanese and Alfa Romeo forever.
After a few attempts to create his own design structure, this solitary genius retired from public life, and died almost forgotten, corroded by lung cancer, in his Tuscany apartment in 1993.
# # # #
It was Carrozzeria Marazzi from Saronno near Milano, who was appointed to produce bodies and assemble the rest of the Stradale production. Counting first the two four headlight Prototypes produced by Autodelta, Marazzi finished 11 (Not 13 cars, two were Prototypes produced at Settimo) known cars through March of 1969.
The five remaining chassis, of the 18 totally produced and delivered to Autodelta, were granted to various famous Italian car design studios and realized into exotic Alfa Romeo concept cars for major world automobile shows.
It was Carrozzeria Marazzi from Saronno near Milano who was appointed to produce the Stradale bodies and assemble the rest of Stradale production. They finished 13 known cars until suspending work in March of 1969.
The five remaining chassis, of 18 totally produced and delivered to Autodelta, were 'gifted' to famous Italian car design studios and transformed into stunning and 'electrified' design concepts for major automobile shows throughout the world.
Despite its astronomical price, all production Stradale cars were sold, and it was the Alfa Romeo management decision to invest in the new Montreal model that spelled the premature end of the Stradale.
Though the Montreal was a nice car, it was decidedly inferior in every aspect to the 33 Stradale and arrived in series production with a very serious delay, rendering its introduction obsolete and unable to overcome the lure of Maserati, Lamborghini and Ferrari mid-engined “cheaper” models.
Here is the list of chassis numbers of the 33 Stradale in year 2012, for the dedicated followers of statistics and technical data.
n.b.: Not all of this information is guarantreed to be accurate.
750.33.01 four front lights, prototype sold to Gallery Abarth, Japan
750.33.101 first production, by Marazzi, (ex-Henry Wessels) Belgium
750.33.102 sold in France, today in Germany
750.33.103 (ex-Tony Fischhaber, ex-Rosso-Bianco Museum), Holland
750.33.104 (ex-Count Doenhoff), Great Britain
750.33.106 (ex-Laureati), Germany
750.33.107 magnesium chassis fiberglass body, racing gear and Daytona engine, a semi-racing version, (now in New Zealand)
750.33.108 “P33 Sport Roadster”, then rebodied into “Cuneo” roadster by Pininfarina (Museo Storico Alfa Romeo Arese)
750.33.109 designed as Carabo by Bertone (Museo Storico Arese)
750.33.110 car of unknown destination (some say ex-Pahlavi Collection)
750.33.111 the only car originaly painted in blu (ex-Agusta, now in Japan)
750.33.112 prototype, four front light (Museo Storico Arese)
750.33.113 renumbered in 750.33.133 to avoid N°113 because of superstition.
(Auriana Collection. Canada)
750.33.114 competition shape and trim, Giro d’Italia (Joe Nastase, USA)
750.33.115 designed as “33-2 SC” by Pininfarina (Museo Storico Arese)
750.33.116 designed as Iguana by Italdesign (Museo Storico Arese)
750.33.117 designed as Navajo by Bertone (Museo Storico Arese)
750.33.118 car of unknown destination
Some still disputed VINs might be updated in the future.
The T-33 Stradale was produced over steel-based chassis with 750.33.1xx code, except the first two Prototypes delivered in semi-finished shapes by Scaglione’s suppliers Saracino & Lingua from Turin... that were numbered as 105.33.01 and 105.33.12.
The first, almost surely aluminum body, with number 105.33.01 (that is the correct VIN of the first Prototype) had been sold to a Japanese Gallery Abarth collection. The second Prototype, 105.33.12, a four headlight version again, was started at Settimo Milanese, but finished only in 1968 at Carrozzeria Marazzi, with small, insignificant different details (wiper moved to the base of wind screen, apertures for ventilation on the rear fenders etc.) as that car was initially intended for competition use.
This is the car on current exposition at the Alfa Romeo Museum at Arese, and those were the only two models with a four headlight nose.
All the others (11 produced in the shape designed by Scaglione) were two light versions assembled by Carrozzeria Marazzi at Saronno near Milan.
During the succeeding years, a strange urban legend and aura was born surrounding the car at the Alfa Romeo Museo Storico.
For long time, there was the conviction that only one car with four lights was assembled at Settimo Milanese under direct Mr. Scaglione’s supervision. As that car had been sold years ago to the Abarth collection in Osaka (Japan), the existence of other, similar cars provoked suspicion and generated the theory of sister replica car, produced to replace original one!
Even the chassis type and number were found for that story, and already used, a magnesium-racing chassis with number 750.33.012 became the basis for this hypothetic replica.
The story was veracious and spread worldwide as the one and only true one.
The Alfa Romeo official structure remained in silence, and that just confirmed the general opinion that the story was true one. Only recently however, accurate analysis and the blatantly false impossibility of building a Stradale replica over a 10 cm shorter chassis revealed the invented nature of this, long time accepted theory.
Today it is sure and confirmed that two four lights versions were produced as Prototypes, and that the legality requested for minimum height of lights and direction indicators had pushed designer Scaglione to modify his design for further, serial production.
With its unique shape and fantastic design, the T-33 Stradale of Franco Scaglione ...is to this very day....undoubtedly one of the most stunning automobiles ever created by mankind.
Michelangelo would indeed have been proud of this creation.
'Dorino' Zeccoli at the wheel of the Stradale prototype with airflow 'strings' at the newly opened Balocco testing facility of Alfa Romeo. Photograph courtesy of the private collection of Giovanna Scaglione.
Earlier version with roof-mounted windshield wiper.
Later version wth lower windshield wiper system.
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