The 33 Stradale
by Vladimir Pajevic
Special Contributing Editor
Awarded - "Alfa Romeo Champions Award 2016" from Scuderia del Portello
Copyright: Robert B. Little 2017
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 Torino 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.
# # # #
Surviving documents give numbers from 750.33.001 to 750.33.034 for all delivered chassis to Autodelta. Those chassis (luring away six “Periscopica” cars) were used to produce 33/2 “Daytona” cars in various configurations and shapes.
Some still disputed VINs might be updated in the future. T-33 Stradale was produced over steel based chassis with 750.33.1xx code. The first, almost surely aluminum body, with number 105.33.01 has been sold to a Japanese Gallery Abarth collection and the second four lights version with chassis 105.33.12 is at Alfa Museum in Arese. That car bears insignificant different details (wiper moved to the base of wind screen, apertures for ventilation on the rear fenders ecc.) from the version 01. Those were the only two models with four light nose, all the others (designed by Scaglione) were two light versions assembled by Carrozzeria Marazzi at Saronno near Milan.
The first four light prototypes were shaped of aluminum from parts delivered by Saracino & Lingua, traditional Scaglione’s suppliers, and the production cars of Peraluman alloy. Interiors were fitted following the customers taste, so there are no two identical T-33 Stradale cars.
Here is the list of still existing (known) T-33 Stradale: 105.33.01, four front lights, prototype sold to Gallery Abarth, Japan, 105.33.12, second four lights prototype, finished in 1968 at Marazzi is in Alfa Museum at Arese. 750 33.101, first production, two front lights example, 750 33 102, 750.33.103, 750 33.104, 750.33.105, 750.33 106 (all identic to 101), 750.33.107, is the car of unknown history, 750.33.111 (the only car originaly painted in blu), 105.33.12 (sometimes erroneously indicated as 750,33.12 or 750.33.112) is above mentioned second four lights prototype, 750.33.113, produced with chassis number 750.33.133, to avoid number 113 considered unlucky 750.33.114, never existed as Stradale car, and number was borrowed for Giro d’Italia, one-off racing car in 1975. 750.33.110 and 750.33.118 are chassis numbers of uncertain and unknown destination.
Of the five remaining T-33 chassis the famous Italian car styling studios of Pininfarina, Bertone and Italdesign have exercised their art, producing some of the most beautiful dream cars that can be admired today at the Alfa Romeo Museo Storico at Arese.
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 we present our Stradale registry compiled as of March 28, 2018, carefully composed by studying and interpreting data gathered from sources around the world.. as an official Stradale register has never existed. There is always the possibility that errors might someday be found within our compilation and comparison.
We have benefited significantly from the research provided to us by Alfa Romeo enthusiasts Lars Thorsen and Chanh LeHuy who have helped us confirm and cross-examine our own data for the best accuracy possible.
#105.33.01: The first prototype car produced under the direct supervision of Franco Scaglione and eventually sold to the Abarth Collection. One of only two cars made with four headlights. Also recognizable for the metal trim going from one side of the front air intake to the other and because it is the only existing Stradale with fixed side windows and a roof mounted wiper. It has no front or rear fender vents. Mr. Scaglione called it the 'marketing car'...was used to officially introduce the Stradale to the Press on 31 August 1967 at Monza (without an engine installed), three months later at the Torino Auto Show...and then in the production of the movie "Il Bellissimo Novembre".
#105.33.12 : The second 'lightweight' prototype car finished at Marazzi in 1968, and currently at Museo Storico Alfa Romeo at Arese. Produced under the direct supervision of Mr. Scaglione in 1968. Four headlights and two piece rear fender venting...all other models use one larger vent behind the rear wheels.
#750.33.101 : The first car produced by Marazzi and shaped in Peraluman H33 alloy. Bought by Henry Wessels III directly from Carlo Chiti at Autodelta, later sold to Kirk White in 1974, then to a dentist in Philadelphia for a short period, then to Mike Ryan, then to Keith Goring and Susan Dixon. Finally, sold to Lucas Layrey in Belgium where it remains today. The only 'production' Stradale produced under the direct supervision of Mr. Scaglione. The only Stradale with a metal trim above the front air intake and the only production Stradale with the Autodelta logo on the nose and front fender.
#750.33.102 : Uncertain history, stated as Jean Claude Killy's property and today possibly in the Speyer Technik Museum. Like chassis #750.33.105 it is the only other Stradale with a nose chrome "moustache" from the middle of the headlight to the other. Furnished with sliding Perspex windows.
#750.33.103 : Car delivered to SCAR, Alfa Romeo dealer for Florence and Tuscany. Used for road and hill-climb competitions (Spartaco Dini & Guido Nicolai). Slightly lightened for racing purposes, with fixed windows and without sound isolation. Later sold in Germany and used by Weber, Fischhaber and other drivers. Sold to the Kaus collection (Rosso-Bianco Museum) and finally to Louwman collection in the Netherlands, where it is now. Probably restored (Paul Gristin?). Currently fitted with air conditioning and four exhaust pipes, winding windows and two rear mirrors on top of each front fender.
#750.33.104 : Sold in Italy and owned by Pietro Brigato then in 1984 acquired by Japanese collector Kiyoshi Takihana, resold in Germany to Count Hubertus Von Donhoff and again in Japan (unknown owner) until 2004, when sold in USA (unknown owner) and fully restored. Sold in GB to Clive Joy where it is now. Best in Show at Villa d'Este in 2011. Black padded engine cover with diamond stitching is unique to this Stradale, sliding Perspex windows and slightly smaller bullet-shaped side repeaters.
#750.33.105 : Uncertain history, possibly the first Italian sold Stradale to Susy Raganelli in 1968 (Zeccoli remembered but without certainty about VIN). Displays Marazzi badges on both side as the car photographed by Serafino Marazzi in factory yard in 1968. Possibly sold to Beppe Lucchini and later to Luigi Battistoli (statement to verify). It is the only known Marazzi-badged Stradale. Like chassis #750.33.102 it is the only car to have a chrome moustache at the nose going from the middle of one headlight to the other. Two rearview mirrors on the top of the front fenders and the only Stradale to have leather rear deck fasterners on top of each rear fender.
#750.33.106 : Ex Laureati Stradale Corsa. Bought for competition use by racing driver Paolo Laureati in late 1968. The car was race trimmed at Autodelta and used in competitions during ’68 and ’69 season. Now probably in Germany. Does not have the Alfa scudetto at the front air intake, does have a single pantoscopic wiper at the driver's left side of the windshield and sliding Perspex windows.
#750.33.107 : Car existence and history unknown. Described as Scaglione's experimental car, but that statement is without source..as he had long since left his relationship with Marazzi and Autodelta by that time period. Claims that car was in New Zealand were never confirmed and the car was improperly confused with 750.33.007 a Daytona car that was observed in New Zealand years ago.
The #750.33.107 chassis is missing from any known registry until today. It might be one of never assembled cars.
#750.33.108 Pininfarina SR (Special Roadster) concept car, designed by Paolo Martin and introduced at the Torino Motor Show in 1968, which makes it the first of the show cars. The car is sadly no longer in existence as it was dismantled and the chassis #108 was used for the later P33 Cuneo concept car by Pininfarina.
#750.33.109 : Bertone Carabo concept car, designed by Marcello Gandini. Introduced at the 1968 Paris Motor Show. Now owned by Alfa Romeo Museo Storico.
#750.33.110 : Unknown, though Maurizio Tabucchi stated that it was the chassis Paolo Martin used for the P33 SR car, dismantled and returned to Autodelta as a nude chassis and later possibly sold to Giovanni Giordanengo* but that statement is unconfirmed.
#750.33.111 : Car assembled for Count Corrado Agusta, the only one produced in blue colour and with special seats of helicopter provenience. Sold to Egon Zweimuller and later to Hayashi Collection in Japan. It was re-colored in red Alfa 501 color. Two rearview mirrors on the top of the front fenders, Quadrifoglio triangular logo on the front fender, wind-up windows, round blinkers on the top and middle of the front fender mesh.
#750.33.112 : Unknown history for long time. Recently, Roberto Motta noted that 750.33.112 corresponds to chassis number of Pininfarina 33/2 Coupé Spéciale concept car, previously accepted as 750.33.115 chassis number. The car was designed by Leonardo Fioravanti using existing body of his Ferrari P5 previous project, and introduced in Paris Motor Show in 1969. The car is owned by Alfa Romeo Museo Storico at Arese, single pantoscopic wiper on the driver's side (left), teardrop blinkers on the top front side of the fender mesh, dual exhausts, one rearview mirrow on the driver's side.
#750.33.113/133 : The car was produced with chassis number 750.33.133 to avoid number 113 generally considered “unlucky”, already in factory, so number 750.33.113 never existed. Car was used in street form with added bumpers and owned by Spencer Martin who sold it to Hayashi Collection in Japan, later bought by Kerry Manolas who finally sold it to Lawrence Auriana USA. Car was completely restored and it is still in the Auriana Collection.
#750.33.114 : This chassis number was never used for any Stradale cars, but simply applied (for homologation reasons) to one-off racing car based on 33TT12 chassis used for Giro d’Italia competition in 1975. It was modified to accept V8 engine, but it was not Stradale engine but V8 based on used 33/3 motor. Free use of that chassis number stated clearly that there was no previous car with that number though it was listed within produced chassis for Stradale. It is the source of different fairy tales and urban legends among Stradale “experts” worldwide. The car is actually owned by Joe Nastase in USA.
#750.33.115 : Unknown history though it was generally accepted that it was chassis number of Pininfarina 33/2 Coupé Speciale concept car designed by Fioravanti in 1969. Most authors still list it as number of Pininfarina 33/2 Coupé Speciale, though Motta produced convincing proof that 750.33.112 is chassis number of Coupé at Arese.
#750.33.116 : Italdesign Iguana concept car, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and introduced at Turin Motor Show in 1969.
#750.33.117 : Bertone Navajo concept car, the last of Stradale chassis produced and introduced at Geneva Motor Show in 1976. The car is owned and exposed by Museo Storico Alfa Romeo at Arese.
#750.33.118 : Unknown history, sometimes mentioned as possibly Shah Reza Pahlavi Stradale (Zeccoli remembered the delivery of one Stradale car to Shah, but there is no trace of that car in known Stradale history). Someone stated that it could be one of Giordanengo’s chassis, but there is not any proof for that.
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 a long time, there was the conviction that only one car with four lights was assembled at Settimo Milanese under the direct supervision of Mr. Scaglione. 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 "fake news" story was veracious and spread worldwide as the one and only true one.
The Alfa Romeo official company organization 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 light 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 is one of the most stunning automobiles ever created by mankind.
Michelangelo would indeed have been proud of this creation.