Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, a magical everyday racing car

  • 18 November 2023
  • 3 min read
  • 5 images
Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, a magical everyday racing car image

Photo credit: Museo Alfa Romeo, Wheelsage

Who. In 1963, under the leadership of President Giuseppe Luraghi, Alfa Romeo decided to separate its racing department from the main company. This task was assigned to engineer Carlo Chiti, who led the newly formed Autodelta. The primary focus was on touring and grand touring cars. Then, in 1967, Alfa Romeo re-entered the sports prototype category with the Tipo 33. A 1995cc V8 engine was developed, making its debut in 1967 at the Fléron hill climb in Belgium, where it clinched victory with Teodoro Zeccoli. During the development of the car, which a few months later would dominate the 2-litre class at the 1968 24 Hours of Daytona, a decision was made to produce a limited road version series, featuring the same racing mechanics as the Tipo 33.

Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, a magical everyday racing car - 1 The first version of the 33 nicknamed "Periscopica" due to the large central air intake behind the cabin.

When. The period between 1958 and 1963 was a transformative era for Italy, which went through a period of significant economic and social changes. Emerging from the aftermath of the war, Italy soon regained its status as one of Europe’s major industrial powers. This era saw a revolution in lifestyle and transportation, initially led by the iconic Vespa and later by the widespread adoption of cars. Alfa Romeo, seizing this moment, launched three legendary models: the Giulia, the “Duetto” Spider, and the 33 Stradale, the latter being the most expensive car at the time, even more than a Ferrari.

Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, a magical everyday racing car - 2At the time of its launch, the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale was the most expensive car on the market, more than a Ferrari.

Where. The 33 Stradale made its debut at the Monza Autodrome on 31st August 1967, a few weeks before its official presentation at the Turin Motor Show. The choice of location was no coincidence, as it epitomized the bond between Alfa Romeo’s racing heritage and its road cars. It was at this very track in Brianza that Nino Farina secured Alfa Romeo’s first Formula 1 World Championship in 1950.

Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, a magical everyday racing car - 3The 33 Stradale's connection to the competition world is clear both in the engineering, with the chassis inherited from the race car.

What. The Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale was produced in an extremely limited run of just 18 units: a “limited edition” that combined the performance of the Tipo 33 racer with the comfort and practicality needed for everyday driving. The design was entrusted to Franco Scaglione, who created a visually stunning and aerodynamically efficient masterpiece. The design was based on the chassis of the 33 racer, lengthened by 10cm to increase interior space. The engine was a 90° V8 of 1995cc displacement and 230hp, capable of pushing the car beyond 260 km/h, all with a total weight of just over 700kg.

Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, a magical everyday racing car - 4Magnificent and essential in its shapes, the 33 Stradale combines the performance of a race car with the comfort for road driving.

Why. Despite bowing out of Formula 1 at the end of the 1951 season with two World Championships under its belt, the passion for racing remained strong within Alfa Romeo. The brand continued to make its presence felt in various competitions, either privately or through racing teams. This continued until the establishment of Autodelta, which quickly brought the Milanese brand back to the forefront of the Sports Prototypes category.

Today, the Alfa 33 Stradale, known for its genuine character and relative ease of driving, is also featured among the models available on the “Sportiva” simulators by Pininfarina and “Elio Z” by Zagato, as part of Roarington’s eRacing experience.

Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, a magical everyday racing car - 5The parade arrival of the Alfa Romeo 33/2s modified for the 1968 24 Hours of Daytona where they claimed the entire class podium.