Appreciate this (1): Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale
The Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale, a car that has aged better than the finest of wines. A car that fell under the radar when the likes of Lamborghini Miura or the Ferrari 365 Daytona got all the praise. A car that debatably is one of the most gorgeous ever built. Regardless of how you view it, I'm sure we can all sit down and appreciate this masterful machinery.
The Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale first debuted in 1967 at the Turin Motor Show. Production only lasted between November of 1967 and March of 1969 making for very low production numbers. The scarcity is very real with only 18 units produced in total. But that is excused because these 18 models have been passionately Italian built in Milan at Carrozzeria Marazzi, meaning that they're bound to be perfect.
The Tipo 33 Stradale also gave room for other Alfa Romeo cars to grow with 5 of the original 18 Tipo 33 Stradale chassis being used as the basis for various concept cars. The impressive list of Italian coachbuilders taking a crack at the styling consists of famous names such as Bertone, Pininfarina and Giugiaro/ItalDesign. These 33 Stradale-based concepts include Alfa Romeo Carabo, Alfa Romeo P33 Roadster, Alfa Romeo Iguana, Alfa Romeo 33/2 Coupe Speciale, Alfa Romeo P33 Cuneo and Alfa Romeo Navajo.
But if there's someone who deserves more praise then all of the others it's Franco Scaglione who designed the exquisite car I'm writing about.
When the car first debuted in 1968 it was one of the most expensive cars ever sold to the public, even more so than the Lamborghini Miura. What was this absurd price you might ask? The people at Alfa Romeo set the starting price at $17,000! Yes, the average car price in Italy at the time was $2,822 but if you adjust the price with inflation it's still "only" $125,428 (according to a US Inflation Calculator), which if you compare to modern luxury vehicles isn't that bad. And if you take into account that the estimated auction price of the car is well over $10 million and the fact that it's basically Mona Lisa on wheels, you can't complain if you bought it in 1968.
Now for the nerdy stuff. The Tipo 33 Stradale used a rear/mid-engine configuration with an all-aluminium 2.0-litre V8 engine and a six speed Colotti manual transaxle. It had an insane 10,000 rpm redline with peak power at 227 horsepower at 8,800 rpm and 152 pound-feet at 7,000 rpm. Being as light as a feather, more precisely 700kg (1,543 Pounds), it was also very fast. 0-60 mph was done in less than 6 seconds and it had a top speed of 160 mph. Unlike other Italian cars at the time it was using disc brakes and it even had inboard brakes in the rear.
It is said that the first production Stradale made 243 horsepower at 9,400 rpm with a street-legal exhaust system and 254 horsepower with an open exhaust system. More rumours include stories of owners achieving an insane top speed of 180 mph. But if there's something more impressive than the sheer speed of this car it's the sound it makes:
Whether it is the picturesque design done by Franco Scaglione, the crazy engine done by Carlo Chiti or the passion that comes from the Alfa Romeo brand, this car reminds you of a time when you could have a bespoke hand made design, remain light and insanely fast, and sound like the MGM lion roar. It is art on wheels and not a far cry from perfection.
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