One-off Alfa Romeo Alfasud goes up for auction
The Alfasud TI Bimotore Wainer might be the 4x4 you've never heard of
Putting two engines on the same car is something Alfa Romeo had already done, more than once; first, it was in 1931 with the Type A, their first single-seater racing car, then again in 1936 with the record-breaking 16C Bimotore.
In 1974 the unusual idea was resumed by Gianfranco Mantovani, aka Wainer, who had already collaborated both with Alfa Romeo and their racing department, Autodelta, to modify an Alfa Romeo Alfasud TI adding a second engine in what seemed the most logical configuration: one engine conventionally mounted in the front and the second one in the back, in place of the rear seats, aiming to offer driven power to all four wheels.
Nothing new under the sun, especially given the Biscione’s legacy. The goal was, once again, racing – rally racing precisely, since the ensuing all-wheel-drive capabilities seemed particularly interesting for events like the Paris–Dakar or the East African Safari Rally.
Wainer used two Alfasud TI standard engines, the 1,186 cc, 79 horsepower, four-cylinder boxer that powered the sport model of the Alfasud range, each one with its own gearbox and differential, hence making the twin-engined vehicle a 4x4 car. Whilst a standard Alfasud TI could reach a top speed of 160 km/h, the additional engine reportedly allowed an acceleration from 0-100 km/h in just 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 215 km/h.
The two engines remained independent, with separate starter buttons and doubled instrumentation, so that the driver could choose if using both engines or just one, in case of faults or to save fuel. However, there was only one gear lever, connected to both gearbox, but operating the clutch of the rear engine required an added pump.
The double exhaust system and the two black side air intakes on the side of the car stand out over the otherwise largely unchanged body of the Alfasud TI Bimotore 4x4 Wainer – labels apart. Unfortunately, the car never passed the prototype stage. This one-off is now up for auction on RM Sotheby’s website.