1974 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33
- Year of manufacture1974
- Car typeOther
- Lot number048
- Exterior colourOther
Autodelta S.p.A., Udine, Italy (retained for the 1974 and 1975 racing seasons)
Current Owner (acquired from the above in 1980)
1000 Km of Imola, June 1974, Merzario/Ickx, No. 3 (DNF)
1000 Km of Mugello, March 1975, Merzario/Ickx, No. 1 (2nd Place)
800 Km of Dijon, April 1975, Pescarolo/Bell, No. 1 (4th Place)
1000 Kilometers of Monza, April 1975, Pescarolo/Bell, No. 1 (DNF)
1000 Kilometers of Spa, May 1975, Pescarolo/Bell, No. 2 (1st Place)
1000 Km of Pergusa “Coppa Florio,” May 1975, Pescarolo/Bell, No. 2 (2nd Place)
1000 Km of Nürburgring, June 1975, Pescarolo/Bell, No. 2 (DNF)
1000 Km Zeltweg, June 1975, Pescarolo/Bell, No. 2 (1st Place)
Watkins Glen 6 Hours, July 1975, Pescarolo/Bell, No. 4 (1st Place)
Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca (Six Entries from
1980 to 2016)
Peter Collins and Ed McDonough, Alfa Romeo Tipo 33: The Development & Racing History, 1975 season discussed on pp. 131–145 and 202–203, chassis no. listed on p. 207
John de Boer, The Italian Car Registry, chassis no. listed on p. 81
Luigi Fusi, Alfa Romeo: All Cars from 1910, model discussed on pp. 768–774
Alfa Romeo retired from Grand Prix racing after the 1951 season and then suddenly withdrew from sports car racing in 1953, putting an end to one of the most successful motor sport dynasties of all time. While customer GT, rally, and saloon racing kept Alfa Romeo’s name in the spotlight throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the nationalized Italian company didn’t return to a factory-supported racing program until fall 1964.
That year, Orazio Satta Puliga asked his experimental department to develop a special sports racing car. The project was identified by internal number 105.33 – or Tipo 33. The project was then passed to Autodelta, the Alfa Romeo competition subsidiary established by former Ferrari engineers Ludovico Chizzola and Carlo Chiti. Under their leadership, Autodelta designed, built, and raced several distinct versions of the Tipo 33 between 1967 and 1977.
The first Tipo 33s featured a two-liter, fuel-injected V-8 engine. After a challenging debut, they proved their potential in 1968, particularly at the 24 Hours of Daytona, where Autodelta entries finished 5-6-7 overall. At least 30 examples of the original two-liter 33/2s were produced before Autodelta introduced the improved three-liter Tipo 33/3, of which 20 were built. There was also a separate run of approximately 20 Tipo 33 Stradales – road-going versions of the 33/2 with exotic bodywork designed by Franco Scaglione.
In 1973, Autodelta unveiled a new 12-cylinder model, the Tipo 33 TT 12 – the “TT” referencing the car’s tubular chassis. According to factory records, only six of these cars were built and they were followed by six semi-monocoque 33 SC 12s in 1976 and finally two 2.1-liter flat-12 33 SC 12 Turbos in 1977.
Of all these various models, the Tipo 33 TT 12 was the most successful, winning seven of eight races entered in 1975 and capturing the FIA World Championship for Alfa Romeo. The car presented here, chassis AR11512*010*, was integral to this important achievement.
Alfa Romeo factory records indicate that chassis 010 was constructed in 1974, raced at that year’s 1000 Km of Imola, then raced in all eight rounds of the 1975 World Championship season, driven primarily by Derek Bell and Henri Pescarolo.
Initially, 1975 looked to be a tumultuous year for the Alfa Romeo racing program. The political situation in Italy was such that Autodelta was unable to rely on government support and forced to look elsewhere if it wanted to participate in international racing. A solution was found with the Willi Kauhsen Racing Team (WKRT), which was active in German-based GT and Interserie racing.
By transferring the official racing management from Autodelta to the WKRT, Alfa Romeo could represent Italy in the FIA World Championship while avoiding the political fallout. Though the cars were technically entered by the WKRT, Autodelta, under the direction of Carlo Chiti, was still largely responsible for the racing program.
Although the first round of the 1975 championship took place at Daytona, the first race for the Alfa Romeos was the 1000 Km of Mugello on March 23. In this race, chassis 010 was entrusted to Arturo Merzario and Jacky Ickx, who put the car on pole. In an exciting race in which the Alfa Romeo and its main competitor, Renault-Alpine, were locked in a battle for the lead, the Tipo 33 was eventually forced into a 2nd Place finish following an unexpected pit stop.
In its next race, at the short Dijon circuit in France, chassis 010 once again took the fight to the Renault-Alpines. With Pescarolo and Bell now behind the wheel, the Tipo 33 finished 4th. After suspension and oil pressure problems at Monza, chassis 010, now featuring Campari sponsorship, proved victorious at the 1000 Kilometers of Spa. Derek Bell, who loved the challenging high-speed circuit, qualified on pole and dominated the race, which took place under dangerous conditions that constantly shifted between wet and dry. “Spa was my first win in the Alfa,” Bell said, “and I thought it was a great race because I beat Ickx in the other Alfa on his home circuit.”
Following Spa, chassis 010 was entered into the Coppa Florio in Sicily, where Bell and Pescarolo finished 2nd behind Merzario and Jochen Mass in an experimental Tipo 33. The following month, the Tipo 33 raced at Nürburgring, but retired after a minor off.
The highlight of the season came in June, at the 1000 Km Zeltweg in Austria. There, Pescarolo and Bell drove this car to victory, clinching the FIA World Championship for Alfa Romeo. Not keen to rest on its laurels, the Alfa Romeo team came over to the US for the last race of the season, the Watkins Glen 6 Hours. Once again, Pescarolo and Bell won the race, giving chassis 010 its third win in eight races.
In Peter Collins and Ed McDonough’s definitive book, Alfa Romeo Tipo 33: The Development & Racing History, Derek Bell recalls his experience with chassis 010.
“The car was phenomenal. It wasn’t always the quickest, but it won races. The car was really fabulous, had gotten reliable and never really let us down or certainly not often. Merzario would overrev it, but it would take it. The car was always very well prepared, and it ran well.”
Following the winning 1975 season, Alfa Romeo retired chassis 010 and campaigned the latest Tipo 33 SC 12s and Turbos in 1976 and 1977. In 1980, Alfa Romeo sold chassis 010 to the current owner, a collector and vintage racer based in Southern California.
Throughout the consignor’s 37-year ownership, the Tipo 33 has been an active and competitive entrant in US vintage races, including several wins at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races. In his care, the Alfa Romeo has been consistently maintained in good, working order, and it is faithfully presented today in its 1975 world championship livery.
Eligible for many prestigious events in the US and abroad, this Alfa Romeo is offered with an extensive supply of spares including suspension components, wheels, a second tail section and, most importantly, a spare 33 TT 12 engine, purchased directly from Alfa Romeo and numbered 11512-079. A complete list of spare components is available for review, and shipping arrangements will be made with the winning bidder after the sale.
Also included with the sale is an impressive file of documentation that includes period photographs, Autodelta records, and correspondence between Alfa Romeo and the current owner, including a letter from Carlo Chiti confirming chassis 010 as one of the factory team cars that won the 1975 FIA World Championship for Makes.
Presented here is a rare opportunity to acquire one of the six original Tipo 33 TT 12s. Of the remaining five examples, one is a fixture in the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo in Arese, Italy, while another is displayed among many significant Alfa Romeo racing cars at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In just one season, this car accomplished everything that Alfa Romeo and Autodelta had originally set out to achieve with the Tipo 33 racing program. During its career as a works car, it was raced by many of the era’s greatest names, including Derek Bell, Jacky Ickx, Henri Pescarolo, and Arturo Merzario. Beyond its incredible roster of drivers, this Alfa Romeo possesses a complete, uninterrupted provenance, remaining in the hands of one private owner since its sale in 1980.
With its world-champion status, iconic Campari livery, exceptional competition record, and unblemished history, this Tipo 33 must be considered among the most significant Alfa Romeo racing cars of the postwar era.