The Ex-Arturo Merzario, Jacky Ickx, Mario Andretti, Brian Redman, Jochen Mass, Jacques Laffite, Vittorio Brambilla, Autodelta and Willi Kauhsen Racing, FIA World Sportscar Championship Winning
1974 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 T33/TT/12
The early 1970s remains to many, the greatest period in the history of sportscar racing. The legendary Works teams from Ferrari, Porsche, Alpine, Alfa Romeo and Matra battled it out in the most evocative sports prototypes ever built. Their speed, sound and aggressive design created the some of the most exciting racing the world has seen.
It is impossible to be a fan of motorsport without being acutely aware of the significant contribution and importance the name Alfa Romeo has brought to the DNA of the sport we continue to love to this day. Almost as old as the Targa Florio itself few manufacturers have such a close and significant connection to this iconic event as Alfa Romeo. From their first victory in 1923 Alfa Romeo has taken victory on the growing island course a staggering ten times. More than any other manufacturer.
Founded on the 24th June 1910 in Milan, initially named A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili). A.L.F.A made its racing debut at the 1911 Targa Florio with its new 24HP model. A few years later, Neapolitan entrepreneur Nicola Romeo took over the company and changed its name to Alfa Romeo. After concentrating on the manufacture of military hardware during the First World War, Alfa Romeo returned to racing in 1920 and saw success with victory at Mugello for Giuseppe Campari and second place in the Targa Florio for none other than Enzo Ferrari.
Alfa Romeo went on to be a dominant force in both Grand Prix racing and sportscar racing in the 1920s and early 1930s, wining the Targa Florio every year from 1930 to 1935 and the Le Mans 24 Hours every year from 1931 to 1934. With the company being nationalised in 1933, the racing duties carried on under the iconic banner of Scuderia Ferrari.
After the the war Alfa Romeo picked up where they left off, with Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio winning the first ever two Formula 1 World Championships in 1950 and 1951 respectively, before bowing out of Formula 1.
It was not until the foundation of Autodelta in 1963 by former Alfa Romeo and Ferrari designer Charlo Chiti and Lodovico and Gianni Chizzola, that Alfa Romeo returned to racing properly. Autodelta effectively took over the competition responsibilities for Alfa before being taken over by the factory and moving to Milan in 1964. Autodelta were responsible for the production and development of the TZ1, TZ2 and GTA, and soon made their mark on the motorsport world.
By the mid 1960s the frontline of sportscar racing started to veer away from GT racing towards prototypes. This was followed by the introduction of the new 3-litre formula for the World Championship for manufacturers in 1968. As such in 1966 Chiti and his team at Autodelta were tasked with producing a 2-litre prototype to take over from the TZ2. A new 2-litre engine was developed. Building on an existing Chiti design, a new twin-cam 90 degree V8, 1995 cc engine was produced. The main chassis consisted of a revolutionary ‘H’ frame design made out of large diameter tubing which incorporated the fuel tanks. Fitted with the new V8 engine and clothed in a beautifully proportioned streamline body, testing of the new car continued over the winter of 1966/67 before the new car, the Tipo 33/2 was unveiled to the press in March 1967. Bar an initial victory for Teodoro Zeccoli at the Fleron hill club in 1967 it was not until 1968 that the 33/2 came into its own, winning its class and taking an impressive 5th, 6th and 7th overall in the 1968 Daytona 24 Hours.
The T33/3 and T33/TT/3
Although the FIA regulations for sports car racing came into effect in 1968 it was mainly a year of transition and in 1969 Alfa Romeo developed the all new T33/3 to take advantage of the Group 6 rules. With the existing chassis deemed not up to the task of the newly developed 4-valve 3-litre V8 engine, a new Duraluminium monocoque chassis was designed. With magnesium bulkheads and the gearbox casing also used as a stressed member. Built in spider configuration it was not until the development of the new aluminium space frame chassis for the 1971 season, the T33/TT/3, that the Tipo 33 became a serious contender for overall victory, with the team taking 1st and 2nd in the 1971 Targa Florio and 2nd overall in World Manufacturers championship in 1971 and 1972.
Alfa Romeo fielded a new car for the 1973 season. Built on an all new lightweight aluminium tubed space frame chassis. Undoubtably following Ferraris lead, Chiti designed an all new 180 degree flat 12-cylinder engine for the TT12. The all-aluminium, 2,995 cc engine was built to comply with both the contemporary World Sports Car and Formula 1 regulations in mind. Weighing in at just 175kg it boasted four overhead camshafts with four valves per cylinder and used a Lucas fuel injection system. According to Alfa Romeo’s figures, it produced up to 500 bhp depending on endurance or sprint configuration. Retaining the existing magnesium 5 speed gearbox of its predecessor, the whole car weighed in at approximately 670kg.
Clothed in a purposeful fibreglass body, featuring a prominent front splitter and large rear wing. Initially running without and lately with, its distinctive high air-box behind the drivers head and painted in Alfa Romeo’s distinctive livery of red with low slung white stripe down the side. The TT12 has to be one of the most evocative shapes of its time.
Although initial test showed the speed and potential of what was to come the 1973 season was set aside mainly as development for the car. 1974 was a different story, the time and effort had paid off and it very much shone the light on what was to come.
This car, chassis number AR11512*008*
The race history for 008 has been written up using Racing Sportscars and Time and Two Seats as a reference along with Peter Collins and Ed McDonough’s book, Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 The Development & Racing History. Built by Autodelta for the 1974 season 008 made its race debut at Monza on the 25th of April for the Monza 1000Km. Fielding an impressive driver line up of Merzaro, Andretti, Ickx, Stommelen, Facetti and de Adamich, Autodelta meant business. 008 was driven by Italian hero Arturo Merzario and Mario Andretti, both recently signed from Ferrari. Carrying race number 3 and running with the green front splitter and rear wing, which it retained throughout the season (as supposed to the yellow and white of their team mates), they dominated the weekend, taking pole position and going on to take overall victory, four laps ahead of their teammates in an impressive Alfa 1-2-3.
Choosing to sit out Spa rather than advance their championship lead, the team left the door open to Matra and Ickx to win. Returning for the Nürburgring 1000Km on the 19th of May, this time carrying race number 5, Merzario shared driving duties with Brian Redman. With the Matra locking out the first two positions in qualifying, Merzario and Redman qualified 3rd overall. Although the team managed to take an impressive 2nd and 3rd behind the winning Matra of Jean-Pierre Jarier and Jean-Pierre Beltoise, sadly Merzario and Redman only came in 9th overall.
008’s next outing was in Italy for the Imola 1000km. Back carrying race number 3, Merzario this time shared driving duties with Jacky Ickx. According to Peter Collins and Ed McDonough’s book Tipo 33 Autodelta had been testing at the track before the race and turned up with two of the three cars 008 and 007, featuring numerous modifications, including a shorter tail and wider rear wing. More significant however, was that the chassis had been shortened, reducing the wheel base by 15cm over their counterpart and making them considerably more manoeuvrable.
Merzario and Ickx in 008 qualified 3rd behind the two Matra, but sadly a coming together with Nanni Galli in an Abath put them out of the race. Autodelta decided to sit out the Targa Florio and Le Mans, leaving the Zeltweg 1000km at the Östereichring in Austria on the 30th of June as 008’s next outing. Carrying race number 1, Merzario was again joined in 008 Jacky Ickx. One of the busiest grids of the season, the duo qualified 4th behind the two Matra and Stommelen and Reutemen in chassis 007. Starting in damp conditions (though all on slicks) Ickx took over the lead from Jarier’s Matra early on, chased by Pescarolo in the other Matra and Hailwood in the Gulf Mirage. With chassis 007 retiring due to a fire caused by a rod through the side of the engine, it was left to Facetti and de Adamich to come in 2nd between the two Matra and the Gulf Mirage in 4th. Merzario and Ickx eventually had to retire 008 with what is listed as a valve problem, but were credited 5th, with Ickx setting the fastest lap.
The last two races of the 1974 season for 008 and 007 were in the USA at Watkins Glenn for the 6 Hours on the 13th of July and the Can-Am race the following day. Merzario was joined on this occasion by Mario Andretti for both races. Carrying race number 60 Merzario and Andretti had to carry the flag alone after 007 crashed out in the Can-Am practice. Qualifying 3rd for the 6 hours, the Alfa and Matra battled it out again, with both teams experiencing their share of mechanical problems. 008 should have finished 5th but they were disqualified for accepting outside assistance. Merzario drove 008 for the Can-Am race but in his words, they didn’t stand a chance against the 7-litre Porsches and Shadows. He eventually came home 8th.
Having not completed all of the rounds Alfa eventually finished 4th in the 1974 World Sportscar Manufacturers ‘Championship. With the oil crisis in full flow, Alfa Romeo president Mr. Guani announced that Autodelta would not race any more for the remainder of 1974 casting doubt on the teams involvement in 1975, stating the 500 million Lira cost was not justifiable in the current climate.
All was however not lost and help came from German driver and team owner Willi Kauhsen. It was agreed he would manage a two car team, sponsored by a German sausage manufacturer. Autodelta were to continue running the cars and they were entered under Willi Kauhsen Racing Team.
The season started for the team with the Mugello 1000km on the 23rd of March. With Merzario back in the 008 again sharing with Ickx, carrying race number 1, they very much started as they were to carry on, at the front. Qualifying on pole they went on to take 2nd overall having battled it out with the new Renault Alpine A441 Turbo, with the sister car 010 coming in 4th, driven by Henri Pescarolo and Derek Bell. From the outset the season looked to be an exciting one.
From Italy to France for the Dijon 800km on the 6th of April. Carrying race number 2, Merzario this time sharing driving duties with frenchman Jacques Laffite. With both Alfas running well the Alpine / Alfa battle resumed. Pescarolo and Bell put 010 2nd on the grid with Merzario and Lafitte 3rd, however it was chassis 008 that was to come out on top and win the race outright.
From Dijon it was back to Italy for the Trofeo Filippo Caracciola or Monza 1000Km. With the driver line ups remaining the same, another hard fought battle pursued. The team also took along a third T car for the event which was tested by Pescarolo and Bell. Merzario and Laffite remained in 008 as always and having qualified 2nd behind the Mirage of Mass and Schenken went on to win the race.
From Monza to Spa for the 1000km on the 4th of May. Pescarolo and Bell remained in 010 and Merzario shared 008 with Ickx at his home circuit. This time it was Pescarooo and Bell who came out on top with Bell taking pole by 4 seconds and going on to win the race. Merzario and Ickx qualified 2nd and finished 2nd. For Spa the team also had a new sponsor in Campari.
On the 18th of May it was down to Sicily for the Coppo Florio Enna 1000Km at the Autodromo di Pergusa. This time Merzario shared 008 with Jochen Mass carrying race number 1. With a relatively light grid Merzario and Mass won with Pescarolo and Bell 2nd, some 23 laps ahead of the Porsche 908 Turbo in 3rd place.
Next up was the Nürburgring 1000Km on the 1st of June. With the team fielding a three car team with one extra as a T car this was big effort. Larrousse and Jabouille put the Alpine on pole, with Pescarolo and Bell in 010 in 2nd, Mass and Scheckter in 009 in 3rd and Merzario and Laffite in 008 in 4th. The Alpine took the lead until a cracked turbo pipe allowed Merzario and Laffite to take the lead which they managed to maintained holding off the Mirage, Porsche and Alpine, to win.
Later that month 008 was back in action at the Zeltweg 1000km at the Östereichring on the 29th of June, with Merzario this time sharing with Vittorio Brambilla. Qualifying 2nd ahead of the Porsches and behind Pescarolo and Bell in 010, they went on to finish 2nd to 010, securing the 1975 FIA World Sportscar Championship for Manufacturers for Alfa Romeo for the first time in history.
With the championship in the bag it was off to the America, with a two car team, for the final round of the championship, the Watkins Glen 6 Hours on the 12th of July. 008 for Merzario and Andretti, 010 for Pescarolo and Bell and 011 as a T car. Pescarolo and Bell continued their winning streak with Merzario and Andretti coming in 2nd.
Although the Tipo 33’s would continue to race through to 1977, 008 was retired from racing and remained with Autodelta until it was sold on the 18th of October 1984 to Swiss collector and dealer Pierre de Siebenthal for 65,000,000 Lire as can be seen in the Autodelta sale invoice a copy of which is in the history file. De Siebenthal in turn sold 008 on to Matteo Carrabba for 85,000,000 Lira on the 15th of May 1987 (sales invoice also on file). In the extensive history file is also a statement from Carlo Chiti, dated the 23rd of October 1989 in which he states the 008 was owned and managed directly by Autodelta S.p.A in 1974 and 1975, racing in the World Sportscar Championships, driven by official Autodelta drivers.
008’s next owner was well known racer and dealer Ian Donaldson who came across and subsequently purchased the car from Mr. Carrabba while in Italy searching for other cars. Upon recognising what it was he bought the car and brought it back to England. In 1999 it was driven up the hill in the Goodwood Festival of Speed by his son Mark.
In 2003 the engine was rebuilt and the suspension was checked and 008 was again driven up the hill at Goodwood, in 2004 by Ian’s son Mark and in 2005 by his other son Andrew. In 2012 Ian sold 008 to German racer and collector Alexander Rittweger.
Having tested the car at Ascari in Spain and raced it with Sam Hancock with Peter Auto at Paul Ricard in October 2015, he commission highly respected race preparation specialists Tim Samways to undertake a comprehensive restoration of 008. The car was completely stripped and reassembled. The braking system and suspension were all overhauled with new uprights manufactured all round, along with new brake discs. The gearbox was fully rebuilt and fitted with new gear sets, dog rings and crown wheel and pinion. A new roll hoop and supports were fitted with forward running support struts. New fuel cells and fuel system were fitted and the body work was repainted.
Once tested 008 was then driven by Auturo Merzario, Derek Bell, Nino Vaccarella and Sam Hancock for a photo and video shoot at the Autodelta test track at Balocco in Italy on the 15th of October 2017. From there 008 was again raced by Sam Hancock at Paul Ricard on the 20-22nd of October 2018. This time sharing the driving duties with Derek Bell.
After Paul Ricard the engine was dismantled and rebuilt using the crankshaft and cylinder liners from the spare engine. The engine was then run up for two hours on the dyno. Following this work, 008 was back on track at Balocco for more filming for Petrolicious in March 2018 before being raced in the 2018 Le Mans Classic by Alexander Rittweger and Sam Hancock.
Sold to the current owner in 2019, it has seen little use having been prepared and maintained by Pearsons Engineering. Shown at the 2020 Salon Prive, it is a privilege to be able to offer for sale such a significant piece of Alfa Romeo and international sportscar racing history.
Whether to race or to simply behold, 008 offers a rare opportunity to add a World Championship winning car to any collection. With Peter Auto and events like Goodwood and Le Mans Classic continuing to go from strength to strength this is your chance to get out there and experience one of the main protagonists on what was possibly the most exciting era of sports car racing of all time.