The Ex – Works, De Adamich, Vaccarella, 4th at the Le Mans 24 Hours 1972 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/TT/3

The Ex-Works, Andrea De Adamich, Nino Vaccarella,

4th at Le Mans 24 Hours

1972 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/TT/3

The late 1960s early and 1970s remains to many, the greatest period in the history of sportscar racing. Immortalised in Steve McQueens iconic movie Le Mans, 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. 

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. 

The Tipo 33/2

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, 1995cc 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 Tipo 33/3

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 showed promise with podiums at Imola and Sebring in 1969 and 1970, a 2nd and 3rd in the 1971 Sebring 12 Hours, 1st in the 1971 Brands Hatch 1000km and an impressive 1-2 in the 1971 Targa Florio. 

Tipo 33/TT/3

Following suit of their competitors Porsche and Ferrari, Autodelta introduced a space frame car midway through the 1971 season. Named the T33/TT/3, the TT standing for ‘Telaio Tubulare’, the all new steel tubed car replaced the now outdated aluminium skinned tub design of the T33/3. The engine was uprated with a redesign of the cylinder heads. The high revving 4-valve engine now produced 440 bhp at 9,800 rpm and was producing the same power as Ferrari’s heavier 12 cylinder unit. 

Fitted with a new a new 5 speed gearbox the wheelbase was increased and newly designed full safety tanks were fitted. Again built in spider form, it initially weighted in at 600kg and had to be ballasted to meet the 650kg requirements. 

Only rally used in testing during the remainder of the 1971 season it was not until 1972 that the TT/3 started to come into its own with podiums at the Daytona 6 Hours, Sebring 12 Hours, Brands Hatch 1000km, Nurburgring 1000km, a 2nd and 3rd in the Targa Florio and an impressive 4th overall for this car at the ultimate race, Le Mans 24 Hours. 

This car: AR 11572 010

Built by Autodelta for the Alfa Romeo Works Team in 1972 and used during the 1972 and 1973 World Sports Car Championship seasons. Described as being confirmed by Stefano d’Amico, the president of Alfa Romeo Registro Storico, to be the car assigned to works driver Andrea De Adamich for the 1972 season. 

On 10th of June 010 lined up as part a three car team for the most important race in the Sportscar calendar the 24 hours of Le Mans. With Vic Elford and Helmut Marko carrying race no.17, Rolf Stommelen and Nino Galli with race number 19 and as confirmed in the copy of the Le Mans entry form in the history file, Andrea De Adamich and Nino Vaccarella in this car, carrying race number 18 and identified by a white nose band. 

All three cars ran in low downforce rear wing format apparently allowing them to rev an extra 700rpm on the straights. While the Matras lead the way, the Autodelta team showed well in qualifying with Stommelen and Galli qualifying 4th, Elford and Marko 6th and De Adamich and Vaccarella 7th with a time of 3 minuites and 52.6 seconds. Apparently both Helmut Marko and renowned Autodelta test driver Teodoro Zeccoli both also drove 010 in the early practice sessions. 

Confident of a home victory the race was started by French president George Pompidou. Matra did not disappoint closing the first lap in 1-2-3 positions. Soon after Jo Bonnier took over the lead in his Lola T280. Extending his lead until the first round of pit stops where Matra regained control followed by tow of the Alfas of Stommelen in 3rd and De Adamich in 010 in 5th.

Following the second round of pit stops Galli in No. 19 actually led the race for a few laps before having to pit with a fuel pump problem. At midnight the two Matra were in the lead with the three Alfa Romeo’s holding the next three positions. Sadly in the thick mist of dawn two of the Alfa suffered clutch problems, the Elford / Marko car and this car. Vaccarella and 010 were forced to spend an hour in the pits while the team replaced the clutch. Later in the race 010 was also back in the pits for new brake discs. 

By noon on Sunday the Matra were still leading and 010 was in an intense battle for 5th place with the Duckham’s LM of Chris Craft and Alan De Cadenent, when rain hit the circuit and both cars spun off by the Dunlop Bridge. De Adamich was back on track after 20 minutes with a replacement nose (now all red) and went on to bring 010 home an impressive 4th overall behind the two Matra and the Porsche 908 and having covered 307 laps. Sadly this was to be  the Alfa Romeo factory teams last ever finish to date at Le Mans.

010 remained with Autodelta until the winter of 1973/74 when it was bought by well known English racer Martin Morris. Well like and much missed Martin was famous for racing his ex-Works D and Ecurie Ecosse C Type Jaguars as well as his much loved E.R.A, Humphrey. 

The deal with Autodelta was negotiated by his close friend Richard Pilkington who also bought a Tipo 33/3 at the same time. In true Martin style he drove to Italy through the snow, with a trailer to collect his new car along with a variety of spares. Nicknaming 010 Groundhog, he raced 010 in 1976 and 1977, taking 2nd overall at the AMOC Brands hatch meeting in 1976. 

In 1977 Martin sold 010 to the manager of the Pink Floyd, Steve O’Rourke. Not just an avid racer and collector of historic cars Steve took on the Le Mans 24 hours a staggering 8 times between 1979 and 1998, finishing an impressive 12th overall on his first attempt driving his own Ferrari 512 BBLM and 4th overall in a McLaren GTR in 1998. In 1980, he flew to London halfway through the race to oversee a Pink Floyd concert, before returning to see the 512 BBLM to the finish.

010 remained in Steve’s ownership until 1986 when it entered the famous Hayashi collection in Japan. In 1995 ownership passed to Mr. Yamaguchi and in 1998 to Takeshi Fujita. Around this time the engine was fully rebuilt by former a former Autodelta chief mechanic. 

In 1999 010 returned to Europe passing through respected dealer Jean Guikas in France to Mr. Dubochet. In 2002, Dubochet sold 010 back to Guikas, who in 2006 had the engine, suspension and brakes rebuilt before entering the car into the 2011 RM London Auction where it was purchased by Californian collector Peter Read. 

During Mr. Read’s ownership 010 was maintained by international renown race preparation specialist Tim Samways. The car was completely stripped and prepared of racing, with a new wiring loom, fuel cells and suspension fitted. The brakes were overhauled and all of the relevant parts were crack tested. 010 returned to the tack in July 2012 in the hands  of Peter Read and Brian Redman, competing in Plateau 5 at the Le Mans Classic. Three month later on the 5th to the 7th of October 2012 010 was back on track, driven by Peter Read at the Peter Auto Paul Ricard meeting. 

On the 4th of April 2013, 010 was sold to avid racer and German collector Alexander Rittweger. Joining a Tipo 33/2 and  the Tipo 33/TT/12 we have the pleasure of offering for sale, in his collection, he continued to have Tim Samways maintain the car. 

After a test at Ascari in Spain 010 was back on track on the 10-12 of July 2015 at the Peter Auto meeting in Monza. In February 2017 the engine and gearbox were rebuilt by Tim Samways and his team. On the 17th and 18th of March 010 was demonstrated at the Goodwood Members Meeting driven by Sam Hancock. On the 15th of October 010 was taken along with Mr. Rittweger’s T33/2 and T33TT12 to a very special private event at the Autodelta test track at Balocco in Italy where it was driven by Derek Bell, Arturo Merzario, Nino Vaccaerlla and Sam Hancock for a film and photo shoot. 

A week later, 010 was raced by Sam Hancock and Derek Bell at Peter Auto’s Paul Ricard meeting. The engine was checked and run on the dyno in early 2018 and was raced at the 2018 Le Mans Classic, again in Plateau 5. Following Le Mans 010 returned to Tim Samways where the car was thoroughly inspected and prepared. The engine was refreshed with new valves, springs, spring tops and big end bolts. 

Sold to the current owner in 2019, it has seen little use having been prepared and maintained by Pearsons Engineering.

Having the opportunity to handle and offer for sale a car that ran at Le Mans in period is a privilege, let alone such an important and strong contender as this car. A significant piece of Alfa Romeo and international sportscar racing history. Whether to race or to form part of your collection, 010 offers a rare opportunity to acquire a world class example of arguable the most exciting era of sports car racing of all time. 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 put 010 through its paces once more.