The famous Alfa Romeo marque has been synonymous with motor racing success since Giuseppe Campari took an Alfa Romeo 40/60HP to victory at Mugello in 1920. To the present day, the Milanese company continues to produce some of the most successful vehicles ever to grace the World’s racing circuits and thus the history of Alfa Romeo swells with passion and inspiration.
In the mid-sixties Alfa Romeo relocated the race tuning company Autodelta to Settimo Milanese in order to focus factory support and become the official racing arm of Alfa Romeo. Headed by Carlo Chiti, the dedicated workforce achieved great success with the TZ1 and TZ2 sportscars before producing the GTA that, in various guises, dominated the touring car racing scene of the mid/late 1960s. Raising the stakes further, Alfa Romeo wanted to return to the forefront of racing thus Autodelta set about constructing an advanced prototype to compete in Sportscar racing. The result was the Tipo 33/2 of 1967, a beautiful and sleek car based around an asymmetrical aluminium chassis with a 2 litre V8 engine. Significant immediate success was not achieved but by 1968 the 33/2 had become a serious contender; finishing second overall at Daytona and taking a clean sweep in its class at Le Mans en route to finishing fourth, fifth and sixth overall. In the spring of 1969, the all new Tipo 33/3 made its debut, now with a 3 litre engine and roadster bodywork; the shape of things to come had begun. In 1971, with the chassis now made of a totally different design and constructed using aluminium tubing, the all-new Tipo 33/3 was to prove a serious contender and even took Alfa Romeo to second place in the World Manufacturers Championship.
For 1973, Alfa Romeo fielded the all-new Tipo 33TT12. Elegantly clothed in a fibreglass body with a light alloy tubular chassis it was also blessed with a 12 cylinder boxer engine capable of producing 500bhp, despite this the 33TT12 was still in its infancy and was not a match for the likes of Matra and Ferrari. 1974 started well for the Autodelta Alfa Romeo outfit with 33TT12s finishing a formidable 1-2-3 at Monza but the Matras remained the car to beat and again the Championship laurels would elude Alfa Romeo, disconsolately the Autodelta-run factory team decided to retire from Sportscar racing along with Ferrari and Matra. With the obvious competition for the Tipo 33TT12 absent, wealthy German private entrant Willy Kauhsen went to Carlo Chiti with the concept of running the redundant 33TT12s in the 1975 World Manufacturers Championship. A deal was thus structured by which Autodelta would professionally run a variety of top level professional drivers in at least two (sometimes three) 33TT12s as a non factory supported team under the W.K.R.T. (Willibert Kauhsen Racing Team) banner. During the winter of 1974/1975, Autodelta modified the suspension in order to use superior Goodyear tyres, upgraded the brakes and incredibly managed to further lighten the car thus bringing weight down to just 670kgs. Success was almost a pre-requisite and the Alfa Romeos fended off an early challenge from Alpine-Renault and Porsche to dominantly romp home with seven victories from the eight races entered, taking the World Manufactures Championship and the Drivers’ crown en-route.
Christies sale of #008Chassis number 008, boasts a rich tapestry of race results and played an instrumental part in the successful campaign of the 33TT12. 008 remained the property of Autodelta until 1984. Just prior to the closure of the company, 008 was sold direct (in October 1984) to Siebenthal Automobiles in Switzerland. Just over two and a half years later (in May 1987) Siebenthal sold 008 back to an Italian private collector and it remained in his possession until recently.
Condition throughout is gently patinated although there are equally noticeable signs of maintenance and light use. Though removed since the Goodwood event in 1999, the trace of the W.R.K.T. decals can be clearly seen along with the remnants of the Alfa Romeo and Autodelta decals on the highly pronounced air intake.
Chassis #008 was auctioned as part of Christies’ December 2003 sale of Motor Cars in London. It failed to sell with an estimate of $420 000 to $ 540 000 USD.