33 Periscopica, 1967

Tipo 33

year of production 1967 - 1977
no. made  
engine V8 / flat 12
33   1.995 cc, 270 hp
33/2   2.500 cc, 315 hp
33/3   2.998 cc, 400 hp
33TT3   2.998 cc, 440 hp
33TT12   2.995 cc flat 12, 500 hp
33SC12   2.993 cc flat 12, 520 hp, with turbo 2.134 cc, 640 hp
max speed > 300 km/h

The Tipo 33 was a sports racing prototype raced by the Alfa Romeo works team between 1967 and 1977. The cars took part in Sport Cars World Championship, Nordic Challenge Cup, Interserie and CanAm series. In 1967 18 road going cars were derived from it, called  33 Stradale.

Alfa Romeo started development of Tipo 33 in early 1960s, first car being built in 1965. First version was sent to 1963 established Autodelta to be finished and for additional changes. First car was using Alfa Romeo TZ2 straight-4 engine. But soon Autodelta finished its 2.0 litre V8. The 2000 cc Tipo 33 mid-engined prototype debuted on 12 March 1967. The first version was named “periscopica” because of it's very characteristic air inlet. It was powered by a 1995 cc 90° V8 of 270 hp, with a large-diameter tube frame.

In 1968, Autodelta, created an evolution model called 33/2. At the 24 Hours of Daytona,  Alfa won the 2-litre class. From then the car was named "Daytona".  However, in most races, the Alfa drivers were outclassed by their Porsche rivals which used bigger engines. At the end of season 1968 Alfa Romeo finished third in the manufacturers championship.

The 33/3 debuted in 1969 at the 12 Hours of Sebring. The engine was enlarged to 2.998 cc with 400 hp, which put the 33/3 in the same class as the Porsche 908 and the Ferrari 312P. The chassis was now a monocoque. Bianchi died tragically in a crash during a trainingsession. The car took a couple of wins in smaller competitions but overall the 1969 season was not good, and the team was again third in the championship.

In 1970 an Alfa T 33/3 was one of the "actors" of Steve McQueen's movie Le Mans, released in 1971.

In 1971, the Alfa Romeo racing effort was finally successful. Rolf Stommelen and Nanni Galli won their class at the 1000 km Buenos Aires (followed by De Adamich and Pescarolo), before taking another class win (and second overall) at Sebring. De Adamich and Pescarolo later won outright at the 1000 km Brands Hatch. They were then taking a class win at Monza (where Alfa Romeo took the three podium slots in the prototype class) and another one at Spa. At the Targa Florio, Vaccarella and Hezemans won, followed by teammates De Adamich and Gijs Van Lennep. Hezemans and Vaccarella won their class at Zeltweg, and De Adamich and Ronnie Peterson won overall at Watkins Glen. Season 1971 Alfa Romeo finished with second place in the championship.

In 1972 and 1973 the 5L sports car were banned.

A 4 litre version was entered to 1972 and 1974 CanAm series by Otto Zipper, driver was Scooter Patrick. Autodelta was also one of entrants with T33/4 in the 1974 season.

In 1973 the 33 TT 12 was introduced. TT means "Telaio Tubolare"; tubular chassis. For this chassis Carlo Chiti designed  a 12 cylinder 3.0L flat engine (500 hp). Season 1973 was more or less development time and in 1974 the car won at the Monza 1000 km and finished the season with second place in the championship. It wasn’t until 1975 when after years of trying Alfa Romeo won the sport cars world championship. The season was almost a total domination, seven wins in eight races. Winning drivers were: Arturo Merzario, Vittorio Brambilla, Jacques Laffite, Henri Pescarolo, Derek Bell and Jochen Mass.
In 1976 Autodelta was concentrating on other projects and the car was rarely used in competitions.

In 1976 the 33TT12 was followed by the 33SC12.SC from SCatolato, a boxed chassis. The 3.0 L flat-12 engine now produced 520 hp. With this car Alfa Romeo won the sports car world championship in 1977. The SC12 won every race in the season, with drivers as: Arturo Merzario, Jean-Pierre Jarier and Vittorio Brambilla. On the Salzburg ring the car reached an average speed of 203.82 km/h. In the same race Alfa tested the 2.134 cc turbocharged SC12 with 640 hp. Arturo Merzario finished second with that car. The SC12 Turbo was Alfa's first twin turbocharged V12-engine and it was introduced around the same time as Renault's Formula One turbo engine. In Alfa Romeo engine both engine rows were fed with it's own turbocharger.

The flat-12 engine was later used on Brabham-Alfa BT45, BT46 and Alfa Romeo 177 F1 cars.


The most important races or classes that were won are:

  year   race where? driver  
  1967 33 Fleron Belgique Teodoro Zeccoli  
  1968 33/2 24 Hours Daytona Udo Schütz & Nino Vaccarella  
    1000 km Nürburgring Galli & Giunti  
    1000 km Monza    
    Targa Florio (I)    
  1970 33/3 1000 km Zeltweg Andrea de Adamich & Henri Pescarolo  
  1971   1000 km Buenos Aires Rolf Stommelen & Nanni Galli  
    1000 km Brands Hatch Andrea de Adamich & Henri Pescarolo  
        Monza Andrea de Adamich & Henri Pescarolo  
      Spa Andrea de Adamich & Henri Pescarolo  
      24 Hours Spa Andrea de Adamich & Henri Pescarolo  
    Targa Florio (I) Vaccarella & Hezemans  
  1974 33TT12 1000 km Monza Chiron  
  1975   World Sportscar Championship    
  1977 33SC12 World Sportscar Championship