'European Tour 2005' rolls out of London at 0500CET tomorrow
morning, pride of place will go to the new 400bhp Autodelta
Alfa 147 GTA AM Super, a car that ably sums up the company's
147 GTA AM 3.7 snatched the mantle as the 'world's hottest
hatch' when it made its public debut at the MPH03 Motor
Show, boasting no less than 328bhp on tap. Its stunning bags
of power, all delivered through the front wheels, were given
the ultimate seal of approval when the 'red rocket' made an
appearance on BBC TV's Top Gear programme, winning over the
hard-to-impress presenters with its qualities, and against
the clock around their tricky test track, dispensing with
its highly-rated rivals such as the ubiquitous BMW M3.
So having pushed the performance envelope far in excess of
anyone else's efforts, why supercharge the legendary Alfa V6
engine? Ever enthusiastic company boss Jano Djelalian
explains: "There are several reasons, but I think most
notably it is our tribute to a fantastic engine that has
just finished production."
"In the early
days of Autodelta we made our name increasing the capacity
of this engine. Firstly taking the Alfetta GTV 6 2.5 up to
3.0 litres and then on to 3.3 litres. Right throughout the
20-year life of Autodelta this engine has dominated our
daily life, and as our engineers increasingly switch their
attention to the new breed of Alfa V6 engines, and in
particular prepare to create the Autodelta 159 GTA AM, we
could not think of anything more fitting than achieving one
last performance step.
supercharging exploits in the last few years with the
'monster' SZ and, in most recently months, the GT Super,
along with the way ease which have been able to re-engineer
the 147 GTA to cope with 328bhp, led us to think that it was
realistic and practical to put a supercharged 3.7-litre V6
in the 147 GTA and make it work. The cutting-edge Rotrex C38
supercharger offered us exactly what we required."
Supercharging: An Alfa Romeo Tradition
Supercharging has a
particularly special place in Alfa Romeo's rich and fabulous sporting
history, a tradition which has recently been thrust back centre stage by
Autodelta, with their latest supercharged creation, the GT
Super, and their 'Evo 2' supercharger conversion for the SZ.
The first supercharged
Alfa Romeo was introduced in 1924, after Giuseppe
Merosiís Gran Premio
Romeo project was handed over to a young and gifted engineer called
Jano had attracted the attention of Alfa Romeoís
directors through the recommendation of Enzo
Ferrari, who was at that time a factory racing driver and had become
familiar with Janoís successful Fiat 805.
success came with the legendary 'P2',
for which Jano chose an eight-cylinder in-line
engine made from four two-cylinder blocks; a design which increased the
engineís reliability. The crankshaft was fabricated from two pieces, coupled
together in the middle, and supported by ten roller bearings along the same
principle as Merosiís previous design. The
compressor was a Roots-type, and was more compact than those of the
As a result of the carís
brilliant engineering, the P2 delivered 140bhp at 5,500 rpm, which together
with great reliability, resulted in tremendous racing success. In 1925 the
P2 won Alfa Romeo their first World Championship, helped by the fantastic
efforts of gentleman-racer Count Brilli-Peri.
From that period forward, Alfa Romeo enshrouded their logo with a silver
Autodelta revive Alfa
the stuff of legends, and Autodelta themselves are only too aware of Alfa
Romeo's fabulous place in history. Jano Djelalian, who founded the
modern-day Autodelta in 1987, has immersed his young company in these proud
traditions, so it is unsurprising that they have embraced the potential of
supercharging, understanding its historically important place.
Last November Autodelta
launched their 'bespoke' GT Super 3.2, which
incorporated a Rotrex supercharger on the Alfa V6
147 GTA AM 3.7 Super: their engineering tribute to
the classic Alfa Romeo V6 which has just ended
The modern story of Autodelta's supercharging begins around
three years ago when customer demand to transform the underperforming
characteristics of the 2.0-litre Alfa 166, saw the benefits of this forced
induction technology applied. A string of 166 conversions led to an even more
popular use of their supercharging techniques, transforming the much smaller 1.6-litre Alfa 147
cost-effectively into a 'pocket rocket'.
These were two models, with their widely differing characteristics,
were both enhanced by the addition of supercharging. Next to come was the SZ.
This modern day icon, considered as the last of the 'true'
rear wheel drive Alfa Romeos, is synonymous with the London firm, and the power
junkies at Autodelta, after boring-out no less than nine SZ's to 3.5-litres,
first introduced a supercharged conversion in 2002.. Two year's on, Autodelta revised the whole package
and introduced a definitive supercharger upgrade. The Rotrex centrifugal
supercharger conversion (which is fully reversible) boosted the engine via a chargecooler to produce 250bhp (against 207bhp for the 'standard' SZ).
Danish firm, whose superchargers are used on well-received aftermarket Mini and
Nissan 350Z conversions, developed a unit to Autodelta's exacting requirements.
Then the 3.2-litre Autodelta GT Super also made full use of the technology when
it was launched last November at the MPH04 Motor Show, and now a Rotrex C38
supercharger makes its way
into the Alfa 147 GTA AM, moulded to its 3.7-litre engine.
Rotrex are the global leaders in the manufacturing of superchargers. Their
advanced technology, and ability to withstand the toughest of demands, make them
a natural fit for Autodelta. In fact, proof if it was needed, came on February
the 28th 2005, when the Koenigsegg CCR broke the production road car speed
record, achieving a new official top speed of 387.87km/h at Italyís Nardo
Prototipo proving ground. The Koenigsegg CCR uses two Rotrex C38 type
superchargers on its V8 engine.
A modern day
legend: 400bhp Autodelta 147 GTA AM Super
Alfa 147 GTA with a supercharged 3.7-litre engine, we hope
will pay tribute to this fabulous engine which will be
sorely missed by Alfa drivers, in the way we think know
best: through our engineering abilities. Further
demonstrating that our cars are practical, everyday
transport, as was the theme to the original Autodelta name,
we will drive it to Rimini, across Europe and over the most
demanding Alpine roads available, recording its progress as
"On top of this," Jano concludes, returning to the Rimini
Tour theme, "it means an awful lot for us to show our cars
in Italy this week, the home of the Alfa marque, and to
prove our commitment to our many Italian customers and the
Alfa enthusiasts who follow our exploits, so we really
wanted to present a new package.
To cope with the
extra demands now being made on the Alfa 147 GTA AM by the
additional horsepower, Autodelta have revised the 'world's
hottest hatch'. A new suspension has been incorporated,
while the frontal aerodynamics have been revised to cope
with the increased airflow required to the intercooler.
Today the last preparations are underway at Autodelta's HQ,
with the cars undergoing final checks, and the 'Tour' decals
being applied. First thing tomorrow morning the 400bhp
Autodelta 147 GTA AM will literally scream into life and
proudly lead the cavalcade out on its long, demanding test across Europe.