Alfa Romeo is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Autodelta at the 'Milano Autoclassica' event this weekend; the show is aimed at motoring buffs, professionals and whoever wants to get a closer look at the world of vintage cars.

'Milano Autoclassica' is a show for motoring buffs, professionals and whoever wants to get a closer look at the world of vintage cars. It will be held this weekend (22-24 February) at Fiera Milano, with Alfa Romeo taking part in the event as testimony to its interest in this continuously growing area that is pervading modern society and adding value to the modern automotive sector.

Alfa Romeo is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Autodelta at the 'Milano Autoclassica' event. Autodelta is its official racing division established in March 1963 with the goal of managing Alfa Romeo's official return to competitive sports after withdrawing from the F1 World Championship in 1951, in which it won its second title with the 'Alfetta'.

That is why Alfa Romeo decided to create a special racing organisation physically detached from the production plant and having enough discretionary power to quickly take technical and sporting decisions. The most prominent figure of Autodelta's fascinating history is without a doubt the charismatic engineer Carlo Chiti.

The stand set up at Fiera Milano displays five precious models from the 'Autodelta period' to the public. They all belong to the Alfa Romeo Historical Museum, and represent the most important stages of the racing team based in Settimo Milanese, Italy: the 'Giulia TZ' (complete car and a chassis), the '33/2 litres Daytona', the 'GTA 1300 Junior', the '33 TT 12' and the experimental F1 single-seater, the '179 F'. On show together with these captivating cars is a current production model, the Giulietta Collezione 2.0 JTDM 170 HP TCT. This demonstrates the unique position of the brand on the international scene, a heritage made up of cars and designers, races and engines, style and innovation that have marked the technological progress and sports events of the 20th century.

1963 Giulia TZ

It was the first racing car Autodelta made. Its logo - the famous 'little blue triangle' - was applied for the first time on the side panels of this compact, aerodynamic gran turismo designed by Zagato, built on the engine and mechanics of the 'Giulia' and fitted with an exclusive tubular frame, from which the acronym 'Tubolare Zagato' derives. The 'TZ' proved to be a winner straightaway, thanks in part to the outstanding qualities of the original model. When it made its debut in 1963, it won the 'Coppa FISA' in Monza and then clinched absolute wins at the 'Coupe des Alpes' (Rolland-Augias) and the 'Tour de Corse', in addition to a great many outstanding victories in all the major international competitions, including Le Mans and Targa Florio.

33/2 litres Daytona

In 1967 Alfa Romeo decided to take the big leap into the 'prototypes' category, which in its day was the foremost international stage of automotive racing. The '33/2 litres' made its first appearance in Fléron, Belgium, and won with the carmaker's driver-tester Teodoro Zeccoli behind the wheel. This win laid the foundation for a new season of successes. The Autodelta prototypes won in their category the following year at the Daytona 24 Hour (Vaccarella-Schutz), the Nürburgring 1000 km (Galli-Giunti), the Imola 500 km (Vaccarella-Zeccoli) and the Le Mans 24 Hour race (Giunti-Galli). The '33' with its 'V8' engine dominated the two-litre class and its sleek line, with two pairs of superimposed headlights on the front, became a classic racing car of the second half of the sixties. The eight-cylinder 'V' engine was enlarged to three litres and the frame structure was changed in the following seasons. In the meantime, the '33/3' won a highly prestigious race, the 1971 Targa Florio (Vaccarella-Hezemans).

GTA 1300 Junior

One of the cars that fans associate most with the name 'Autodelta' is undoubtedly the legendary 'Giulia GTA'. First built in 1965 with a 1570 cc twin shaft, twin-spark engine, it evolved in 1968 with the 'GTA 1300 Junior' and ended its career with the '1750/2000 GT Am'. It was not a true 'GTA', but belonged to the entire series of technical improvements applied to the coupé version of the 'Giulia' during its competitive career. The last development, the 1972 'GTA 1300 Junior', presented Autodelta with the European Touring Challenge victory for a good two seasons in a row. It is incredible to think of the sports victories of this compact coupé with an engine of 'just' 1290 cc, from which the Settimo Milanese engineers were able to 'squeeze out' over 170 HP while ensuring total reliability. The 'GTA' (the original fitted with the '1600') was the first touring car to complete a lap of the Nürburgring's Nordschleife in under 10 minutes.

33 TT 12

The year 1975 was probably the most prestigious for Autodelta. The '33 TT 12' won the Makes World Championship, and its '33 SC 12' took the win two years later. The World Championship trophy arrived in Settimo Milanese with a car complete with tubular frame and a 12-cylinder, three-litre 'boxer' engine delivering more than 500 HP (hence the name 'TT 12'), which took seven out of eight victories, including the Targa Florio (Merzario-Vaccarella). All of the top drivers of the day gripped the wheel of the '33 TT 12': Merzario - the best of them all - Brambilla, Pescarolo, Bell, Laffite, Mass, Andretti, Ickx, Scheckter and Vaccarella. The design of the 'TT 12' was also innovative. It was wide and low, and distinguished by the highly personal, imposing and aggressive periscope behind the driver. The later 'SC 12' of 1977 carried the supercharged '12-boxer' engine to its debut.

Experimental F1 single-seater '179 F'

After four seasons of supplying the 12-cylinder 'boxer' engine to the 'Brabham' team, Alfa Romeo decided to build a F1 single-seater all its own in the late seventies, the so-called 'Alfa-Alfa'. The timing was particularly suggestive. After 20 years, the brand made its comeback to the Formula 1 World Championship where it had ruled with its 'Alfettas'. The staff of the engineer Chiti designed a car that initially proved incredibly powerful but at the same time lacking in reliability. The year 1980 was the season in which Autodelta had the chance to prove its worth, and the American champion (of Italian origin) Mario Andretti, one of the family at Settimo Milanese, joined the team, partnering Bruno Giacomelli. 1981 was marked by a change in regulations that caught Autodelta off-guard, and the technical staff decided to totally change the car's concept for 1982. It was at this time that Chiti, one of the first in F1, decided to test the carbon fibre monocoque chassis, as he intuited the excellent features of the material for competition use. The '179 F Test-Car' of the Historic Motoring collection on display is exactly that same car. Apparently a 'routine' spare car, it is particularly significant in technical terms.

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