Oakfields' Alfa 33TT12
began with a conversation at Le Mans. Oakfields’ proprietor
Ian Donaldson (right) – racing in the 24 Hours in the Racer’s
Group Porsche RSR – mentioned that his company had a rather
special Alfa Romeo on its stock list, and that the Ed. should come
along one day and have a look.
arose yesterday (August 25), and it is indeed a rather special Alfa
Romeo. Ian Donaldson explained that he was in Italy, on a tour of
rural backwaters looking at tucked away motor cars with pedigree.
was actually looking at an RS2000 Escort rally car, which was up
on a ramp (visible top right in this image, below). I didn’t
instantly notice the Alfa underneath, but once I saw it, I knew
I had to have it.”
As explained below, it’s
chassis 008, and it’s even been married up with engine no.8
and gearbox no.8.
spaceframe construction has links back to the previous V8-powered
cars, and typical Alfa, by the time they eventually had the flat-12
engine running well and installed in the latest spaceframe chassis,
the World Manufacturers Championship was winding down. That’s
not to say that the cars couldn’t have taken on all-comers
in 1975 – just that they didn’t have a chance to. Matra
had gone, and the Alpine-Renaults were quick but unreliable. The
33TT12 was bullet-proof, exemplified by the record of this chassis
in ’75 (four first places and four seconds - see below). Arturo
Merzario drove it on all eight occasions, often with Jacques Laffite.
‘Little Art’ wasn’t known for his mechanical sympathy,
but the Alfa took everything he could throw at it (or throw it at).
patinated” is the beautiful description of the condition of
this wonderful car. There’s a hint of crazing about the paintwork,
with the odd little chip here and there. It’s a racing car,
not a museum piece. Ian’s son Mark drove it at this year’s
Festival of Speed, at the request of the organisers, and the image
below records its appearance at Goodwood.
in the cockpit, one is struck by how exposed the drivers were 30
years ago. Did the Perspex windscreen divert most of the air around
a tall driver? How did he cope with such a tiny steering wheel?
Of course images of the time showed Merzario buried in the cockpit,
sitting lower than anyone else ever did – as he did in every
car he drove.
it up here one morning, and that got them awake at the Rest Home
next door,” chuckled Ian Donaldson.
a fabulous noise.”
The stock list
at Oakfields can be studied at www.oakfields.com.
There are some very serious cars in stock, the pale blue Lamborghini
Miura catching the eye, although for maximum drool effect, perhaps
the McLaren F1 GTR should be top of the list. It made for a fascinating
contrast with the 33TT12 parked next to it. 20 years apart, and
so many differences: both 12 cylinders, but otherwise a world apart
in design and construction.
is the no.50 Giroix Racing Team entry (chassis 07R) at Le Mans in
1995, which finished fifth in the hands of Grouillard / Deletraz
/ Giroix. It has had £175,000 spent on, and is now fully road
legal, but still fitted with its Le Mans roll cage. "The fuel
for its V12 engine was a synthesis of beetroot-deived alcohol,"
it states in the '95 Le Mans annual.
tale of getting hold of a 1997 Mercedes CLK is a good one –
and the way he managed to sell it is even better, but that will
have to wait for another time.
finished with is own racing career yet, and he has some very exciting,
but still very secret, plans up his (and others’) sleeves
for the future.
“When I can tell
you, you’ll be the first to know,” he confirmed. He
has some very clear views on the way our kind of racing should be
run, and is a great admirer of the ALMS for its professionalism
and promotion, and of the LMES for its format.
The Alfa’s price
is listed as P.O.R., but someone will one day find that life isn’t
complete without this fabulous machine.
Let me know
next time you’re going to start it up, would you Ian?
The following is Oakfields’
description of this marvellous machine.
Ex-Autodelta / W.K.R.T., Monza 1000km, Dijon 1000km, Coppa Florio,
Nurburgring 1000km & Targa Florio winning
1974 ALFA ROMEO TIPO 33TT12 SPORTS PROTOTYPE
Chassis No. AR 11512 008
Engine No. 08
Gearbox No. 08
Red racing livery with
Engine: 12 cylinder Boxer,
2,993cc, dry sump lubrication, 500bhp at 11,000rpm; Gearbox: 5 speed
manual; Suspension: front and rear independent with coil springs
and Koni dampers; Brakes: four wheel disc. Right hand drive.
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
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 blessed with a 12
cylinder boxer engine capable of producing 500bhp, but 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.
The car we offer here,
chassis number 008, boasts a rich tapestry of race results and played
an instrumental part in the successful campaign of the 33TT12. As
indicated by Alfa Romeo author and expert, Sergio Puttini, the 1974
results are as follows. The first race it competed was at the Monza
1000km in 1974 where, driven by Carlo Facetti and Andrea de Adamich,
it filled the final spot on the podium to provide a clean sweep
for the Alfa Romeo team. It next went to the Nurburgring where driven
by Arturo Merzario and Brian Redman it managed to qualify a respectable
third, but finished ninth overall as a non-running finisher. The
final outing in 1974 for 008 was at Imola when piloted by Rolf Strommelen
and Carlos Reuteman it achieved second overall behind the winning
Matra of Gerard Larousse and Henri Pescarolo.
When Willy Kauhsen
entered the car in 1975, the results for 008 were second to none.
As documented in Time and Two Seats by Janos L. Wimpffen
of the Motorsport Research Group, it is this car that can be attributed
to securing the driver’s crown for Merzario that year.
The first race entered
by the W.K.R.T. team in 1975 was Mugello, the second round of the
championship. Merzario was partnered with Jacky Ickx in 008 and
had it not have been for overworking the brakes and necessitating
a change of pads late in the proceedings, the pairing would have
tasted victory instead of claiming the runners up spot. The next
round at Dijon saw Merzario paired with Jaques Laffite and thanks
to consistent pace and the misfortune of others, 008 took a commanding
victory by seven laps (Merzario setting the fastest lap of the race).
Merzario and Laffite continued their winning streak in 008 at the
Monza 1000km a fortnight later, indeed the near faultless run was
only temporarily interrupted by the need to bleed the brakes thanks
to an aggressive middle stint by Merzario. At Spa-Francorchamps,
Merzario was again paired with local ace Ickx in 008. Shortly after
the start of the race the heavens opened and Ickx was in a class
of his own, building up a commanding lead over Derek Bell and Henri
Pescarolo (in the sister car). Unfortunately Merzario was not as
confident in such conditions and thus the duo were outpaced by their
teammates into second place by the finish. The next round was the
Coppa Florio at Enna Pergusa in Sicily and Sergio Puttini acknowledges
that it was 008 that took Merzario and Jochen Mass to victory, Merzario
was simply untouchable all weekend setting pole position and fastest
lap en route. On the first of June 1975 the N\uurburgring 1000kms
was contested by Merzario and Laffite at the wheel of 008. The packed
grid of 59 starters produced the closest fight the Alfas had been
subjected to all year but an inspired final stint by Laffite saw
yet another victory for 008, clinching the honours from the hard
charging Mirage driven by Howden Ganley and Tim Schenken. Watkins
Glen hosted the final round of the World Manufacturers Championship
and now partnered by Mario Andretti (Merzario’s fifth co-driver),
008 finished second in the temporarily-stopped, rain-sodden event,
enough to secure Merzario as the World Driver’s Champion of
At the close of the season
the now unofficial Targa Florio was then entered by 008. Mechanics
from the Autodelta team ran the car and again it was Merzario, now
partnered with Nino Vaccarella, who took the laurels, ending an
incredible year for both car and driver. The car was then retired
from competition, but it did perform a demonstration run at the
Goodwood Festival of Speed in 1999.
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
Matteo Carraba and it remained in his possession until recently.
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. As opposed to the Goodyear tires
it was shod with in 1975, the Campagnolo wheels currently sport
Avon rubber. Accommodation for the driver is purposefully comfortable,
the switches are clearly laid out and the reclined driving position
is very commanding. Though largely obscured by the steering wheel
the gauges are visible within the operating ranges, with the rev
counter forming the centrepiece; the visible operating range being
from 6,000rpm to the ground shaking maximum power level of 11,000
In June of 2003 the engine
was rebuilt and the suspension components checked over, but in light
of the capability of this projectile, a thorough inspection would
be highly recommended prior to track use. The engine and gearbox
components are stamped and match with that of the chassis number,
which can be seen on the top of the `passenger’ side suspension
upright as well as on the plate mounted within the driver’s
side wheel arch. Accompanying the car is the verification report
from Sergio Puttini, invoices noting the change of ownership from
Autodelta to Siebenthal and then to the Italian collector along
with various photos depicting the engine rebuild. There is also
a declaration letter from Carlo Chiti and detailed maintenance and
The historic potential
for this car is ever growing, in addition to the Le Mans Classic
event and the Group 4 Racing Championship, next year there are plans
to run retrospective historic events alongside the FIA GT Championship
to echo the glorious 1000km races of the 1970s. A proven winner
in period, Alfa Romeo Tipo 33TT12 chassis 008 would be a force to
reckon with and thus this desirable Sports Prototype is worthy of
ROMEO 33TT12 CHASSIS AR11512008 RACING HISTORY
1000kms 3rd Facetti/de Adamich
Nurburgring 750kms 9th Merzario/Redman
Imola 1000kms 2nd Stormmelen/Reutemann
Dijon 800kms 1st Merzario/Laffite
Monza 1000kms 1st Merzario/Laffite
Spa 750kms 2nd Merzario/Ickx
Enna 1000kms 1st Merzario/Mass
Nurburgring 1000kms 1st Merzario/Laffite
Watkins Glen 6hrs 2nd Merzario/Andretti
Targa Florio 1st Merzario/Vaccarella