The 50 years that the great Italian make Alfa Romeo campaigned cars in international racing culminated in a series of gorgeous and spectacular prototypes in the late 1960s and early 1970s that carried the designation “Tipo 33.” A number of closed and open sports cars were built by Alfa’s factory racing operation, Autodelta, but the 33 TT12 was the most outrageous. Standing for “tellaio tubolare,” or tubular chassis, the 33 TT 12 appeared in 1973 fitted with a mid-mounted 500-hp 3.0-liter flat-12 engine designed by Alfa’s illustrious racing director, Carlo Chiti. To centralize the weight, the flat engine was stacked on top of the gearbox directly behind the well-exposed driver, who with the engine shared the center of the vehicle. The aluminum and fiberglass racing machine was launched into competition in 1973 and by 1974 finished 1-2-3 at the Monza 1000km. Finishing second in the championship that year, Autodelta joined Ferrari and Matra in retiring from sports car racing, but a private entry supported by Alfa Romeo and fielded by W.K.R.T., or Willibert Kauhsen Racing Team, continued on with the 33 TT12 in 1975 and swept the series and the World Manufacturer’s Championship for Alfa Romeo with seven wins in eight races.
AUTOart’s 1/18-scale tribute to Alfa Romeo’s ultimate sports-prototype is another museum-quality addition to its superlatively detailed Signature Series. A full two years in development by AUTOart’s team of engineers, the model is hand-crafted from 655 separate parts, including 248 die-cast metal and plastic-injection parts, 363 metal screws, nuts, and wires, 35 photo-etched components, and nine parts that are chrome-plated. The car weights 1.5 pound (0.67 kilo) and measures 9” (23cm) in length. To accurately paint and decorate the model, there are 248 individual paint-spraying steps and 95 pad-printing (or “tampon”) steps. More than 400 workers are needed in the manufacturing and assembling of the 33 TT12 model.
This being AUTOart’s renowned Signature Series, no detail is overlooked in the faithful rendering of the 33TT 12 to give collectors the value they seek for the model’s retail price of US$340. Features particular to this highly special and limited edition piece include:
-A fully detailed engine compartment packed with the Carlo Chiti flat-12 underneath the lift-off bodywork;
-a removable front clip exposing the tubular monocoque, working steering gear, and all the fluid bottles and gauge wiring;
- wheels and Goodyear racing slicks which are detachable with spin-off center lock nuts and a socket lever;
- workable rear-axle universal joints which rotate and flex with the movement of the working and independent suspension;
- opening doors with sliding metal latches;
- nylon fabric 6-point safety harnesses with metal etching tongues and buckles;
- fully functional front and rear suspension with metal arms and lever.