Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/TT/3 – Car Profile Page Two
Finally in 1971, the T33/3 appeared with the 440-hp, three-litre engine, and things began to change. Rolf Stommelen/Nanni Galli were 3rd in the Argentine 1000 km in Buenos Aires, ahead of Pescaraolo/de Adamich in 4th, and the teams repeated the position at Sebring. Bob Wollek won at Albi, and then de Adamich/Pescarolo won the Brands Hatch 1000 km.
At Imola, de Adamich/Pescarolo were 3rd, ahead of Stommelen/Galli in 4th and Hezemans and Vaccarella in 5th. De Adamich/Pescarolo were 3rd at Spa and then 2nd in the Targa Florio, behind Vaccarella/Hezemans. The Nürburgring 1000 km saw de Adamich/Pescarolo 4th and Vaccarella/Hezemans 5th, while the latter team was 2nd in Austria, with Stommelen/Galli 3rd. De Adamich/Ronnie Peterson won the Watkins Glen 6 Hours, and de Adamich managed 7th in the Can Am race by himself the next day, after his mechanics were too tired to install the new four-litre motor.
In came the new 33/TT/3, which was essentially an evolution of the previous year’s T33/3 chassis. The main difference was in the wheelbase, which was extended by some 20 cms, and the steel space-frame had been reduced down to the bare minimum weight limit within the year’s regulations. Other changes included a new safety fuel cell. The changes were certainly quite effective, with Nanni Galli reporting that the 33/TT/3 was a very reactive, sensitive car. In fact, Vic Elford and Jo Siffert played key roles in developing this new chassis, particularly in the braking and handling departments. Although the cars suffered from teething problems in the first race of the 1972 season at Buenos Aires, the threat of the new car to the works Ferrari 312 PB was quite apparent.
Chassis Number AR 11572/010
It is well known and confirmed by the authors of the definitive Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 book, Peter Collins and Ed McDonough, that Alfa Romeo chassis records are notoriously difficult to track. Many records were kept only in Carlo Chiti’s head, and he died in 1994. However, Collins and McDonough were able to confirm that this car was the car driven to 4th OA at Le Mans in 1972, details of which we will go into later.
Furthermore, this 33/TT/3 chassis is confirmed by Stefano d’Amico, President of the Alfa Romeo Registro Storico, to be the car assigned to Andrea de Adamich for the 1972 season. That year the Ferrari 312 PB seemed like the one to beat, but Lola had the new T280, and the Mirage-Cosworth was on the horizon. Alfa Romeo’s new drivers were Helmut Maro and Vic Elford, both whom were expert analysts and helped sort out the T33’s handling. The season progressed as follows.
Elford/Marko opened the new year with a 4th at the Argentina 1000 km behind local privateers Faceti/Alberti who were 3rd. In February Elford/Marko were 3rd at Daytona with de Adamich/Galli 5th. At Sebring, in March, Vaccarella/Hezemans were 3rd but Revson/Stommelen and de Adamich.
At the Brands Hatch 1000 km in the UK in April, Stommelen/Revson took 3rd, with de Adamich/Elford 4th, while Galli/Marko were 2nd in May’s Targa Florio in Sicily, followed closely by de Adamich/Hezemans. De Adamich was paired with Helmut Marko for the Nürburgring 1000 km in May and finished 3rd.
In June 1972, as confirmed by Peter Collins and Ed McDonough, chassis 010 was entered into the 24 Hours of Le Mans on number 18 and Nino Vaccarella and Andrea de Adamich behind the wheel. After the gruelling 24-hour race, the car had covered 307 laps and close to 4,200 kms of hard racing. Vaccarella and de Adamich brought the car in over the finishing line in 4th position overall, behind the Matra-Simcas and the Porsche 908 Coupé, a fantastic achievement for the works Alfa Romeo Team, Autodelta.
The season was not over yet. In October, de Adamich was 1st at Monza in the Groupe 5 race, then 3rd at Imola and 6th at Hockenheim. De Adamich would continue to drive for Alfa Romeo into 1974 and the debut of the T33/TT/12, but never again did he have the same success.
This car, chassis AR 11572/010, was used by Autodelta until mid-1973 and then sold to noted collector Richard Pilkington in the UK. He kept it for two years before selling it to Martin Morris in 1976, who owned it for a year. Morris passed it on to Steven O’Rourke, manager of Pink Floyd and colleague of Nick Mason, Pink Floyd’s drummer and well-known vintage racer.
O’Rourke kept 010 until 1986 when he sold it to a Mr. Hayashi in Japan. It remained in Japanese ownership and was subsequently rebuilt by a former Autodelta chief mechanic in Los Angeles. Between March and April of 2006, the engine and suspension were rebuilt and the brakes revised, but the body and interior were left original, giving the car a fantastic look.
AR 11572/010 represents an intensely competitive period in sports-racing. In common with many benchmark designs, the T33 was constantly being developed and was the vehicle for a number of heroic drives against the Ferrari 312 PBs.
This car simply yearns to be driven again in the world of vintage racing, and we are sure it would prove very competitive once again against the Ferrari 312 PBs as well as the Lola T280s and Mirage-Cosworths. As an ex-Autodelta works car steeped in history, it will be invited to events worldwide, not to mention, of course, the Le Mans Classic in 2012 where it will have a guaranteed entry.
[Source: RM Auctions; photo credit: Simon Clay © 2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions]