London

8-9 September 2013

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Lot 244

1970 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/3

  • Chassis no. AR 75080 010

Sold for £392,000


440 bhp, 2,998 cc V-8 engine, five-speed manual gearbox, independent front and rear suspension with double wishbones, coil springs, and anti-roll bars, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,240 mm

  • Entered in the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans under Autodelta


One of the most storied racing teams of all time, Alfa Romeo is a company deeply tied to its racing heritage. Its exploits on the race track are legendary and include numerous wins at such great international motorsport events as the Targa Florio, Mille Miglia, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Countless great drivers have graced the cars from Milan, including Tazio Nuvolari, Louis Chiron, and Enzo Ferrari.



Autodelta, a company established by ex-Alfa Romeo and Ferrari engineer Carlo Chiti, formally joined forces with Alfa Romeo in 1963, with the purpose of restoring Alfa Romeo’s motorsport teams to the former levels of success they experienced prior to the Second World War. One of Autodelta and Alfa Romeo’s finest creations was the Tipo 33/2, created in 1968 to compete in the World Sportscar Championships. The year 1968 witnessed a series of significant results for the 33/2, with the car taking 2nd overall at Daytona and decimating its competition at Le Mans, as it took 1st through 3rd in its class, which was good for 4th, 5th, and 6th overall. By 1969, Alfa’s engineers had learned much from their experiences with the 33/2 and released the car’s replacement, which would go on to be one of Alfa Romeo’s most celebrated sports car racing platforms, the Tipo 33/3.



The most important changes in the Tipo 33/3 from its predecessor dealt with the car’s chassis and engine. The new car used a chassis constructed from titanium-reinforced avional-boxed steel and adapted open bodywork, whilst the 33/2 utilised closed bodywork. Utilising a new 90-degree V-8 engine, the engine’s output was increased to three litres over its two-litre sibling. This resulted in an increase of a whopping 130 horsepower from the original two-litre engine.



The 1969 season would prove to be difficult for Alfa Romeo. The 33/3 was not very successful in its first outing at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Later that year, Alfa Romeo withdrew from the 24 Hours of Le Mans after the death of Lucien Bianchi, which was the result of a crash during a practice session.



Things began to improve for the 33/3 when Ignazio Giunti drove the car to 2nd overall at the Imola 500 and secured a pair of overall victories at Zeltweg and Enna by the end of the season, indicating that better luck for the car was on the horizon. However, the 1970 season brought even more drama with mixed success. A Tipo 33/3 placed 2nd overall at both the Imola 500 km race and the Austria 1000 km race at Zeltweg. In that year’s Targa Florio, three Alfas went off the road, and later on in the season, at Le Mans, no Tipo 33/3 finished the race.



More mechanical changes were made to the car in 1971 in order to increase performance. Engineers increased horsepower yet again to 420, and they replaced the original six-speed gearbox with a five speed and reduced the size of the front tyres, helping to reduce overall weight by 50 kilograms. All these improvements proved to be exactly what the car needed, as it led the Tipo 33/3 to much better overall performances, including overall wins in the Targa Florio and at Watkins Glen and Brands Hatch. By the end of the season, Alfa Romeo was ranked second in the fight for the World Championship, with Porsche in first and Ferrari in third.



AR 75080 010 raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970, at the hands of Piers Courage and Andrea de Adamich, wearing number 36, but sadly, with Courage behind the wheel, it did not finish the race, as it retired at 8:30 on Sunday morning, after 195 laps. This car comes to us from an owner who purchased the car in 1990 through Toime Hezemans, who drove another Tipo 33/3 at Le Mans in 1970, and noted Alfa Romeo specialist Bobby Bell. Prior to the current owner’s purchase of the car, Bell restored and rebuilt the car using parts from Autodelta, and it is currently in beautiful condition. This car also comes complete with a spare front bonnet.



This car is a prime example of a track-day racer that is ready for extensive use in vintage racing. Combining spectacular dynamics and its massive output and feather-light weight, the Tipo 33/3 produces a kick in the back that many cars simply cannot duplicate. Combine that with open bodywork and the experience only becomes more visceral. Driving this Alfa Romeo produces an adrenaline rush that is second to none, and it is certainly not for the faint of heart. However, mastery of this car will certainly leave a long-lasting smile on the driver’s face, both whilst driving and after exiting the car.

Addendum

Please note that this vehicle is eligible for import into the UK at a reduced rate of 5% VAT.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more