If you can look back at more than 110 years of building some of the sexiest and most successful road and racing cars in automotive history, there’s plenty of amazing inspiration to be found. But deciding which one to recreate can be a real headache to determine. Now, imagine you’re Alfa Romeo, which is the brand in question that faced this very question, what would it be? Do you go for the pre-war 6C and 8C sports car, the Disco Volante from 1959 or the Montreal? The definitive answer can only be one thing, and Alfa Romeo thankfully got it right. There’s no other answer but the 1967 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale, one of the sexiest sports cars ever made, period.
The Tipo 33 Stradale was built between 1967 and 1969, with only 18 cars ever leaving Alfa Romeo’s factory. It was essentially based on the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 sports prototype race car, which competed in 1966 and 1967 in various types of racing. Although it wasn’t the most successful car for Alfa Romeo, the three generations of the Tipo 33 that came after it did make the Tipo 33 one of the brand’s true icons. The first-gen Tipo 33 competed in the World Sports Cars Championship, with 5th place in the 1967 Nürburgring 1,000-kilometre race being its best result. The first few cars used a straight-4 from the Alfa Romeo TZ2 but eventually received a 2,0 litre V8 that produced 230 horsepower. In later years, the engine became bigger with each generation, culminating in the 640bhp 2.2-litre turbocharged flat-12 of the Alfa Romeo 33SC12 Turbo raced between 1976 and 1977.
The road car equivalent of the first-gen Tipo 33 features a similarly styled curvaceous exterior. In terms of proportions, it’s quite a small machine, with a low-slung front end swooping up over the front wheels. The wrap-around windshield adds to the drama, but the piece de resistance are the two butterfly doors with glass top halves. The body continues to flow towards the rear, with air intakes to cool the rear-mounted 2.0-litre V8. With 230bhp, it’s certainly not the most powerful V8 ever found in an Alfa Romeo, but it only has to deal with around 700kg of weight so it was a very fast and agile machine for the time. In terms of performance, we’re talking about a featherweight sports car capable of hitting 100kph in less than 6 seconds and a top speed of 260kph. Currently, these extremely rare and sought-after cars have a value of well into the tens of millions.
Now, on to the new one. The exterior of the new Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale is an extremely gorgeous interpretation of the original 1967 car, with a body made by coachbuilders Carrozeria Touring Superleggera. The beauty of the car that inspired it is essentially captured In a very modern-looking, yet still curvaceous way. Everything is there, from the low-slung front profile, the butterfly doors with glass tops, the air intakes and exhausts on the ‘hips’, the round taillights, et cetera. The front and rear sections of the car open up the same way too, like a clamshell which, along with the doors makes for a very dramatic profile.
The magic continues on the inside, as you’re treated to an ultra-sleek interior. We’re talking two-tone leather-clad sports seats, machined aluminium control panels, and more. At first, it might not look like the original car’s interior but in reality, there are elements to be recognized. The instrument cluster, for instance, has quite a similar shape to it with distinctively retro dials. The cross-hatch brushed aluminium console in the centre holds the controls for the gearbox, which is an automated eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Even mundane elements like the toggle switches for the windows and doors are works of art.
Being based on the underpinnings of the Maserati MC20 sports car, it makes sense it’s powered by the same 650bhp 3.0-litre ‘Nettuno’ twin-turbo V6. This engine is a newly developed powerplant with some seriously advanced engineering to make it more powerful, cleaner and more responsive compared to traditional tech. For instance, its passive pre-chamber and twin-spark plug technology helps to increase efficiency in low-load scenarios, something that’s also used in Formula 1 these days.
Unexpectedly, Alfa Romeo grants each buyer a choice between the V6 petrol engine and a full-EV drivetrain that produces 750 horsepower. So, either a petrol engine with all the smells, sounds, vibrations and everything or an upgrade of about 130bhp. Performance-wise, Alfa Romeo states that both variants should hit 100kph in under 3 seconds, so half the time it took the 1967 car. The brand does not communicate the top speed of either the petrol or electric powertrains, but considering the Maserati’s top speed of 320kph to 325kph this 33 Stradale is no slouch.
If you fancy owning one of these über-sexy machines, there are two slight catches. First, there’s the price of GBP 1,7 million which you would need to tackle. And let’s say you have the funds for it, there’s the issue of all 33 cars already being sold before even a single one is put on the road. However unfortunate that may be, we should still applaud Alfa Romeo for building this amazing new interpretation of what is considered its ultimate sports car. Let’s just hope people actually drive them from time to time instead of turning them into garage queens.
For more information, please visit AlfaRomeo.com.
Editorial Note: The images used in this article are provided by and used with permission of the Stellantis Group, owner of the Alfa Romeo brand unless stated otherwise.