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Autodelta

Autodelta.jpg


History

Autodelta SpA was the name of Alfa Romeo's competition department. Established in 1961 as Auto-Delta, the company was started by Carlo Chiti, a former Alfa Romeo and Ferrari engineer, and Ludovico Chizzola, an official Alfa Romeo dealer. The team was officially made a department of Alfa Romeo on March 5, 1963. The team was originally based in Feletto Umberto, Udine, before moving closer to Alfa Romeo's facilities in Settimo Milanese in 1964 and officially becoming Autodelta SpA. This allowed Autodelta to use the Balocco test track for new racing cars and prototypes.

The purpose of the company was bringing Alfa Romeo back to the top level of motor racing after Alfa Romeo's success in the 1950s. The first car developed together with Alfa Romeo and Autodelta was the Giulia TZ introduced in June 1962. The TZ was updated to TZ2 in 1965, with both cars taking many wins in various championships. Alfa Romeo and Autodelta would later introduce the GTA to even more success.

After success in grand tourer racing, Chiti convinced Alfa Romeo to purpose-built sportscars for the World Sportscar Championship. Alfa Romeo built a new flat-12 engine for what would become the Tipo 33 racing car. This racing program led to Alfa Romeo winning the constructors championships in 1975 and 1977.

After winning the sportscars championships, Alfa Romeo turned to supplying engines to the Brabham Formula One team and eventually returned to the sport with a factory team in 1979, run by Autodelta. The team also prepared Alfa Romeo rally cars such as the Alfetta GTVs.

Although the division was eventually phased out, Alfa Romeo used the Autodelta name again for their AutoDelta Squadra Corse team in the European Touring Car Championship in the early 21st century. Since the group's original demise, the Autodelta name had come to be used by independent British Alfa Romeo tuner Jano Djelalian in 1987 and continues today.


Now and then

Effectively a part of Alfa Romeo, Autodelta was fomed in 1965 when the 'Delta' company of Udine was transformed into 'Autodelta' and moved location to near Milan. The man behind the company was Carlo Chiti, ex-Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and ATS. The brief of Autodelta was to prepare the competition cars for Alfa Romeo, the initial contract for 100 examples of the Giulia TZ for homologation. It went on to be followed by the Alfa Romeo TZ2, the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA (and then the GTA Junior and 1750GTAm), the 33 in its various forms and later models such as the Alfasud and GTV based competition cars. It closed at the end of 1984.

For nearly 40 years, many of the world's outstanding classic sports car designs have flowed from the drawing board of Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design. One of the most fluent, indeed a true post-war classic, was the Alfa Romeo GTV (Gran Turismo Veloce) Coupe of 1967, which he designed during his rime at Bertone.

Evolved as a sports version of the four-seater Giulia saloon, the GTV remained in production for 11 years from 1965. Under the shapely shell was a superb four-cylinder twin-overhead camshaft engine offered in sizes ranging from 1.3 to 2.0 liters, mated to a crisp five-speed gearbox.

Very much a drivers' car, the GTV handled like the thoroughbred it was, helped by well-engineered front suspension and a positively located lightweight live rear axle.

By the time the GTV was introduced, Alfa Romeo was involved in sports car and GT racing with their Autodelta team. With the arrival of the new model, it was time to campaign cars closely related to the production models, and the GT"A" ("Allegerita" is Italian for lightened) made its bow.

A batch of about 450 of these 1300 Junior GTAs was manufactured in either street (Stradale) or pure race (Corsa) trim. Overall design was not greatly altered, although the front suspension could be adjusted to fine tune the racing handling. But the car was also simplified, leaving it almost 700lb lighter than standard. A GTA Junior gave an impressive 96bhp; Autodelta's miracle men extracted 160bhp. GTA Juniors joined their bigger sisters in races and rallies, lifting that outside front wheel during spirited cornering in a manner unique to the breed. The European Touring Car Champions were GTAs three times from 1966, and the Junior was the car to beat in its class.

This competition version of the GTA junior was prepared by Autodelta for a privateer owner to drive in the 1972 and 1973 Monte Carlo Rallies. It has full-alloy bodywork with riveted wing flares and a roll cage. After its Monte Carlo adventures, it was shipped to the U.S., where it went into storage. An original Halda Speedpilot is still fitted.

Only 200 Autodelta GTA Junior 1300 Corsa were built, and many were heavily modified for competition work. This car represents a low-mileage, original example of a significant historic sports racing car that is up to correct specification. It has full FIA papers, copies of the homologation form and documentation from its Monte Carlo Rally days.


See also



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