S.A. Alfa Romeo, Milano
Alfa Romeo P2
Alfa Romeo Tipo A
Alfa Romeo "Monza"
The supercharged straight eight 2.3 litre Alfa Romeo sports cars first appeared at the Mille Miglia in April 1931. In May the short wheelbase racing variant of the car was entered for the Italian and European Grand Prix at Monza, Campari and Nuvolari driving the car to victory. After that race the 2.3 litre racing cars became known as the "Monza". The cars were replaced in the Alfa Romeo works team by the Tipo B in 1932. For 1933 Scuderia Ferrari had to use "Monzas" with the engine volume increased to 2.6 litres before the team was able to receive the ex-work Tipo Bs.
By 1934 the "Monzas" remained in the hands of privateer drivers. Some of the cars were rebuilt to Monopostos, notably the ones owned by Swedish driver Widengren, Norwegian Björnstad and German Pietsch. The popularity of the car among the privateers is seen by the following list of "Monza" entries:
Gruppo San Giorgio (Balestrero , Scuderia Siena (Soffietti, Nuvolari, Scuderia Subalpina (Siena, Ghersi, Independents:Banti, Barbieri, Battaglia, Battilana, Björnstad, Bonetto, Danese, Delpino, A Dobson, Dodson, Eyston, Falchetto, Farina, Fontes, Gazzabini, Hellé-Nice, Maag, Magistri, Martin, Minozzi, Pages, Pellegrini, Penn-Hughes, Pietsch, Powys-Lybbe, "Raph", Rosa, "Sarubbi", Scaron, Soffietti, Sommer, "Ventidue", Westerblom, Widengren, Wilkins and Zanelli.
Color scheme examples:
Alfa Romeo Tipo B Monoposto "P3"
The classic "Tipo B" was the first significant Grand Prix car to use streamlined single seater bodies. When the 2.6 litre car appeared in 1932 it was simply known as the "Monoposto". For 1934 the car was upgraded with a 2.9 litre engine and wider bodywork to conform with the 750 kg formula. The 2.9 litre car was offically known as the Tipo B. Also the 2.6 litre car became retrospectivly known as Tipo B. Among the press the car, as the successor to the Alfa Romeo "P2", has been called the "P3" but it remains doubtful if it that name was used officially.
The engine was similar in design to the 2.3 litre engine used in the "Monza". With a new alloy block the engine with its twin superchargers on the left side had a wide powerband and excellent low speed torque, giving the light chassis a good acceleration out of corners.
The gearbox was the same as for the "Monza" and proved to be the weakest part of the car as it was unable to withstand the power of the enlarged engines. The gear lever was to the left of the steering wheel. Unique to the car were the dual propeller shafts, one for each wheel, that run from the single differential behind the gearbox to small housings near the wheels. With the half shafts reduced to stumps the arrangement saved unsprung weight. It helped to gain access to the differential to change ratios and the construction also possibly reduced wheelspin. It has often been said that the construction reduced driver seating height but that is not true.
As it first appeared the channel section chassis was just 66 cm wide. Great effort was made to keep the car light and light metal alloys were used throughout the construction. The 25 litre oil tank was situated between the driver and the 127 litre fuel tank in the tail.
The cars made their debut for the Alfa Romeo works team at the 1932 Italian GP winning first time out and then winning 3 more races before the team withdrew the cars leaving the Ferrari team to represent Alfa Romeo for 1933 with its "Monzas". After Ferrari failed to score with the "Monzas" Alfa Romeo finally had to release the Tipo Bs to Ferrari in August 1933 in time for Chiron and Fagioli to dominate the end of the season with 3 victories each.
For 1934 the bodies were bulged out to 85 cm and the engine size was increased to 2.9 litres by changing the bore to 68 mm. There were rumours that as many as 25 cars would be built and sold to privateers but Alfa Romeo changed their mind and access to new cars were restricted to Scuderia Ferrari. However the rebuilt 2.6 litre cars were later sold to privateers as brand new cars were built for the Ferrari team.
For 1935 the cars received quarter elliptic rear springs and later independent front suspension and the engine was enlarged to 3.2 litres and finally 3.8 litres. To make the gearbox stand the power the first gear was taken out and the other gears widened.
In 1934 The Tipo B had still been a winner but in 1935 it was only occasionaly (such as in the German GP) able to compete with the Germans. The car was replaced in the Ferrari team by the Tipo 8C-35 and 12C-36 but remained in the GP grids in the hands of privateers. Among the 1935 privateer entries can be mentioned Sommer, "Raph", Shuttleworth, Barbieri, Scuderia Subalpina (Ghesi and Gruppo San Giorgio (Balestrero, Sommer later sold his car to Staniland who rebuilt it to the famous "Multi Union" and "Raph" sold his car to British driver Powys-Lybbe.
In 1936 cars were raced by Sommer (in another Tipo B, possibly later sold to American driver Thorne), Martin, de Villapadierna, Battaglia, Biondetti and A Dobson. Dobson's car was sold and raced by Evans during the 1937 - 1938 seasons. Balestrero was another 1937 Tipo B privateer as was Simonet. In 1939 - 1940 a Tipo B raced at the Indy 500, entered by Frank Griswold and another car entered by Don Lee raced in the 1946 - 1947 Indy.
Formula Libre car
Speed Record Car
Alfa Romeo Bi-motore
The Alfa Romeo Bi-motore were not real Alfa Romeos as the cars were produced by Scuderia Ferrari. Two cars were built, one to be raced by Chiron with two 2.9 litre engines and one car with two 3.2 litre engines for Nuvolari. The cars were based upon the Tipo B Alfas with the wheelbase lenghtened by 15 cm. The car used the same dual propeller shafts as the Monoposto and rear engine was installed back to front between the shafts. The driver seat was moved to the top of the gearbox and the fuel tanks to the side of the body. Special arrangements were made so the driver could disconnect the engines to start them before they where syncronized and it was also possible to run on one engine only. The cars were raced at the 1935 Tripoli and AVUS races and proved fast but very hard on the tyres. 16 June 1935 Nuvolari broke the class B land speed record on the Firenze-Lucca highway with his Bi-motore being the first to break the 200 mph barrier on a normal road.
In 1937 the 5.8 litre car was raced in England by A Dobson . It was later sold to Peter Aitken and rebuilt and raced with the rear engine removed as the Alfa-Aitken.
12C-36 (Monza 1936 onwards)
Alfa Romeo 8C-35 / 12C-36
As a replacement for the Tipo B Alfa Romeo produced the 8C-35 in 1935. The car was also known as the Tipo C. Following the example set by the Germans the car had independent suspension and a streamlined body. With a volume of 3.8 litre the engine was the final development of the 8 cylinder engine used on the Monza and the Tipo B. For 1936 the car was equipped with a new 12 cylinder engine. Named the 12C-36 the new car differed from the old by the two exhaust pipes under the chassis, the 8C-35 having only one pipe on the right side of the body. The 12 cylinder car proved faster but more prone to engine troubles than the 8 cylinder.
The 8C-35 made its debute at the 1935 Italian GP, Nuvolari leading for a while before retiring with a burst piston while the 12C-36 was first seen at Tripoli 1936. The 8C-35 found its way to a few privateers, Rüesch bought a 8C-35 in late 1936 followed by Sommer in 1937. While the factory Alfa Romeos in 1937 had no chance against the German teams in the GP races Rüesch entered his car successfully in some minor races. Rüesch sold the car in 1939 to Robert Arbuthnot in 1939 and it was raced after the war by Dennis Poore. Another car possibly entered by Ferrari for Farina in the 1936 Vanderbilt cup remained in USA and was rebuilt with a large centrifugal blower. It was endered for the 1937 Vanderbilt cup for Rex Mays. The car was later seen at Indianapolis.
Right Side view:
Note the high exhaust on the right side of the 8C-35.
Alfa Romeo 12C-37
The 12C-37 was an experimental car. Constructed by Jano it featured an enlarged variant of the 12 cylinder engine in a completely new tubular chassis. The body was of a new lower and more streamlined type with the fuel carried in a saddle tank. With great fuss the car was entered by Alfa Corse for the 1937 Coppa Acerbo but the new car failed to make any impression during the race and when the chassis was found to be insufficiently strong Jano was blamed and sacked from Alfa Romeo. The chassis were probably used on the Tipo 312 / 316.
Alfa Romeo Tipo 308
Alfa Romeo entered the 3 litre formula with no less than three different cars, all with independent supension and distinct appearance. Many consider that the factory should have done better concentrating on just one car instead.
The first one, the 308, was a development of Jano's classic 8 cylinder car. Finally the bore was increased from 68 to 69 mm changing the volume from 2905 to 2994 cc. Four old 8C-35/12C-36 tubular chassis were used with only minor updates. The car was rather a stop gap construction until the stronger 12 and 16 cyl cars were ready. Fuel was held in a saddle tank over the driver's feet to improve the weight distribution and handling.
The car first appeared at Pau 1938 where a leak in the saddle tank caused the accident that made Nuvolari to resign from Alfa Romeo. Two of the cars were later borrowed(?) to Piero Dusio's Scuderia Torino and a third to Renato Balestrero. One car was raced to victory in the 1938 Rio de Janeiro GP by Pintacuda. It was then sold and remained in South America. There was also a car raced by Sommer in 1938 and (later?) sold to him, the sold car turning around the ban of foreign drivers. At the 1939 French GP two 308s were entered by Christian Kautz. The cars had Swiss crosses painted on the scuttle.
One 308 car (AC 79), possibly ex-Pintacuda, was later shared by Landi and Casini before Landi sold it to Cassini in 1948. Late 1949, it was loaned to Antonio Fernandez who crashed it badly. Later (circa 1956) Casini rebuilt the car onto a road car, fitting a Cadillac engine. Later it went via Colin Crabbe? to Julian Mazjub.
Another car (AC 78), owned by a Signor Bellini Caviglia, arrived at Montevideo late 1938. Dr. Italo de Luca bought it. Between 1939 and 1942, the car was raced by Ricardo Nasi, Ricardo Carú and José Canziani. In 1946, the car was bought by Oscar Galvez in partnership with Julio Rosso and Ernesto Petrini. It was successfully raced by Oscar Galvez between 1947 and 1951 before he sold it to "Automovil Club Argentino", which gave it to Fangio. It was raced by Manuel de Teffé in 1952. It is now shown at the J-M Fangio Museum.
A third car was used by Sommer after the war on loan from Alfa Corce. It was also raced by Wimille and later own by "Raph", who probably sold it in Brazil 1948, It was raced in 1949 by Mr. Jaime Neves.
Sommer's original pre war car appeared at the 1940 Indy 500 and it is probably the same car that also appeared in 1946-1948.
A great thanks to Patrick Italiano and Jimmy Piget for cars/chassis information
Tipo 316 - 1938
Tipo 316 - 1939
Alfa Romeo Tipo 312 / Tipo 316
The second car for the 3 litre formula was the 312. It was a development of the 12C-37, probably using the old frames, but it turned out to have much improved road holding. The engine, being a 3 litre variant of the V12 with twin superchargers, was stronger than the one on the 308 but still no match for competition. It first appeared at the 1938 Tripoli GP driven by Farina, Sommer and Siena. It proved to be a devastating race for the team as Siena had a fatal crash with his car and Farina was involved in a crash with Hartmann that proved fatal for the latter
In 1947 Varzi was offered a 312 rebuilt with the original 12C-37 4.5 litre engine rebored to 4.6 litre and it was later taken to Argentina.
The third car, the 316, was also a a development of the 12C-37 but featured a 16 cylinder engine, consisting of two 8 cylinder blocks put together in a 60° angle, each with its own crankshaft and supercharger. There was no room for the superchargers in front of the engine so they had to be squeezed in between the cylinder heads. The engine was put into a special 8C/35 / 308 car for the 1938 Tripoli GP where it showed promise during practice but did not fulfil its promises during the race. Development of the car was halted as the team concentrated on the 1.5 litre "Alfetta" and the 316 wasn't seen until the Italian GP where it finished second. At the 1939 Belgian GP the car, raced by Farina, featured a new distintive "dolphin head" style nose. It held the lead during the first laps before being passed eventually to retire with supercharger failure.
Alfa Romeo T158 "Alfetta"
During the spring of 1937 Alfa Romeo decided, after a suggestion from Ferrari, to design a competitive Voiturette car. However, as Jano was busy with the construction of the three GP cars, the mission fell to Giocchino Colombo. Constructed as miniatures of the 308 GP car the neatly built Alfettas were assembled at Ferrari, Modena, under the supervision of Enzo Ferrari. Then, in January 1938, the decision was made to retrieve Alfa Corse and close down Scuderia Ferrari. The half finished cars were moved to Portello to be finished there. The cars made their debut in the Coppa Ciano Junior in August 1938 where they took a 1-2 victory first time out. After trouble in the Coppa Acerbo Junior the team then decided to skip both the Berne and Lucca races, concentrating to get the cars right for the Milano GP at Monza, where Villoresi led the team to another 1-2 victory.
However, at Modena the team was again in serious trouble, all four cars retiring with oil pressure problems. The cars were updated for the 1939 season with improved lubrication and needle-roller big ends. However, after the defeat in the Tripoli race three cars were rebuilt again with reworked lubrication once more and with an improved engine cooling by raising the system pressure. The cars were re-bodied with a more bulbous form that also covered the front suspension. In that form the cars won the Coppa Acerbo, Coppa Ciano and the voiturette class of the Swiss GP, Farina showing the potential of the cars by leading the initial laps of the latter in front of the GP cars. In June 1939 Emilio Villoresi died in a car demonstration and only 53 days later Nando Aldrigretti was killed during practice for the 1939 Coppa Acerbo.
For 1940 Alfa Romeo decided to build six (See below) new 158 chassis. The old ones including the wrecked cars from Aldrigretti and Villoresi seem to have been chopped up and used to build the six new ones. After dominating the 1940 Tripoli race the cars were stored at Monza. One car was fitted with suspension from the 512 and crashed with a lorry while being tested at the Milan-Varese autostrada by Marinoni. Later when Monza was taken over by the German army, the cars were moved in the greatest secrecy to a deserted cheese factory in Melzo in dismantled form.
The cars reappeared after the war, making their debut in St.Clowd 1946. Two cars appeared with two stage compressors at the following race at Geneve and at Turin all four cars had two stage compressors. One car was later further improved to was known as "C" with larger compressor and larger fuel tank. Varzi had a fatal crash with that car at the 1948 Swiss GP. All the cars were upgraded for the 1950 season, the cars dominating the season with Farina claiming the World Championship and for 1951 four totally new cars called 159s were built with larger tanks and increased horsepower. After Fangio had won the 1951 championship Alfa Corse retired from racing. Most of the 158/159s were cut up and destroyed.
* The Alfa Romeo 158 chassis remains one of the most unsolvable problems in motor racing history. The first 6 cars seems to have had their own chassis numbers but cars were disassembled and assembled so often that parts became mixed up. The latter chassis had no own chassis numbers, cars receiving new numbers for each race corresponding to race numbers. One of the six new cars built for 1940 was totally wrecked and burned out in Marinoni's crash. Still 6 cars remained after the war. How?
Post Tripoli 1939
Alfa Romeo Tipo 512
This mid engined car was intendent as a replacement for the Alfa Romeo 158. The engine was of "boxer" type i.e. 180°. It was tested on 12 September 1940 by Consalvo Sanesi. The developement was then stopped due to the war. It never took part in any competition.
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