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Autodelta at the Quail

by pete on January 7, 2014


The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering August 16th 2013. Art by Evan Klein.

By Brandon Adrian as told to the Editor

How could we have missed this…not once, but twice…?

Somewhere along the way during Monterey Car Week, we overlooked an unusual display of Alfa Romeos gathered at the Quail. In November, the organizer of this small but potent affair, Brandon Adrian, reminded us of our oversight. We were going to include a short report in last week’s special Autodelta edition of VeloceToday but in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and deadlines, we forgot…again! By this time poor Brandon was about to run us over with a spare GTA.

We promised to make amends so here it is…Autodelta at the Quail.

As a young boy, Brandon Adrian, it seems, dreamed of what it would have been like to have been a racing car driver during the ‘Golden Age’ of motorsports. Learning how to drive with the same Alfa Romeo GT that his father Robert bought new was the beginning of a long and passionate battle with ‘Alfa’holicism, on track and off.

Young Brandon followed the activities of Alfa’s Autodelta team as they dominated the world’s best tracks during the 60s and 70s with Alfa Romeo TZs, GTAs, and the Tipo 33. Led by the brilliant Ing. Carlo Chiti, the team boasted legendary drivers such as Andrea De Adamich, Ignazio Giunti, Teodoro Zeccoli, ‘Nanni’ Galli, Nino Vaccarella, Enrico Pinto, Toine Hezemans, Vic Elford, Derek Bell, Jochen Mass, Arturo Merzario, Henri Pescarolo, Helmut Marko, Lucien Bianchi, Carlo Facetti, Rolf Stommelen, Herbert Schultze, Michael Webber, and Mario Andretti. Movies such as Le Mans and The Speed Merchants held a deep place in Brandon’s heart.

The Alfa Romeo Tubolare Zagato 2 or TZ2 (1965) (1 of 12 built by Autodelta, SpA). This TZ2 participated in the 1000 KM at Monza in 1965, the Targa Florio and the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1966. Now owned by Bill Lyons.

In late 2012, Brandon’s friend Marco Fazio at Alfa Romeo’s Automobilismo Storico, told him of the 50th Anniversary Autodelta Celebration which was to take place at the famous Monza track in Italy. As a result, Brandon wanted to give Alfa Romeo, Autodelta and Ing. Carlo Chiti the praise and recognition it deserved in the US as well. Calling upon his close Autodelta friends in the U.S. (Anthony Rimicci, Manuel Minnassian, Bill Lyons and Fred Della Noce), he organized a small gathering of ex-works Autodelta cars including a TZ2, GTA Prototipo 1600 Corsa, GTA 1600 (RHD), 1750 GTAm, and 1300 GTA Junior at the Quail Motorsports show in August of 2013.

It will be hard to out-do the 2013 Autodelta showing, but Brandon and his Adrian Squadra Corse team have an even more surprising Alfa Romeo/Autodelta showing planned for 2014, so stay tuned.

Alfa Romeo Gran Turismo Alleggerita Prototipo (GTA-P) 1600 Corsa, Ex-Works (1967), unrestored and all original. The car is ex-Nanni Galli, and ex-Ignazio Giunti, now owned by Adrian Squadra Corse. This example is the only documented GTA-P, sometimes referred to as GTA 1600 S ‘Superleggera’ intended for FIA Gr. 2 circuit racing and for the FIA European Mountain Hill Climb Championship. Per its Autodelta build sheets it was the lightest documented GTA 1600 Autodelta, SpA ever built in-house weighing in at only 680 kilograms. The Autodelta build sheets show the circa 1967 Group 2 engine dyno results of 173 HP at 7800 RPM. This car had not been seen by the the public since the early 1970s.

Autodelta GTA-P 1600 Corsa. Interior is all original just as it left Autodelta, SpA in 1967. Note all the special Autodelta interior specialties and the lightweight Tipo 33 racing seat, original Britax race harness and signed Nanni Galli dash.

In the back seat of the GTA is the original Dunlop racing jacket and shoes worn by and signed by Nanni Galli.

GTA 1600 Corsa right hand drive from 1965. (1 of 50 RHD 1600 GTAs). Ex-Rhoddy Harvey-Bailey, ex- Edward Thorpe, ex-Charlie Thieriot. In the US it was a SCCA B Sedan, Trans Am and Cannonball Run entry. Currently owned by Anthony Rimicci.

GTA 1300 Junior (1968) now owned by Manuel Minassian. GTA Juniors were also extremely successful in the 1300 FIA Group 2 class in Europe and in the United States Trans-Am series. This example is a Autodelta prepared GTA Jr. that made its way to the USA to race in SCCA C Sedan and the Trans-AM series. This GTA 1300 Jr. was displayed in the Trans-AM livery it had in 1970 while driven by Jeff Kline at Riverside International Raceway.

GTAm where the M meant maggiorata or increased, referring to new engine displacement.This is a 1750 variant prepared by Autodelta, SpA, with an extensive period race history in Brazil raced by Abilio and Alcides Diniz. Now owned by Fred Della Noce.

Art by Evan Klein.



VeloceToday Select Number Two: The Barn Find Alfa
Edited by Pete Vack

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Will Grime January 7, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Guys,
GTAm = GT America, not maggiorata. The latter suggests the car was an enlarged GTA, whereas it had nothing to do with the lightweight GTA; in fact, the GTAm was a hefty old beast with a steel body. It was also powered by the 1750 and 2000cc versions of the Giulia motor, new engines coinciding with the Giulia’s introduction to the USA market, hence GT Am…erica.
Cheers, Will

Will Grime January 7, 2014 at 1:36 pm

PS
Toine Henzmanns = Toine Hezemans
Carlo Fachetti = Carlo Facetti
both as mentioned in your wonderful Autodelta gallery.
Cheers again
Will

pete January 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Will, correct on both name and we’ve made the change, thanks!

Pete

pete January 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Will, this is a good one. We’ll let Brandon reply…

Jacob Iliohan January 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm

The only car missing in this line up is my T33/2.5 Daytona coupe ex Mario Andretti & Nino Vaccarella.
Can you get me in touch?

Regards.

Jay

Fred Della Noce January 7, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Dear Sir,
The M in GTAm stands for Maggiorata not America.I have owned my Alfa GTAm since 1989.I knew Carlo Chiti as well as Chiaparini and the Facetti brothers which I still see on an yearly basis.Allk GTAm’s were overbored to 2-liters on the 1750 block machined to receive the siamese liners.There was never a 1750cc GTAm.There was a first series named 1750 GTAm,which my car is one of them,with all Lucas mechanical Fuel Injection.The second series,named 2000 GTAm only had a modified Spica metering unit coupled to a Lucas Fuel Pump.FYI my car’s engine number is D2-036 which I have vintage raced in Europe and the US for the past 21 years and to the best of my knowledge the only one running its original all Lucas Fuel Injection original parts.Best regards,FDN

Will Grime January 8, 2014 at 5:02 am

Hi Fred,
Most intriguing! Carlo always called the cars ‘Americas’ when we discussed them, and Rai Corsi, Neil Verweij and Luigi Fusi (all of Alfa at the time) were quite clear that the cars were branded as GT Americas for marketing reasons. Peter Hull, a man I greatly respected and from whom I first learned many of the intricacies of Alfa Romeo history, agreed with your view, as presumably did hiostorian roy slater who collaborated with him.
I’ve heard the arguments for both views many times. Thinking about it again, and taking your evidence into account, I’ve concluded that the ‘codename’ GTAm was developed to please both factions, or at least accepted as it did just that. For the racers it worked as a nice development of the GTA ‘line’ (although as Carlo himself pointed out, at the time of the GTAm name being introduced, the cars had little in common; different base unit, different outer panels, different engine…). That said, to the spectator a relationship between GTA and GTAm would be unquestioned, especially as the GTAms were contemporary with the fat Juniors which shared the same big arches and piccolo-headed, fuel-injected engine form. For the management, the cars were a great marketing asset for the introduction of the model to the States, and the name GTAmerica served their purposes admirablyas a marketing tool . I completely accept your point about the engine size always being 2000cc but the car was initially raced as the 1750 GTAm, at the behest of the marketing team, not the racers. As such they seemed to have control of the name, hence my view, but in light of your evidence I’ve concluded that GTAm neatly represented both views rather than one or the other.

I’d love to see your car sometime – sounds wonderful…

Fred April 1, 2014 at 1:55 am

Dear Will,
Further evidence that the “m” in GTAm stands for Maggiorata,is the fact that NONE was sent to the US.The SCCA rulebook did not accept the GTAm specs.
The GTAm first series of which only 7 or 8 were made are all built in 1970 which was the end of the 1750 GTV model.
Not a single real GTAm ever came to the US until I brought mine to vintage race it in 1991.I could never find any logical link between the GTAm and the American market.
The GTAm was overbored to 2 liters and the GTAJr. Was called Junior because it was downsized to 1.3 liters.
Since there was never a correlation between the GTAm and the US market and the fact that the first series is a full Lucas FI that bears no similarity to the Spica FI sent on the cars exported Stateside I could never understand that somebody believed that the “m” would be written in small case and mean America.It would be an offense to the Americans. The A stands for Allegerita because all fenders,doors,hood and trunk lid were made of fiberglass.Parts made in aluminum were homologated but never produced.All GTAm’s used fiberglass body parts.
Best regards,FDN

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