Carlo Chiti: An Appreciation in English and Italian

by pete on December 31, 2013

By Pete Vack

All images courtesy and copyright Alfa Romeo Automobilismo Storico, Centro Documentazione (Arese, Milano)

Carlo Chiti was many things: an engineer for Alfa Romeo from 1952 to 1957, Ferrari’s revolutionary chief engineer from 1958-1961, then the ATS chief engineer from 1962-1963. But above all, Carlo Chiti was Autodelta. Wrote his wife Luigia Fumanelli, “Autodelta was his creation. I think that he looked upon it as his second home, and it lasted so long – twenty years – that when it was no longer there he felt his life had been taken from him.”

Chiti admitted that his fortunes at Autodelta were closely allied to those of Giuseppe Luraghi, the colorful, novel- writing President of Alfa Romeo from 1960 to 1974. It was Luraghi who, via Orazio Satta, was invited to form a competition department of Alfa in 1962, but Chiti was tied up with ATS. By 1964 ATS was on the ropes and he was now able to take up on Luraghi’s offer to create a racing department, originally separate from the factory. Chiti had remarkable independence; although each project had to be passed through both Satta and Giuseppe Busso, according to Piero Casucci, “the freedom he enjoyed, together with his team, was virtually complete.”

Giuseppe Luraghi, always the enthusiast, with the ultra-rare Giulia-GTA-SA (Supercharged).

In the Beginning…

While some have compared Autodelta with the racing departments of Fiat (Abarth) and of Renault (Alpine), it is possible that Luraghi, born of the same generation as Enzo Ferrari, viewed the relationship of Alfa Romeo to Autodelta as more like that of Alfa Romeo to Scuderia Ferrari in the late 1920s and 1930s. Chiti himself came from Ferrari, and unlike Enzo, was a trained engineer as well as a mover of men. Nor could Chiti help but micro-manage. In the book Alfa Romeo Tipo 33, The development and racing history, Nanni Galli told Ed McDonough that “Chiti was like a volcano….the problem was that he was an engineer, but as a man he had to do and be everything…engineer, mechanic, team director, even the driver if he could have fit in the car.” Chiti himself admitted that “…I have the wretched habit of putting too many irons in the fire at the same time.” No doubt Luraghi realized this but instinctively knew Chiti was right for the job. To be sure, Alfa’s racing arm did not officially exist until Chiti was available to please Luraghi.

Friuli, Udine was the home of Ludovico Chizzola, who established Autodelta together with Chiti. Chizzola already had a site available in Friuli and the name “Delta” came from an advertisement, and sounded just right in any language when put together with “Auto.” Autodelta came into being on March 5th, 1963. At the onset, Luraghi wanted Autodelta to finish the construction of about 100 of the Satta/Busso GTZ 1s. It was the logistics which made a move closer to the Alfa factory necessary. As Ed McDonough wrote, ”The TZ was immediately successful but the operation was plagued by huge logistical difficulties.” It didn’t take long for Alfa to request a move closer to Milan. Chizzola opted for a buyout and stayed in Friuli and Chiti headed back to Milan. Autodelta stopped being a co-partnership on November 30th, 1964 and became the property of Alfa Romeo.

The Satta-Busso TZ2 in front of the new Autodelta building in 1965. Chiti's job was to finish construction and development of both the TZ1 and TZ2.

Autodelta’s Children

“Inquissima haec bellorum condicio est: prospera omnes sibi indicant, aduersa uni imputantur”*

Almost all of the cars that were bestowed with the Autodelta triangle were successful; it goes without saying then, that the designers and engineers in such cases should get the appropriate credit. But since Autodelta’s primary goal was the racing development of Alfa Romeo cars, actual engineering credit often must be shared between Chiti and Satta and Busso, among others.

For example, Chiti was always careful not to claim responsibility for the design of the TZ1, although Autodelta did finish off the cars and get them into competition. He felt that the Satta/Busso TZ1 had too high a center of gravity, a problem resolved with the TZ2. Nevertheless, the TZ1, also a Satta/Busso project, had a remarkable competition record, albeit mostly with privateers. For Autodelta, the real work began with the GTA series, all cars already designed by the general Alfa Romeo engineering staff.

The prototype T33 chassis with the unusual H shaped frame was also penned in 1963-64 by Satta and Busso and although originally set up with a four cylinder, Alfa had previous experience with a V8 in the thirties and fifties and it was clear that the new car would be a V8 as well. But Chiti was instrumental in the creation of the first T33 V8; in fact, according to Ed McDonough, the first V8 was an offshoot of the 1.5 liter V8 Chiti had created for the ATS. Chiti’s hand in actual ‘from scratch’ design and engineering didn’t come until the T33/3 in 1968.

Testing the TZ2 at Balocco in 1965.

Chiti himself claims that at Autodelta, he was “… essentially (70%) a chassis designer,” even though he doesn’t consider himself to be such. As Autodelta took on more responsibility, his portfolio increased to include chassis design as well and reflected upon his chassis design experience at Ferrari, where he had finally convinced Enzo to put the cart before the horse. He became more involved with engine design towards the end of his reign at Autodelta, working with the Alfa 179 project before his departure. A relationship with Minardi to supply engines to their F1 team resulted in a job offer in 1984 to design and create the engines for the team; Chiti carried on with engine design and development without missing a beat.

We found it interesting that in his superb book The Alfa Romeo Tradition Griff Borgeson does not mention Carlo Chiti as an engineer or designer. Borgeson’s oversight was a puzzle, so we turned to official Alfa historian Luigi Fusi, who was sparse with his praise of individuals but did create an appendix to All Alfas From 1910 entitled “The Designers of Alfa Romeo Cars”. Fusi lists nine. Chiti is on the list, which includes Ferrari (not a trained engineer) and yet does not include Busso (who worked directly under Satta). And significantly, the credit for entire range of the T33 is also attributed to Satta, who had to approve any designs submitted by Chiti and others. The old Italian proverb was in much use.

[A note here…we do not have the book, Carlo Chiti the Roaring Sinfonia by Oscar Orefici, but Ed McDonough’s Tipo 33 quotes widely from this book.]

Behind Closed Doors

The shop at Autodelta was significant in both size and shape, handling design, construction, repair, modifications, and race prep of a wide assortment of Alfas in addition to actually running the cars as a team effort. Imagine a shop that was asked to develop and race cars ranging from the four cylinder boxer Alfasud to the flat twelve F1 car and everything in between. The staff was constantly overstretched and Chiti had his hands full just making sure everything got done. Plus, it must not be overlooked that at the time Alfa was a state-owned company. Ed McDonough quoted test driver Teo Zeccoli: “…Chiti was a race engineer in charge of the competition department of a state run business. He went to races and developed cars, then when he returned, he would have to go to Rome to justify what he had done!”

Autodelta behind closed doors: 1965 and the GTA series is well underway; note the Satta sedan as well. Chiti had a lot of work!

By 1968 Autodelta had proven itself with the amazing run of victories claimed by not only the TZ series, but the GTA 1600 and GTA 1300, whose development cut short that of the TZ series. But it was worth it for the “suits” in Rome approved. Back in the shop, Marcello Gambini was a general mechanic, Manfredini was in charge of the engine test beds along with Paulino Flore, engine builders were Maggi and Matati, while Gobbi and Vignone were in charge of gearboxes. In addition, since many of the T33 components were made from Titanium, they had to be formed by han; for example the steering column, as no Titanium tubes were available. It was a remarkably complete shop and perhaps the envy of some back at the factory.

Autodelta in the mid-1970s. The GTA has been replaced with the GTV and the T33 is about to be retired.

Friends and Dogs

Almost to a one, Chiti’s staff and employees liked him. According to Ed McDonough, “all the drivers looked upon Chiti with affection and respect. The respect was for his honesty, integrity and abilities as an engineer.” One who did not have a great experience with Autodelta was John Surtees, who offered to join the team in 1969 and help develop the T33/3. After a good bit of testing and changing the car to suit his style at Bolacco, Surtees went to Sebring to drive the car and found his settings had been returned to standard by Chiti’s orders. And that was the end of that as far as Surtees was concerned. (Surtees, admittedly, had similar issues with Forghieri at Ferrari, and Jim Hall at Chaparral, among others.)

No doubt Chiti could also be abrasive, explosive, and like Surtees, not one to mince words. His wife chose to see his best side, “… his humanity, his generosity, and his great love of me and his children.” And of course stray animals; Chiti would inevitably pick up strays around the neighborhood and find places for them, some in unusual corners. Brit Richard Pilkington, on a mission to find part for his cars, remembers seeing guard dogs using Alfa T33 engine covers for kennels. Chiti’s love of animals was also recalled at this year’s 50th anniversary.

Crisis Mode

Although Autodelta was still extremely successful throughout the 1970s, including winning the 1975 World Sportscar Championship and the 1977 Grouip 6 Championship, things were changing behind the scenes. Problems began after Luraghi left in 1974. “The atmosphere really became disturbed with the arrival of Massacesi and Innocenti,” Chiti recalled. “Their constant worry was to check up on how the money was being spent, and to spend it differently, changing the nature and the aims for which the company had been set up.” Chiti was right; this was no way to run a racing department.

While it would be simple to blame the new management, the reality was that the entire auto industry was in crisis mode throughout the 1970s. At Alfa there were vast changes in store as the old guard was all retiring at about the same time, including Satta, Busso, Sanesi, and Colombo. On the world front, the two gas crisis’s took a toll, while the US government was demanding safety and emission controls that required major changes. All of this while the Japanese were making inroads into both the US and Europe. Chiti’s nemesis, Ettore Massacesi and Corrado Innocenti were responsible for the disastrous Alfa Romeo ARNA, a budget Nissan with an Alfasud engine in 1980.

Chiti at Zolder in 1979 with Giacomelli and the F1 team.

He would struggle with those constraints until finally, in 1984, Alfa took on the responsibility once granted to Autodelta. For Alfa, things went from bad to worse, the Grand Prix and Indy efforts coming to naught, with Fiat eventually taking the reins in 1989. Chiti watched in anguish, but quickly moved on to Minardi to help launch their Grand Prix engine. He was once again in the midst of an exciting adventure which kept him going day and night. He regained faith in his abilities, working night and day to ready the new F1 engine. The cry of the new engine as it started for the first time was much like giving birth, recalls his wife Luigia. “It is a moving memory, and I have likened it to childbirth because I think these men live their creative experiences in that way.”

Her husband, no doubt, would not have disagreed.

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*Inquissima haec bellorum condicio est: prospera omnes sibi indicant, aduersa uni imputantur is Latin for “This is an unfair thing about war: victory is claimed by all, failure to one alone.”

The over-used proverb is at least Italian: Roman historian Tacitus, from his book on war entitled, Agricola and written in 98 AD. In 1942 Mussolini’s son-in-law Count Ciano quoted a local proverb as “Victory has 100 fathers. No-one wants to recognize failure.” In reference to auto racing, the proverb “Success has many fathers” was used many times by many individuals to describe the parentage of the Alfa Romeo 158/9.

In Italia

Carlo Chiti è stato molte cose, un ingegnere per Alfa Romeo 1952-1957, ingegnere capo rivoluzionario della Ferrari 1958-1961, l’ingegnere capo ATS 1962-1963. Ma soprattutto , Carlo Chiti è stato l’Autodelta, senza dubbio l’apogeo della sua straordinaria carriera. Ha scritto la moglie Luigia Fumanelli, “L’Autodelta era la sua creazione. Penso che lui la considerasse come la sua seconda casa, e durò così a lungo, 20 anni, che quando non era lì per tanto tempo, si sentiva come gli fosse stata tolta la vita”.

Chiti ha ammesso che le sue fortune in Autodelta sono state strettamente collegate a quelle di Giuseppe Luraghi, presidente della Alfa Romeo dal ’60 al ‘74.
Quando, nel 62, fu invitato da Luraghi, via Orazio Satta, a formare un reparto corse Alfa Romeo, Chiti era ancora legato con ATS. Poi, nel ’64 quando l’esperienza ATS finì, Chiti fu in grado di accettare l’offerta di Luraghi, che prevedeva la realizzazione di un reparto corse separato dalla fabbrica. Secondo gli accordi, Chiti avrebbe avuto una notevole autonomia, anche se ogni progetto doveva essere vistato sia da Satta che da Busso, secondo Piero Casucci, “la libertà di cui godeva, insieme al suo team, era praticamente completa.”


Mentre alcuni hanno paragonato l’Autodelta ai reparti corse di Fiat (Abarth) e di Renault (Alpine), è possibile che Luraghi, nato dalla stessa generazione di Enzo Ferrari, abbia visto il rapporto tra l’Alfa Romeo e Autodelta più simile a quello dell’Alfa Romeo con la Scuderia Ferrari alla fine del 1920 e 1930.

Chiti stesso veniva dalla Ferrari e, a differenza di Enzo, oltre che un trascinatore di uomini, era un ingegnere qualificato.
In una intervista riportata da Ed McDonough, Nanni Galli ha detto “Chiti era come un vulcano …. il problema era che lui era un ingegnere, ma come uomo doveva fare ed essere tutto … ingegnere, meccanico, direttore del team, e anche il pilota, se solo avesse potuto entrare in macchina.”

Chiti stesso ha ammesso ” … ho la brutta abitudine di mettere troppa carne al fuoco allo stesso tempo “. Non c’è dubbio che Luraghi avesse capito questa sua particolarità, ma istintivamente sapeva che Chiti era l’uomo giusto per quel lavoro. Per essere sicuri, che il braccio corse Alfa non esistesse ufficialmente, almeno fino a quando Chiti fosse disponibile a compiacere Luraghi.

Friuli, Udine era la città di Ludovico Chizzola, che fondò l’Autodelta insieme a Chiti. Chizzola aveva già un’officina in Friuli con il nome “Delta” e dato che quando alla parola ‘Delta’ avvicini la parola ‘Auto’, la sua pronuncia suona bene in qualsiasi lingua si scelse il nome Autodelta. L’Autodelta nacque il 5 marzo 1963.

Inizialmente, Luraghi coinvolse l’Autodelta per portare a terminare la costruzione di circa 100 TZ progettate da Satta e Busso. Furono poi i problemi logistici che consigliarono lo spostamento delle officine più vicino alla fabbrica Alfa Romeo. Come ha scritto Ed McDonough, “La TZ ebbe subito successo, ma l’operazione fu afflitta da enormi difficoltà logistiche. ” Non passò quindi molto tempo che l’Alfa richiese uno spostamento più vicino a Milano. Chizzola optò per un buyout e rimase in Friuli mentre Chiti tornò a Milano. L’Autodelta smise di essere una compartecipazione il 30 novembre 1964 quando divenne proprietà di Alfa Romeo.

I figli dell’Autodelta

“Inquissima haec bellorum condicio est: prospera omnes sibi indicant, aduersa uni imputantur”*

“La cosa ingiusta della guerra e che la vittoria è sostenuta da tutti, il fallimento da uno solo”.

Quasi tutte le auto che sono state contraddistinte dal triangolo Autodelta hanno avuto successo, va da sé, che i progettisti e gli ingegneri che hanno contribuito alla loro realizzazione dovrebbero godere di un credito appropriato.

Ma dal momento che l’obiettivo primario dell’Autodelta era lo sviluppo di vetture da corsa Alfa Romeo, tutti i successi ottenuti dovrebbero essere condivisi tra Chiti, Satta e Busso.
Ad esempio, Chiti è sempre stato attento a non rivendicare la paternità della progettazione della TZ1, anche se l’Autodelta ha portato poi l’auto in gara.

Pensava che la TZ1 progettata da Satta e Busso avesse un centro di gravità troppo alto, un problema che risolse con la TZ2. Ciononostante, la TZ1 aveva avuto un notevole successo in gara, anche se per lo più con scuderie private.

Per Autodelta, il vero lavoro iniziò con la serie GTA, tutte vetture già progettate dallo staff di ingegneri Alfa Romeo.

Il prototipo 33/2, con il telaio a forma di H venne progettato nel 1963-64 da Satta e Busso e originariamente dotato di un propulsore a quattro cilindri, l’Alfa aveva avuto precedenti esperienze con un V8 negli anni cinquanta ed era chiaro che la nuova vettura avrebbe dovuto essere dotata di un V8. Chiti fu determinante nella realizzazione del primo 33-V8, infatti, secondo Ed McDonough, il primo V8 fu la realizzazione di una idea del 1.5 litri V8 che Chiti aveva creato per l’ATS. La progettazione totale sia di design che di ingegneristica avvenne con la 33/3 del ‘68.

Chiti sosteneva che in Autodelta, era stato ” … essenzialmente (per il 70%), un progettista di telaii”, anche se poi non si considerava un telaista. Con l’Autodelta ebbe maggiori responsabilità, le sue competenze aumentarono pur comprendo il progetto del telaio, grazie all’esperienza progettuale maturata in Ferrari, dove aveva convinto Enzo Ferrari a mettere il ‘carro davanti ai buoi’, ossia ad adottare il motore posteriore. Poi, in concomitanza con il progetto Alfa 179, verso la fine della sua permanenza in Autodelta, fu maggiormente coinvolto nel progetto del motore. Nel ‘84, collaborò con la Minardi per progettazione, la realizzazione e la fornitura dei motori al ‘Team Minardi’ di F1; anche in questo caso Chiti portò avanti la progettazione e lo sviluppo del motore senza perdere un colpo.

Abbiamo trovato interessante il fatto che nel suo libro, The Alfa Romeo Tradition, Griff Borgeson non menziona Carlo Chiti come un ingegnere o un progettista. Borgeson sostiene che era un puzzle, così ci siamo rivolti allo storico ufficiale Alfa Luigi Fusi, che è stato scarso di elogi ai vari personaggi, creando poi una appendice All Alfas From 1910 dal titolo “I progettisti dell’Alfa Romeo”. Fusi ne elenca nove. Chiti è sulla lista, che comprende Ferrari (non un ingegnere qualificato) e tuttavia non include Busso (che ha lavorato direttamente sotto Satta). E significativamente, il credito per tutta la gamma delle 33 è attribuito anche a Satta, che doveva approvare tutti i disegni presentati da Chiti e altri.

[ Nel suo libro ‘Alfa Romeo Tipo 33’ Ed McDonough cita ampiamente alcune frasi tratte da libro
‘Carlo Chiti Sinfonia Ruggente’ di Oscar Orefici]

Dietro le porte chiuse

L’Autodelta era importante sia per dimensioni che forme, nelle sue officine si faceva di tutto; sviluppo di progettazioni, costruzione, riparazione, modifiche, e preparazione di una vasta gamma di Alfa Romeo in aggiunta a quelle già effettivamente in carico alla squadra. Immaginatevi un officina cui fu chiesto di sviluppare auto da corsa che vanno dal boxer quattro cilindri Alfasud al boxer dodici cilindri per una vettura di F1 e tutto il resto. Il personale era costantemente sovraccaricato e Chiti aveva tutto nelle sue mani, e doveva fare in modo che tutto fosse portato a termine. Inoltre, non si deve dimenticare che all’epoca Alfa era una società di proprietà dello Stato. Ed McDonough ci ricorda citando il collaudatore Teo Zeccoli : ” … Chiti era un ingegnere di gara responsabile del reparto corse di una struttura statale. Sviluppava auto e le portava in gara, poi quando era tornato dalle gare, doveva andare a Roma per giustificare quello che aveva fatto!”

Nel 1968 l’Autodelta si era affermata con una incredibile serie di vittorie, non solo con la serie TZ, ma con la GTA 1600, GTA 1300, il cui sviluppo era stato più veloce di quello della serie TZ. Ma per i “vertici ” di Roma non ne valeva la pena.
Ritornado alle officine Autodelta, Marcello Gambini era un meccanico generale, Manfredini e Paulino Flore erano incaricati dei banchi prova per i motori, Maggi e Matati assemblavano i motori, mentre Gobbi e Vignone erano gli esperti della trasmissione. Nelle officine si faceva di tutto. Dato che molti dei componenti della 33 erano realizzati in titanio, dovevano essere costruiti a mano … come ad esempio il piantone dello sterzo, dato che non erano disponibili tubi di titanio. Era un officina straordinariamente completa e forse invidiata anche da alcune persone in fabbrica.

Amici e cani

Chiti piaceva a tutti, allo staff e ai dipendenti. Secondo Ed McDonough, “tutti i piloti guardavano Chiti con affetto e rispetto. Il rispetto era per la sua onestà, integrità e abilità come ingegnere. “Uno che non ha avuto una bella esperienza con Autodelta è stato John Surtees, che si offrì di far parte del team nel ‘69 e contribuire allo sviluppo della 33/3. Dopo aver fatto un mucchio di prove al Balocco, e apportato vari cambiamenti all’auto per adeguarla al suo stile di guida, quando arrivò a Sebring per guidare l’auto, scoprì che le sue scelte erano state annullate per ordine di Chiti. Fu la fine del rapporto. (Surtees, ebbe problemi simili con Forghieri alla Ferrari, e Jim Hall alla Chaparral)

Senza dubbio Chiti sapeva essere ruvido, esplosivo, e, come con Surtees, un uomo non vezzo ai mezzi termini. Sua moglie ha scelto di vedere il suo lato migliore, ” … la sua umanità, la sua generosità e il suo grande amore per me e i suoi figli.”; Chiti avrebbe raccolto ogni cane randagio in giro per il quartiere per trovargli un posto dove stare, alcuni anche in angoli insoliti. Brit Richard Pilkington, in un sua visita nelle officine Autodelta per trovare un ricambio per le sue auto, ricorda di aver visto cani da guardia ripararsi in una cuccia composta da pezzi di motore della Alfa 33. L’amore di Chiti per gli animali è stato ricordato anche al 50° anniversario di fondazione dell’Autodelta di quest’anno .

Modalità e crisi

Anche se per l’Autodelta, gli anni ’70 furono anni di grandi successi, tra cui la vittoria del Campionato del Mondo vetture Sport nel ‘75 e il campionato Gruppo 6 nel ‘77, le cose stavano cambiando dietro le quinte. I problemi cominciarono dopo che Luraghi lasciò la direzione dell’Alfa Romeo nel ‘74. “L’atmosfera era diventata davvero pesante con l’arrivo di Massacesi e Innocenti”, ha ricordato Chiti . “La loro costante preoccupazione era di verificare come fossero stati spesi i soldi, per poi spenderli in modo diverso, cambiando la natura e gli scopi per cui la società era stata costituita”. Chiti aveva ragione, questo non era il modo di gestire un reparto corse.

Tuttavia, mentre sarebbe semplice dare tutta la colpa alla nuova gestione Alfa Romeo, la realtà era diversa. Negli anni ’70, l’intera industria automobilistica stava vivendo un periodo di crisi. All’Alfa era in atto un grande cambiamento, tutta la vecchia guardia, tra cui Satta, Busso, Sanesi e Colombo stavano andando in pensione. Contemporaneamente, sul fronte mondiale si era profilata la crisi petrollifica, mentre il governo americano stava richiedendo più sicurezza e controlli delle emissioni, tutte scelte che richiedevano grandi cambiamenti. Inoltre, questo accadeva mentre i giapponesi stavano facendo breccia nel mercato dell’auto, sia negli Stati Uniti che in Europa. La personalizzazione di questo per Chiti era che Ettore Massacesi e Corrado Innocenti erano responsabili per la disastrosa Alfa Romeo ARNA, vettura realizzata con una piattaforma Nissan e motore Alfasud nel 1980.

Chiti lottò con queste idee finché, nel ‘84, l’Alfa assunse le responsabilità, precedentemente affidate alla Autodelta. Per l’Alfa, le cose andarono di male in peggio, gli sforzi nei Grand Prix di F1 e Indy finirono nel nulla, e la Fiat prese le redini nel ‘89.
Chiti guardava il futuro con angoscia, ma presto passò alla Minardi per lanciare il loro motore Grand Prix.

Fu ancora una volta al centro di un’avventura avvincente che lo prendeva emozionalmente. Riacquistò fiducia nelle sue capacità, lavorando giorno e notte per portare alla nascita il nuovo motore di F1. Il vagito del nuovo motore, quando venne acceso per la prima volta, fu per lui molto simile a una nascita, ricorda la moglie Luigia. “È un ricordo commovente, e posso paragonarlo al parto perché penso che questi uomini vivono le loro esperienze creative in questo modo.”

Suo marito, senza dubbio, non sarebbe d’accordo.

*Il proverbio utilizzato più sopra è dello storico romano Tacito, ed è tratto dal suo libro sulla guerra intitolato, Agricula scritto nel 98 DC.
Nel 1942 il conte Ciano, genero di Mussolini, citò il proverbio che ben incarna alcune vicende italiane, come “La vittoria ha 100 padri. Nessuno vuole riconoscere il fallimento”.
In riferimento alle corse automobilistiche, il proverbio diventa ” Il successo ha molti padri ” ed è stato più volte citato per descrivere la paternità della Alfa Romeo 158/9.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Ed McDonough December 31, 2013 at 11:56 am

Happy New Year!!!

Good piece…of course.

There are several dog stories….Chiti was known to get a phone call in the night from someone who knew him, saying ‘there’s a lost dog wandering around….(almost anywhere)…and he would go off and rescue it. I believe Toine Hezemans was invited to sit down in Chiti’s office, but all the chairs were occupied by large strays so he politely refused!

My co-author Peter Collins and I actually saw the Fifties prototype V8 engine sitting on a shelf in a Milan garage run by an ex utodelta mechanic.


pete December 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Thanks to Ed…the article could not have been written without the work he and Peter Collins did on the Tipo 33 book. We are looking forward to articles from both Peter and Ed in the near future!


Jeff Allison December 31, 2013 at 12:44 pm


Thx for a very nice article on Carlo Chiti. He was surely one of the last of the old school “racing” engineers.

The list of articles from 2013 is indeed impressive and was full of interesting reading. Congratulations to you and your staff for a great job in 2013 and best wishes in 2014.

Lars Johansson December 31, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I have a few pictures from the ATS F1 debut in Spa, if you’re interested.
An American, I think his name was Scott Anderson, was test driving for Chiti in the late 60s. (Not the current driver of the same name, obviously.) He crashed a sports car when he hit a bird. Chiti, sceptical, said: “You go and find the bird.”
There was high grass around the circuit, so it took some time, but he found it and brought it back to Chiti, who said something like “well, it’s all right then”.

Robert Little January 1, 2014 at 12:03 pm

I am pleased to announce that many of my personal archive of never before seen Autodelta color photographs taken exclusively inside the factory, including the actual images of the assembly of the very first batch of T-33/12 cars as they were taking shape in 1972 …all snapped with the completely open, unhindered full access permission of my friend Ing. Chiti while residing inside the factory and working for Autodelta at various European circuits…. will be released for the very first time in more than four decades and printed in various magazine editions of the Alfa Owner (USA) magazine and later in selected Alfa Romeo Owners Club ‘webzines’ around the world during the 2014 year. As far as I can learn from my association with Autodelta and Alfa Romeo, S.p.A. these are the only original photographs known to exist in private hands. Become a member of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club this year to receive a copy of this stunning collection.

modelle January 1, 2014 at 5:40 pm

What was the story about Chiti where he threw the chicken-leg at the stray cat and said something like “the danger of life”? A humane man is an indication of a great man.

Don Black January 4, 2014 at 11:09 am

per “modelle”
This was on occasion when my wife Margaret and I were dining in a favorite restaurant, near Massa, with a dozen or so of Chiti’s friends. Margaret was his dinner partner on this occasion when the chicken leg was thrown over her shoulder into a row of privacy shrubs from which this cat emerged awaiting his share. Carlo was a master of the practical joke, which many misread. During our years of association, this facet of the man had never really been publicized. Several hard cover books have been published about this talented and warm person. “Lina” his wife, was a saint who became very adept at rolling her eyes at her husbands frequent antics among his friends. They were really irreplaceable friends.

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