I suppose it’s better late than never, though it will probably hurt me in the polls. It’s still Spaghetti Sunday here, so this is an mostly red car for your consideration.
This is the Alfa Romeo T33/3 as represented by TSM in 1/43. Dutchman Toine Hezemans and Italian Nino Vacarella piloted this car to victory in the 1971 running of the Targa Florio. Another one has been featured here before on a much better diorama by none other than Philipilihp. I dare not even call this a diorama, more like a project with the kids. Construction paper, crayons, and glue, yo.
Debuting in 1969, the T33/3 was (obviously) the 3rd “evolution” of Alfa Romeo’s flagship racer in the World Championship, though it bore little resemblance to its forebears. It featured a 3.0L version of Alfa’s 4-cam V8, good for about 400hp, and competed against such giants as the Porsche 908 and Ferrari 312P, with little success at first. By 1971 the car had come into its own, often achieving class victories and even fighting for overall wins against the Porsche 917 that was then dominating. Thus, the T33/3 would see Alfa Romeo’s Autodelta squad to second in the 1971 World Championship.
Interestingly, the 1971 Targa Florio did not feature any works Ferraris, for Enzo saw no suitable answer in his stable for Porsche’s road-race ringer 908/3, despite the competitiveness of the 312. This miss by Ferrari is what freed previous Targa winner and local Sicilian boy Vacarella to drive for Alfa. His T33 would qualify first with a lap of 34 minutes, 14.2 seconds, a full 12 seconds clear of their teammates’ T33, and minutes ahead of the third place qualifier.
On race day most of the vaunted 908s were out of contention early, thanks to various calamities. One took the lead briefly after a pit stop, and the two leading Alfas lost some time together due to tire issues and pit confusion, but in the end the first to start was first to finish, with Hezemans behind the wheel as Vacarella had taken the start.
This model was a lucky eBay score some time back, and it’s just fantastic. The paint is mirror perfect, details are sharp, and for today’s purposes it’s a perfectly red Italian racing car. I almost featured an F40 instead (a bit surprised there haven’t been any, actually), but this one was calling to me so I dug it out of storage. Also, I thought it would be a good complement to Engineerrrrr’s awesome T33 Stradale from this morning. Tell you what, if that thing doesn’t win everything there is no justice in the world.
The background book is the excellent Alfa Romeo history “Viva Alfa Romeo” by David Owens, first released in 1976. There is in fact a black and white picture of this very car taking the finish at the Targa Florio in the early pages of the book, which I foolishly overlooked until much too late in the shoot.
TSM’s usual lovely presentation on the gloss white base. They just feel special because of it.
Fini. Hope you’ve enjoyed this, what an amazing first day of Car Week, with so many amazing cars featured! Can’t wait to see what the rest of the week brings but it’s safe to say my mind will be blown.
Special thanks to RacingSportsCars.com and Motorsport Magazine for their archive article on the 1971 Targa Florio, it was immensely helpful.