• Toy de Carvalho (Alfa Romeo Club South Africa)

GTA The Competitions -Part 4

The original 1600 GTAs, were then entered in Group 4 events. At the time Alfa had introduced the 1750 line, so in 1970 it build the 1750 GTAm powered with a 1985 cc engine. As the rules had changed again and the Division 2 was now for cars up to 2 litres, it suited the GTAm perfectly. That is when things got complicated. How many GTAm were made? No one really knows how many “Disco Volantes” were made in the early 50s, as Alfa Romeo personnel added and chopped body parts, including whole roofs. Some cars were powered by 4, while others by 6 cylinder engines and these were also changed around.

The same disease seem to have afflicted the GTAms, as many of them, appear to have been updated from Junior to “Am” by the installation of 2 litre engines. Most can be identified by the step nose and are commonly known as “scallinos”. The early original GTAm had the 1750 grill with twin headlight , but I’ve came across a number of GTAms with single head lights and step nose body with riveted panels added on as well as the 1750 four light grill. A quick look will reveal that the flickers remain on the grills extremities, contrary to the genuine “Am” that had the flickers under the head lights.

The GTA and his best rival : the Ford Cortina Lotus

An example of this is the Arnold Chatz made in SA, GTAm. This also adds to the question of how many GTAm were made. According to Fusi’s Bible, about 500 GTA , 447 Juniors and 40 GTAm were made. However Alan de Cadenet in “Alfa Romeo – Victory by design” claims 12 GTAm. Adriaensen in his book “Alleggerita”, lists about 50 chassis numbers for the GTAm. It is of a general consensus that the 1750 / 2000 GTAm , with the “m” standing for maggioratta or increased was powered by a 1985 cc engine and had Spica fuel injection. However, some of them had 1998 cc engines , Lucas fuel injection and even 48mm Webbers, as in the case of the Angelini, a tuner that made heads with single plug, dictated by the need to accommodate 16 valves on a much narrower valve angle head.

Narrower heads had originally been seen in the GTA juniors and apparently were developed together with Cosworth Engineering. More recently many replicas have been made, not only in SA, but also overseas, employing Alfa 75 heads and in many cases of complete engines.

Finally there is the question of what does the “m” really stands for? As we seen above, officially it stood for maggiorata, but in a recent Alfa Romeo Forum discussion, it was pointed out that all GTAm chassis numbers are of the American market 1750 / 2000 series, raising the question if the “m” next to the GTA doesn’t mean America as many claim. But does it really matter? In all its forms the GTA series in the space of 8 years won 31 National championships, as well as the ETCC seven times, the Coupe du Roi at the 24 hours of Spa and the Trans-Am title, and all the Alfaholics lived happy ever after!

Tour de Corse, 1969 - Pinto/Stonacci driver, tested the 1750 GTAm engine with injection on the GTA junior chassis

*Due to the Alfas domination in the lower division, the company kept walking away with the titles, while Ford and BMW fought it out in the over two litre division, with nothing to show for it. Foot note: GTAs, ETC Champion drivers included Andrea de Adamich (1966, 1967), Spartaco Dini (69), Toine Hezemans (70, 71), Carlo Truci (70) Horst Kwech/Gaston Andrey (66) Trans-Am series and Ignazio Giunti (European Mountain Champion).

1971 24H of SPA - A Fantastic GTAm 2000 Driver to Nino Vaccarella at 2th place of Division, rear The Winner Carlo Facetti with other GTAm yellow N°42

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