• by Marco Vinci (Autodelta Italia Club)

ALFA ROMEO-FERRARI-AUTODELTA The "RED" sign of Italian Motoring

The Alfa Romeo factory has raced from almost the beginning, winning its first "World Championship" in 1925 with Vittorio Jano's P2. (Winning its first: Fiat was the champion in 1923-24, which is where Vittorio Jano came from) While in a period of great racing success, one of the most successful drivers (he was also an Alfa dealer), a young Enzo Ferrari, retired to form Scuderia Ferrari, a well financed privately funded corporation for sales, service and racing of automobiles. Because of hard financial times and government pressure, ALFA used Scuderia Ferrari as it's unofficial racing department (In 1931, Alfa was absorbed by IRI, and the prospect of a government-funded racing organization was not an especially good PR step) turning over to it all the factory cars, including the 2.3 and 2.6 Monzas and the incredible P3s. Over the next 9 years, Scuderia Ferrari raced the cars, developed and maintained them, even fabricating new designs, with well-known success. Ferrari's claims to authorship of a design are sometimes overblown, but his organization is clearly responsible for much development work on the cars.

Alfa Romeo P3 at Grand Prix Race with Ferrari badge on the Hoods

Alfa Romeo 50HP with this car Enzo Ferrari raced Targa Florio 1920

Understand that Colombo was sent to help, along with a couple of other factory engineers as well. When ALFA wanted to return the racing organization to the factory in 1938, (a year later) Enzo Ferrari returned to Modena. Why did Alfa return the activities in-house? In part, because it became politically palatable. Mussolini was a great admirer of Alfas and he can support theme. Further, Jano's luck had run out against the Germans and there was a high level of frustration at Alfa over not being able to beat them. (In part, Ferrari's leaving was a fallout of the German domination). After the war, he began manufacturing machine tools and eventually cars, and , oh well, you know the rest. After the war, ALFA was not healthy financially, but it was able to resurrect the Tipo 158 Alfetta and win the first Grand Prix championship after the war in 1950 and again in 1951.

Luigi Fagioli and Alfa Romeo Alfetta 158, F1 world champion 1950

At the end of 51 it announced that it was turning its attention to sports car racing and the development of cars such as the 6C3000 CM. There had been a couple of prototype sport racers built before (C50 and C52), as well as some truly odd grand prix designs (161). Alfa decided to get out of GP racing while it was still dominant: Ferrari was catching up fast, and was the 52 champion. But financial realities of starting up the new, lower cost Giulietta line led to a retreat from factory racing, leaving most of the racing from the mid 50's up to the customers. (Actually, the Marshall plan put Alfa back on its feet in 1950 and the 1900 was a runaway best seller, so you can't make Alfa too poor during this era.) The emergence of the Giulietta, especially with the lightweight models produced by Zagato and the expertise of tuners like Virgilio Conrero allowed ALFA to continue to bask in the glory of racing victories while rebuilding itself financially.

Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM

Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Competizione C50, 1948

A first famous Ferrari, the 212 berlinetta Export, Carrozzeria Touring, 1951

By 1961, ALFA was ready to return to factory racing but again preferred to have again the work done by outside contractors. It turned to a small company in Udine, run by two racing enthusiasts and technical geniuses, Lodovico Chizzola, who had started the organization with Carlo Chiti, (ex Manager Ferrari and ATS). Chizzola and Chiti had as their first task to build the 100 ALFA TZs needed for homologation. Autodelta, as it was named, was highly successful with the TZ and grew to support the racing activities. In 1964, ALFA required their transfer to Milano to be nearer the factory, in a facility in Settimo Milanese. Shortly thereafter, ALFA convinced the partners to sell, but Chizzola preferred to return to his home in Udine, leaving Chiti to run Autodelta.

Autodelta, some cars at Balocco Circuit, Milano

Autodelta TZ and GTA Test in Balocco Circuit, Milan

For the next 20 years, Chiti ran Autodelta with many victories. His projects included the GTA series, the Tipo 33 series which replaced the TZ1 and TZ 2 in 1967. Ing. Chiti create a winning International Sports Team and wins 2 World Sport Turism many Targa Florio and 24H of Lemans and Nurburgring with the T33 model and reentry of ALFA into Formula One, first as a engine supplier and then as a full entrant. Wins also in F.1 with Brabham or in autonomy, collaborated with important Drivers: Hill, Sanesi, Bandini, Rindt, Lauda, Reutemann, Andretti, Vaccarella, De Adamich, Hezemans, Stommelen, Giacomelli, De Cesaris, Cheever, Baldi, Patrese. Ing. Chiti has designed wonderful and performing engines an 6-8-12 cylinders turbo and aspired. In 1985, Autodelta was officially renamed ALFA Corse, but remained in its same location. With the acquisition of ALFA by FIAT, there was some rationalization for the racing activities. Ferrari continued in F1 and some sportscar racing. Lancia was the rally team. ALFA continues to support sedan racing like the German touring car championship with its ultra high tech silhouette formula as well as the more stock British touring car championship. ALFA also supports several other racing series, including T-Spark F3 engines and several Italian formula classes using near stock ALFA engines.

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