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March 01, 2017
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Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 - The development and racing history

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Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 - The development and racing history
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By Ed McDonough, Peter Collins
About the Author

Hardback • 250mm x 250mm • 224 pages • Over 400 photographs

ISBN: 9781904788713

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• First book on these important sports cars of 60s & 70s.
• Complete history of all the events, never appeared in print
• Details of all the drivers of Alfa T33
• History of each model including development
• Chassis histories-list of all chassis where known
• Interviews with key period personalities
• Significant proportion of previously unseen photographs
• Live track tests of original cars driven by and photographed by the authors
• Participation and support given by Alfa Romeo, Italy
• T-33-based Concept Car analysis


These important Sports Racing cars of 1967-1977 won the 1975 and 1977 Manufacturers World Championships. The definitive record, this is also the first book to be written about the history and development of Alfa Romeo’s fabulous Championship-winning Tipo 33 prototypes. Containing many previously unseen photographs and interviews with key personalities, this is a vital addition to any Alfa enthusiasts collection.


At the time, little was recorded about the activities of Alfa Romeo’s World Championship-winning Sports Racing car, the Tipo 33. The model had a long career, as a factory car as well as in private hands from 1967 until 1977. The great Italian motor sport engineer Carlo Chiti designed and ran a prolific number of different models of this Tipo. Unfortunately nothing of the history of these developments was documented at the time, but the authors have managed, after intense investigation and numerous personal interviews, to uncover much about this marvelous sports prototype. The fruits of their labors abound, manifesting as many previously unseen photographs and the personal recollections of the prime movers in the Tipo 33’s career. If you like Alfas, you'll love this book.

Independent Reviews

Review from MotorSport, August 2006

From the earliest 1964 prototype to the T33/TT12s which took Alfa to victory in the ailing World Sportscar Championship in 1977, via the Stradale road car and a variety of concept cars from the likes of Pininfarina and Bertone, it's all here. A wealth of images fills the pages, and co-author McDonough has even provided driving impressions of several variations on the theme. Memories and fascinating anecdotes from Autodelta drivers and copious references to contemporary reports punctuate the text, and there are comprehensive factual appendices. It's sub-titled 'The development and racing history,' and it doesn't stint on either aspect.

Review by Phil Ward for Auto Italia, April 2006

What an excellent book! The amount of research that has gone into this work is amazing. The Tipo 33 story is relatively recent history but nobody has attempted such a comprehensive book before because of the politics involved and the fact that you really have to be in Italy to correlate the views of the surviving characters.

The competition history is thorough though the lap by lap account can be a bit wearying for the reader. However, the full story needs to be told to form the basis of planned future works on the Tipo 33 by the authors.

Veloce have done a superb job on the book design and the quality and quantity of period pictures is awesome. A chapter deals with the exotic concept cars based on the Tipo 33 and a serious attempt has been made to list all the chassis numbers.

Don't try and read this book through on one sitting. Put it down occasionally, take your time and absorb the story.


Review by Chris Savill for Alfa Romeo Owner's Club magazine, February 2006

Here, at last, is the definitive book on Alfa’s sports racing prototypes of 1967-1977. From the original 2.0 litre class contending V8 T33 of 1967, through the final 3.0 litre V8 T33/TT/3 of 1972 to the world championship winning 3.0 litre flat-12 cars of 1975 and 1977, the authors unfold a story of promise, disappointment and ultimate triumph.

It is a story of larger than life characters, of engineers, of Autodelta and Team VDS, of over one hundred drivers and of personal recall as so little was written down at the time. Consequently, writing this book provided an exceptional challenge in separating fact from fiction, hearsay from thinly recorded detail and claims from counter claims. The authors are rightly cautious on matters of authenticity but this in no way detracts from their findings which are the result of the studious gathering of material over several years. As Ed McDonough writes in the introduction: it might have been easier to find, explain and build a replica of the Holy Grail!

This 250mm square book offers the reader 224 pages and over 400 black and white and colour photographs. The text is taught and easy to read while the photo selection, which mixes period colour with black and white, is bound to have you thumbing through and reaching for your wallet. Many of the pictures have not been published before and they add to the overall ‘freshness’ of the book.

After an opening chapter given to setting the scene for Alfa Romeo’s return to sports prototype racing, each year from 1967 to 1977 receives a separate chapter tracing the development and race history of the different models. The chapter headings for these years are in themselves a catalogue of the highs and lows while their content avoids being merely a lap by lap, race by race account as the authors take the reader behind the scenes with observations and driver memories.

‘Driving the Cars’ is a major chapter in the book as the authors have been fortunate enough to drive and photograph several versions. This allows them to examine the construction, history and behaviour of these individual cars more fully. The book also takes in the 33’s most famous offspring, the Stradale, along with the numerous concept cars for which the 33 formed the basis.

The book closes with a string of appendices covering the competition record year by year, including the limited competition appearances of the Stradale, the whereabouts of existing cars and a list of drivers. Certain anomalies and explanations, which otherwise might appear as footnotes in each chapter, are also grouped together in another appendix.

A novel feature is a six page photo gallery of rare and unusual photos closing the book. These are sometimes of lesser quality or for other reasons were not incorporated into the main body of text but are nevertheless of considerable interest. They are presented in
montage form to accommodate the different sizes, and captions on each photo might have spoilt the overall visual appeal. Nevertheless I was left wanting each picture to be numbered with a page of captions at the end; perhaps taking one page of the three devoted to advertising other books from the Veloce stable!

The fact that the authors know and love their subject matter shines through the text and leaves you wanting more. Well, you may be in luck as Peter and Ed have stated their intention to write a second volume detailing the individual history of as many cars as possible.


A Brief History
The Alfa Romeo T33 was Alfa's most successful post-war sports race car, yet perhaps the most frustrating for both Autodelta and Alfa race fans. Its ten year life spanned a huge variety of changes in race car technology, safety, and race track venues, and perhaps most significantly, dozens of rule changes deemed by the FIA. It took eight years to win a World Championship for Makes, and by then no one cared.

The story, in fascinating detail and depth, has now been told by Peter Collins and Ed McDonough in their new book, “Alfa Romeo Tipo 33, The Development and Racing History.”

The authors have done a tremendous job tracking the long history of the cars and events, writing much in the fashion of Peter Hull and Roy Slater, who spent years putting together the landmark “Alfa Romeo, A History” (Cassell & Co, 1964), organizing the work by year and race.

What makes the Collins/McDonough effort stand out is the fact that unlike Hull/Slater, they went to great lengths to find and interview almost every living driver who ever drove a T33--and the list is both impressive and long. Included are relevant and revealing comments from John Surtees, Vic Elford, Teddy Pilette, Arturo Merzario, Derek Bell, Jochen Mass, Giovanni Galli, Nino Vaccarella---and dozens of others. The inclusion of their remembrances makes this a very special book, and brings what could be boring racing history into vivid, colorful life.

The problem of chassis numbers and which cars participated in which events remains somewhat inconclusive. As with Ferraris, this poses questions for owners and potential buyers – Alfa T33s are worth anywhere from 200K to 400K USD - yet is is often impossible to ascertain if a particular car raced or placed in any particular event. According to co-author Ed McDonough, “We have some good sources but everything has to be cross-referenced with photos to give satisfactory answers. We believe there is a listing done by Chiti but we haven't got our hands on it yet. We used a system which required three separate pieces of evidence for us to accept that a car did a certain race. Some of that came from Galli who noted his chassis numbers, and knew when he drove the same car. It is however a minefield and while interesting, tends to muddle the achievements of the cars themselves.”

Ed McDonough, that all around guy who drives as well as he writes, has taken on a huge task and done it well, ably assisted by Peter Collins No one else seemed up to the job, one which desperately needed doing, as information about the well known T33 is scarce and usually inaccurate. It is one of those absolutely essential books which will be referenced time and time again. In addition to the ten year racing history, McDonough gets into the cars themselves and offers a chapter on driving a variety of the T33s, plus additional chapters on the T33 Stradales and Concept cars. A lot of new, valuable, and interesting material is packed into this book.

“Alfa Romeo Tipo 33, The Development and Racing History” will be the main reference for the T33 for years to come, but the authors plan to follow it up with “Volume 2”, adding even more history to the Alfa race car, and more information on chassis numbers.

…it contains the "sum of the world's knowledge" on this important model. 29.1.13


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