This Is the Vintage Alfa Romeo That Inspired the New 8C

Alfa's upcoming mid-engine sports car might share its name with a race car from the 1930s, but it'll look a lot like something from 1967.

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Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo announced a new mid-engine sports car today, the 8C, named after the 8C Competizione of 2007 and many of its amazing eight-cylinder road and race cars of the 1920s and 1930s. But based on a sketch released by Alfa, it looks like the new 8C draws inspiration from a different model from the company—the 1967 Tipo 33 Stradale.

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Alfa Romeo
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Alfa Romeo

Viewed in profile the similarities are quite apparent. Just look at the swept up window line and muscular rear fender on the 8C sketch. It's clear the designers at Alfa Romeo have been hanging out in the company's museum where the Tipo 33 Stradale prototype lives.

The Tipo 33 was originally designed as a tube-framed prototype for the 1967 World Sportscar Championship, but Alfa Romeo decided its chassis would lend itself well to a road car. So, Franco Scaglione—who designed the original Giulietta Sprint while at Bertone—was tapped by Alfa to provide bodywork for the 33. The results were astonishing.

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Alfa Romeo

The lines of the 33 Stradale are arresting and organic, somehow both masculine and feminine all at once. And, it had butterfly doors, an automotive first, which were designed to ease ingress for this tiny machine, but became a design hallmark in their own right.

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The 33 Stradale was also one of the first mid-engine road cars, arriving one year after the Lamborghini Miura. Its engine was a 2.0-liter, flat-plane V8 with SPICA fuel-injection, dual-overhead cams, and two spark plugs per cylinder. According to the Alfa Romeo museum, it made 230 hp at a ridiculous 8800 rpm, and sent its power to the rear wheels via a six-speed (!) transaxle.

Weighing just over 1500 lbs, the 33 Stradale was able to hit over 160 mph flat out, and .

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Alfa Romeo

Unfortunately, only 18 were built, though a 2.6-liter cross-plane version of the 33 Stradale's engine found a home in the striking Montreal. As a race car, the 33 was successful, too, with the 33/2 sweeping the 2.0-liter podium at Daytona in 1968 and later versions winning the World Sportscar Championship in 1975 and 1977.

The 33 also lent its chassis to some amazing concept cars, including the stunning, Marcello Gandini-designed Carabo of 1968. That car helped set the template for a later Gandini design, the Lamborghini Countach, which came to define the modern supercar.

But when you say Alfa Romeo Tipo 33, most brand enthusiasts will think of the Scaglione-designed Stradale. It's one of the prettiest cars of all time, and a hell of a source of inspiration for the team behind the new 8C.

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Alfa Romeo
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