Alfa Romeo TZ2
Total Production: 14
Ing. Carlo Chiti was in charge of Autodelta during the creation of the Alfa Romeo TZ2 project. His resume included being a former Chief Engineer at Ferrari. It is understandable that the inspiration and passion of the Ferrari 250 GTO bled into this project. The TZ2 (Tubolare Zagato) was constructed as a works car and there were no intentions of providing any examples to privateers. They were intended to challenge the GT category. In total, there were, at most, fourteen constructed.
The chassis was from the original TZ, consisting of steel-tubed space-frame construction. Improvements were made to the original unit, with the TZ2 having lower suspension mounts and being more adjustable. The prototype car was given an all-alloy bodyshell designed by Ercole Spada for Zagato. The subsequent cars were molded from this and built with glassfibre. The total height of the vehicle was just a mere 41-inches. The aerodynamic design defied wind while maintaining an elegant stance.
Under the bonnet lay an Alfa Romeo dual overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine displacing 1570cc. The engines were tuned by Virgilio Conrero's Torino shop, Autotecnica Conrero. They were given larger valves, magnesium casings, upgraded camshafts, two side-draught Weber carburetors, dry-sump lubrication, and a twin-plug head. These improvements brought the horsepower to 170 and a top speed in the neighborhood of 160 mph.
The cars made their debut at the 1965 Geneva Salon and production lasted until mid-1967. Some of the TZ2's were upgraded TZ's. Coachwork was handled mostly by Zagato. Chassis number 114, created in 1966, was done by Pininfarina. Another example, chassis 101, was done by Bertone. Bertone's example was done to test the feasibility of creating a road-going version. It was built atop a tubular steel space-frame and given Campagnolo, 13-inch forged magnesium wheels. The body was very curvy. At the front were covered headlights and a wrap-around windshield. The body was constructed mostly from aluminum. The engine was from an Alfa Romeo TZ, producing 130 horsepower in standard guise.
The Bertone example made its debut at the 1964 Paris Salon. There was much interest in the car, but Alfa Romeo decided to abandon the idea. A journalist later damaged the car while doing a test drive. Most everything was able to be salvaged.
The racing debut of the Alfa Romeo TZ2 was at the 1965 24 Hours of LeMans. There were three TZ2 models entered, and all three failed to finish the race. This would be their only outing for the season. In 1966, they re-appeared, and in very strong fashion. In each of the 1.6-liter GT races they entered, they emerged victorious.
Even with this new-found racing success of the TZ2, the program was dropped and efforts were reverted to the GTA and Tipo 33 program. Most of the TZ2 cars were later sold to privateers.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2007
Total Production: 101
Early in the 1950's Alfa Romeo had revised their production methods and had created a new line of models. These new vehicles were mid-sized with sporty, small-capacity engines. The Giulietta was introduced near the close of the 1950's and was first offered with the Type 101 engine, a 1290cc unit. By now Alfa Romeo had a wide range of body style configurations including the four-door saloons, Sprint Coupes, Spider, station wagons, and the Sprint Speciale. The Sprint Special came in two configurations, one by Bertone and the other by Zagato. Bertone's design was first offered mid-1959. Zagatos were first available in early 1960. Both Zagato and Bertone's design were based on the Giulietta chassis and running gear but were void of bumpers. Their intentions for these vehicles were competition. Zagato's creations were constructed of light alloy bodies and were more performance-oriented. Bertone's creations outsold Zagato's by 6-to-1, and soon began outfitting the vehicles with luxurious interiors.
Most of the Zagato's were constructed with rounded front and tail treatments though near the end of the 200 produced, they experimented with a 'coda tronca' Kamm tail treatment.
Racing has always been important for most automobiles manufacturers and Alfa Romeo was beginning to realize that their engines would do well in competition since they were compact, lightweight, powerful, and durable. Though the board would not sanction a factory race program they did understand the importance of racing and how it is used to promote products.
In 1962 the Giulia range of cars, also known as the 105 series, was introduced and served as a replacement for the Giulietta. These were powered by 1570 cc engines and shared the same bodies as the Giulietta. The five-speed manual gearbox was operated by a column-mounted shift. The suspension was modified in the rear to improve handling but remained the same in the front.
Just like the Giulietta series, the Giulia came in multiple body styles including the four-door Berlina, spider, TZ, sprint, and Sprint Speciale.
With racing in mind, Alfa Romeo designed and built the TZ series. The TZ, meaning Tubolare Zagato, was outfitted with a light alloy body, tubular frame, disc brakes, and independent suspension. The performance of the vehicle was amplified by its light body and responsive and effective handling. The large disc brakes provided excellent stopping power. Most of the parts were produced in the main factory in Portello. The building of the car, however, was entrusted to the head competitions engineer, Carlo Chiti of Autodelta based at Udine. The base 1570cc engine produced about 90 horsepower. The engine installed in the TZ competition cars produced around 170 horsepower. This boost in horsepower was made possible, in part, through twin-plug cylinder heads by Autodelta. To reduce weight and improve safety, the side glass windows were removed and replaced with Perspex.
Road cars were commonly given a single-plug cylinder head, leather interior, and retained their glass window.
In 1963 these lightweight and capable cars proved their potential by winning the FISA Cup. In nearly every competition event that these cars were entered, they provided podium finishes for their drivers. They were entered in events such as hill climbs, Sebring, the Targa Florio, Monza, Spa, Nurburgring, and LeMans.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2006