Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, hypercar of the Sixties

Designed by Franco Scaglione, it was the first car to feature butterfly doors. Its shapes have influenced the Alfa Romeo 4C, as well as Bertone, Pininfarina and Giugiaro.  

The Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale is one of the most successful dream cars that the Arese-based company has ever produced. Characterized by its slender and sinuous lines, when viewed from the front it looks as if it were an arrow with big headlights (two or four depending on the model) ready to cut through the air – it could speed up to 260 km/h. From the sides, on the other hand, it looks completely different: the front of the car is higher and more robust than the rear, which ends with a very squared and horizonal tail. Back to the ‘60s, it was one of the most expensive supercars.

In 1967, Franco Scaglioni gave to Carrozzeria Marazzi the sketches that would help them create a timeless car. Even today, fifty years later, the 33 Stradale is still a source of inspiration: it is impossible not to recognize its shapes in the 8C Competizione designed by Wolfgang Egger in 1997 and in the 4C, designed by the Alfa Romeo Style Centre, together with Marco Tencone. At the time, it had sparked a competition between designers. Bertone had come up with the Carabo, Pininfarina with the P33 Roadster, the P33 Cuneo and the 33/2 Coupé Speciale, while Giugiaro with the Iguana.

Photo Courtesy Quattroruote/Ruoteclassiche

Presented on August 31, 1967, right before the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, this red racing car could boast the quadrifoglio logo, which indicated the best performing cars of the Alfa Romeo company. But the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale also has a distinctive feature that makes it truly unique. It is in fact the first production vehicle with vertical opening "butterfly" doors. Conventional doors would have made it particularly uncomfortable to enter and exit the car, which was just over a meter tall, so Scaglione designed hinges that could open up and forward. This made it possible to create two large windows that curved up from the front end and into the roof, almost touching each other.

Photo Courtesy Quattroruote/Ruoteclassiche

Since people thought of it as a sculpture on wheels, the 33 Stradale is a car for the lucky few, in the past as it is today. With just 18 units produced in total, when it first came out it cost 9.7 million Lire, beating the Ferrari 275 GTB (6 million Lire) and even the Lamborghini Miura (7.7 million Lire). Long story short, it is much more than a supercar – it is a hypercar.

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