As far as exterior styling is concerned, it’s nigh on impossible to single out a bad design in 2021. You only need to look at Hyundai to understand how much the industry has advanced, but on the other hand, I think we can all agree that way too many cars lack what we call specialness.
Automotive design is nice yet forgettable nowadays over a couple of things. First of all, safety legislation dictates what a designer can and cannot do. Secondly, but not in the least, automakers are large corporations that are interested in pleasing their investors more than consumers. Half a century ago, safety watchdogs and pesky bean counters weren’t as big of a problem.
These permissive circumstances allowed Alfa Romeo to develop one of the most beautiful designs of all time, the road-going version of the Autodelta Tipo 33 sports prototype. Penned by the legendary Franco Scaglione, only 18 examples were made by Carrozzeria Marazzi between 1967 and 1969.
As an attempt to make Alfa Romeo’s racing technology available to the public, the 33 Stradale features a motorsport-bred engine in the form of a dual-overhead V8 with a flat-plane crankshaft. The 2.0 liters of displacement and 227 horsepower in road-going tune resulted in a sprint to 62 mph (100 kph) of under 6 seconds and a maximum velocity of 160 mph (260 kph).
Reimagined by Andrea Castiglione, Steffen Hess, Marco Zafferana, Christian Schutz, and Sergio La Gattuta in three dimensions, the Visione design study “celebrates the car and the era.” Otherwise said, you’re looking at “a design that pleases the eye and suits the engine as well as the driver.”
The greenhouse and stunning proportions are complemented by LED headlights and taillights, video cameras instead of rearview mirrors, center-lock wheels, and four exhaust tips that flank the transmission’s housing. Most likely a DCT instead of a good ol’ manual, the gearbox is connected to a V8 with velocity stacks in plain sight thanks to the glass engine cover.
Unfortunately, the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale Visione won’t morph into a proper revival because the Italian automaker has other plans to carry out. Sporty crossovers and the partnership with Groupe PSA are of the essence right now. Going forward, I wouldn’t hold my breath for anything more than six cylinders and some kind of electrical assistance from Alfa Romeo.