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The factory team Alfa Romeo TZ2, nicknamed in period ‘Il Bambino GTO’, is undoubtedly one of the most charismatic small-capacity Gran Turismo competition car designs of all time. But where some 36 Ferrari 250 GTOs were produced, in stark contrast only ten, or possibly 12, true Autodelta TZ2s are understood to have been completed. It was conceived, designed and manufactured by the Autodelta subsidiary of Alfa Romeo in Italy, this quasi-works specialist competition-unit having been created by ex-Ferrari chief engineer Ing. Carlo Chiti and his friend and associate Ludovico Chizzola in 1963 so it is understandable that the inspiration and passion of the Ferrari 250 GTO infused this project. From 1965, Alfa Romeo’s commitment to factory racing changed up a gear, and Autodelta had become an integrated division of the Milan-based giant, moving from its modest original facility in the provincial town of Udine to occupy extensive workshops nearer to the Alfa Romeo production plant, at Settimo Milanese.
The TZ2 chassis was similar to the original TZ consisting of a steel-tubed space-frame but significantly developed with lower suspension mounts and more adjustability. The prototype was wrapped in an all-alloy body shell designed by Ercole Spada for Zagato but subsequent cars were moulded from this and clothed in glass fibre. The total height of the vehicle was a mere 41-inches and the low-nose, flowing design proved very aerodynamically efficient, resulting in much higher speeds than anticipated. Under the bonnet lay an Alfa Romeo double overhead-camshaft, four-cylinder engine displacing 1570cc. The engines were built by Virgilio Conrero's Torino shop, Autotecnica Conrero and were fitted with larger valves, magnesium casings, upgraded camshafts, twin side-draught Weber carburettors, dry-sump lubrication, and a twin-plug head. These improvements produced around 170bhp at a sonorous 7000rpm and, when combined with a featherlight 620kg and a slippery shape, the top speed was in excess of 160mph, pretty impressive for a 1600. The racing debut of the Alfa Romeo TZ2 was at the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans when three cars were entered, however, all three failed to finish the race. That was to be their only outing for the season, however, in 1966 they re-appeared, and in very strong fashion, winning the 1.6-litre GT-Class in every race they entered. Surprisingly, even with this new-found racing success, the TZ2 program was soon dropped and efforts were focused on the GTA and Tipo 33 program. Most of the original cars were later sold to privateers and remain in private collections to this day rarely, if ever, coming to market.
The sheer impossibility of finding an original TZ2 (as opposed to the much more plentiful TZ, cosmetically modified) inspired the builder of this fabulous TZ2 re-creation and he intended that the car was to be a thorough and completely accurate “tool-room copy” of an Alfa Romeo TZ2 race car. The project began assembly in 2003 and used two original cars, Alfa Museum car #750 115 and #750 117, as a very close reference throughout the build, as well as an original Autodelta-measured drawing of the chassis and supporting period photo reference material gathered over time. The car had to be built to the original standard and therefore the chassis was constructed by the original Italian constructor using the correct specification chrome-moly steel and all to the original Autodelta TZ2 design. The glass fibre bodywork was formed in the original Autodelta TZ2 moulds which luckily still existed as part of a Carlo Chitti’s legacy and were located in Northern Italy. The external configuration (the original cars often differed in minor details) is based on the example (#750 115) in Alfa Romeo’s Museum in Arese. The suspension all conforms to the original TZ2 spec and the brakes are the correct Dunlop type incorporating some period lightweight components within the braking system.
Adding to the overall authenticity of this re-creation, the engine is an original Autodelta monobloc, dry-sump unit with drive train that came from TZ2 chassis number # 750 117 as raced in 1969 by Aldo Bardelli in the Targa Florio, at Mugello and at the 500km of Imola. After service with Bardelli, it then progressed into the Rossi Bianco collection before being sold on to a private collector in the 2000s. Naturally, the engine was fully rebuilt before installation and details of this, together with a Dyno output graph showing its post rebuild performance, are with the car.
The length of time taken to finish this astonishing re-creation is a reflection of the difficulty sourcing the period parts such as the correct lights, including the elusive rear number plate lights, the correct type of Jaeger instruments, switches and vents etc. The wheels are TZ2 pattern fitted with Dunlop racing tyres and were new to the project, however, the spare wheel is an original period item. Finally, the important bit of making everything work properly and turning the project into a viable and desirable running entity was recently completed by the esteemed historic race car preparation company, Hall and Hall.
This stunning TZ2 comes with current FIA HTP papers valid until 31/12/2028, Period F - 1961 to 1965, FIA Class GTS 10 allowing it to take part in International FIA events and, given the freshness of the build and components, it should be a very practical event entry proposition. Full details of the FIA Passport and of the car’s eligibility and suitability for prestige motorsport events are available from the Silverstone Auctions office, however, one thing is for sure, there isn’t an event organiser anywhere that wouldn’t love to have this classic Alfa on the grid.
So here we offer the most rakish of Italianate good looks – the very best that the combination of Alfa Romeo, Carrozzeria Zagato and Autodelta could offer in ‘Gran Turismo Berlinetta’ terms in 1966-67. This is a very rare opportunity to acquire the looks, performance and historic stature of a 'Tubolare Zagato Due’ without winning the Lottery. The car is UK-based and we welcome any inspection.
Video of the Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2 Re-creation