The history of four world-leading Italian motoring brands
From the most emblematic models to the most successful, revolutionary people, and the most significant events, this section illustrates and celebrates the cornerstones of Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Abarth.
Auto-Delta designs and manufactures a car for racing in the GT category, pairing a new tubular chassis with a coachwork by Zagato and mechanics derived from the Giulia: the Alfa Romeo Giulia Tubolare Zagato (TZ) is born, later joined and then replaced by the evolved TZ 2 version.
In the early Sixties, Alfa Romeo designers work on a new sports car featuring a tubular chassis, a well-finished aerodynamic light-alloy body with mechanics derived from the Giulia.
This car was presented at the Turin Motor Show in 1962.
The nickel-chromium tubular chassis is built in the province of Perugia by SAI Ambrosini, the light alloy coachwork is by Zagato, the mechanical parts are from Alfa Romeo and come from the Giulia TI; everything is assembled by the Udine-based Delta, led by engineer Chiti, initially as a consultant. Soon the company changed its name, became Auto-Delta and moved to its definitive headquarters in Settimo Milanese, just outside Milan, not far from the Portello plant.
The goal is to build a racing car for the Gran Turismo category, which must be lightweight but sturdy, with efficient and streamlined aerodynamics and equipped with a powerful engine. The tubular chassis helps keep a lean weight, ensuring the structural rigidity necessary for racing, while Zagato, continuing work on the Coda Tronca (“short tail”) that began with the Giulietta SZ, ensures the best body in terms of weight as well.
At the same time, Auto-Delta develops the 1.6-litre four-cylinder for the Giulia TI bringing it up to about 160 HP, with the adoption of two 45 2-barrel Weber carburettors and increasing the compression ratio from 9.7:1 to 11.4:1.
Between 1963 and 1966 there were a total of 117 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZs produced, whereas there were only twelve made in the TZ 2 line until 1967. One model of each of the two versions is kept in the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese.
The Giulia TZ’s racing débuts are instantly promising: even before homologation in the GT Class, four TZs dominate the Prototype 1600 category on 24 November 1963 on the Monza racetrack during a FISA race: Bandini, Bussinello, Baghetti and Sanesi are proof of the car’s potential.
At the 1964 Turin Motor Show, the TZ 2 débuted on the Zagato stand. Zagato replaces the light alloy body with an even more sleek fibreglass body “drowned” into the frame, so as to strengthen the structure and further reduce the weight. This modification also makes it possible to broaden the surface of the plexiglass rear window, now no longer in three parts but a single unit.
With an even more sparse interior, the weight is reduced by about 40 kg. Auto-Delta develops the engine, equipping it with a new twin-spark cylinder head and dry sump lubrication, bringing power to 170 HP at 7500 rpm. Stunning 15” magnesium wheels make way for the new 13” wheels that accommodate lowered and wider tyres.
The TZ 2 triumphs in its class at the 1000 kilometres of Monza on 25 April 1965: Bussinello-De Adamich are seventh overall and first in the GT 1600 category. The victories in this class follow one another in other races throughout the year: at the 12 Hours of Sebring with Rolland-Consten; Bianchi-Rolland at the Targa Florio; De Adamich-“Geki” at the Nürburgring 1000 km, at the 6 hours of Melbourne, in the Giro d’Italia and in the Critérium des Cévennes. Other class victories came the following year: in Monza (De Adamich-Zeccoli), in Sebring (Andrey-“Geki”), at the Targa Florio (Pinto-Todaro) and at the Nürburgring (Bianchi-Schultze).
117 TZ and only 12 TZ 2 were produced; the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese houses both a Giulia TZ and a TZ 2. The two cars are preserved in perfect shape so as to participate in prestigious international events reserved for historic cars and in particular for racing cars.
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