A spider as simple as it is special

The minimalist wedge-shaped car

The 33 Spider Cuneo was created in 1971 when Pininfarina decided to unleash the creative flair of Paulo Martin by allowing him to tinker once again with the chassis of the magnificent 33. The result was a spider that is minimalist in every detail and has a distinctive wedge-shaped profile, which prompted the change of name to Cuneo.

Many versions of the 33 owe their creation to competitions. The Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 resulted from the early 1960s design of a racing car built around a H frame and a powerful V8 engine displacing just two litres and mounted in a rear-mid position. Early competition successes led to the supremely elegant 33 Stradale, designed by Franco Scaglione. Presented to the public on 31 August 1967, it is considered by some to be one of the most beautiful cars ever built.

The combination of the lightweight chassis and powerful engine instantly spurred the most renowned designers of the era into trying to make their own version of the Alfa 33. Bertone set the ball rolling at the 1968 Paris Motor Show with the Carabo, while at the Turin Auto Show that same year, Pininfarina presented its P33 Roadster. The following year at the Paris Motor Show, Pininfarina launched the 33/2 Coupe Special. At the Turin Auto Show in 1968, Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Italdesign debuted the Iguana. Pininfarina subsequently unveiled another variant in Brussels in 1971, the 33 Spider, which Alfa Romeo would later rename the Cuneo. The series was completed by Bertone, which exhibited the futuristic 33 Navajo at the 1976 Geneva Motor Show.

The FCA Heritage collection includes almost all versions of the Alfa Romeo 33, still in perfect working order and normally displayed at the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese: the majority are competition cars and almost all are prototypes.

One prototype was short lived, despite a successful introduction at the 1968 Turin Auto Show. The P33 Pininfarina Roadster, designed by Paolo Martin, was shaped like a racing powerboat and sported an aerofoil just behind the cockpit that also served as a roll bar and oil radiator. The headlights were grouped into a single cluster on the bonnet, with a similar cluster at the rear enclosing the tailpipes. Despite the remarkable end result, the bodywork was dismantled shortly after the show.

In 1971, Pininfarina entrusted the task of rejuvenating the chassis to Paolo Martin. He created the Alfa Romeo Spider 33, which was later christened the Alfa Romeo Cuneo. The profile resembled a perfect wedge, in keeping with the latest car design trends: its other defining features included a wide sloping windshield and simple roll bar, which also supported the cover of the velocity stacks, while all the details recalled pure geometric shapes, including the Alfa Romeo logo.

The minimalist, seventies-style contours of the Alfa Romeo Cuneo will be on view in the concours d’élégance in the Alfa Romeo stand on the Knokke dyke. Infact on the occasion of the 50 years of the anniversary "33 Project", the 33 which made its debut in Bruxelles, comes back on Belgian lands at the Zoute Grand Prix event, from 5 to 8 October 2017. 

Read more about the 2017 Zoute Grand Prix event.

Read the story of the Alfa Romeo TZ 2.

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