Finally, Alfa Romeo is playing in Serie A again.
And it naturally belongs there when we think about the company’s first 50 years. Just as the brand now belongs to the new segments in which it has played in recent decades: Volum sports cars, GT cars, family sports cars and compact cars.
Prescriptions that give a clear indication of a decrease in the volume of ambitions: 36,000 in 2020, 26,000 in 2021 (on January 21 Imparato became general manager there), 33,000 last year and 27,000 in the first half of this year.
It is, with respect, nothing. Especially since the cars aren’t exclusive enough to be able to produce impressive margins either.
The only reason I write about something as flashy as the 33 Stradale is because of the Imparato name.
Because a man like Carlos Tavares, the industry’s most legendary Uncle Sugar, wouldn’t want to maintain a brand that really produces nothing other than regular excited shouts from its devotees and press – it makes neither the top line nor the bottom line.
Recipe for success
But Imparato certainly manages to convince him that size comes here, while he clearly has more tricks along the lines of the 33 Stradale up his jacket sleeve. It is a recipe for developing and selling real supercars – legendary before they are even born – without spending a single euro.
The secret here is ‘exclusives’ – 33 copies (of course) – and they were all sold with plenty of cash upfront once selected, and potential customers saw the first drawings during the Italian Grand Prix at Monza a year earlier.
Having apparently succeeded in convincing Tavares and the other colleagues in the group’s management team that this could work, Stellantis meanwhile began a much-needed make-up.
The company has earned a reputation for being as staid and boring as school breakfast. I think this car, along with next week’s Opel concept car, has more hints about Lancia’s future and – of course (but that’s to be expected) – more signs that Maserati is already on its way to the top of Italy’s Villa trio, will build a new car and be considered. To the newer Stellantis with fresher and fresher eyes.
– This is our first Furserie since 1969, and I can promise you it won’t be the last, as Imparato said when he introduced it yesterday.
Imparato clearly delivers on its promises. And after many rounds in the Peugeot system since 1988, including in South America, China and even as president in Italy, with different responsibilities – purchasing, quality and sales – he became president of Peugeot in 2012. The company was really on its knees, in 2017-2018 it ended It has achieved record sales and profits.
– I think it’s possible for people to show respect for our products again, he said modestly after that tour.
He boasts that he is not a ‘car guy’, but with his arms, legs and bright eyes (the family is a bit Italian, but it’s a long story, he says) about his motorcycle-loving family and growing up in the wild Camargue, about how his interest in cars was sparked by a black 205 GTi and how he learned To love design, more than any other exercise, in the automotive industry.
Design in focus
Design is what I think of in the first place when I raise this new car to one of the real stars in the sky.
Technical specifications are nothing to gloat about. The use of materials is advanced, but far from cutting edge. And if performance is what you’re looking for, you might get a more impressive zero percent Tesla Plaid than this one.
But who cares?
On the other hand, we care that it is beautiful.
Not groundbreakingly beautiful. It’s not pretty trendy or pretty new style.
“The most beautiful world”
Just beautiful, period. It is a perfect reworking of the previous Model 33 Stradale, which has been accepted by all connoisseurs as the most beautiful in the world since its debut at the Paris Show in 1967.
The genius (for better or for worse, and I can tell you a lot about that) was designed by Franco Scaglione based on the wildly successful Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 sports racing car. Not only was it harmoniously beautiful, but it also provided a bit of theatrical drama in that it was among the first doors opened. Its doors are hung at an angle at the front, so that they not only open, but also lift.
As with Scaglione himself, the history of the Type 33 is very murky. Big gaps in the order of the chassis numbers, big uncertainty about their number, etc. Many books and scholarly articles will still be written telling the ultimate truth about the Scaglioni Thirty-Three.
Gasoline or electricity
This new one will be well documented. Only 33 chassis numbers, but I don’t ignore that there may be another 33, with the roof covered, and maybe even another 33 with magnesium chassis (as Scaglione himself experimented with chassis number 10533.12)
Whereas the original car was a true thunder and lightning powered by a 2-liter V8 engine producing 230 horsepower at 8,800 rpm, today the car will be delivered with either a V6 engine or battery electric powertrain.
Alfa Romeo is so keen on specifications at the moment I have no idea, for example, about the measurements, although the weight with the petrol engine should be around 1,500kg. But the mid-range three-liter V6 will make 641 horsepower, while the BEV package will produce 739 horsepower — with three electric motors.
So far, it has ordered 10 aircraft with fuel tanks on board and two with batteries, while the remaining 21 have not yet decided on a launch date.
Tailoring at the highest level
But don’t think they haven’t had a chance to decide, because one of the things that makes the car special, especially for its 33 customers, is that Alfa Romeo, which has a “Bottega” – its exclusive tailoring department – has a 33-room installation private in the old meeting room of the Arese factory. It is where the Alfa Museum is now located and where the Alfa Romeo Board of Directors made the decision to approve the 33 Stradale in 1967.
There, the new customer sat down with eight Alfa managers to talk about his wishes for the new car he was going to buy. Specialists in design, history, product, strategy, motorsport, communications and much more have decided whether or not the wish can be fulfilled and executed.
Even the chassis number on the Vinplaten is customer-controlled – the customer can choose the last eight digits and use them as their signature.
The ultimate Christmas gift
The first car will be delivered to the customer on December 17 next year and everything will be completed in 2026.
And – there’s an extra caramel to be sucked in – the bodies, designed by Alfa designers with former SEAT design director Alejandro Mesonero Romanos at the helm, will be built by the Touring Superleggera.
This Milanese company, which turns 100 in a year and a half, has been with Alfa Romeo all these years. Think of the 1630s. Think disco volante. Think 1900. One masterpiece after another and they still keep the craftsmanship intact.
Stellantis manufactures around eight million vehicles annually worldwide and has a turnover of approximately €165 billion. It may sound like a stretch when I say that 33 Milan cars, which would represent €40m, is a strong factor in what will help give Stellantis a new life.
And that, without you, me or any of the other eight billion people in the world wanting anything to do with this car.
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