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Montreux Grand Prix: the 2018 edition is fired with Alfa Romeo passion

FCA Heritage, the department dedicated to conserving and promoting the company’s historic heritage,returns to a course that belongs to the brand’s glorious history: Trossi was victorious here in 1934, at the wheel of the iconic Alfa Romeo GP Tipo B “P3”. The car will parade through the Swiss town together with a splendid Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ: both are normally on show at the Museo Storico in Arese. Alongside them, the best of Alfa Romeo’s current production

From 13 to 16 September, Switzerland will host the Montreux Grand Prix, the event evoking the historic race of 1934 that brings passion to the Riviera Vaudoise.From Place du Marché to the summit of Les Hauts de Caux, the course leads along the shores of Lake Geneva, which separates Switzerland from France. The 2018 edition of the Montreux Grand Prix, now firmly established as a major happening for Swiss motorsports enthusiasts, will again be attracting famous drivers from the past to celebrate the race won by Count Carlo Felice Trossi in the Alfa Romeo GP Tipo B “P3” eighty-four years ago.By taking part, as usual FCA Heritage creates a link to the past, by presenting superb classic Alfa Romeo cars alongside the latest production models at Montreux: as well as Giulia and Stelvio, presented in the powerful Quadrifoglio versions, visitors will be able to admire two 4C cars, a Coupé and a Spider, in the “Competizione” and “Italia” special editions. The Coupé has a much sportier personality, with strong racing connotations, while the Spider, still capable of thrilling performances, has a more elegant, refined character. The Alfa Romeo GP Tipo B P3 from 1932 and the “Kamm tail” Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ will be in the parade in Switzerland.

Alfa Romeo GP Tipo B (1932)

While the outlandish Tipo A was a temporary solution just to avoid leaving space for competitors to fill, the great project on which Vittorio Jano was working as the 1930s dawned was destined to leave an indelible imprint on the history of Alfa Romeo: the Gran Premio Tipo B. The ladder-type steel chassis was derived from that of the Tipo A, but the mechanicals were entirely new: the car had a dual block straight eight engine with light alloy fixed heads. The displacement was 2654 cc and the maximum power 215 HP, giving a top speed of 232 km/h. The transmission layout was also highly unusual, with the differential mounted directly at the gearbox output, driving the wheels by means of two long drive-shafts in a V arrangement, with two bevel gear pairs. This solution enabled Jano to lower the car’s centre of gravity, with the driver seated lower down. The car made its debut at the 1932 Italian GP, won by Nuvolari in the new car as tradition required. This was followed by victory in the French GP, the “triple” at the German GP, and wins in the Coppa Ciano, the Coppa Acerbo, at the Circuito Principe di Piemonte and at Monza. In 1933’Alfa Romeo, sold to IRI, withdrew from racing, giving the official reason that the Tipo B had been “proved unbeatable”: the car’s operation was handed over to the Scuderia Ferrari. In 1934 the regulations changed and at the same time more competitors entered the fray with the return of Mercedes and Auto Union. The Tipo B was updated with wider bodywork, a stronger chassis and an evolution of the engine, now of 2905, with 255 HP and 262 km/h. After a successful start to the season, the car’s fortunes fluctuated, and for the Avus GP Cesare Pallavicino designed a special aerodynamic body, tested on the Milan-Lakes motorway and driven to victory by Guy Moll. In its farewell, the car was again driven by the “Flying Mantovan”, who in 1935 achieved an incredible triumph in the German GP on the legendary Nürburgring circuit in an elderly Tipo B with a 3165 cc engine delivering 265 HP and 275 km/h.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ “Kamm tail” (1960)

The Giulietta Sprint Zagato, the famous SZ, was not the result of a standard “order” placed by Alfa Romeo with the Milan carriage works; it derived from the racing world, and specifically from gentleman driver Leto di Priolo’s need to repair and reduce the weight of his Giulietta Sprint Veloce, damaged during the 1956 Mille Miglia. Zagato stripped all the panelling from the chassis and gave it a lightweight tubular steel structure, covered with an aluminium body. This produced the SVZ, a rounded, aerodynamic car, 145 kg lighter than the Sprint Veloce. The SVZ soon proved its qualities on the race track, and Zagato’s order book filled up fast. In just a few months, dozens of gentlemen drivers ordered “customised” cars, specifying more and more aerodynamic forms, with the twin cam 1300 cc engine tuned for more and more power. In terms of style, these SVZ cars started to prefigure the lines of the future SZ.§
Alfa Romeo appreciated the quality of Zagato’s design and made it a limited output but “standard” production model. So after the success of its “custom” cars for private buyers, in 1959 the Milan carriage works officially began production of its Sprint Zagato: the car’s body was highly streamlined and it weighed just a little over 850 kg. The Giulietta SZ taking part in the Montreux Grand Prix is a 1960 second-series model with the distinctive “Kamm tail” and amazingly efficient aerodynamics that put 200 km/h within comfortable reach. Under the bonnet, a 1290 cc straight four engine capable of generating 100 HP. The model’s other key features are its disc-type front brakes and tapered nose.

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