The 155 was immensely successful in touring car racing across Europe, winning the Italian Superturismo Championship and German DTM Championship (both with Nicola Larini at the wheel); the Spanish Touring Car Championship (with Adrián Campos); and the British Touring Car Championship (with Gabriele Tarquini). Its Tipo 156 replacement would prove equally competitive.
Following the success of the Tipo 155 competition cars, Alfa Romeo decided to produce a Stradale version, similar to the successful Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 and BMW M3 models. The 155 GTA Stradale project commenced under the supervision of legendary Abarth engineer and ‘father’ of the Lancia 037, Sergio Limone. Mechanically, the prototype is based on the 155 Q4, the sportiest of the 155 range, which uses basically the same engine and mechanicals as the Lancia Delta Integrale, though with the rear differential casing in cast iron (not aluminium) to shift the weight bias rearwards.
The engine was prepared to Group N specification and the body modified with larger wings, race-style front and rear bumpers, and a large rear spoiler. Also, the suspension was changed and is similar to that of the Lancia Delta Integrale, while the ‘sports/luxury’ interior was trimmed in black leather with ‘anatomic’ sports seats. But the FIAT bosses saw two major problems: one was that they would have preferred a more powerful six-cylinder engine, which would not have fitted the compact Delta Integrale drivetrain, and the second was the relatively prohibitive cost, as a separate production line would be needed. Hence the project was abandoned and the car we are proud to offer is the only one ever built.
The prototype was displayed at the Bologna Motor Show and was also used at the 1994 Monza Gran Premio d’Italia as a medical car, driving the legendary British neurosurgeon and FIA medical officer, Dr Sid Watkins – ‘Professor Sid’. It subsequently ended up in Tony Fassina’s workshop in Milan, where it remained for four years before being purchased by one of Mr Fassina’s friends. The latter then brought the car to Germany where it was road-registered for the first time. In 1999, the Alfa returned to Italy, forming part of the private collection of an Alfa Romeo engine preparation specialist and enthusiast in the Marche region until it changed hands, passing to its current owner only recently.
It’s mad that to those who watched first hand the 155 dominate the Touring car serie in the 90’s that time has zoomed by and this is now a classic car but amongst what could be called ‘modern classic’ this is certainly one very special Alfa Romeo I would love in my garage.