A Giulia with Tubular Zagato chassis in Zoute – the first Alfa Romeo developed by Auto-Delta
Giulia TZ evolution, the Alfa Romeo TZ 2 was the most powerful version of the first car produced by Auto-Delta, with a tubular frame, fibreglass body, new cylinder head with two spark plugs per cylinder and a power output exceeding 100 hp/litre.
In the early 1960s, Alfa Romeo began designing a sports car characterised by a tubular frame, light alloy body with carefully sculpted aerodynamics and Giulia-derived mechanicals. It was presented at the 1962 Turin Auto Show.
The nickel-chrome tubular chassis was built in the province of Perugia by SAI Ambrosini and the body was made by Zagato in light alloy, while the mechanical parts came from the Portello plant and were shared with the Giulia TI. Everything was assembled by Delta of Udine, with Carlo Chiti initially onboard as a consultant before becoming the project leader. The firm soon changed its name to Auto-Delta and relocated to its current site in Settimo Milanese, on the outskirts of Milan, not far from the Portello plant.
The objective was to build a racing car for the Grand Tourer class, which had to be lightweight yet rigid, with efficient and streamlined aerodynamics and a powerful engine. The tubular frame reduced the car’s overall weight while guaranteeing the structural rigidity needed for competitions; Zagato provided an extremely lightweight body that incorporated an updated version of the short tail first seen on the Giulietta SZ; and Autodelta upgraded the four 1.6-litre cylinders from the Giulia TI to around 160 hp by adopting two twin-barrel Weber 45 carburettors and increasing the compression ratio from 9.7:1 to 11.4:1.
In total, 117 units of the Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ were produced between 1963 and 1967, including only a dozen in the TZ 2 variant.
The Giulia TZ made an instant impact on its competitive debut: even before obtaining homologation in the GT class, four TZs dominated the 1600 Prototype class on 24 November 1963 on the Monza circuit during a FISA race, with Lorenzo Bandini, Roberto Bussinello, Giancarlo Baghetti and Consalvo Sanesi proving the car’s potential by taking the first four places.
The TZ 2 was unveiled at the Turin Auto Show in 1964 in the Zagato stand. In order to reinforce the structure and further reduce the car’s weight, Zagato replaced the light alloy body with an even more streamlined fibreglass body moulded tight to the chassis, as well as changing the three-part Plexiglas window to a single unit and expanding its surface area. Further simplifications made to the interior lowered the weight by around 40 kg. Auto-Delta developed the engine, equipping it with a new twin spark cylinder head and dry sump lubrication, boosting the output to 170 hp at 7500 rpm. The glorious 15″ magnesium rims were replaced by new 13″ rims complete with wider, lower profile tyres.
The TZ 2 won its class on 25 April 251965 in the 1000 km of Monza, with Bussinello-De Adamich finishing seventh overall and first in the GT 1600 category. The class victories continued to pile up that year, thanks to Rolland-Consten in the 12 Hours of Sebring; Bianchi-Rolland in the Targa Florio; and Adamich-“Geki” in the 1000 km of Nürburgring, the 6 Hours of Melbourne, the Giro d’Italia and the Criterium des Cevennes. There were further class wins the following year: at Monza (De Adamich-Zeccoli), Sebring (Andrey-“Geki”), in the Targa Florio (Pinto-Todaro) and at the Nürburgring (Bianchi-Schultze).