From 10 to 14 April, the showgrounds in Essen (Germany) will host the 31st edition of Techno Classica, Europe’s most highly-attended classic car show, a leadership proven by the record-breaking numbers recorded last year: over 188,000 visitors, more than 2,700 cars on sale, over 1,250 visitors from 30 countries and more than 200 clubs and associations.
Naturally, this prestige event – occupying 21 halls and 4 outdoor areas for an exhibition space of over 120,000 square metres – will feature FCA Heritage, the Group department dedicated to safeguarding and promoting the historic legacy of FCA’s Italian brands.
The FCA Heritage stand in Essen will focus on Alfa Romeo’s racing spirit, and in particular on its Formula 1 comeback. The absolute stars will be the marvellous G. P. Tipo 159 “Alfetta” in which Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1951 F1 world championship, and the equally awe-inspiring 1977 Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45 driven in F1 by the official team drivers Carlos Reutemann (ARG) and Carlos Pace (BRA).
These two unique racing cars, normally on show at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo, Arese – La Macchina del Tempo, underline the essential place of racing in Alfa Romeo’s identity throughout its history: it was only a year after its foundation that the brand made its official competition debut, winning its first ever race in Modena on 24 June 1910. Since then, its sporting legend has been a string of victories and top-three finishes in the various international championships, including Formula 1.Alfa Romeo made a comeback to racing at its highest level in 2018, and from this year, the team has changed its official name to “Alfa Romeo Racing”, with the highly significant add-on: “since 1910”. And for the first time in Germany, after the world launch at the recent Geneva show, the FCA Heritage stand will be exhibiting the Giulia Quadrifoglio “Alfa Romeo Racing” limited edition, which celebrates the brand’s ever-deepening participation and involvement in the Formula One world championship, in partnership with Sauber. At its side, another Alfa Romeo car with an unmistakably sporty personality: Stelvio Quadrifoglio NRING, the exclusive limited edition that pays homage to the record lap achieved at the Nürburgring in 2017: just 7 minutes 51.7 seconds to cover the more than 20 km of the Nordschleife (north loop).
The German event also marks the international debut of the new “Abarth Classiche 595 Conversion Kit”, inspired by the original Sixties kit and containing the components needed to tune the engine of a classic Fiat 500 or provide replacement parts for a classic Abarth 595. The stand also showcases the Fiat 500 specially prepared by FCA Heritage to put the tuning kit to the test at the 2018 Targa Florio Classica. And next to it the record-breaking Abarth-tuned Fiat Nuova 500 (1958), a car of inestimable historic value, which has undergone meticulous restoration. This was the first Fiat 500 ever tuned by Karl Abarth’s team, which collected no fewer than 6 international records at its debut on the high speed loop at the Monza circuit.
This year, there will also be a particularly mouth-watering offering from “Reloaded by Creators”, the FCA Heritage project which offers for sale a limited number of historic cars that have been valued, restored and certified, and are now ready to return to the market in all their original splendour after meticulous work by the constructor itself. At Techno Classic, visitors will be able to admire, and purchase, three iconic cars: Pininfarina Spidereuropa, Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and Alfa Romeo 8C Spider.
Last but not least, just a few days ago the Group inaugurated its Heritage HUB, the striking space in the industrial and creative heart of the Mirafiori plant, in Turin, which the FCA Heritage has chosen to house its service and sales operations, and also to provide an exciting showcase for its exquisite rarities and an educational visitor experience for future generations. More information is available on the FCA Heritage press site.
Gran Premio Tipo 159 “Alfetta” (1951)
Alfa Romeo is synonymous with racing and technological prestige worldwide. It competed in Formula 1 from 1950 until 1988, both as a constructor and as an engine supplier. It was actually in its debut year, 1950, that Alfa Romeo won its first drivers’ world championship with Nino Farina in the Alfa Romeo 158. This success was repeated in the following year, when the 159 single-seater won the world title again thanks to champion Juan Manuel Fangio. This is the car on show at Techno Classica. Compared to the 158, it had a more powerful 1500 cc straight eight supercharged engine turning out 425 HP, “De Dion” rear suspensions and more efficient aerodynamics. Its top speed was 305 km/h.
Brabham BT45-Alfa Romeo (1977)
This racing car’s exciting story began in 1976, when victory in the 1975 World Championship for Makes by the “33 TT 12” persuaded Autodelta – the Alfa Romeo racing department – to participate in F.1 by supplying the 33’s 500 HP 12-cylinder boxer engine to the Brabham team. 1976 saw the presentation of the “Brabham-Alfa”, which retained the “Martini Racing” livery but with the background colour switched from white to red in homage to Alfa Romeo’s involvement. The entire operation was orchestrated by the engineer Carlo Chiti, founder of Autodelta, and by Bernie Ecclestone, who owned the Brabham team at the time. The talented Gordon Murray designed the car, built around the dimensions of the Alfa Romeo “flat” engine and featuring two side periscope scoops to feed air to the twelve cylinders. In 1976 the official drivers of the Brabham “BT45” were Argentinian Carlos Reutemann and the Brazilian rising star Carlos Pace. This initial season was “preparatory”: the best finishes were three fourth places, two by Pace and one by Reutemann. Subsequently, the famous Niki Lauda won the Italian and Swiss Grand Prix in the BT-46, while the Anglo-Italian partnership came to an end in 1978 with the BT-48. In the meantime, the Italian Grand Prix of that same year saw the debut of the Alfa 179 G.P., an all-Alfa Romeo car which continued the Italian brand’s F1 adventure. Usually on display at the Museo Alfa Romeo in Arese, the model exhibited at Techno Classica 2019 is a test car used in the 1977 season. At the time, the regulations allowed teams to have more than one car available, to make a backup car available for use in the race in case of accidents during free practice, and also for testing alternative technical solutions.
Fiat 500 (1974) tuned with the “Abarth Classiche 595 Conversion Kit”
Techno Classica has been chosen for the official launch of the new “Abarth Classiche 595 Conversion Kit”, an accurate replica of the kit which shaped Abarth’s history by establishing it as the brand which invented the tuning of mass market cars. At Essen, visitors will be able to admire the 1974 Fiat 500 which was the first to try it out, successfully completing the 360 km of the 2018 Targa Florio Classica. Today, FCA Heritage makes the “Abarth Classiche 595 Conversion Kit” available to all. The new tuning kit launched by FCA Heritage comprises cylinder liners and pistons with diameter 73.5 mm, set of valve springs, camshaft, cylinder head gasket, oil sump, Weber 28 carburettor, and complete exhaust with the relative mounting brackets. All components are presented in a special wooden box, reproduced with markings inspired by the original and with the Abarth Classiche seal guaranteeing a product designed and built in accordance with the Scorpion Brand’s purest racing tradition. More information about this product – on sale at 2,000 Euros (+ VAT) – is available in the Store section of the www. fcaheritage.com website .
Record-breaking Fiat Nuova 500 with Abarth tuning (1958)
In 1957, Karl Abarth decided to boost the image of the Fiat Nuova 500, a small car with performance ratings that were a far cry from those of a racing car. Its tiny two-cylinder engine was considered too small and not powerful enough to achieve worthwhile racing results. Abarth decided to demonstrate the car’s quality by transforming it into a record-breaker. His tuned 500, with an engine producing 26 HP and a top speed of 118 km, ran for 168 consecutive hours on the Monza circuit and collected 6 international records.Important achievements like these were crucial in reasserting the success of the Nuova 500, making it one of the most famous cars ever produced.
The car on display – the very one used at Monza – was also the first ever Fiat 500 tuned by Abarth. It has been meticulously restored to its original configuration. This car has inestimable historic value and is a key milestone in the history of the Abarth brand and of motoring itself.
Pininfarina Spidereuropa (1982)
The 124 Sport Spider was one of the longest-lived of the Fiat cars built in the last century. Styled by Pininfarina in 1966, it enjoyed a dual career of unflagging success in Europe and America until 1985. Twenty years in which the curvy, compact Spider was modified in response to the mechanical upgrading of various Fiat models, remaining in production for the States alone from 1975 onwards. In 1982, its ceaseless success and demand from the European market led Pininfarina to reintroduce the car on this side of the Atlantic. It was appropriately updated and called the “Spidereuropa” to distinguish it from the version for the US market. The Pininfarina Spidereuropa was equipped with a two litre, four cylinder engine producing 105 HP, and had electronic injection and ignition. A real featherweight – weighing only just over 1000 kg – this lightweight roadster with just two seats easily reached a top speed of more than 180 km/h.
The car on show has undergone meticulous restoration of its bodywork, mechanicals and interior. Certified by the FCA Heritage team of experts, it is offered for sale within the “Reloaded by Creators” programme.
Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione (2007)
Built in a limited edition of just 500, the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione was designed by the Alfa Romeo Style Centre with beautifully moulded, sculptured surfaces tailored to fit a superlative engine and mechanicals: a flawless blend of elegance and sportiness. A unique car, on the one hand referencing the Italian brand’s glorious past, as its name itself indicates, and on the other incorporating the state-of-the-art technology and emotion always central to the Alfa identity. A worthy continuation of the Alfa Romeo legacy, the Alfa 8C Competizione was equipped with a 4691 cc 90° V8 engine which, combined with a 6-speed robotised transmission, delivered amazing performances – maximum power of 450 HP at 7000 rpm and peak torque of 470 N, at 4750 rpm – without sacrificing smoothness of ride and suitability for use in all contexts, from the circuit to city traffic. In the best Alfa Romeo tradition, the 8C Spider had a transaxle layout for unbeatable weight distribution. The engine was mid-mounted with the gearbox at the rear, en-bloc with the differential and hydraulic actuator. This car, which has never left the factory and has only a few kilometres on the clock, has been suitably restored and certified by the FCA Heritage technical staff, and is offered for sale within the “Reloaded by Creators” programme.
Alfa Romeo 8C Spider (2010)
Launched in 2008 and derived from the 2006 Alfa 8C Competizione, the alluring Alfa 8C Spider was built in a limited edition of just 500. Created by the Alfa Romeo Style Centre, the convertible supercar confirmed the brand’s excellence in this sector, following in the footsteps of some of the most beautiful roadsters in motoring history, including the 1950s Giulietta Spider or the legendary Duetto Spider made famous by the 1967 film “The Graduate” starring a young Dustin Hoffman. On the outside, the Alfa 8C Spider has sleek lines with all the beauty required of a genuine “work of art in motion”. The car’s distinctive feature was its retractable top, automated by an electrohydraulic system. It is in fabric which consists of two overlapped materials: an exceptionally weatherproof multi-ply outer layer and a lining which soundproofs the cockpit very effectively. This car, which has never left the factory and has only a few kilometres on the clock, has been suitably restored and certified by the FCA Heritage technical staff, and is offered for sale within the “Reloaded by Creators” programme.
In related motoring news, Abarth recently turned 70 years old.