One of Italy’s most celebrated and pedigreed entries in the book of automotive history: the Alfa Romeo GTA. While many get worked into a frenzy over the lightweight Bertone coupe’s rich racing history, that’s not what sparks this Alfista’s passion for the aluminum Alfa.
Instead, owner Filippo Montini tells us that “The passion I have for this car is not due to its value or because it is rare, nor for its heritage. It’s just that when I get in it, and I close the door, I am in my own special world. I tune everything out. I leave for a timeless dimension; it is where I go to blow off steam.” In case you’re unfamiliar, the GTA is widely considered one of Alfa Romeo’s motorsport masterpieces, securing the Division 2 European Touring Car Championship in 1966, 1967, and 1969. Although it is based on the road-going Tipo 105 Giulia Sprint GT, the GTA is an Autodelta-built special built from the ground up for ultimate overall performance.
The GT Alleggerita, meaning “lightweight,” features an abundance of plastics and an all-aluminum body skin to bring the pounds way down. Various magnesium components—including the featherweight 14-inch wheels, valve cover, timing cover, and bell housing—further eliminated unnecessary weight. Under the letterbox hood is a 1600cc twin-cam inline-four fitted with an upgraded distributor, larger 45mm carburetors, and most significantly, a trick twin-spark aluminum head that in Stradale trim made approximately 115 horsepower—Montini’s GTA, now in full Corsa spec, makes a screaming 160 from the little mill.
Peering over the crisp Giorgetto Giugiaro-penned lines of this pristine GTA, you wouldn’t guess it was once a dismantled disaster of parts when Montini acquired it a decade ago. “We bought the GTA sight unseen because it was disassembled, without thinking what the build would entail,” (Montini cannot say this without a smile on his face), “without assessing the risks that we could run into with a car of this type.” After looking over the parts spread throughout a friend’s garage, they discovered the car was “all there” as promised: some assembly required.
Montini recounts, “We took all the crates home, and little by little—like a puzzle—we were able to rebuild the whole car.” And although it took Montini and his father three years of persistence to complete the project, now with a Certificate of Authenticity from Alfa Romeo, their efforts were well worth the work. With only 500 1600cc-spec GTAs produced for homologation, Montini’s is just one of 49 made in right-hand drive configuration, making it all the more rare.
But as mentioned, these bonuses are almost meaningless to this Alfaholic. For Montini, it’s about what the twin-spark powered drive delivers rather than whatever bragging rights it brings to the table: “This car gives me emotions that cannot be put into words. It is such an intimate experience, that I jealously cherish it.” We would too Mr. Montini.
This very special Maserati Spider only three examples were ever built. These three early-production 3500 GTs, chassis 101.010, 101.124, and 101.126, were all built in 1958 as prototypes for a limited run of production Spiders. The styling of the cars foreshadowed Aston Martin's DB4 Drophead Coupe. The 3500 GT Spiders were built using Carrozzeria Touring's patented superleggera method. Nevertheless, Maserati ultimately decided in favor of Carrozzeria Vignale's proposal and, beginning in 1960, 243 production Spiders were built on the shortened 3500 GT chassis.
This is the last car of the three Touring bodied 3500s: 101.126. Up until recently this car was never seen in public since the 1990s. Few is known about this car, except that it appeared in full glory, and painted red, in the 1963 movie 'Love is a ball' starring Glenn Ford and Hope Lange. Enjoy this very special ride.
It was the first time I got to drive a 355 F1 Spider and it made sweet memories. What a truly complete car for its age and so much fun to drive.
The Ferrari F355 (Type F129) is a sports car built by Ferrari from May 1994 to 1999. It is an evolution of the Ferrari 348 and was replaced by the Ferrari 360. It is a mid-engined, rear wheel drive, V8-powered two-seat coupe, targa, or convertible. Design emphasis for the F355 was placed on significantly improved performance, as well as drivability across a wider range of speeds and in different environments (such as low-speed city traffic.)
Apart from the displacement increase from 3.4 to 3.5 L, the major difference between the V8 engine in the 348 and F355 is the introduction of a 5-valve cylinder head. This new head design allowed for better intake permeability and resulted in an engine that was considerably more powerful, producing 380 PS (279 kW; 375 hp). The longitudinal 90° V8 engine was bored 2mm over the 348's engine (85 mm rather than 83 mm), resulting in the small increase in displacement. Engine internals are produced using lightweight materials; the connecting rods are forged in Ti6-Al-4V titanium alloy. The engine's compression ratio is 11:1 and employs the Bosch Motronic M2.7 engine control unit in the 1995 model year, later changed to the M5.2 in 1996 through end of production. The Motronic system controls the electronic fuel injection and ignition systems, with a single spark plug per cylinder. Engine lubrication is via a dry-sump oiling system.
The frame is a steel monocoque with tubular steel rear sub-frame with front and rear suspensions using independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs over gas-filled telescopic shock absorbers with electronic control servos and anti-roll bars. The car allows selection between two damper settings, "Comfort" and "Sport". Ferrari fitted all road-going F355 models with Pirelli tires, size 225/40ZR 18 in front and 265/40 ZR 18 in the rear. Although the F355 was equipped with power-assisted steering (intended to improve low-speed drivability relative to the outgoing 348), this could optionally be replaced with a manual steering rack setup by special order.
Aerodynamic designs for the car included over 1,300 hours of wind tunnel analysis. The car incorporates a Nolder profile on the upper portion of the tail, and a fairing on the underbody that generates downforce when the car is at speed.
The car's standard seats are upholstered with hides from Connolly Leather, and are fitted asymmetrically in the car; this results in the driver being slightly closer to the car's center line than the passenger.
At launch, two models were available: the coupe Berlinetta priced at $130,000 (£78,000), and the targa topped GTS. The Spider (convertible) version, priced at $137,000 (£82,500), was introduced in 1995. In 1997 the Formula One style paddle gear shift electrohydraulic manual transmission was introduced with the Ferrari 355 F1 (note the dropping of the F before the 355) adding £6,000 to the dealer asking price. The F355 was the last in the series of mid-engined Ferraris with the Flying Buttress rear window, a lineage going back to the 1965 Dino 206 GT, unveiled at the Paris Auto Show.
The nomenclature does not follow the formula from the previous decades, i.e., engine capacity (in liters) followed by number of cylinders (e.g. 246 = 2.4 liters, 6 cylinders, 308 = 3.0 liters, 8 cylinders, etc.). For the F355, Ferrari used engine capacity followed by the number of valves per cylinder (355 = 3.5 litres engine capacity and 5 valves per cylinder) to bring the performance advances introduced by a 5 valve per cylinder configuration into the forefront.
Total production of 11,273 units made the F355 the most-produced Ferrari at the time. This sales record would be surpassed by the next generation 360 and later, the F430.