Alfa Scarabeo Concept
Every now and then it’s great to have a look at a concept for pure novelty value. This, though, is not the most outrageous concept to come out of Italy in the sixties, but for us it’s one of the most interesting.
The Scarabeo Prototipo came as the result of a goodly boomtime for Alfa – the Guilietta had been selling hugely, and the ache of mediocrity that popular success sometimes brings must have become something of an unbearable itch. The idea was to develop a series of racing prototypes to offset the uncomfortably staid image of the Guilietta. Alfa had, after all, officially pulled out of racing as far back as 1953.
In late 1964 Alfa sent three H-shaped racing chassis to OSI of Turin, a styling subsidiary of Ghia, and the stylists there came up with a variety of body treatments. One of the key features of the cars was a driving position way back in the middle of the chassis: which, it was thought, would give the driver maximum control; as well as necessitated that long low, flat nose and the squat, breadvan like rear end.
One of the cool innovations the Scarabeo featured was that fuel tanks were incorporated into the large diameter tube chassis to distribute weight evenly: an idea that survives to this day and features in contemporary superbikes and some racing cars. This sensible idea was carried through to the lovely Tipo 33.
Innovative materials such as magnesium was used in the car’s build, too and the clutch and gearbox were integrated into the main body of the engine.
Two of the three chassis survive and are on display in the Alfa Museum – and the silver one apparently lives in a private collection somewhere in the wilds of Canada.
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