Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, the icon fascinating the State

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Meeting with U.S. customer Glynn Bloomquist

 

“I was born in a hospital on an air force base, maybe that’s where my love of speed and maximum performance comes from.” This was how the Texan Glynn Bloomquist introduced himself a few weeks ago to the Alfa Romeo team, to finalize in person the one-off configuration of his Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale. The meeting took place at the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese, an iconic location where some of the most beautiful cars in the world are kept, including the fascinating historic 33 Stradale that inspired the new custom-built car. 

After an exclusive visit to the museum, the team warmly welcomed Mr. Bloomquist to the Sala del Consiglio of the Museum in Arese, where the design of the 33 Stradale was approved in 1967, now the Bottega Alfa Romeo’s headquarters. In this symbolic place, the brand's designers, engineers and historians met and listened to the 33 owners, then created alongside them what have become unique works of art and an authentic “manifesto” of the Italian brand’s capabilities – now and in the future – in terms of style and driving experience. 

Made in only 33 exclusive units, for 33 of the brand’s fans, the new two-seater coupé combines heritage and the future, and is produced according to a unique artisanal process with the highest quality standards and obsessive attention to detail, exactly the same way as in Renaissance artisan boutiques and in the 1960s workshops of renowned Italian coachbuilders. One of these was the renowned Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, which went on to leave its mark on some of the most beautiful Alfa Romeos of all time and now plays a leading role in the production of the new 33 Stradale.

Within the historic and glorious walls of the Bottega Alfa Romeo, the U.S. entrepreneur told his story completely naturally and with great emotional involvement, showing he felt at ease in the Alfa Romeo Tribe and even more so in the small circle of owners of the new 33 Stradale, true ambassadors of the Italian brand and its values in the four corners of the Earth. 

Passion for American racing and discovery of Italian motorsport

Growing up with a father who was passionate about American racing and muscle cars, Glynn Bloomquist quickly fell in love with U.S. motorsport, a passion that soon saw him move to Indianapolis for work, where he followed the marketing of his wineryphotographic company at the legendary IndyCarIndianapolis 500, the greatest championship for open-wheel cars in the States. Mr. Bloomquist recalled: “I spent 10 years traveling the world sponsoring IndyCar. Some of my fondest memories of that time are of myour first driver, Jimmy Vasser. In 1992 as a rookie, he climbed the podium at Indianapolis after setting the speed record for a rookie in Indy 500 history: over 212222 mph.” Building on these experiences in racing, which was appealing to him more and more, the U.S. entrepreneur began to shift his focus abroad, to discover the sporting heritage of European brands, especially in Italy. The ones that impressed him the most were Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, two brands unique in the world for their sporting history, Made in Italy design and cutting-edge technology. Reading a book about Enzo Ferrari, Mr. Bloomquist discovered the unbreakable bond between the renowned entrepreneur and the Alfa Romeo brand, a 20-year relationship where Drake acted as tester, driver, commercial collaborator, and finally director of the legendary Alfa Romeo racing department. From that moment on, his interest in Italian motorsport turned into a true passion that resulted in his purchase of Italian gems. A recent addition to his collection is a magnificent Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio in the 100th Anniversary edition, which he had the privilege of driving on the F1 track at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, as the Alfa Romeo team's guest in 2023. That was when he met Cristiano Fiorio, head of the 33 Stradale project, who offered him an unmissable opportunity. “It didn’t take me long to accept the idea of becoming one of the 33 customers of the new Alfa Romeo custom-built car, as long as it was red and red alone,” Glynn said with a smile. Cristiano Fiorio himself recounts: “From the first time we met in Austin, we had a special relationship with Glynn. The human engagement he brought to the project, and the passion in his and the team’s approach to the configuration process are truly something unique. No less unique is the wonderful model he has passionately configured for the brand and for the history of world motorsport. 

Configuration inspired by its forerunner, with a contemporary flair

As per his request, Mr. Bloomquist’s new 33 Stradale sports a multilayer Rosso Villa d'Este livery embellished with a horizontal white band in the front, quite a rare design element in supercars. It revisits with a contemporary flair the red and white color combination of the Tipo 33, a leading light in world motorsport in the 1960s and forerunner of the 1967 33 Stradale. Likewise, he decided on the position of the legendary Quadrifoglio and Autodelta logos, on special rear air intakes, and on the new 20” “Progressive” alloy wheels in black with dressing and carbon fiber inserts. With one eye on the iconic 1967 33 Stradale on display at the Arese Museum, for the interior Mr. Bloomquist opted for the Tributo configuration in two-tone slate and biscuit with trim in aluminum, adding slate Alcantara upholstery for the dashboard and part of the seats, door panels, and central tunnel, combined with a specific, very fine biscuit-colored leather.  The Texan entrepreneur also requested the inclusion of the number 14 on the outside of the doors and in the interior embroidered on the headrests, in homage to two exceptional drivers who used it on their race cars: Enzo Ferrari, on his 1920s Alfa Romeo; and Anthony Joseph “A.J.” Foyt, on his FloydFoyt Coyote. Deciding on the number 14 is therefore a tribute both to Alfa Romeo’s sporting heritage and to the multiple U.S. champion that won the Indianapolis 500 four times and seven USAC championships. In short, the configuration of Mr. Bloomquist’s 33 Stradale is a veritable handbook of Italian and U.S. automotive sportiness. “I can't wait to get my hands on the steering wheel of my 33 Stradale and hear the sound of its 3.0L twin-turbo V6 engine with over 620 hp. Of course, it won't be shut up in the garage. In and around central Texas, where I live, there are plenty of fantastic streets and circuits where I racetrack all my cars, and my Alfa Romeo custom build will be no exception,” Glynn concluded. 

Alfa Romeo’s sporting exploits on American soil

There is an unbreakable bond between U.S. motorsport fans and Alfa Romeo, in a long history studded with sporting feats, legendary models, and great drivers. The brand made its first appearance abroad with Tazio Nuvolari’s historic 1936 victory in the Vanderbilt Cup – the only European brand to win this race – on the Roosevelt Field track in New York, aboard the GP Tipo C 12C. In the 1930s and 1940s, many Alfa Romeo cars continued to race on the other side of the Atlantic. The bond would be strengthened even further after WW2: Pinin Farina’s 1955 Giulietta Spider was created at the request of Max Hoffman, a famous importer of European sports cars, aimed above all at U.S. “gentlemen drivers.” The ‘little’ spider therefore became a symbol of a different way of life. For well over a decade from the mid-’60s, cars from Arese made their presence strongly felt on U.S. circuits. For example, victories by the Giulia TZ and Giulia Sprint GTAs, the “33”s that saw the Alfa Romeo banner hoisted on the highest flagpoles at circuits such as Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Daytona, in the 1968 hat-trick that would even give its name to the 1968 version of the Tipo 33/2, the starting point for the 33 Stradale. In those years, Horts Kweck in the GTA became U.S. champion in the Touring class and Mario Andretti, an American champion with Italian roots, competed in both the 33 and Formula 1 races in 1981, bolstering a tradition of U.S. drivers at the wheel of Alfa Romeos that dates back to 1924 when Peter de Paolo raced in the legendary GP Tipo P2.

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