Alfa Romeo T33/6/12 6-Wheel Project Race Car

Alfa Romeo T33/6/12 – Car Profile

By Louis Galanos

In secret testing almost two weeks (April 1 to be exact) after the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring race Alfa Romeo arrived at Sebring with their one-of-a-kind, six-wheeled, twelve cylinder Alfa-Romeo T33/6/12. Designed to give the Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512 a run for its money, the Alfa Romeo sported a 5-liter V12/60 degrees/4v engine and six wheels in total.

The six-wheel Alfa Romeo T33 project was cancelled abruptly after teens from a local high school snuck onto the raceway at night and stole the car from its hanger/garage. The chassis was found two weeks later in a nearby orange grove minus the engine.

For several years after this incident rumors circulated about a V12 hot rod that was blowing away all comers in the Sebring area. Not to be outdone by Alfa Romeo, other race constructors soon jumped on the six-wheel bandwagon. Ferrari had their 312/T6, Tyrrell had the P34, March had the 2-4-0 and Williams had the FW08B. In both the World Sportscar Championship and Formula 1 these cars were soon outlawed.

[Source: Louis Galanos]

Show Comments (15)

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Sitting in the Sears Point pits, sunshine and a great collection of CSRG cars. Reading this story on the six wheel Alfa. Only at the end did my wife wisper in my ear ‘it’s April First’. Oh.

  2. Dear Mr. Galanos:

    I enjoyed your piece on the 6-wheel Alfa T33, however, I must point out a number of small but significant errors.
    First, the Sebring test was not on April 1 but April 2, as the team could not afford nor operate alarm clocks and missed the day for which they were originally scheduled.

    It was not the first test of the car, which took place on the Italian Autostrada near Lucca where many famous Alfa were tested. It was not originally intended to be a six-wheeler but faulty materials in the wheel hubs meant that the wheels regularly fell off. As carlo Chiti was back at Autodelta headquarters feeding his dogs, clever mechanics fitted a second rear axle to carry one spare wheel, so in fact it was actually a five wheeler. The lack of balance meant that a sixth wheel had to be fitted though that was from an early Alfetta. John Surtees tested the car which he thought was very clever but he fell out with Chiti in an arguement about tires and one of the dogs bit him.

    You will notice in the photo, the only one known, that it is quite impossible to tell how many wheels are on the car.
    The other error concerns the engine, which was not a V12 but following BRM practice, tried an H-11, a V-15, and other configurations, at least one of which survives in the Life Grand Prix car which still exists, a W-14, depending on which day of the week it is.

    I hope you don’t mind my comments…after all…I wrote the book!

    Ed McDonough

    1. Gentlemen,
      as an avid collector of 6 wheels slot cars (, owner of a McLaren M23 6 wheels RC model (, designer of an Alfa 33 slot car model (, and former Life Racing Engines employee, I will immediately start working on a 1/32 slot car replica of the pictured car, powered by a 1/32 scale Life W12 engine reproduction which will misfire depending on the day of the week, as suggested.

      Maurizio Ferrari

  3. In the background of the picture, just to the tight and unseen, is the superstealthy USAF SR71. It was real bother in those days having to share test times with the Air Force.


  4. Well Done ! You had me going for a few moments. Do you have any other unique April 1st cars I may have missed?

  5. Thanks all for the comments.  I have to thank Hal Crocker for inspiring me.  His 2010 April Fools story on the 1974 Sebring race gave me the idea for this one.  Thanks Hal.