The 33/3 is a very fitting name for this car, seeing as it is the third generation of the racing Tipo 33s, as well as the first in the family to bump the capacity up to three liters. Spurred on by the auspicious debut of the 33/2 a year prior, Alfa Romeo decided to start competing for outright race wins rather than just in their class, and Autodelta began this new stage of development by modifying the existing aluminum alloy V8 from the previous cars, which resulted in 2998ccs good for 400 horsepower as opposed to the roughly 270 in the two-liter cars. It also lost its roof (some hardtop configurations were still used, depending on the track and driver, like the Targa Florio-winning car), though it still gained some weight overall despite this. This is because the 33/3 was the most marked change in the 33 lineage thus far; the complex tube chassis was ditched for a stiffer, more traditional box-sectioned monocoque design, fundamentally changing what it meant to be a “33.”
The example pictured here is a 1970 car (the first 33/3s raced in 1969), which was the least successful season for the 33/3 in which the chassis didn’t win a single race. The following year saw the 33/3 keep the name, but it was a more than mildly revised car that appeared at the starting line in 1971, boasting an increase in horsepower, less weight, as well as revised, more squared-off bodywork that ditched the longer enclosed tail of the ’69 and ’70 cars for a design resembling the Porsche 908/03. The Porsche won the Targa Florio in 1970, but the Alfa would take the overall win in 1971, ending the Germans’ five-year winning streak and bringing the trophy back to Milan for the first time since 1950 when the 6C 2500 finished first.