These Sexy Old Speedboats Pack Wicked Alfa Romeo Racing Engines
The Alfa Romeo was a post-war dirt racing monster, winning a number of races that we now consider Formula 1 with the Alfetta 158/159 powered by a supercharged inline-eight engine of very small displacement. This car was a monumental success in the hands of pilots like Juan Manual Fangio and Nino Farina. But, less well known to auto enthusiasts, this engine (and the company’s other motorsport engines) have also had some very successful careers on the water. The Arno II, seen above, was powered by an Alfa 158 engine (and is parked next to its Grand Prix car parent). In total, the boats in this exhibition have accumulated 11 world records, six world championships and a number of European and Italian championships.
Alfa Romeo developed marine engines and sustained racing efforts for decades, starting in the 1920s and trickling into the 1980s. During that roughly 80-year period, the company powered a number remarkable speedboats and seaplanes. A number of these used engines modified by the company’s Autodelta racing wing, such as the Popoli-Alfa Romeo seaplane, which used a Tipo 33 engine from the famous (and magnificent stradale street version), which set a record in its class that still stands.
All speedboats from this period are generally good looking, but Italians have a way of adding extra beauty to their vehicles in the pursuit of competitive excellence. Lots of boats, even the most professional of them, have gorgeous detailing, vibrant colors and, of course, a range of Alfa engines that probably looked amazing when they got ripped apart on a race course. All of these boats will be on view at the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese, Italy – few of us will be traveling anytime soon, especially abroad. That said, enjoy the photos of these incredible drivers who embody the competitive spirit of Alfa Romeo in unexpected form.
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