Formula Vintage: machines champions of F1: Alfa Romeo 158/159


The decade of the 30’s started with the domain of the Alfa Romeo and Bugatti prodigiously handled by Varzi, Nuvolari, Chiron or Minoia, but with the arrival of Auto Union and Mercedes in the mid of the same, the supremacy is banished, and were Caracciola, Rosemeyer, Müller or Lang, who regularly tasted the sweetness of victory.

“The engine block was manufactured with Elektron by means of two castings subsequently integrated”

The great and powerful machines German were invincible, and the Italian Federation of motor sports decided that all the races in the soil of alpine would be done with Voiturettes: cars lighter and less powerful. Alfa Romeo was commissioned by the Scuderia Ferrari -by then in the service of the milanese brand – build a vehicle under such rules and Gioacchino Colombo designed the 158. With a supercharged engine to 17.6 psi of pressure, to 1,500 c. c. and 8-cylinder (hence its name), the Automobile had a power of approximately 200 horses. Had double cams and an engine block manufactured in Elektron, formed by two cast parts are subsequently integrated. Elektron was a magnesium alloy developed in Germany during world War I as a substitute of the aluminum alloy. It is exceptionally light and has a specific gravity much lower.

The oil sump of the crankcase was also of magnesium, while the crankshaft is manufactured in chrome-nickel steel, , leaving the total weight of the propellant in 165 kg. As was common in racing cars, lubrication was by dry sump, avoiding the risk of leakage on sudden movements of the car and allowed to lower the center of gravity to separate the oil tank and, therefore, place the motor below.

unfortunately, World War II began in 1939 and Alfa Romeo has ceased production of its vehicles, moving focus in the manufacture of aero-engines and military vehicles. In addition, he scattered all the pieces, machinery and tool that was able to throughout Milan in order to minimize the losses due to bombing, getting to save the Automobile, which re-emerged to start, in 1950, the books of the history of Formula 1.

Final glorious

Twelve years later, the engine of eight cylinders in line had gained power, delivering 350 horsepower at 8.600 rpm. One of the peculiarities of the first Automobile was that the intake of the turbo is fed from the front, so I collected a lot of dirt. Subsequently, it reversed the sense to avoid such a problem.

That season, he won all the races, qualifying rounds for the championship -except the Indianapolis 500-Mile race, test not showing the brackets for european-, doing a champion Nino Farina, who won in three of the six Big Prizes in which he took part.

For the following season, Alfa Romeo has updated some parts of the 158, especially the suspension and engine, adopting for it the appellation 159. In the first case, the rear suspension rocker arm was replaced by a shaft-Dion, while the engine increased its power up to 425 horsepower thanks to the adoption of a turbo with two stages. The weight of the car also grew and, in consequence, the consumption, so there was that to increase the fuel tank. In spite of this, Alfa Romeo again to get the title, this time thanks to a Juan Manuel Fangio was beginning to write his legend.


technical Specifications Alfa Romeo 158 Alfa Romeo 159
Designer Gioacchino Colombo Gioacchino Colombo
Denomination Alfa Romeo 158 S8 SC Alfa Romeo 159 S8 SC
Chassis Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo
Power 350 hp at 8500 rpm 425 hp at 9.300 rpm
Motor Alfa Romeo 1.479 cc in front position Alfa Romeo 1.479 cc in front position
Number of cylinders 8 online 8 online
Supercharged Yes, one-stage Yes, two stages
Transmission Manual 4-speed, double reduction, differential, ZF Manual 4-speed, double reduction, differential, ZF
Chassis Tubular, two longitudinal beams, four cross-cutting Tubular, two longitudinal beams, four cross-cutting
Weight 630 kg 710 kg
fuel Tank 300 l 332 liters
Supplier carburante/lubricante Shell Shell
Frenos Drum (Lockheed) Drum (Lockheed)
Length 4.293 cm 4.293 cm
Distance between axes 2.502 cm 2.502 cm
Tires Pirelli (17″/18″ front, 18″/19″ rear) Pirelli (17″/18″ front, 18″/19″ behind)
sports Results Alfa Romeo 158 Alfa Romeo 159
Pilots Fagioli, Fangio, Farina, Guidotti, Parnell, Sanesi, Taruffi Bonetto, De Graffenried, Fagioli, Fangio, Farina, Guidotti, Piestch, Sanesi
Large Premios 20 29
Victorias 6 4
Poles 6 4
Turns rápidas 6 7
Podios 12 9
Km. liderados 2.364 2.085
Títulos 1 in 1950 1 1951