The GTAm models are derived from Alfa's 1750 Veloce coupe. The Am suffix is a shortened version of "America," and refers to the US model, which required fuel injection for emission reasons. With full development, the GTAm engine brought twice the brake horsepower available from a standard carbureted car. The bodywork featured fiberglass doors, hood and dashboard and riveted fiberglass fenders. It featured the typical Autodelta sliding-block rear suspension to lower the car's roll center, thereby improving handling. The cars ran on 13-inch Campagnolo wheels and had ventilated disc brakes. A new dual-plug cylinder head was used, and the engines were available with either 1779-cc or 1985-cc displacements.

Autodelta, Alfa Romeo's competition arm, prepared the GTAm for the European Touring Car Championships. In 1970, the works won six of nine races, and the Dutch driver Toine Hezemans secured the European Driver's Championship. In 1971, the class was divided and a new minimum weight introduced, but Hezemans was able to retain the Championship.

Figures suggest that there were 40 GTAms built, although the confirmed number is closer to half that. Fifteen cars were supplied directly to Autodelta for their own use—the recorded works cars. A handful of cars were sold to privateers who commissioned Autodelta to upgrade them to GTAm specification. Three were exported to America and Angola, one to the Jolly Club in Italy, and this car, 1531231, to Luigi Cecchini of Lucca, on May 26, 1970, as confirmed by Alfa Romeo Autodelta. The remainder of the 40 or so produced is accounted for by privateers who bought parts from Autodelta and carried out conversions themselves.

This car debuted in the hands of Cecchini in the Copa della Collina in June, 1970. It suffered a minor incident, and there appears to be no racing history after this event. The Alfa then went to Spain and was eventually bought by the present owner in Sicily in 1986. It was subsequently restored over a period of four years to its original condition and features full Autodelta specs, being fitted with correct 2-liter fuel injection and twin-spark head. On completion of the restoration, the car was used in various historic competition events, including the Alfa day at Monza in 1990. It has been featured in a number of Italian publications in April, 1992, and December, 1996. The car was driven by Teodoro Zeccoli, an original works driver who wrote to the owner thanking him, and confirming the car was as it was when it originally raced and is "unbelievably fast."

Use since restoration has been limited to 60 miles and the car is reported to be in excellent condition. The car is eligible for the Tour Auto, Youngtimer series and a number of track events. It is offered for sale with a file containing a letter from Alfa Romeo, copy for the specification for the model, various photographs and the magazine articles the car was featured in.

{analysis} SCM gave this car a 3+ rating when it sold for $50,055, including buyer's premium, at Christie's London sale on December 4, 2001. That is a surprisingly low condition rating for a freshly restored car, and may in part explain the reason the car sold for such a low price.

The Alfa GTAm is a car that stirs the boy racer in all of us. Based on a standard production chassis, it represents what every GTV owner wishes his car were. The GTAm was a serious effort by Autodelta at a time that Alfa was also developing the Type 33 cars and trying to stay afloat financially. The TZ and TZ2 models had been cancelled in favor of the Type 33, and it is quite likely that the GTAm could have been developed further, given added resources. Even so, it was a very successful racer, both in Europe and the US. Many GTAms offered alloy panels instead of plastic, and the shapes of the flares varied between cars.

GTAm engines developed 220 horsepower at 7,200 rpm, compared to 118 hp of the stock 1750 engine. There is no mention made by the auction catalog whether this GTAm is fitted with either a Bosch or SPICA sliding-plate throttle-body injection system, or a competition-use-only narrow-angle competition head.

There are more questions here. The chassis number 1531231 is listed in Tony Adriaensens's book, Alleggerita, as a GTAm, but without any other information. This makes the chassis number ripe for a variety of creative interpretations. The fact that the only documentation that comes with this car is a letter from Alfa Romeo, a copy of the general specifications of the GTAm model, and recent magazine articles, is enough to give one pause.

By the way, Adriaensens also prefers "America" as an interpretation of the Am in GTAm; the other reading is "Alleggerita maggiorata" (lightweight modified), but he thinks that is inappropriate, as the GTAm was much more than a modification of the GTA. There never was an "official" factory name other than GTAm.

The sale price is at least $25,000 below SCM's Price Guide, but this does not necessarily mean that it was well bought. Since its restoration appears to be old and deteriorating, even though declared to be fresh, this GTAm needs a thorough going over before being raced, or a complete restoration if it is to be shown. In either case, more money will be required before the car satisfies its new owner's fantasies.

Given the condition of this car, and the lack of documentation of its provenance, the price paid should be viewed as market correct.-Pat Braden{/analysis}

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