Alfa Romeo Scarabeo (1966): A hidden treasure in the history of classic motoring.

In the fascinating world of classic automobiles, where engineering meets art and speed meets elegance, one exceptional creation stands out: the 1966 Alfa Romeo Scarabeo. This vehicle, unknown to many but revered by connoisseurs, encapsulates an era of innovation and bold design in Alfa Romeo’s history. Join us on a journey through the history, design and legacy of this unique model, which continues to capture the imagination of the most discerning motoring enthusiasts.

Foto: © Stellantis

The vision behind the Scarabeo

In the mid-1960s, Alfa Romeo was on the cusp of a technical and stylistic revolution. After the Tipo 33 project, which marked a milestone in automotive engineering, engineer Giuseppe Busso proposed a new concept: the Scarabeo. This model was designed not only as a sports car, but as a manifestation of what Alfa Romeo could achieve in terms of mechanical innovation and bold design.

The Scarabeo presented a radical approach with its four-cylinder engine mounted transversely at the rear, a configuration that, at the time, was unconventional. This arrangement, together with a tubular chassis that integrated the fuel tanks into the large side members, offered a lightweight and robust structure, allowing for exceptional driving dynamics.

Design and Collaboration with OSI

The body design was entrusted to Officine Stampaggi Industriali (OSI), a company that, although short-lived, left an indelible mark on Italian automotive design. Founded by Luigi Segre and Arrigo Olivetti in 1960, OSI collaborated with renowned designers such as Tom Tjaarda and Giovanni Michelotti. The Scarabeo not only benefited from this collaboration, but also reflected the mastery and craftsmanship that defined OSI.

The first Scarabeo prototype, right-hand drive, was presented at the Paris Motor Show in October 1966. This model was followed by a second, simplified prototype, and although a Barchetta version was in development, it was never completed.

A collector’s item in the “Beauté Pure” exhibition.

The Scarabeo’s history and legacy live on, and its rare presence in exhibitions such as “Concept-car. Beauté pure” at the Musée National de la Voiture in Compiègne, France, is testament to its enduring impact. This exhibition, which celebrates the evolution of the concept car from its beginnings through the 1970s, includes iconic models such as the Scarabeo, highlighting its value not only as a vehicle, but as a work of art.

Alfa Romeo Scarabeo Technical Specifications

The Scarabeo was powered by an in-line four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 1,570 cc, capable of generating 115 horsepower at 6000 rpm. Weighing only 700 kg, the Scarabeo could reach a top speed of 200 km/h, proving that its light and aerodynamic design did not compromise performance.

Technical Data:

  • Engine: Rear, transverse, 4 cylinders in line, light alloy block and head, 2 overhead camshafts with double chain control.
  • Displacement: 1,570 cc (78×82 mm).
  • Maximum Power: 115 HP at 6000 rpm.
  • Weight: 700 kg.
  • Maximum Speed: 200 km/h.
  • Units Produced: 3.

The Scarabeo Legacy in the History of Alfa Romeo

The Alfa Romeo Scarabeo is more than a car; it is a symbol of a golden era in the history of motoring. It represents Alfa Romeo’s audacity in the pursuit of technical and aesthetic perfection. Although only three units were produced, the Scarabeo remains a key part of the brand’s history, influencing later designs and leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of classic car enthusiasts.

In a world where automotive technology and design continue to evolve, the Scarabeo remains a reminder of what can be achieved when innovation and passion combine. For classic car enthusiasts, discovering the Scarabeo is like unearthing a forgotten treasure, a testament to Alfa Romeo’s enduring legacy.