This Alfa is Canary Yellow. It was also a dying canary in the coal-mine of Italian supercar fates of the next decade.
When a canary dies in his cage deep undergound, miners knew the toxicity of the air was going from bad to worse.
In mid-1960s Italy, the momentum to start one’s own hypercar legacy was a powerful draw.
By 1969, all in the small sports-car business at the time marvelled at Feruccio Lamborghini’s success in carving sales away from Ferrari. Ferrari had quashed nearly all attempts by Maserati and Alfa-Romeo at reclaiming their past glory, and non-Ferrari people were elated that the market seemed to be open to new hypercars.
Do I mean Ferrari the company, or Ferrari the man? Both. For better and definitely for worse, Enzo ruled the roost. He lived on the factory grounds, after all, meaning no one was ever truly out from his dark and malevolent shadow while in Maranello and wider Italy.
What do I want to say but can’t find the words?
Enzo Ferrari was mean. Very mean. For someone so new to the car business versus Maserati or Alfa-Romeo from the 1910s, he fought like the RIAA to shut any other entrepreneur out of his little post-1950 utopia of American exports via a small handful of handshake distribution deals.
Ferrari, it is worth noting, was dominated by Enzo’s larger-than-life personality. It was his business, and he fought with dictatorial vindictiveness to protect his newfound turf.
Why so critical of Enzo Ferrari at this moment in history? His methods and tactics were ruthless — but effective — at burying Maserati and Alfa-Romeo both on the racetrack and in posh global showrooms.
The clouds were looming over even Ferrari, however, with four straight losses at LeMans to Ford, of all people — that so shamed the company that it ultimately pulled out of endurance racing for good after years of losses and declining supercar sales worldwide.
But if the Miura’s success tore up the rulebook, the Arab Oil Embargo and sweeping American safety mandates added 10,000 extra stairs to the climb. New marques like OSCA, Iso, Intermeccanica, Bizarrinni, and even resurgent De Tomaso were heaving their last, heavy breaths by 1973 — when the mood and weather turned ice-cold toward race-bred prototypes for the road.
Thus, this Tipo 332 Coupe Speciale was relegated the the basement of Alfa-Romeo’s dreams.
That is a shame. Its design advanced a taut/crisp, but flowing/curved line, that Ferrari itself still could not master for a show car — let alone produce for sale.