Alfa Romeo enthusiasts’ attention worldwide has over the last year has been firmly focused on the “new breed” of exciting Alfa Romeo models. And at the same time the attention of Autodelta’s design and engineering team has been on working through the rapidly-growing order book for the new 340bhp Autodelta Brera J5 3.2 C, as well as finalizing bespoke high-performance versions of the 159, 159 Sportwagon and Spider to be added to the range this year.
And although it has slipped somewhat from the public’s attention, the stylish Alfa GT Coupé continues to find a niche market, buyers continuing to be seduced by its excellent chassis, gorgeous Bertone-styled looks, and of course the availability of the classic Alfa 3.2 “V6” engine. Autodelta introduced its exclusive, bespoke version of the Alfa GT, the Autodelta GT 3.2 Super, at the MPH04 Motor Show in December 2004, before exactly a year later at MPH05, it introduced a new, more extreme version that pushed the performance and dynamic envelope out even further. This model, the awesome Autodelta GT 3.2 Super Evo, has proved to be hugely popular with customers with a steady stream of orders being fulfilled over the last year-and-a-half.
The 320bhp Autodelta GT Super had featured a bespoke Rotrex C30-94 supercharger utilised through a compact cooling and lubrication system developed by the firm’s talented engineers for the Alfa GT, along with chassis, suspension, transmission, electronics, braking and aerodynamic upgrades. The new Autodelta GT Super Evo then pushed the performance envelope out even further, offering increased levels of torque (287 lb/ft at 4800 rpm) and more power (341bhp at 6,450rpm) through the incorporation of a larger intercooler and higher-flow injectors, with boost raised from 0.45 to 0.55 bar, and utilising an evolutionary engine re-mapping programme. The 0-60 mph time was shaved to 5.2 seconds, while the main change apparent to the driver was in the substantial improvement in mid- and high-range acceleration as well as a more noticeable (and louder) sound emitted by the revised exhaust system, which was created specially for this “Evo” model in close conjunction with Autodelta’s exhaust development partner, Ragazzon.
While a growing number of Autodelta GT Super Evo models have since been built at the firm’s London HQ and by its authorized dealers worldwide, a customer in the United Arab Emirates recently approached Autodelta to convert his Alfa GT Coupé to full Evo specification. With a growing demand for Autodelta products in the Gulf region, Autodelta is currently putting a localized distribution network together, but for this project specially commissioned by Walid Shihabi and his brother Wissam – the first fully bespoke model programme to be carried out in the UAE - factory Autodelta engineers were to be dispatched to carry out the conversion using the excellent facilities of Gargash Motors LLC, the country’s official Alfa Romeo importer and distributor.
“Walid and I recently decided to upgrade our 3.2-litre Alfa Romeo GT Coupé to a supercharged version; and we chose Autodelta for their huge experience both with supercharging and with tuning Alfa Romeos,” says Wissam. “Getting the maximum performance possible out of the Alfa GT – without considering any compromises - was our main objective; any other issues were regarded as secondary.
"We flew to London just before Christmas to test-drive an Autodelta GT 3.2 Super Evo demonstrator and we ordered the conversion on the spot,” he adds.
Autodelta air-freighted all the parts required for the conversion to the UAE last month, including the new body panels, and its engineers flew over to Dubai shortly afterwards to carry out the conversion. The Autodelta team was pleased to use the workshops of Gargash Motors LLC to carry out the conversion.
"It was an amazing decision,” adds Wissam, “because the outcome was a car that we both really love. The GT’s drive was always one to enjoy but with the extra 100 bhp and the superbly aggressive noise the new exhaust system makes, Autodelta has managed to make the car into what it is really supposed to be, the type of car that totally speaks to you and says ‘please drive me to the limit’. We have also driven the car on the new Dubai race track several times, exploring its potential fully, and it has always been a fun experience with the car setting very fast times. In the UAE it is often difficult for a car to stand out as there are many distinctive and expensive, luxury and supercars on the road – but the Autodelta GT Super Evo always captures attention wherever it goes.”