Ugur Sahin Reimagined The Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale and Based It On The 4C

The reinvention of old shapes is somehow mystically exhilarating and reinvigorating. Especially if done properly as is the case with the 4C Nivola. Ugur Sahin Design is one of those life bearers, and its latest project is called the Alfa Romeo 4C Nivola. A car that will blossom and spiritually reimagine the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale. And that was, for many, the most beautiful Alfa Romeo of all time.

After its photos surfaced on the Internet, the Alfa Romeo 4C Nivola bathed us all with its charm, historical links with the 33 Stradale (I almost wrote canonical links, because the Alfa Romeo story is more like a movie), and classic Italian glamour.

Yet, the designer behind this work of art, Ugur Sahin, is from Turkey, with the headquarters of his studio located in the Netherlands. That’s where he worked on the 4C Nivola design. It’s been in the works since he’d seen the 33 Stradale at Pebble Beach last year.

This car will not leave you listless, but packed with emotion. At least it did just that for me. I contacted Ugur Sahin, and he was more than straightforward with his answers. This is what I uncovered about the stunning Alfa Romeo 4C Nivola.

Short Interview With Ugur Sahin About His Alfa Romeo 4C Nivola Design

2019 Alfa Romeo 4C NIVOLA by Ugur Sahin Design Exterior
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TopSpeed: How long have you been working on this design?

Ugur Sahin: I have been working on the design off and on since I saw the original Alfa 33 Stradale last summer in Pebble Beach. As I really wanted to make the production of the Nivola concept as feasible as possible I spent a lot of time in making sure my design could be taken from art to part without losing the integrity of its pedigree. We decided to go with the carbon fiber chassis tub of the Alfa 4C donor vehicle for ultimate rigidity combined with ultra lightweight.

TopSpeed: I read that if there’s enough buzz about it and enough demand, you would actually produce the car. Is there any hope of that happening as of yet?

Ugur Sahin: There have been several serious buyer inquiries, and we are already preparing for production, with first customer vehicle deliveries scheduled for December 2019.

TopSpeed: Would you produce it in the Netherlands or outsource the production?

Ugur Sahin: For the Nivola project we outsource the production to our Dutch carbon specialist.

TopSpeed: What is your current production process and where do you produce the cars?

Ugur Sahin: The pre-registered customer vehicles will be shipped to our company, disassembled, re-engineered, and re-assembled with our new pre-preg carbon fiber body panels.

TopSpeed: Are there any planned upgrades to the engine or the suspension?

Ugur Sahin: We exclusively engage ourselves in the coachbuilding part for this project, except for the fact that we do offer a spectacular 4-way suspension upgrade developed by Intrax suspensions exclusively for our project.

TopSpeed: Is there any interest in producing a prototype for auto shows?

Ugur Sahin: We studied the design in Virtual Reality and have studied scale models for prototype purposes. The next step will be building the actual first car to kick off the production.

Alfa Romeo 4C NIVOLA by Ugur Sahin Design Exterior

2019 Alfa Romeo 4C NIVOLA by Ugur Sahin Design Exterior
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The Alfa Romeo 4C Nivola differs greatly from the new 4C but links its most important traits with the old 33 Stradale spiritual predecessor almost perfectly.

Ugur Sahin himself set a number of challenges even before he started the work on the design.

Not only did the new car have to be reminiscent of the old 33 Stradale, but the 4C Nivola design had to be production-friendly.

So, Mr. Sahin had to learn everything about the basic 4C architecture and adapt his design to suit it. It is safe to say that he created a rather dashing car nevertheless. He could have chosen the easier route and left many of the segments untouched (like the headlights), but I doubt that the Internet world would create as much fuss about it as now.

Nevertheless, this is what Mr. Sahin noted in the press release for the 4C Nivola:

“In order to get closer to the proportions of the Stradale 33, the rear of the car was extended in length in order to create sleek rear fenders that extend all the way back to the edge of the rear end.”

2019 Alfa Romeo 4C NIVOLA by Ugur Sahin Design Exterior
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I analyzed the design and noted some obvious differences compared to the standard 4C. First of all, the front lights and the bumper are completely different.

It looks a tad like the Artega GT, but with powerful fenders and numerous creases on the bonnet, the 4C Nivola does stand on its own.

And looks beautiful, mind you. Also, please note the double bubble roof for an accentuated sporty feel. Interestingly enough, this is not a direct throwback to the original 33 Stradale as that one had doors with curved glass that actually functioned as a part of the roof. Something like the doors on the Ford GT (not the new one, though).

Further back, on the sides, you can see these strange vents behind the wheels. On the original, these vents allowed the hot air from the brakes to escape. It was a necessary creation as the 33 Stradale actually had an inboard braking system (basically, disc brakes linked directly to the chassis and located much closer to the center of the car). This was made to reduce the unsprung mass.

Obviously, the new car would have the vents in the back only as a visual design cue. There’s no need for them in 2019. But I do like the touch. The vent just at the edge of the rear end has the same purpose mind you - to remove heat from the back of the car. Far in the back, the Alfa Romeo 4C Nivola has round tail lights and accentuated tailpipes.

2019 Alfa Romeo 4C NIVOLA by Ugur Sahin Design Exterior
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I asked Mr. Sahin what kind of lights he plans on using for the hypothetical production version. He said, “We are using stock OEM Alfa Romeo tail light units for the Nivola concept.”

Alfa Romeo 4C NIVOLA by Ugur Sahin Design Interior

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C
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Note: Standard Alfa Romeo 4C pictured here.

The Alfa Romeo 4C’s interior isn’t exactly dashing. It is spartan and definitely invites some old-school, raw sense of performance and driver-centricity. Alfa Romeo did not do much to improve it over the years, but Ugur Sahin Design can help a bit. While we do not have the photos of the 4C Nivola’s interior, Mr. Sahin told me about the changes he can do to the inside of the car. “We offer a full Alcantara interior upholstery as an option to our customers,” he said. At least it would be a bit nicer inside if you really care about the interior of a raw racer like this.

Alfa Romeo 4C NIVOLA by Ugur Sahin Design Drivetrain

2019 Alfa Romeo 4C NIVOLA by Ugur Sahin Design Exterior
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Ugur Sahin thought extensively about the possibility of production, and he even reached out to Intrax Racing for suspension components.

This is a Dutch company that works closely with racing teams. Its specially tailored suspension components found its way into Ferraris, Radical racecars, race-ready BMWs, and rally machines from Subaru and Opel. In my correspondence with Mr. Sahin, he noted that the 4C Nivola would get a specially tailored 4-way Intrax suspension setup. I believe this is a custom made solution based around the 4-Way shock absorber.

The rest of the 4C Nivola remains as plain as the 4C, i.e., sporting a mid-engine setup with a 1.75-liter turbocharged engine. It sends all of its 240-horsepower to the rear wheels via a dual dry clutch six-speed transmission.

It is a rather fast car with a 0-62 mph acceleration of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 160 mph.

I am not exactly sure that the same kind of performance could be applicable to the 4C Nivola. If it gets to production, Mr. Sahin promised all carbon-fiber or all aluminum models. Guess which one will be quicker (and more expensive).

Alfa Romeo 4C - drivetrain specifications

Engine 1,742 CC, Turbocharged 4-Cylinder
Engine (Horsepower @ RPM) 240 @ 6,000
Engine Torque (Pound-Feet @ RPM) 258 @ 2,100 - 4,000
Transmission Dual Dry Clutch Six-Speed Automatic
Acceleration (0-62 MPH) 4.5 Seconds
Top Speed 160 MPH
Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined) 24 mpg / 47 mpg / 37 mpg
CO2 Emissions 157 g/100 km

Final Thoughts

2019 Alfa Romeo 4C NIVOLA by Ugur Sahin Design Exterior
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Ugur Sahin Design is known for its works - the design of the Soleil Anadi - a racecar based on the Corvette C6 and the Ferrari 458-based design exercise - the Project F. The Alfa Romeo 4C Nivola seems to be one of the projects that created a lot of buzz, but we are yet to see will it be eligible for a limited production.

Interestingly enough, the name Nivola is rooted in Alfa Romeo’s past.

In fact, that’s the nickname of Tazio Nuvolari, a racing driver who won Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, and even 24 Hours of Le Mans races for Alfa Romeo.

That before a stint with Auto Union. Audi actually named one of its groundbreaking concept cars after him - the 2003 Audi Nuvolari Quattro Concept - thanks to his successful history with the Auto Union.

All in all, the Alfa Romeo 4C Nivola is a retro-styled beauty. It is a 4C cosplaying as a 33 Stradale, and it does deserve to reach some kind of production.

  • Leave it
    • It will be expensive (and it should be)
    • Interior from the 4C
    • Ugur Sahin Design is still waiting for enough buyers to justify its production
    • Only a design render for now

Further reading

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 556834

Read our full review on the 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C.

2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Centurion 007 – The Green Arrow by Pogea Racing
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Read our full review on the 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Centurion 007.

We are excited to introduce our latest design named Alfa Romeo “Nivola”. It is a modern interpretation of the legendary Alfa Romeo Stradale 33 designed by the Italian designer Franco Scaglione in 1967.

The design briefing was to carefully translate the original design into a modern interpretation while keeping it fitting on the rolling chassis of the Alfa Romeo 4C to be able to convert the stock donor car into something exclusive, limited and timeless, just like the beautiful original 33
A few options were considered for naming the concept, as the rich history of the Alfa Romeo brand involves many great personalities and achievements. Then after doing some deeper research I found out about the racing legend Tazio Nuvolari, nicknamed Nivola.
He epitomized courage and daring and for 30 years he amazed the racing world with his exploits on both two and four wheels resulting in several championship titles in motorcycle as well as sports car championships. For Alfa Romeo he won several world championship titles, a few Mille Miglia’s and Targa Florio races and to top it off he won the Le Mans 24 Hrs. for Alfa Romeo.
Personally I was very impressed with following story of the legendary Nivola.
At the Monza Grand Prix for motorcycles he crashed during practice. This resulted in two broken legs. After doctors put plaster casts on both legs he was told that it would be at least one month before he could walk again let alone race motorcycles. The next day he started the race having himself tied to his bike. He required his mechanics to hold him upright at the start of the race and to catch him at the end. The legend of Tazio Nuvolari began that day when he won that race.
As I admire people who fight hard for achieving their personal goals in life, I decided to name the design “Nivola” in honour of the great Tazio Nuvolari.
The development of the Nivola came to life after I visited the Pebble Beach concours last year in Monterey, Ca. I was so impressed with the best of show winning Alfa 33 Stradale that I decided to try and pay homage to the Alfa Romeo brand as well as the original 33 Stradale by creating a modern interpretation of the original design by Scaglione.

As it would have been too easy just to copy the original closely, I decided to go the hard way and develop a production ready concept, based on existing Alfa Romeo chassis. Because of the nimble size as well as the ultra-light weight of the original vehicle, it was only common sense to develop a design based on the fabulous Alfa Romeo 4C underpinnings. That created a huge challenge, as the proportions and hard points of the 4C chassis are quite different to the original Alfa 33 Stradale. In order to get closer to the proportions of the Stradale 33, the rear of the car was extended in length in order to create sleek rear fenders that extend all the way back to the edge of the rear end.

The Nivola concept design has been entirely developed from a stock Alfa Romeo 4C chassis scan so if there is a healthy demand, a very limited and exclusive production will be arranged with either carbon fiber or aluminum body panels.

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