Last week’s Sunday classic article showcased the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Turbodelta, the Italian firm’s first production turbocharged car. As we noted in the article inspiration for the Turbodelta came from the Alfasud Turbo Wainer, which was built by Gian Carlo Mantavoni-Wainer in a small workshop located outside of Milan, Italy.
Story has it that Autodelta, Alfa’s racing division, asked Wainer to develop a turbo kit for the Alfasud. Whether or not that is accurate is uncertain but there are reliable records that show Wainer and Autodelta’s Carlo Chiti knew each other well and occasionally collaborated on projects.
Regardless of where the turbocharged Alfasud traces its roots from, Wainer’s bolt-on kit was not merely a haphazard modification hacked together from random bits and pieces. The man had a significant amount of experience with making Alfas go faster and his kit was designed to be up to par with factory standards.
Wainer added an Avio turbocharger to the Alfasud ti’s flat-four and pushed the power output to 130 horsepower and 139 lb-ft. of torque, a noticeable increase over the regular Alfasud ti’s 95 horsepower and 96 lb-ft of torque. Even without a turbo the car’s engine bay was very cramped so fitting the turbo-related mechanical components was easier said than done. On Wainer’s test mule the turbine was installed next to the oil pan, making it vulnerable to speed bumps and other obstacles. Wainer designed a better-fitting setup for the production version of the kit.
The ti’s double-barrel Dell’Orto carburetors were retained but modified to cope with the extra power. An airbox proudly stamped with “WAINER CORSE” was situated in between the carbs.
Wainer built several versions of the car, including a prototype that served as a rolling laboratory and that was equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox. With it, French magazine AutoHEBDO hit 62 mph from a stop in about 9 seconds when testing the car on the Italian freeway. The top speed was said to be reached at about 124 mph, all on the stock chassis but with a sport-tuned modified suspension.
The test mule’s interior was fitted with more gauges than the cockpit of a Beechcraft. It had a turbo pressure gauge, a gas pressure gauge, gauges for the air, water and oil temperature and so forth. Production versions of the car were said to come with less equipment.
Aesthetically there was no way to mistake the Turbo Wainer for a regular Alfasud ti: the modifications included a functional air vent on the hood and rainbow-colored stripes with “TURBO WAINER” written on both doors and on the trunk lid. It sat on four-lug Turbina-style Alfa wheels mounted on Pirelli P6 tires.
In 1982 Wainer estimated that the car would sell for roughly 75,000 francs in France, which was more than the regular ti’s price of 54,124 francs. How many were built and whether or not actually made it outside of Italy remains a mystery though if it’s of any indication, not one of the over 2,600 Alfas that trekked out to Milan for the brand’s centennial celebration was an Alfasud Turbo Wainer.
All photos scanned out of an August 1982 issue of French magazine AutoHEBDO. We take no credit for them whatsoever.