Alfa Romeo’s “half-breed” racing car, which didn’t get to fly. Financial problems interrupted the effort, since the capabilities of the entrepreneurs who undertook the project could not be compared to those of the factories.
The story of “Condor» began in the early 60s, when former Ferrari test driver Luigi Bertocco suggested to its dealers Alfa Romeo in Parma Giovanni και Sergio Aguzzoli to jointly develop a racing car. His idea took off and he soon moved forward, with the help of ex-Maserati engineers Giorgio Neri and Luciano Bonacini, who had been working together since May 1960 and were then to delight the motoring world with their own four-wheeled creations. Its name was derived from the last name of its financiers, while its second component was the nickname of one of them.
The two highly skilled engineers decided to follow the trend of the times and place the engine of the car they had taken over in the center of the body, a trend that had just appeared and was about to prevail. For the occasion, its 4-cylinder in-line engine did the job of mechanical ensemble Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZof 1.290 cubic centimeters, which in its original form produced 97 hp at 6,500 rpm. A Citroen manual gearbox served the transmission of the drive to the rear wheels, while the frame of the car was tubular.
The configuration of the bodywork was carried out by Piero Drogo, also known to us from his later successful collaboration with the two engineers. A second racing car was later built, fitted with the larger 1,570cc Alfa Romeo Giulia Coupe TZ engine, producing 113bhp, mated to a Hewland manual gearbox. Its fiberglass body was designed by Franco Reggiani.
The 1,290cc Aguzzoli Condor made its first tests on the Modena highway, with satisfactory results. In the first race he attended, the 1963 Coppa FISA, he was ultimately unable to take part because the driver who had been declared to drive it changed at the last minute. The team was not surprised again and at the popular Trento-Bondone climb in 1964 they were presented with both their cars. Their tally was not great, but it was considered positive to begin with: Luigi Bertocco finished seventh with the 1.3-liter racing car in the Prototype class, while Umberto Masetti with the more powerful 1.6-liter version was ranked sixth.
The two Condors then took part in the Cesana-Sestriere climb, where Masetti was again sixth, with Bertocco dropping out. Things changed significantly for the runner-up in the non-championship Coppa FISA in December 1964, as he finished twelfth overall, while taking second place in the 1.3-litre class. For the 1.6-litre car with rising Italian star Ernesto Brambilla at the wheel, the race went even better as he saw the checkered flag in fifth place, while also winning his class.
Hoping for a very good result, the team sent the two Aguzzolis to the 1,000 km of Monza in 1965, but both retired undistinguished. The picture was completely different on the Castione Baratti-Neviano Arduini climb, where the “Condor” impressed the public by beating the Abarth, which was the undisputed favorite of the class. But, despite the fact that from a competitive point of view his path seemed to open, the end was unexpectedly close. Financial problems interrupted the effort, since the capabilities of the Aguzzoli could not be compared with those of the factory holdings, while the Alfa Romeo she showed no interest in her close relative (it is characteristic that in the entry and result lists of the era the car is often listed as hers). After this development, the Condor ended up for a while in the hands of private racers, until it finally disappeared from the scene. Even so, he added to his palmares two victories, his last, on the climbs of Colle Sant’ Eusebio and Caprino–Spiazzi.