1972 Marciano 268A
Marciano 268A This Alfa Montreal-engined one-off took more than 25 years to build. Story by Chris Rees. Images by Michael Ward.
OBSCURATI Alfa V8-engined Marciano 268A
CURIOSITIES FROM THE AMAZING WORLD OF ITALIAN CARS
It’s an unfortunate reality that brand new cars are occasionally crashed. And in 1972, when the Alfa Romeo Montreal was still very much a new model, some poor soul stuffed one. Sad for them, but a godsend for 23-year old Vincenzo Marciano, a mechanic based in Ponsacco in Tuscany. Acquiring the remains of the Montreal, he extracted the engine and gearbox to fulfil his dream: to build his very own exotic Alfa Romeo supercar – something akin, perhaps, to a ‘missing link’ between Alfa’s own TZ2 and 33 Stradale.
He set about constructing a self-designed chromoly steel tube chassis and made his own suspension arms, hubs, radiator, fuel tank and other components, all by hand. Meanwhile a Jaguar E-Type donated its differential and rear brakes.
The Montreal V8’s Spica mechanical fuel injection was removed and replaced with four double-barrel Weber 40DCNF carburettors, while higher-lift camshafts and a larger exhaust system helped up the power output to 230bhp.
Marciano crafted the aluminium bodywork entirely by himself, by hand, without even having sketched it out beforehand. The design was partially influenced by some items he had collected to use on the car, including a Ferrari 250 LM windscreen, Ferrari 250 headlights and 13-inch magnesium wheels as used on the Alfa Romeo 33. Exotic indeed!
The result was aesthetically very successful, something like what the 33 Stradale might have looked like, had Alfa Romeo elected to make it front-engined. It was long (4100mm), wide (1750mm), low and lithe. The many cooling ducts – in the bonnet, front wings, sills and behind the rear wheels – were all functional, while the Kamm tail was sharply cut-off.
The interior was bare-boned and focused. The leather seats had four-point harnesses, small sections of the windows slid back, and the aluminium doors were opened by simple straps. Behind the Luisi wood-rim steering wheel was Alfa Romeo instrumentation.
Work on the car progressed painfully slowly because this was only ever a part-time project for Marciano. Although begun in 1972, it was not finished until the late 1990s. Its name – Marciano 268A – reflected the 2.6-litre, eight-cylinder, front-engined (‘anteriore’) format. Weighing under 800kg, the car was capable of 0-62mph in less than six seconds and a top speed of over 150mph.
The 268A made its public debut at Alfa Romeo's 100th anniversary celebrations in 2010, where it received a lot of praise and attention. The self-evident quality put it in a totally different class to most other home-built projects. It also participated in the Mille Miglia. At one point Vincenzo Marciano considered putting the 268A into production but sadly the necessary finance never materialised and the 268A remained a one-off.
Vincenzo Marciano – now in his seventies – remains active in the field of classic car restoration and is even working on a new mid-engined aluminium-bodied one-off based on a crashed Ferrari 348.