The Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale is a particularly gorgeous example of mid-century Italian design. The automaker recently announced that a tribute version is in the works, to much acclaim. As it stands, though, one designer believes the automaker could have done better with the retro throwback supercar.
Frank Stephenson recently took to YouTube to share his thoughts on how he would redesign Alfa's new flagship. And when Stephenson chimes in with his opinion on your design, it usually pays to listen. The celebrated designer has many illustrious credits to his name, having worked on the McLaren P1, Fiat 500, Maserati MC12, and Ferrari F430 over the years, to name a few. He's not afraid of sharing his bold opinions, having previously spoken on the benefits of AI image generators, and the limitations of digital-heavy design processes.
"My first impression of Alfa Romeo's 33 Stradale redesign, when I first saw it, was 'OMG, they've actually gone and done it,'" said Stephenson, noting that it's a courageous move to take on such a classic. He notes that the design was instantly recognizable, even if the proportions and details have shifted away from the fundamental lines of the original. He credits the design for achieving a balance between sporty looks and an overall sense of elegance.
The designer doesn't like the loss of the curve of the front bulbous fenders into the bonnet from the original car, nor the pointy "power dome" design of the central hood area. "A bit like it's trying too hard," says Stephenson. Softening the front end's sharp edges brings the design more in line with the original's ethos, according to Stephenson, while other small changes to the splitter and front undertray area further simplify the car's lines.
"The side intake design for me is so bad that it almost turns me against this car," says Stephenson. Contrasting it to the subtle side intake on the original car, he considers the new version to be far too garish, particularly with the integrated carbon fiber strake in the center. Some of the other details that come in for Stephenson's modification are the wheel arches, which get a more complex curve, and a tweaked pillar design to create a far more attractive glasshouse.
Stephenson's design changes do create a beautiful and more organic 33 Stradale while still retaining a modern feel. However, it also bears noting that he is free from engineering constraints like aerodynamic performance and rollover safety when penning changes on YouTube. Regardless, there's no reason that the design couldn't be refined towards his goals with the proper engineering. Stephenson is no stranger to the requirements of reality, which his previous hypercar designs have had to contend with.
For those uninitiated in the world of design, Stephenson does a great job of breaking down the vehicle into individual elements and choices that define the vehicle as a whole. For those learning and working in this space, it's a great opportunity to get real insight from a master at the art.
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