Throughout its history, Alfa Romeo has created a number of legendary cars and engines, or those destined to be legendary, but some were sadly never used. 1987 saw several of these 'interrupted' stories. That year saw the spawning of a superb V10 engine and no less than two race cars that never saw the track.

At the time, the Italian marque was equally interested in F1, prototype racing and endurance racing, so it designed the engine for all three disciplines, but none of the projects ever saw the light of day.

The origin of the V10

The V1035 (an acronym for the number of cylinders and displacement) engine project was launched in 1987 with the aim of bringing Alfa Romeo back into the F1 World Championship as an engine supplier. The decision to develop a V10 was not linked to any regulations, but was preferred by the chief designer, engineer D'Agostino, over the 8- or 12-cylinder alternatives.

In mid-1986, in fact, the FIA ruled the definitive abolition of turbocharged engines, judged unsafe after a series of accidents (including the one that cost the life of driver Elio De Angelis), which from the following season were gradually replaced by new 3.5-litre naturally aspirated units.

Alfa Romeo 164 Procar, motor V10

Alfa Romeo: 1987 V10 engine

The new engine had interesting features: it featured a 72° angle between the cylinder banks, separate crankcases and four valves per cylinder (although a five-valve layout was also considered) controlled by two camshafts.

Power output in the basic version exceeded 580 bhp, but rose to 620 at 13,300 rpm, with torque in excess of 380 Nm at 9,500 rpm.

Alfa Romeo 164 Procar, motor V10

Alfa Romeo 164 Procar

From F1 to Procar

The intention was to continue the agreement with the Ligier team, but was interrupted by the acquisition of Alfa Romeo by the Fiat Group. The engine, which would later be shown to the public at the Turin Motor Show at the end of 1988, was then diverted to another project under development, that of a car based on the 164 and intended to compete in the nascent Procar championship.

Development of this car continued in the first half of 1988, on a tubular chassis built by Brabham (Alfa Romeo's F1 partner in the 1970s), but just as the 164 Procar was due to debut, the Federation announced the cancellation of the championship due to a low number of entries from manufacturers. As a result, this car also ended up in the museum without even getting its wheels dirty.

Sportprototipo Gruppo C1 1987

The Alfa Romeo Sportprototype Group C

From Procar to Group C

Again in the late 1980s, after the end of the Procars, Alfa Romeo launched a Group C car project to compete in the Sportprototype World Championship, which was very popular in those years thanks to cars like the Porsche 956 and 962 and the Lancia LC2, which, incidentally, formed the basis of Alfa's new car, with push-rod suspensions and lots of carbon.

The intention was to run the car from 1991 onwards, taking advantage of the new Sport 3.5 regulations which imposed new rules for the top endurance category. Precisely, 3.5-litre naturally aspirated engines similar to those used in F1 were to be used instead of turbochargers.

However, a new change of direction imposed by Fiat Group management forced the team to replace the Alfa V10 engine with a V12 derived from Ferrari (also in Fiat's orbit since the mid-1960s). However, development ran into a number of difficulties, to the point that the project was abandoned at the end of 1990.

Gallery: The Alfa Romeo V10 engine, the 164 Procar and Group C