Bob Cozza is an Italian Alfa Romeo dealer who had a race shop near Buffalo, New York. Bobcor, as was the name of the Racing Team, was specialized in racing Alfa Romeos. The team began to field Alfa Romeo GTAs in 1968 in the Trans Am 2.5 Challenge. Until 1971, the team met great success, then in 1972, Datsun began to field a works three car team. With a $1 000 000 budget, they proved unbeatable, Bobcor Racing was beaten. The new Alfa Romeo GTAM had not been allowed to enter the Trans Am Series and Bobcor found no car to race in 1972. They were keeping Bert Everett's Alfa Romeo GTA running, but the Datsuns were the winners. Utterly disappointed by the SCCA disapproval of using the GTAM, Bob Cozza wrote an open letter to the SCCA, in which he challenged Pete Brock to a duel. This would feature the Alfa Romeo GTAM and the Datsun 510, each on equal terms. The Datsun would race with bigger wheels and a full 2,0L engine, as for the Alfa, while Bob Cozza could choose the race distance and the circuit. But it turned out that this duel never was to happen.
In 1972, Bert Everett ran IMSA, running a Ford Escort with John Buffum. The car was a true racer and wound out some very good results, the best was a third overall at 6 Hours of Mid Ohio where the John Buffum-Bert Everett pair finished third overall.
Bert Everett and Bob Cozza got to know each other and then, they would fly over to England, meet with Keith Duckworth, one of the founder of the Cosworth, and buy one of his fantastic race cars.
For the next year, Bobcor would enter one Ford Escort BDA, and win the under 2,0L class in the Trans Am Championship, winning their class in each of the five races they entered. The car was entered at the 12 Hours of Sebring, with John Buffum and Bert Everett driving, and it qualified 11th out of a seventy two car field, which was fantastic for a 2,0L car! At the end of the season, the car would be sold to Paul Newman, who would campaign the car, mainly driving with Tom Ciccone.
Earlier, Bob Cozza was in Milan, Italy, for business. He stopped to meet Carlo Chiti, head of Autodelta, both of them were the Autodelta representatives in the US. Something happened that decided of Bobcor's IMSA racing future. They were having one of their usual big lunch in Settimo Milanese, when they were met by Teodoro Zeccoli, who was driving a street Alfa Romeo Montreal. From that moment, Bob Cozza thought : "why not build an Alfa Romeo Montreal race car?" They talked about the project that started right from here. The cost would be shared by Alfa Romeo Spa, Bobcor and Autodelta. By april of 1972, Teodoro Zeccoli was put in charge. The car was ready for racing test at Boloco, Alfa Romeo test track. Bert Everett flew over to Italy and participated in the tests. It happened very early that the car suffered from a lack of horsepower. Then the Tipo 33-3 engine was installed in the racing Montreal. It was given for 336 hp and the car lapped two seconds faster than with the previous engine. Two weeks later, the car was ready to race and entered a club race in Imola, against BMWs, Porsches and Ferraris. The car was faster than anyone, but in the race, the gearbox broke. It was a retirement but things were starting in a quite hopeful way. The gearbox would be the weak component in the car.
For 1973, the car was sent to the United States, and was to be entered at the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen, a World Sportscar Championship event. Unfortunately, it was an early retirement as well, due to a gearbox failure.
Flyer courtesy Bobcor
The car was sent back to Italy to undergo major improvements for the 1974 season, and had a new, more aggressive look.
The first race of the season was at Road Atlanta where Bert Everett and Paul Nichter finished twenty seventh, again struck with gearbox troubles.
Photo courtesy Bobcor
The car was entered at Laguna Seca but again with poor results, finishing 35th and 41st respectively in the two heats. In fact, the car was no longer developed, as Alfa Romeo Spa had announced they were no longer funding the Montreal racing budget. As to worsen things, the main sponsor Kendall Oil was turning over to NASCAR racing and cut their support by a half. Even Goodyear was no longer willing to supply the team with tyres! In fact, the development costs would raise to $100 000 to go on and no sponsor would be willing to help. That was the end of the story. The car would finish its short career as a show car. Bobcor stopped racing at that point and did not appear at any other IMSA event. The last international appearance would be a 6 Hours of Watkins Glen in 1975, with an Alfetta GT. There, Bert Everett and Franco Marino would last fifty laps for a dnf. However, you may see one of the Alfa Romeo GTA-GTV at some historic races with Bob Cozza's son, Michael, at the wheel.
Many thanks to Bob Cozza, who provided me with some useful information. Still active today, you can visit his site at Bobcoralfa and find out a lot of information about Alfa Romeos of yesterday and today.