Alfa Dana

Alfa Dana

Alfa Dana was the most significant Danish manufacturer of 500cc Formula 3 cars. Uno Jensen, a blacksmith, realised that imported Coopers were too expensive for most and started constructing cars under the name of Alfa Dana (chosen for its romantic sound, as the cars had no Italian connections). The first car was more or less a clone of the Cooper Mk IX with a chromium-molybdenum tube chassis that featured top leaf springs and bottom wishbones. The car, which was said to feature a plastic body, was entirely Danish-built barring the engine, which initially was a JAP that was later replaced with more powerful Nortons. While many parts were the same as the Cooper and sometimes interchangeable, the Alfa Dana made rather less use of the (hard to make) curved chassis tubes favoured by Surbiton and the rear upright/spring was rather different.

The Alfa Dana made its debut at Roskildering in April 1956, when Gunnar Henriksen took it to fourth place, and following this showing an initial production of four additional cars was laid down. In the make's fifth outing,  round one of the Danish Formula 3 Championship at the Skive Trotting Course in August, Poul Rasmussen took its first win, heading home a Cooper and an Effyh.

In 1957 Vilhelm Nellemann (cousin of Robert Nellemann), whose family were the BMC importers in Denmark, was included in the 'works' set-up, notching up a string of thirds at Roskildering, usually behind the Cooper-Norton pair of Poul Rasmussen and Gunnar Henriksen.

Production work at Uno Jensen's workshop was a rather flexible affair, as Uno let customers build their own cars at his place. This was the case with Ole Kæseler and Kiehn Berthelsen, the former paying DKK 8,500 to build his car there in 1958, while the latter entered his under the name of Kiehn. Total output of 500cc F3s reached eight, all completed by the end of the Summer of 1958, and of these seven were regular Alfa Danas whereas the eighth was called the K&P Special.

Børge Nielsen, Viggo Petersen and Uno Jensen, builder of Alfa Dana, Roskildering 1957.


Thorkild Simonsen

Copenhagen Stamp.jpg (23123 bytes)

As Roskildering opened its 1958 season the Alfa Dana trio of Vilhelm Nellemann, Børge Nielsen and Poul Andersen took a 1-2-3 win, but this is only half the story, as the other Scandinavian regulars were competing in Finland's Eläintarha, while officialdom put paid to the chances of Rasmussen and Henriksen. Later in the year Uno Jensen headed home three similar cars in an Alfa Dana-dominated race for JAP-engined F3s at Fangelbanen, where Børge Nielsen also won the F3 handicap in an Alfa Dana-JAP. The true potential of the make, however, was revealed at the end of the season, when Nellemann notched up two second places, taking second place overall in the Danish F3 Championship, the best-ever for Alfa Dana (though repeated by Uno Jensen in 1959).

Although 500cc F3 racing continued to live for several years in Denmark, quality-wise the class was now on the wane, so Alfa Danas started to feature more prominently at the top, Børge Nielsen taking the F3 class at the 1959 Copenhagen Cup, while constructor Jensen repeated the result in a season-ending club race at Roskildering. A lot of runner-up positions now followed, but the make's next win did not (probably) emerge until the final 500cc race at Roskildering in September 1962, when Bille Andersen crossed the finishing line first. From then on remaining Alfa Danas were seen in minor events at speedway circuits, picking up the odd win.

Alfa Dana2.jpg (53976 bytes)Rear upright and spring different from Cooper



Our thanks to Morten Alstrup Thorkild Simonsen and for the photos.