8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta

1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2019

Photo – Artcurial

Now here is something special. First, a quick recap of the Alfa 8C: it was introduced in 1931 in 2300 guise. 1933 brought the 2600, followed by the 2900 in 1935. There were also race cars sprinkled in there for good measure. The 2900B started production in 1937 and these were as grand as cars got before WWII. There are only 32 examples of the 2900B, and we featured the drop-top version of this car back in 2016.

Two wheelbases of the 2900B were offered: Corto (short) and Lungo (long). I believe this is a long-wheelbase car, but the auction catalog is frustratingly unclear on that point. Only five Berlinetta versions were built by Touring, and this is number two.

The engine is a supercharged 2.9-liter straight-eight making 180 horsepower. They were sporty in their day. No one is sure who owned the car first, but it was exported to the UK in 1939 and was purchased by the current owner in 1976. It has never been restored. The Lungo Spider sold for just under $20 million… the estimate on this car is $18,000,000-$25,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $18,997,883.

Two Valuable Alfa Romeo 8Cs

1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19-20, 2016

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Alfa Romeo 8C was Alfa’s largest, most powerful, pre-war road car. It was available from 1931 through 1939 and came in a few different models, beginning with the 8C 2300 and culminating in the 8C 2900B. They were powerful, fast, and sporty. In fact, RM says that it was sportiest car money could buy in 1939 – on par or above the Bugatti Atlantic.

This car is powered by a 180 horsepower, supercharged 2.9-liter straight-eight – enough to allow this car to cruise along at over 100 mph all day long. The Carrozzeria Touring-built body is aluminium and it is beautiful. This is a “Lungo” 8C, meaning it has the longer of the two wheelbases offered.

The earliest known history of this car goes back to 1949, when it was racing in Brazil. The body was separated from the chassis and for the next few decades they remained apart in hands of separate owners. By some miracle, they were reunited in Switzerland in the early 1990s. The restoration was completed by the end of 1997 and, remarkably, the current owners have driven more than 12,000 miles in this car – which is a huge number for a car this rare and valuable.

Only 32 8C 2900 chassis were built and twelve of those are Touring Spiders. Of the 12, only seven are on the long-wheelbase chassis. This is where it gets even more mind-blowing: the pre-sale estimate is between $20,000,000-$25,000,000. Incredible all around. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.

Update: Sold $19,800,000.

1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 20-21, 2016

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

The 8C 2300 was the initial Alfa Romeo 8C offered and it was introduced in 1931. It was a sports car, through and through, and they were raced heavily in their day – both by the factory and privateers and winning Le Mans four times (in a row!).

The 8C 2300 Monza is a short-chassis model based on a car Alfa ran at Monza in 1931 (basically they just cut some length out of a Spider chassis and put the exhaust down the side of the car). The first Monzas were just shortened Spiders, but for 1932 and 1933, the Monza was a model unto itself. Alfa didn’t build many, but race teams – like Scuderia Ferrari – converted some Spiders into Monzas.

And what we have here is an actual, Alfa Romeo factory-built 8C 2300 Monza. It carries a Brianza-built body and was sold new in Italy. It is one of the last Series 3 Monzas built and is powered by a supercharged 2.9-liter straight-eight making in excess of 180 horsepower (when new, it would’ve have a 2.3-liter engine). Only about 190 8C 2300s were built and very few were factory-build Monzas. This one should bring between $12,000,000-$15,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Company.

Update: Sold $11,990,000.

Maserati 8C 3000

1933 Maserati 8C 3000 Biposto

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 10, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Well here is a serious race car. Pre-war Maserati racers were some of the best in their day, competing head-to-head against the likes of Alfa Romeo and Bugatti. The Maserati Tipo 26M gave way to the 8C 2800. When their eight-cylinder engine was upped in capacity, the 8C 3000 was born in 1931. This is the fourth 8C 3000 built and it was built in 1932 for the 1933 season. The 8C 3000 was the final two-seater Grand Prix car Maserati built.

It’s powered by a 2.8-liter straight-eight engine, supercharged to make 220 horsepower. The crankcase for this car was discovered in the 1960s and later an axle was found (along with some other parts). The car is reconstructed of parts but is faithful to the original. There are two existing 8C 3000s that are more complete, but this is still a special car.

It’s one you can use in historic racing – or even on the road. It’s fast, powerful, light and it probably sounds glorious. No pre-sale estimate is being provided so it should be expensive. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,001,000.

A Scuderia Ferrari Alfa 8C-35 Grand Prix Car

1935 Alfa Romeo 8C-35 Grand Prix

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | September 14, 2013

1935 Alfa Romeo 8C-35 Grand Prix

Before Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren there was Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati and Auto Union. The 1930s were a thrilling (and scary) time in Grand Prix racing and some of its all-time stars came from that era: Caracciola, Nuvolari, Rosemeyer, Varzi and more. And so did one other man: Enzo Ferrari. Scuderia Ferrari began as a race team in 1929 – becoming the Alfa Romeo factory team. It wasn’t until after the war that he started building his own cars.

This is a special, special car. It’s an 8C-35 – it uses a supercharged 3.8-liter straight-eight engine making 330 horsepower – quite a sum for 1935. This is an actual Scuderia Ferrari team car driven by Nuvolari (and more). The Ferrari-era history of this car is not known, but legend holds that Nuvolari won the 1936 Coppa Ciano with it. Toward the end of 1936, this car was sold to a privateer – Hans Ruesch, who raced it as often as possible. Some of his driving career in the car is as follows (including 3 European Championship – the precursor to Formula One – eligible races in 1937, as noted by asterisk*):

  • 1936 Donington Grand Prix – 1st (with Ruesch and Dick Seaman)
  • 1936 Mountain Championship at Brooklands – 2nd (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 South African Grand Prix – 4th (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 Grosvenor Grand Prix – 5th (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 Finnish Grand Prix – 1st (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 Grand Prix des Frontieres – 1st (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 Bucharest Grand Prix – 1st (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 German Grand Prix* – 8th (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 Monaco Grand Prix *- 8th (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 Swiss Grand Prix* – 15th, DNF (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 Mountain Championship at Brooklands – 1st (with Ruesch)

Ruesch sold the car in 1939 after much success (and a few major repairs). The car came into the hands of Dennis Poore during the war and he maintained the car for 40 years, using it in a fair number of events. It was sold at auction in 1988 and was restored to its 1930s-era look in the late-1990s. The current owner acquired it about 10 years ago and has used it in some historic events as well. This is the only surviving example of an 8C-35 and it should sell for between $8,600,000-$10,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams at Goodwood.

Update: Sold $9,511,542.

S/N: 50013

Alfa 8C 2300

1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spyder

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, England | June 29, 2012

The Alfa Romeo 8C was introduced in 1931. The first two years of production consisted of the 2300 model – the engine being a 2.3-liter straight-8 with a Roots supercharger good for more than 165 horsepower. This car was from the second year of production and was used as the third of Alfa Romeo’s three works entries for the 1932 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The car was piloted by the winners of the 1931 race – Henry “Tim” Birkin and Lord Earl Howe (they won in 1931 in a different 8C 2300). They placed 12th in this car in 1932 – a DNF due to a blown head gasket. After repair, it was run at the 1932 RAC Tourist Trophy race at Ards, Ulster, placing 4th (with Howe driving). Afterward, the car went back to Alfa Romeo and was sold to driver Giuseppe Campari, who sent the car to Carrozzeria Touring so they could turn it into a road-friendly Drophead Coupe.

It was then sold to Italo Balbo – a rising star in Mussolini’s fascist regime. He was to become the Marshal of the Italian Air Force and Governor of Libya before his plane was shot down in 1940 and he was killed. Before he died (actually in 1935) he sold the car. It passed through numerous owners until it was acquired by its current owner in 1996, who had the body re-configured back to a more appropriate Le Mans-style body.

The 8C is the big dog among pre-war Alfa Romeos – comparable to a “Blower” Bentley. And like the Bentley, they aren’t common and they aren’t cheap. This one, albeit with its impressive, known history, is estimated to sell for between $3,900,000-$6,200,000. For more information – including a mini-biography of Italo Balbo – click here. For the rest of the Bonhams auction lineup, click here.

Update: Sold $4,217,674.