The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Lungo were the queens of Summer 2016

With only 30 cars produced, this is not an ordinary car. The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 is a prestigious pre-war car that got itself talked about in Pebble Beach and Chantilly.

The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900, Biscione’s must ?

The Alfa 8C before the 2900

At the beginning of the project, there is Vittorio Jano, a great Italian engineer who deserves a complete post. Maybe soon…
In 1931 he creates a straight 8 which gives its name to the car : the 8C.

In fact, he just put together two 4 cylinder engines. To turn together, there is only one crankshaft, and only one cylinder head. In 1931 it’s the best technology available, with hemispheric chambers, alloy cylinder head and overhead camshaft.

First the 8C existed in 2300 cm³. In competition the car is the one to beat. Between 1931 and 1934, they win four times the 24h of Le Mans. The also add two Mille Miglia wins in 1932 and 1933.
The Germans also want their part of glory, they try to beat the Alfa so the Italians make the Alfa Romeo 8C 2600. Its first victory comes at the 1934 Mille Miglia.

In 1935 appears the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900

The third evolution, the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 is launched in 1935. The engine is modified to reach 2900 cm³, and a Roots compressor helps it deliver 220 hp!
The chassis is also improved, the fours wheels are independent, the front wheels are suspended with a wishbone system, the rear wheels with a solid axle.

For its first race, under the colours of the Scuderia Ferrari, Carlo Maria Pintacuda and Allessandro Della Stuffa win the 1935 Mille Miglia.

For 1936 Alfa builds the 2900 A. It’s a new success with the three first places at the Mille Miglia 1936. The career of the car will be filled with victories. None in Le Mans, but the Mille Miglia in 1937, 1938 ans 1947!

The road versions of the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B

To make profit of these successes, Alfa Romeo launches a road version of the racing cars. The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Corto with a 2.8m wheelbase and the Lungo with a 3m wheelbase. 20 cars will be produced in Corto, 10 in Lungo.

Different bodies will be made by the finest Italian coach builders. Touring will make a lot of cars. The car comes in different shapes, Spider, Coupé Le Mans, Berlinetta. We can say that these cars are the finest pre-war Alfa Romeo.

The 2016 summer queens

The 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring

  • Chassis n° 412041
  • Engine n° 422042
  • Superleggera body n° 2027

This is the first Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo to get in the spotlights in the summer. This superb car was one of the stars of the RM Sotheby’s sale in Monterey.

The car was the second most expensive on sale, after the Jaguar D Type XKD501 we talked about in this post. The valuation of the Alfa was between 20 and 25 millions of dollars.

Its history involves a few continents and transformations. This car was one of the first Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo sent to the Carrozzeria Touring to receive the famous Superleggera body. As a reminder, this kind of body is made of thin aluminium panels fixed on a steel tubular structure. The name comes from the weight of this technique, very light.

After WWII, the car is bought by a Brazilian man for racing. The owner decides the car is not performant enough. The engine is replaced by a Chevrolet V8 and the body is replaced by a sleeker one.
After 30 years, the chassis is restored, and by chance, a real Touring body was found in Argentina. Maybe the original before it was changed… An original engine is also found and the car becomes a Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo for the second time.

In 1997 the restoration is complete, and in 1999 the car is second of the cabriolet class at Pebble Beach. In the hand of Sam and Emily Mann the car reaches 13,000 miles!

This Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo is the first to be auctioned in the 21st century. The fact that the car is a masterpiece of the automotive production, and a survivor make its price : $18,900,000 under the hammer.
The most expensive Alfa Romeo of all time, and the most expensive Italian car, Ferraris aside!

The 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Berlinetta by Touring

  • Chassis n° 412035

It’s the other star of this summer. This Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Berlinetta was in the Chantilly Art et Elegance show near Paris.

This car is slightly older than the previous one. The Berlinetta had been revealed at Paris cars show in 1937 by Touring. Five Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Berlinetta had been built.

This one, S/N 412035, was delivered on July 18th 1938. The car had been sold in Switzerland then went to the USA. As soon as the car was shipped, Frank Grisworld won the Watkins Glen Grand Prix. The car had several owners in the USA before ending in the hands of David Cohen in 1980. He restored it before participating to several rallyes, events and concours.

In 2006, Cohen sold the Alfa to John Shirley, an American enthusiast who started a new restoration just after racing the Mille Miglia Historic. It’s Butch Dennison who made the restoration. It’s a success, as soon as the car is finished, it wins the Best of show Award at Pebble Beach!
In 2009 the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Berlinetta comes back in Italy for the Villa d’Este Concours, for another Best of show.
In 2012, it gets another Best of show, at Windsor Concours of Elegance.

It’s one of the most awarded car of all times, and all that with a single owner!

In the beginning of September the car was once again at the Chantilly Arts et Elegance Concours. The car won its class, and also the Best of show award!

If you see one of these car once, enjoy it, it’s quite uncommon!

Photos : Bertrand from News d’Anciennes, RM Auctions Sotheby’s, Peter Auto, Alfa Romeo, Revs Standford


Leave a Reply