A 1935 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 ‘Long Chassis’ Tourer will be featured at the 2019 Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed auction, to be held 7 July on the Tapestry Lawn at Goodwood House in Chichester, UK.
The 8C was designed in 1931 by Alfa’s Vittorio Jano, one of the first automotive engineers to specifically produce high-performance cars designed for sustained ‘full-throttle’ running at high speeds. Powered by a supercharged, straight-eight, twin-overhead camshaft 2,300cc engine, effectively arranged by Jano as two four-cylinder units in tandem with cam-drive gears amidships, combined with a four-speed gearbox and powerful drum brakes, the 8C was a genuine ‘100 mph car’, reliably producing over 140hp at 5,000 rpm.
The car offered at the 2019 Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed auction, chassis number 231122, was one of the last long chassis versions to be built and was sold in June 1935 as ‘CO 9964’ to a Ginfanco Peduzzi of Como. The car spent its early years in Como and Milan and is believed to have been imported into Belgium by Brussels-based racing driver and Italian sports car dealer Felice Bonetto, before the Second World War.
Found post-war by two Belgian enthusiasts in Antwerp, sketches from the period suggest that the car had either had its original bodywork modified or received a second bodyshell as the styling, built by Pinin Farina of Turin, appears more modern than the typical mid-1930s design, with features such as a slim slot in the tail for the spare wheel.
In the late 1950s, the car was bought by New York Alfa enthusiast Jim MacAllister, its owner for two decades, before being sold in 1978 to Joost Wildbolz in Switzerland. The Swiss national decided to build a new Spider bodyshell in the Touring style. The car was back on the road in the mid-1980s and immediately completed the Mille Miglia with Wildbolz at the wheel.
After changing hands a few times, the 8C arrived in the UK in 1997 and was given its present registration number ‘TFO 544’. Its next owner was the late Peter Agg, boss of the ‘Trojan’ micro cars company and of the short-lived ‘Trojan’ Formula 1 team in the 1970s, who was also a noted car collector. Agg rallied the 8C extensively at home and abroad.
In 2001, under the ownership of Texan John Ridings Lee, the 8C had its bodyshell replaced with a replica Touring Le Mans-style four-seater body by Rod Jolley Coachbuilding Ltd.
The 8C returned to the UK in 2007 when it was purchased by the current vendor, who has rallied, toured and raced the car in South Africa, the USA and in the UK. Following a race at Donington Park in 2011, a complete ‘last nut and bolt’ engine rebuild was completed by Alfa Romeo specialist Neil Twyman, while its capacity increased to 2.6 litres, with the works costing around £60,000.
Since the rebuild, the 8C has only been used for road events and has covered a minimal mileage. It is described as ‘on the button’, ready for its next owner to enjoy.