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.