1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Mille Miglia Spyder
Chassis Number : 2211072 Horsepower : 165 Displacement : 8-cylinder, 2.6 L Wheelbase : 108"
Some of the story of the 8C 2300 Alfa is covered under the chapter on our Alfa Monza. The two passenger roadsters of Mille Miglia length (short chassis) were equally successful in the sports car racing as the Monza’s were in Grand Prix racing. To outline their successes would be well beyond the scope of this book, but the reader is again referred to the outstanding work of Simon Moore, The Legendary 2.3.
Consistent winners and sports car races of all varieties, including repeated victories in the grueling Mille Miglia, both in the hands of privateers and the great Scuderia Ferrari drivers, they simply could not be beat. The Bugatti Type 55 was a beautiful roadster as well, with a potent supercharged double overhead cam engine but its handling characteristics do not compare to the Mille Miglia Spider. As a matter of fact, Bugatti sports cars were essentially unavailing in all types of road racing throughout history (with the exception of their “Tank” wins at Le Mans in 1937 and 1939). These eight cylinder Alfas dominated the first half of the 1930’s in all forms of road racing.
Simon Moore believes that this car may have been a Works racer or demonstrator because its chassis number relates to 1932 but it was not registered until June 1933. It was involved in the Spa 24 hour race in July and finished 3rd. While it was registered to Alfa, it apparently spent its early days in Holland. It returned to Milano and in the hands of Catullo Lami of Pisa, and was entered the 1935 Mille Miglia but did not finish. Later it was sold to a Bolognese but it ultimately reached the hands of a Serge Buerger who exported it to the U.K. He left it for dealer Jack Bartlett to sell and in just five days it became the proud possession of Brooklands enthusiast Guy Templer. He used it extensively in racing mainly, at Brooklands. Its records were recorded on a brass plaque which appears on the right front fender indicating:
|Brooklands 1939||Average Speed: 116 miles per hour||Top Speed: 130 per hour (down Railway Straight)||0-60 in 6.5 seconds / 0-100 in 20 seconds|
Later it appeared in the famous “Fastest Road Car” event held at Brooklands which was a challenge to determine which was the speediest road car in England on Brooklands magnificent banked oval track (see 1938 Alfa MM Spider). Templer did not finish, but the two heat race was won by Delahaye even though our Alfa Mille Miglia Spider (812031) did win one heat. After World War II the car was in the hands of Colonel Ronnie Hoare who was the U.K. Ferrari distributor. A wonderful article extolling its beauties appeared in the Motor Sport for February 1951 which referred to a previous article in the Autocar of January 13, 1950. There were two subsequent owners throughout the 1950s.
She was subsequently brought to America by Allen George Dart and sold to famed cartoonist Charles Addams (of “Addams Family” fame) around 1957. Addams owned it until 1960 when it finally passed on to Ed Bond.
Bond was one of its most enthusiastic owners. He saved every bit of correspondence and wrote extensively about the car. A letter in our file, also quoted by Simon Moore, from Bond transmits his enthusiasm. “She was registered in England in 1933, a modified 2.3 MM Roadster, bored out to just under 2.6 litre. With Monza modifications such as special cams and faster turning blower, plus a special Memini S152 carburetor, her reputed top speed was 135 miles an hour.” In this letter Bond also described some of Templer’s activities during his ownership and also relates communication with Kitty R. Templer, Guy’s widow. She also used the car regularly.
Later on Bond indicates that he “succumbed to monetary persuasion” and sold the car, but always regretted this. While in the hands of Englishman Mike Villar, it enjoyed some activity at Prescott, all the while Bond longing or its return. An advert in the 1966 VSCCA bulletin indicated it was for sale and Ed Bond immediately cabled Mr. Villar that he was on his way to London from Connecticut, arriving an hour and a half before the cable! All the while, the car in Bond’s hands was kept in wonderful condition. Simon Moore writes, “I remember seeing the car during Mike’s ownership, a beautiful unrestored Spider with its unique ‘Castagna’ body.”
When Bond was able to relinquish her, driver/collector/dealer Peter Gidding’s brokered the sale of the car to me. “It remains,” Moore said, “basically unrestored and looking a little scruffy but a beautiful original motor car. It has its original Monza type engine, racing cams, and up-geared blower.”
The car sits proudly in our Brooklands exhibit, a reminder of its heyday and the brave souls who undertook such high speeds in a car which must have inspired great confidence, as it still does today.