Why the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione was an instant classic

Alfa Romeo is known for making some of the most beautiful cars the motoring world has seen, none more so than the 8C, a car that saw Alfa Romeo of the 21st Century return to its roots. The 8C Competizione is a supercar with lines recalling the splendid 33 Stradale, built on the glorious “transaxle” layout: front engine with rear-mounted gearbox and rear-wheel drive.

The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione was first presented as a concept car at the 60th Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003. Its success was immediate: both professionals and Brand enthusiasts were thrilled to see a new Alfa Romeo with the rear-wheel drive of the past.

The sleek, sculpted lines, inspired by Scaglione’s magnificent 33 Stradale, completed the concept car’s exquisite beauty.In 2007 the Alfa Romeo management decided to build the model in a limited edition of just 500 cars, which sold out at once, before production had even started. These gems were built in the Maserati Modena, plant, just like the later 4C cars.

The 8C Competizione was a supreme expression of the greatest Italian sports and racing car tradition. Alfa Romeo called in Dallara to supply the chassis, Brembo for the F1-derived braking system and Sparco for the carbon seats. The finishing touch was the engine, derived from a genuine Ferrari.

The V8 under the bonnet delivered 450 horsepower, giving the 8 C Competizione a top speed nearing 300 km/h, with blistering acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in around 4 seconds.

Adopting the traditional transaxle schema familiar from the Alfetta and 75, the car had longitudinal front engine with rear-wheel drive and rear-mounted gearbox for perfect weight balancing. The six-speed robotised sequential gearbox was en bloc with the self-locking differential, and as on an F1 car it was controlled using paddles behind the steering wheel.

The composite chassis included aluminium, titanium and carbon, while the lightweight bodyshell, like some of the interior, was in carbon fibre. There were double wishbone suspensions on all four wheels and the Brembo brakes were carbon ceramic. The car’s name referenced past glories: 8C is the code used for the victorious straight eight cars designed by Vittorio Jano, which starting in the ’30s were triumphant in the Mille Miglia and an amazing four times in succession at Le Mans, while the word “Competizione” recalls the 6C 2500 Competizione in which J.M. Fangio finished third in the 1950 Mille Miglia.

It is true to say that in the case of the beautiful Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, it really was an instant classic.

ENGINE: V8 (90°) anterior longitudinal 2-DOHC, 4691 cm³
POWER: 450 HP @ 7.000 rpm
SPEED: 292 km/h
WEIGHT: 1490 kg
DESIGN: Wolfgang Egger (Centro Stile Alfa Romeo)

*Special thanks to FCA Heritage

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