The Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 is perhaps one of the most celebrated classic cars from the 1930s, and it’s no mystery why. This breathtaking vehicle was a powerhouse contender on the racetrack. It solidified its notable legacy through its many racing victories and stunning design.
History of the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300
Alfa Romeo produced the Alfa Romeo 8Cs from 1931 through 1939. The history of this legendary car began in 1924 when Vittorio Jano crafted a straight-eight-cylinder engine. Alfa Romeo equipped the P2 with this work-horse engine, and the vehicle went on to win the first-ever Automobile World Championship in 1925.
The car manufacturer went on to produce the Monoposto Tipo B, which dominated the Grand Prix season in 1932. Alfa Romeo equipped the Monoposto Tipo B — also referred to as the P3 — with an 8C engine with 2,665 ccs (cubic centimeters). They then used the 8C engine to create the 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300. “2300” referred to the sports car’s 2336 cc engine.
The original iteration of the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 had a 109-inch wheelbase and had 142 bhp at 5,000 revolutions per minute (RPM). It could reach an impressive speed of up to 115 miles per hour.
Racer Tazio Nuvolari drove the 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider and was victorious in the Sicilian 1931 and 1932 Targa Florio races.
In addition to this original configuration, Alfa Romeo produced a smaller version of the 8C 2300. This iteration sported a 104-inch wheelbase and 165 bhp at 5,400 RPM. The smaller and more powerful version could reach a speed of over 130 miles per hour. This iteration of the 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 won the 1931 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, leading to Alfa Romeo adding the “Monza” name to the powerhouse vehicle.
Additional Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Iterations
Alfa Romeo produced additional impressive versions of the 8C 2300 until 1939, including the 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 and the 1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300. One especially noteworthy vehicle version was the 8C 2300 “tipo Le Mans,” which had a 122-inch wheelbase. Its engine could achieve 142 bhp at 5,000 RPM.
British race car driver Henry Birkin — who was one of the acclaimed “Bentley Boys” in the 1920s — drove this sports version of the 8C 2300 in the 1931 Eireann Cup. Additionally, Birkin and Francis Curzon, 5th Earl Howe, won the 1931 24 Hours of Le Mans with the 8C 2300. The 8C 2300 “tipo Le Mans” and other iterations of the 8C 2300 won numerous other races including the 1932-1934 Le Mans, the Grand Prix of Monaco, the Grand Prix Italy, the International Trophy Race at Brooklands, and the Mille Miglia.
Today, people can view one of Henry Birkin’s 8C 2300 “tipo Le Mans” at the Museo Alfa Romeo, and a 1933 8C 2300 Le Mans is featured in the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia.
The Legacy of the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300
In addition to being a stunning, powerhouse racing vehicle, the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 also established its legacy in popular culture. Ian Fleming featured the car in his third James Bond novel Moonraker. In the book, there’s a sequence in which Bond drives a 4.5-liter Amherst-Villiers supercharged Bentley. One of Bond’s rivals overtakes his Bentley with an Alfa Romeo that’s similar to the stunning 1933 8C 2300 Gran Turismo Alfa.
Although Alfa Romeo retired production of the 8C in 1939, they revived the 8C name in 2007 for their V8 concept car. They called it the 8C Competizione, homaging the 8C 2300.
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