Many cars are stunning to look at but the 8C 2900 B is the most beautiful car in the world, without any doubt at all, even more stunning than the 8C competzione which I adore. I went to the science museum in London in early 2002 when the factory brought her over and I have never seen a machine in which form follows function so well. The proportions of the cabin to the bonnet are simply perfect.
Under the long elegant bonnet there is a straight 8 supercharged 2.9 litre engine, only slightly detuned from Alfa Romeo's factory racing cars of the time, can you imagine a road car today with a formula 1 engine because that is what a 2900 is. The factory car is in a very light powder blue and is one of only 10 examples of the model, each being very slightly different as each was hand built by the Carrozzeria Touring.
Every detail of the car is exquisite, the massive aluminium brake drums are easily visible through the 19” knock on wire wheels, the Alfa Romeo grill that tilts slightly back, the aerodynamic cowls that flow back from the front wheels, all of it is stunning, and it is much more impressive if you see it in the metal. I would absolutely love to have a drive in one of these cars, it would be amazing to sit there with that long bonnet stretching away from you, firing up the straight eight and pulling away, the ultimate in 1930’s style.
Mechanically the car was very advanced for its time, the straight eight is built as two banks of four cylinders with the cam shaft timing gear down the centre, this reduced the length of the camshafts and helped to eliminate whip, this is where the far end of the camshaft flexes and causes incorrect valve timing. The superchargers are also driven off the cam shaft gear train and they draw the fuel/air mixture up through the carburettor and force it into the combustion chambers. The engine is double overhead cam with 2 valves per cylinder. The power is then fed through a multi plate clutch to a 4 speed gear box.
Suspension is independent all round with double wishbones at the front.
All this technology gave the car a top speed of nearly 120 mph, remember that a top of the range fighter aircraft of this time could probably do little more than 300 mph in relative terms this would be like having a road car that could do 600mph today, heady stuff and perfect in every detail.
|No of Cylinders||8|
|Power||180 bhp @ 5200 rpm|
|Induction||Twin up draught carburettors feeding twin superchargers|
|Valve Gear||DOHC with two valves per cylinder|
|Ignition||Contacts and coil|