1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Corto
This is not just another mouth-watering classic Alfa. Offered here, absolutely fresh from 42 years in the ownership of one British enthusiast, chassis 2111027 is one of three Scuderia Ferrari short-chassis team cars prepared for the 1932 Mille Miglia. While this car did not enter that race, it was one of two cars to first carry the Cavallino Rampante in international competition, at the 1932 Spa 24-hour Endurance Classic. Works driver Piero Taruffi recalls: “For the last two hours, we drove with a broken piston; the mechanics had taken the sparking plug out of the offending cylinder and we finished on seven, coming in second behind the other Scuderia Ferrari Alfa driven by Brivio and Siena.” The “seven-cylinder” car covered 1,675 miles at an average speed of 69.84 mph.
Though it ran at Spa as a Zagato Spider, the car was quickly rebodied with closed coupe bodywork for Luigi Scarfiotti, the father of Ferrari team driver Ludovicio Scarfiotti. In 1936, someone, probably Africo Serra, again rebodied the car as a roadster with more modern, enveloping lines. The car traded hands several times again before making its way to England in 1938. The car’s history during the war years is unknown, and its next registration appears in 1946, to a Grace Gertrude Danels.
In 1959, this Alfa was sold to Jack Hayward, who owned it for 42 years and began its full restoration. In the file accompanying the car, there is a letter dated March 9, 1959, from Frank Clissold Ltd. of Birmingham, detailing work done on the car: “…engine completely stripped, crank ground, new bearings fitted throughout, block bored, new pistons, rings, pins fitted, head stripped, valves ground in, supercharger stripped, new bearings and oil seals fitted and end float adjusted…” In the early ’60s Hayward reported the renewed engine ran “sweetly,” but it has not run since. With the chassis restored, Hayward decided to fit a replica Zagato body, but never completed it.
This is one of the most important and clearest provenanced Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeos to have come onto the market in recent years. When completely restored to original form, 2111207 will once again be a truly lovely, significant, historic high-performance car of the utmost quality and value.The SCM Analysis
This car sold at the Bonhams & Brooks Silverstone auction, held August 25, 2001, for a price of $1,530,720, including buyer’s premium.
To use the terms in Luigi Fusi’s book, Alfa Romeo, All The Cars From 1910, this is a Spider Corsa modification to the 8C 2300 Corto. The difference is in state of tune and final drive ratio:
the standard 8C 2300 Corto and Lungo cars developed 142 hp at 5,000 rpm with a 4.25 final drive. Spider Corsas were built to customer specification (presumably, Enzo Ferrari) and developed 165 hp at 5,400 rpm for the 1932 model cars, and the owner could select a 4.08:1 or 3.76:1 final drive. Additionally, this car is one of the first of three 8C 2300 series, indicated by the second digit of the serial number. Differences between the three series include the location of the oil tank and radiator shape.
Though some body parts are included with the car, in practical terms, this is a chassis waiting for a body. Moreover, the fact that the car has not moved under its own power for more than 40 years means that, at a minimum, the chassis and drivetrain should be torn down and thoroughly inspected. The cost of this, as well as the cost of new bodywork and trim, represents a small percentage of the car’s worth. This car’s sale price of $1,530,720 suggests that the restored car could easily top $2,000,000 under spirited bidding. That would allow the new owner to spend about $500,000 before exceeding the car’s probable market value. Clearly, this is a well-bought project and a solid investment.
Further, in a world of “instant 8Cs,” where handsome saloon-bodied cars have their coachwork tossed off, their chassis shortened and their new replica bodies slathered with instant patina, the fact that this is a “real” car, with “real” provenance, is refreshing. It was born a race car, and no matter what body is ultimately fitted, the new owner will have a car with a provenance far superior to the chop-job 8C race cars built by enthusiasts who couldn’t quite afford the real thing.
Chassis #: 2111027
Engine #: 2111027
Years Produced: 1931-34 (Series 1, 2, 3)
Number Produced: 24 (1st Series)
Original List Price: $29,800
SCM Valuation: $1,900,000-$2,300,000
Tune-up Cost: $500 (includes lubrication of more than 20 chassis fittings)
Chassis # Location: Bulkhead, and major castings
Engine # Location: Intake side of engine, towards the front
Club Info: Vintage Sports Car Club (Britain) Alfa Section, A. Cherrett, 121 Russell Road, Newbury, Berks RG14 5JX, England
Alternatives: 1930-34 Bugatti Type 50, 1932-32 Type 55 and 1934-40 Type 57, 1928-32 Mercedes-Benz SSK, 1927-31 Blower Bentley 4.5