Antonio Brivio: Targa Florio 1933: Alfa Romeo 8C2300 ‘Monza’…

Posted: October 9, 2014 in Sports Racers, Who,What,Where & When...?
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Brivio won the race, 7 laps of the 72Km ‘Piccolo Madonie’, 504Km, in his Scuderia Ferrari entry, ahead of 4 other ‘Monzas’…

He took 6 hours 35 minutes to complete the race at an average speed of 76.3 KMH, an endurance test to be sure!

Scuderia Ferrari had a busy and victorious weekend, running three Monza’s at the Eifelrennen at the Nurburgring, Nuvolari winning and another three in Targa.

Borzacchini lead the Scuderia Ferrari Targa assault in a Monza 2.6 but retired after hitting a wall near Collesano, Brivio winning with Carraroli third in the other SF entry, both 2.3 Monza’s .

One of Vittorio Janos’ greatest designs, the supercharged straight-eight ‘Monza’ is one of the most successful racing cars of all time.

Vittorio Jano…

vittorio

Vittorio Jano and Phil Hill later in Janos’ life. Pictured in Maranello in 1962, Jano designed the V6 engine which powered Hills’ 1961 World Championship winning Ferrari 156…the car was a ‘slug’ in 1962, the problem the chassis not Janos’ engine…Jano died by his own hand aged 75, frustrated by illness and his diminishing powers. He was 65. (Klemantaski Archive)

Alfa ‘pinched’ Jano from Fiat, where he was a key designer of their 804 and 805 GP cars. He was the leading figure in the design of Italian racing cars for over 30 years, Fiat in the 20’s, Alfa in the 30’s and Ferrari in the 1950’s, mind you his ‘Dino’ derived V6 engines were still winning rallies in the Lancia Stratos well into the 1970’s.

As soon as he joined Alfa he worked on supercharging the P1 GP car whilst also designing the very successful straight-8 P2 for 1924, the car immediately victorious in the French GP.

Alfa won the ‘World Championship’ in 1925 but withdrew from racing in 1926/7, allowing Jano to concentrate on a new series of road cars, the revered 6C 1500/1750 cars the result.

Alfa wanted to return to outright success in motor racing, the first step was the creation of the 8C2300, ‘unquestionably the ultimate sports car of its time and marked the pinnacle of the era for sports cars with cart-sprung flexible chassis and crash-gearboxes..’ according to marque expert Simon Moore.

Context of The Time…

chassis plate

The world was still in recession as a consequence of the collapse of the global economy after the 1929 Wall Street Collapse, Bentley were going through liquidation, Mercedes were entering the market for ‘mass-produced’ cars, whilst Alfa introduced this upmarket car.

Alfa themselves were not immune to any of this, passing through and into the hands of government agencies to make grants to aid industry, ultimately being taken over by the ‘Instituto Ricostruzione Industriale’ in 1933.

8C2300 Design…

monza outline

Jano laid down a chassis which was conventional for the period in having channel side and cross members with semi-elliptic leaf springs and friction shock absorbers.

The ‘Corto’ had a wheelbase of 9 feet, and the ‘Lungo’, 10 feet 2 inches. Rod operated drum brakes were fitted of 15 3/4 inches internal diameter and were very powerful by the standards of the day. Knock-off wire wheels were standard competition fare , 5.5 inches wide and 19 inches in diameter.

The rear axle and 4 speed gearbox were of the same design as the 6C 1750.

The engine was both the heart of the car and it’s outstanding design feature.

A straight 8, with a bore and stroke of 65x88mm, the cylinders were cast in two identical blocks of four to allow for a train of auxiliaries to be placed between them. The crank was supported by ten main, plain bearings.

The crank was made of two halves, with two helical gears bolted between them in the centre, one driving the (two) camshafts by two intermediaries, and the other the supercharger, oil and water pumps.

The cylinder blocks were fitted with dry liners, and had separate, alloy detachable heads. The engine was dry-sumped.

A ‘Roots type’ two lobe blower was mounted low down beside the alloy crankcase, fed by a Memini carburettor . The fuel system used two Autovacs from a twenty-four gallon rear mounted tank.

Ignition was by Bosch coil and distributor with the manual control in the centre of the steering wheel.

The engine developed between 165 and 178 BHP at 5400RPM.

monza engine

Scuderia Ferrari workshop in 1933. Eugenio Siena left, and Giulio Ramponi right, working on an 8C2300 engine on the test bed. Ramponi a notable figure as a mechanic, riding mechanic and driver for Alfa. He also had a key role in the ascent of  both Whitney Straight, and Dick Seaman as drivers, preparing their cars (@Zagari)

Race Record…

nuvolari

The ‘Monza’ won 2 championship Grands’ Prix, the Italian Grand Prix in 1931, a 10 hour epic won by Nuvolari and Campari, the victory from which the car took its name, and the 1932 Monaco GP. Nuvolari is pictured in his Monza in that race, he won it over a duration of 3.5 hours from Rudy Caracciola, by only 2.7 seconds!, in a similar car. (Unattributed)

The 8C2300 sports cars were incredibly successful winning Le Mans 1931-4, the Spa 24 Hour in 1932/3, Targa 1931-3, and the Mille Miglia 1932-4.

Alfa developed the P3 as it’s pure racing car, during the same period, a straight 8, twin-supercharged , fixed cylinder head car which was incredibly successful in 1932-5. As a consequence the 8C2300 based racing cars won only two championship Grands’ Prix (Italian GP in 1931 and Monaco GP in 1932) as well as many second tier events, not bad for a ‘sports car’ all the same!

Minoia was also crowned European Champion in 1931 driving ‘Monzas’.

Production History…

188 or 189 cars were produced from 1931 to 1934, in three series, with ten ‘Monzas’ officially built by the factory. The number built by Alfa according to Simon Moore is greater than that, ten works racers and a number of customer racers built to similar specifications…where definition of a Monza is ‘ a 2.3 racer with a narrow body, outside exhaust pipe, short front springs and a tail comprising a fuel tank with a pointed crush cone’.

Without doubt a landmark car and one of the very few to be both a great sports car, sports racer and Grand Prix winner…a GP car in which to do the shopping!

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Antonio Brivio beside his Monza. He won the Targa twice, in 1933 and ’35, the Mille Miglia in 1936 and Spa 24 Hour race in 1932. He was also a world class bobsledder competing in the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmisch. (Pinterest)

Etcetera…

monza

monza engines by 2

Both sides of the 2.3 litre DOHC straight-8 and 4 speed gearbox. Roots type 2 lobe blower mounted low on RHSide, fed by Memini carburettor. Engine comprised 2 blocks of 4 cylinders with centrally mounted drives from 2 piece crank visible (Alfa Archives)

monza engine cutaway

Section of the 8C2300 engine showing how it was divided into 3 levels; one piece cast crankcase, 2 blocks of 4 cylinders in line, and the heads. Both the cam drive, and 2 piece crankshaft are clearly seen (Simon Moore/ Alfa Archives)

monza zoom

Photo and Other Credits…

‘The Legendary 2.3’ Simon Moore, ‘Alfa Romeo’ Hull & Slater

Pinterest unattributed, tintoyslife, @zagari, Klemantaski Archive, Alfa Romeo Archive

Finito…

 

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Comments
  1. […] I wrote about the design and specifications of the Alfa Romeo Monza in an earlier article so will not repeat that information here, click on this link to that article. https://primotipo.com/2014/10/09/antonio-brivio-targa-florio-1933-alfa-romeo-8c2300-monza/ […]

  2. Nick Barrett says:

    Many thanks for this amazing archive. So amazing to be able to find out so much about a car I can only really dream about. many thanks Nick Barrett

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks Nick, I’m glad you enjoyed it, it’s such a long time ago since I wrote it i enjoyed re-reading it too! My Top 5 designers of all time includes Jano…there is no such thing as too much Vittorio! Mark

    • Colin Johnson says:

      Hi Nick I’ve been trying to reach you Caroline or Alf but seeing your name here means you probably have access to all of this. I left some photo’s on the outside table last week I’m going to the Historic meeting at Phillip Island on the 17th I hope one of Alf Seniors cars is there
      Give my best to Alf
      Regards
      Col

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