alfa 2900

Sue Steele Thomas sharing ‘her unique visions of nature and automobiles with the piece ‘Alfa Romeo Through the Shafta Daisies’ which views a 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Speciale Le Mans Touring through a bright botanical overlay’…

Only one of these cars was built for Le Mans 1938; the car driven by Clemente Biondetti and Raymond Somner had the most commanding lead at La Sarthe ever, 11 laps/1 hour or 100 miles depending upon your way of expressing it.

alfa race

The stunning looking, very aerodynamic 8C2900B during its long run in the lead of its only race, Le Mans 1938 (unattributed)

A succession of mechanical maladies cost victory; a tyre blew on the Mulsanne, Sommner bringing the car to a halt but the tyre destroyed the mudguard. Biondetti went back out but the car retired shortly thereafter with either valve or gearbox failure.

alfa talbot

Le Mans 1938. Compare and contrast the aerodynamic treatment and styling of the winning, left, Chaboud/Tremoulet and 2nd placed Serraud/Cabantous Delahaye 135CS with the 8C2900B (unattributed)

The race was won by the Eugene Chaboud/Jean Tremoulet Delahaye 135CS from the similar car of Gaston Serraud and Yves Giraud-Cabantous with Jean Prenant and Andre Morel in a Talbot T150SS Coupe. The Alfa 8C 2900B completed 219 laps, more than the 4th placed car.

alfa retired

The leading Alfa after its valve or gearbox failure whilst well in the lead. The passing car is the Talbot T150SS of Jean Prenant/Andre Morel, 3rd (unattributed)

Five 8C 2900B chassis were modified for racing early in 1938, and whilst offered for customer sale the cars were road going versions of Alfa’s GP cars, very much in the best tradition of the Monza Series of cars. The cars were nearly identical to the 8C 2900A’s which won Le Mans in 1936 and 1937.

The 2.9 litre straight-8, boosted by two superchargers developed 220bhp in race trim and was the ultimate road going version of the 8C2300 originally built in 1931, click here for my article on the Alfa Monzas’ which covers the design detail of the cars;

https://primotipo.com/2014/10/09/antonio-brivio-targa-florio-1933-alfa-romeo-8c2300-monza/

Unlike the earlier Monza’s the cars gearbox was in unit with its differential shifting weight to the rear.

alfa pitstop

Routine pitstop during the 1938 Le Mans for the 8C2900B (unattributed)

Bodies of all five cars were built by Touring with open bodies for the Mille Miglia for which four cars were entered, the Alfas finishing 1-3 with Biondetti and Ado Stefani crewing the winning car from the Pintacuda/Mambelli and 8C 2300A of Dusio/Boninsegni.

The Le Mans car, chassis #412033 had its Spider body removed to be replaced by a futuristic, slippery coupe designed by Touring’s Carlo Anderloni. The panels aft of the front wheels could be removed to allow access to Vittorio Jano’s mechanical marvels.

#412033 was repaired but not raced again, sold to a Roman it ‘disappeared’ but was found by collectors in the late sixties, passing through several hands before being re-acquired by Alfa where it is a popular exhibit at Museo Storico, and attractive to artists such as Sue Steele Thomas…

alfa chssis

Car during its construction at Touring’s workshop. Typical boxed steel chassis, Jano’s engine clear as is light alloy tubing to accept the aluminium body. Big fuel tank prevents view of the rear mounted gearbox/diff unit (unattributed)

Specifications…

Chassis of light gauge box section steel. Front suspension; trailing arms coil spring/tubular shocks. Rear suspension; swing axles located by radius rods, semi-elliptic leaf springs and tubular shocks. Steering, worm and sector. Brakes drums all round. Weight circa 1100Kg.

Engine; DOHC, 2 valve, all alloy straight-8 of 2905cc, bore/stroke 68mm/100mm. Two Roots type superchargers fed by two Weber carbs giving circa 220bhp@5800rpm.

Gearbox 4 speed mounted at the rear in unit with differential

alfa studio

Stunning car for its time, stunning full stop! Studio shot of the 8C 2900B Le Mans after its restoration by Alfa Romeo. Side access panel referred to in the text clear, skilful aero treatment at a time when exposed guards the norm (unattributed)

Credit…

Sue Steele Thomas, conceptcarz.com

Tailpiece…

alfa butt

8C 2900B Le Mans butt shot at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2010 (unattributed)

 

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Comments
  1. […] The Alfa Tipo Le Mans during construction at Carrozzeria Touring. This and the following images from primotipo.com.] […]

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