Tag Archives: Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta

Parisian Cat Walk

The 2019 edition of the Rétromobile was well up to the high standards that we have come to expect from this French Classic. It has become something of a must attend event for those of us who ply our trade in this arena, being the first serious event of the year adds a taste of optimism to encourage us, no matter how misplaced this rush of blood ultimately turns out to be.

So to whet the appetite I am flagging up a few delights, some familiar, some less so. I will have a few other posts to produce in the next few days in between the doing the paying stuff…….

Arriving on Tuesday evening I barely made any progress past the Peter Auto stand, ambushed by various gangsters that I am acquainted with, all of us keen to catch up on gossip, rumour and the occasional fact……one of the cars on the Peter Auto stand was very familiar, on old friend from a couple of decades gone, McLaren F1 GTR, #24R. Originally a factory Schnitzer car for the 1997 Le Mans 24 Hours, it then turned up in the Gulf/Davidoff team for a few races in that year. It was driven by Thomas Bscher and John Nielsen till the Dane royally stuffed it in Practice at Suzuka at the end of summer. Once refettled Steve O’Rourke acquired it for his British GT campaign and then achieved a fantastic fourth place overall in the ’98 edition of the French classic……….the stuff of dreams.

More memories were to be found round the corner on Gergor Fisken’s stand, always a source of truly classic cars in every sense of the word. True to form Fiskens had on display a cornucopia of automotive goodness, including one gem that really struck a personal chord. My first attendance endurance race was the 1971 Brands Hatch 1000Kms, it proved to be a slippery slope, which is how and why you are reading this doggerel. So it was quite something to encounter the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/3 that Henri Pescarolo and Andrea de Adamich drove to record a memorable victory that over the Gulf Porsche 917s, the first international success for the Italian marque for 20 years.

I reflected on the 1971 season, and its impact of my young self, some time ago HERE – while it has been largely downhill on the personal front since those heady days, the T33 still looks stunning.

Artcurial run the auction based at the Rétromobile and they always come up with much that is stunning, 2019 was no exception to this rule. The Serenissima Spyder was captivating, another treasure from Count Volpi’s outfit and, even more appealing, exactly as it ran at Le Mans in 1966.

The timing of its competition career was unfortunate as it was crushed along with the rest of the field by the Detroit bulldozer that was Ford’s GT effort at Le Mans that year featuring no less that 15 GT40s on the grid. No matter, the patina and graceful design are timeless, who ever acquired this exquisite car has won a motoring lottery.

Also at Artcurial was this headline grabbing Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring which went under the hammer for a pretty respectable €16.4 million, quite understandable when considering this beautiful creation.

One of just five examples built and with an almost complete history, it is a slice of motoring royalty……….one can dream…………

On a completely different scale in every sense of the word was this giant Berliet T100, at the time of its introduction the largest truck in the world……it dwarfed everything else at Rétromobile.

Even this Panzer MK IV had to yield to the Berliet………………….

Another French star on the boards was the WM P88, holder of the top speed record down the Mulsanne Straight, posting 407kph in 1988…………….

Back into the 21st Century is the Maserati MC12 Corsa that was to be found at Girado’s impressive stand. The Corsa was the track day version of the MC12 for those who wished to emulate the performance of the wildly successful GT1 racecar.

The Corsa had a claimed 745bhp from the V12 6.0 litre engine, shared with the Ferrari Enzo. Only 12 examples of the Corsa were built, making it ultra desirable as if it needed any further enhancement.

Another extremely stylish and rare Italian that was to be found in Paris was a concept car that appeared at the 1966 Turin Motor Show, the Lamborghini 400 GT Flying Star II.

This striking shooting-brake displays all the confidence of the mid-60s and was based on a 400 GT platform. Its other very significant attribute is being in the final wave of creativity from Carrozzeria Touring which was experiencing financial difficulties at that time. The stunning Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Touring described above was also part of the history of that venerable styling house. As to the Flying Star, it is very much a case of what might have been……………..

The final initial glance at 2019’s excellence at the Rétromobile is another one off Italian, another Lamborghini, this time from the house of Bertone. It is hard to see how one might improve on the visual impact of the Miura but the P400 Roadster makes a convincing attempt. There are subtle differences to the ‘standard’ car, the angle of the windscreen was lowered, a spoiler was added at the rear and the exhaust was re-routed.

After a number of decades of almost neglect this piece of automotive art was restored to its original very cool blue metallic livery. In Paris it graced the Kidston display, formed exclusively of Lamborghinis, mainly Miuras. What a fantastic collection…….

More from Rétromobile later this week………….

John Brooks February 2018

Indian Summer

2012 Salon Prive

2012 was weird time to live in and around London, the coincidence of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee and the staging of the XXX Olympiad meant that there were many events occurring that would never be seen again in the lifetimes of those who witnessed them.

2012 Salon Prive

Given the strong heritage that the automobile enjoys in Britain it came as no surprise that there would be some form of motoring celebration that would pay tribute to the Queen’s anniversary.

2012 Salon Prive

The question would be where, as any concours would have to be in suitable surroundings at least the equal of Villa d’Este or Pebble Beach.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

The answer was really rather obvious, although actually getting permission to use it would have required great diplomacy on the part of the organisers.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

Windsor Castle’s Upper Ward was the final choice, a private area in the largest inhabited castle in the world and the longest occupied palace in Europe. It does not get much better than that.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

So that is how I found myself in the Queen’s palace, reputed to be her favourite, last September. I was not really sure what to expect as this was new event and usually it takes a few years to get matters up to speed.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

I had been to Pebble Beach and Amelia Island a few years back and knew how high they had set the bar. However nothing prepared me for the astounding display of automotive treasure arranged on the lawn.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

Within the castle walls there were 60 of the world’s greatest cars, chosen with great care by the organising committee, one for each year of the monarch’s reign.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

Although all present were worthy inclusions we all have favourites, so here are a few of mine starting with the Embiricos Bentley 4¼ Litre Pourtout Coupé, an absolute gem of a car.

I have written about this unique creation HERE

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

It was not just the French coach builders who overwhelmed our senses in the 1930’s, this Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta, one of six built with a roof, was not just a pretty face, similar models won the Mille Miglia and the Spa 24 Hours outright.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

A more modern Italian is this Lamborghini Miura SV in a dramatic yellow livery.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

And what concours would be possible without a contribution from Maranello? This Ferrari GT SWB Berlinetta is a fine example.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

Let us not forget contributions from the locals, a Jaguar E-Type and an AC Cobra sit in the shadow of the Round Tower.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

Aston Martin in the shape of this DB6 Volante, owned by HRH Prince of Wales, was also on display.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

And when it comes to perfection of outline it is hard to imagine anything more sublime than the Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Berlinetta

2012 Salon Prive

More elegant luxury is found with this Bentley Continental S Type with HJ Mulliner bodywork.

2012 Salon Prive

Arguably the most imposing vehicle on display was the Rolls-Royce Phantom I Jonckheere Coupé, brought over by the Petersen Automotive Museum in California. The art deco style bodywork with oval doors is absolutely stunning.

2012 Salon Prive

It is not a car for mere mortals, only a Maharaja or a Hollywood star of the 1930’s could really carry off being seen with such a creation.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

So looking back at last year’s event the question is will there be a repeat?

Thankfully the answer is in the affirmative.

I quote the release from the Concours’ organisers.

Sixty of the world’s rarest historic cars will gather on the Royal lawns of St James’s, Central London from September 5-7, 2013.  Some of these cars have never before been seen and the public is not normally allowed access to this area of St James’s.

In addition to the amazing Concours cars will be a line-up of Lamborghini’s to celebrate the marque’s 50th anniversary plus the Royal Automobile Club is bringing its Spirit of Motoring Tour.
On the opening morning, our Royal Patron HRH Prince Michael of Kent will lead the convoy of Concours cars as they leave the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace to travel down The Mall before turning into Marlborough Road and into the Concours.
Members of the public who own a historic, GT or sports car can also be part of this display of automotive sculpture as they will be allowed to park along part of the Mall just outside the Concours.
Tickets and more information from www.concoursofelegance.co.uk.
My recommendation is that if you can attend, do, the quality will not be surpassed anywhere and the cost of a ticket is very reasonable considering what is on offer.
In the meantime here is a gallery from 2012.
I looked at the cars that were parked outside the castle walls earlier HERE
John Brooks, August 2013