<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239

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Lot 61
1934 ALFA ROMEO 8C 2300 CABRIOLET DÉCAPOTABLE
Coachwork by Carroserie Joseph Figoni

US$ 6,500,000 - 7,500,000
£ 5,000,000 - 5,700,000

Quail Motorcar Auction

14 Aug 2020, 11:00 PDT

Los Angeles

1934 ALFA ROMEO 8C 2300 CABRIOLET DÉCAPOTABLE
Coachwork by Carroserie Joseph Figoni

Chassis no. 2311239
Engine no. 2311239

2,336cc DOHC All-Alloy 8-Cylinder Engine
Roots Supercharger
142bhp at 5,000rpm
4-Speed Manual Transaxle
Semi-Elliptic Leaf Spring Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes

*Highly original and genuine example of the legendary 8C Alfa Romeo
*Retaining its original Figoni Cabriolet bodywork and matching numbers driveline
*Extremely advanced and sophisticated engineering and staggering performance
*Stunning example of one of the most collectible, pre-war motorcars
*Researched and documented, and accompanied by impressive history file



To view a YouTube walkaround of this lot please click here


Previewing at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California by appointment. Please contact motors.us@bonhams.com for scheduling.


THE LEGENDARY 8C

Alfa Romeo's first eight-cylinder road car was introduced in 1931 as a successor to the 6C 1750. This was the legendary 8C 2300, designed by the equally legendary Vittorio Jano who was one of the first automotive engineers to create high-performance cars that were tailor-made for sustained full-throttle running on high-speed roads – all with the purpose of keeping Alfa Romeo at the forefront of international motor racing. Jano succeeded: the 8C would prove a formidable weapon, winning race after race in the first half of the 1930s, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times with among others, Luigi Chinetti, Tazio Nuvolari, and Raymond Sommer as drivers.

The heart of this formidable machine is its supercharged, straight-eight, twin-overhead-camshaft engine, which Jano arranged in effect as two four-cylinder units in tandem with the cam-drive gears amidships. Bore and stroke were 66 x 88 mm giving 2,336 cc, while the twin-lobe Roots-type supercharger was driven at 1.33-times crankshaft speed. The Corto (short) chassis had a wheelbase of 2.75 meters, and the Lungo (long) version one of 3.1 meters. Boasting a four-speed manual gearbox and powerful drum brakes all round, these Alfa Romeos were genuine 100 mph cars, reliably producing over 140 horsepower at 5,000 rpm. 1934 was the last year of manufacture of the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300.


ALFA ROMEO IN FRANCE

Alfa Romeo had established itself in Paris in the rue Marbeuf in 1924, and a young racing mechanic named Luigi Chinetti joined the fledgling operation the year after. Relations between France and Italy deteriorated in the latter half of the 1920s as Italy fell into dictatorship under Benito Mussolini. France imposed increased customs duties on Italian luxury items such as expensive motorcars. Sometime around 1930, Alfa Romeo established an assembly facility for imported knock-down kits at 150 rue Victor Hugo in Levallois-Perret. The kits were brought in as spare parts at a much lower rate of taxation than a finished chassis would have been subjected to, although it is believed that the imports were virtually complete rolling chassis that required little work in Paris in order for them to be registered and roadworthy.


CARROSSERIE JOSEPH FIGONI

Joseph Figoni opened his small coachbuilding enterprise in Boulogne-Billancourt outside Paris in November 1923. In the beginning, work was subcontracted from established companies, but after a handsome Bugatti and a few elegant Ballots had been shown to acclaim at the Parisian summer concours, Figoni quickly gained a reputation for light and stylish bodywork that enhanced the handling and roadholding of the chassis it was mounted on. More than 70 Bugatti chassis were bodied in the early years, followed by an equal number of Delage. By 1930, Figoni had become the place to go for those who liked fast cars with wind-cheating lines. Only very rarely was formal coachwork specified by a client.

Figoni's close relationship with Alfa Romeo France began with the first order placed by the famous race driver Raymond Sommer in May 1932 for the modification of his 8C 2300 (chassis 2111018) to Le Mans specification. Sommer won the race with Luigi Chinetti as co-driver, and a body by Figoni was soon the hot inside tip on the circuits. Two complete Alfa Romeos were bodied in August, namely 8C 2300 chassis 2111024 and 6C 1750 chassis 101014866. After that, the Figoni shops became something of a mechanical beehive, buzzing with Alfa Romeo activity as a who's who of racing drivers, wealthy patrons, as well as the Garage Mallet, the Parisian Alfa Romeo concessionary, placed orders for bodies on Alfa chassis, had cars fixed, refurbished, and reworked. Most of the activity was race-related, but from 1932 to 1935, Figoni bodied seven 8C 2300 road cars: one faux cabriolet, five cabriolets, and one roadster. One car is lost (chassis 2311211), the faux cabriolet has had its roof removed (chassis 2111024), and one is now fitted with a replica Zagato Spider body (chassis 2211080).


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

Of those magnificent five cabriolets Figoni 8Cs, 2311239 has long been regarded as the most authentic and arguably the best looking. It has a pedigree which is delightfully uncomplicated and is simply charted in Simon Moore's authoritative work on the model, The Legendary 2.3.

When one views the car today in all its splendor, you can imagine that it is picture perfect to how its original owner purchased the Alfa back in 1934. It is understood that gentleman was Raoul Calvayrac, based on the southern outskirts of Paris. Information retained within the Figoni archives, states that the cost of the coachwork alone was a staggering 21,750 French Francs!

Fortunately, as depicted on these pages and in the '2.3' book, owing to research collaboration between French automobile historian Pierre-Yves Laugier and Simon Moore, we know exactly how the car looked for a photo of the car virtually as new outside the Chateau Besse, home of Jacques de Saint-Pierre, in the Dordogne. The photo had actually surfaced in a book about French Pilot Mermoz, but armed with the lead Laugier was able to establish that the driver Raoul Calvayrac was its owner and that he was a regular visitor to this Chateau as confirmed by Sainte-Pierre's daughter who by 2003 was still domiciled at the Chateau. She was able to recall the striking red Alfa well.

In completing the design, Figoni's craftsmen penned a most beautiful and subtly elegant touring car, with their trademark body molding tapering out from the radiator cap backwards, dipping gently across the doors before kicking up to accent the rear fenders. The low profile raked windshield is a lightweight affair and chromed so as to complement the brightwork elsewhere on the car. The fenders carry a 'trouser crease' from stem to stern. Nothing is exaggerated, yet only after many viewings can all the detail features be truly appreciated. In every respect it is a triumph and so befitting of the quality characteristics of its stoic supercharged Alfa Romeo underpinnings. To call it a wolf in sheep's clothing understates the refinement of both aspects, it is more the form of a heron with the character of an eagle...

For the next succinct chapter of its career already we look to America. Strange though it may seem today, if you were an American who appreciated European cars, in the '40s and '50s your go-to place for adverts was the New York Times of all things, there the likes of Zumbach Motors of New York might offer their latest imports, or indeed ex-Servicemen offered cars they had brought home with them. It was there that a young Cincinnati man, Jim Ibold chanced upon 2311239 being offered by Hubert Harmon of New York City and acquired the car.

In offering the car to Ibold, Hubert Harmon would recall that he himself had bought the car from a Frenchman in Cannes and he was aware of its whole life to that point - "The Alfa Romeo.. was brought from Italy by Monsieur Raoul de Calveyrhac (misspelt), who sent it to Paris where Figoni did the carrosserie. It was successfully hidden in the hay during the German occupation on M. de Calveyrhac's estate. So it has not very much mileage even though it is quite old. I bought it in Cannes from its former owner – therefore it has had just two owners", he continues "In Cannes, I had a new silk top made and floor rugs... It is a car that should be used and it is not useful to here in the city. That is why I wish to sell it. Also I must point out that the racing engine is tremendously powerful and really should be owned by someone with mechanical knowledge. I do not have that and am at the mercy of Inskip Rolls-Royce to look after it for me" "Although it is very chic, I believe to the knowledgeable mechanic it is the engine that the most interesting... It holds the road as if it is glued to it"
Technically, the registration records for Italy and France state it to have been licensed to Alfa Romeo, on plate MI 49126, then in France it wore the Parisian plate of '2205 RJ8' from 1935 and later 933 F 6 while in Cannes. Simplifying this, the car was bought new by Raoul Calvayrac passed to Harmon, then Ibold.
2311239 was joined in stable by an 8C 2900 some years later, and the two brethren rested with Ibold for the next 4 decades.

Ultimately noted Italian car aficionado Patrick Ottis was able to pry the 2300 from Ibold to become only its 4th owner in 80 years. In fresh ownership it was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in mouthwateringly untouched order in 2005. Mr. Ottis then elected to repaint and generally refurbish the car and to return it to its original color scheme, so that it could be displayed at the remarkable Alfa Romeo Anniversary display at Pebble Beach in 2010. Viewed today, it is clear that the restoration was a respectful and sympathetic rebuild, which retained the charm and original detail features of the car, while putting it into a condition befitting its stature. The oft copied 'crackle' finish dash remains the original with a wholesome patina, some instrument bezels still appear to show their dull nickel finishes, while the chassis and engine plates so frequently lost or replaced are again the originals, never removed, restamped or messed with, just simply aged with time. Against these details, the car is finished in rich two-tone red paintwork as it was when new, accented by the limited brightwork, and a contrasting tan leather interior with skimpy front seats and close coupled rear bench.

The current owner acquired 2311239 from Ottis, where it has joined a stable of carefully selected and important motor cars. In his hands the 8C was shown at the 2018 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, where it was awarded Best in Class, and the stunning motorcar continues to draw admiration whenever it is shown.

Sporting, high performance cars of the pre-war era usually had 'lives' or 'stories', this remarkable '2.3' has had but one, simple life, it is a no excuses, long-term investment quality, collector car, which once led Simon Moore to describe it as 'one of the most "untouched" of all the 8Cs, still kept in remarkably original condition.' This exquisite, refined, aesthetic and engineering masterpiece offers the next owner admittance to the World's finest Concours and driving events, and an opportunity to own one of the most important motorcars of the pre-war era.

Footnotes

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Contacts
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
<b>1934 ALFA ROMEO  8C 2300 CABRIOLET D&#201;CAPOTABLE</b><br />  Chassis no. 2311239 <br />Engine no. 2311239
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