The six million pound man – The most expensive Alfa Romeo ever sold
A new worldwide auction record was set on the weekend at Goodwood, with this 1935-6 Alfa Romeo Tipo 8C-35 leaving the lot for £5,937,500. This makes it the most expensive Alfa ever sold, but why?
The 8C-35 was built for the purpose of Grand Prix racing, during an era when the mighty Mercedes Benz W25E and legendary Auto Unions were running the show. Racing amongst a field of household names like Silver Arrow and Type C is impressive, however the 8C-35 going under the hammer is more than just cool by association.
You see, this car is of ex-Tazio Nuvolari fame, meaning that it was part of the team that so famously stood against the overbearing might of the German giants, clinching 3rd place in the overall championship. Names such as Bernd Rosemeyer, Rudi Caraccioloa, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Hans Stuck have no doubt inhaled fumes from this very machine.
Unlike its sister chassis, build #50013 escaped having its motor swapped out in the face of later Grand Prix regulations which saw supercharged engines limited to 3 litre capacity from 1938, retaining the original #50013, supercharged straight eight cylinder 3.8L engine. This was because by this time the big Alfa was being campaigned elsewhere, England.
It’s understandable then, that amongst a Goodwood auction lot which featured largely classic road-going machinery, that this 8C-35 in all its history would command the undivided attention of retro racing fans.
Well used and oozing heritage, this car tells a story of wins, losses, thrills and spills. It was even rolled in 1938 by Buddy Featherstonhaugh, before being shipped back to Italy for extensive repair. Luckily, the re-appropriation of the sister chassis for later Grand Prix regulations meant that plenty of original pieces were available, or so the story goes.
Of course, much of the interest surrounding this car (and perhaps the reason why it was able to achieve such a price), stems from the indication that this may be the car in which Nuvolari famously won the Coppa Cian. Although difficult to confirm absolutely, this example stands as the only surviving 8C-35 and as such, is uncontested in the claim. Six million pounds well spent? You be the judge.
Images / Video: Bonhams Auctions.