Our rare automobile is an exact recreation of the iconic Alfa Romeo 8C Monza by Pur Sang. California title and licensed for the street
1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300
Monza by Pur Sang
The Alfa Romeo 8C has all the ingredients of a legendary sports car of the highest caliber: rarity, beauty, sophisticated engineering, and fantastic competition pedigree. Like the successful 6C 1750 which preceded it, the 8C 2300 was designed by Vittorio Jano and had at its heart a sophisticated twin cam engine (gear driven). By adding two more cylinders of the same bore and stroke, the 6C became the 8C. A Roots supercharger provided forced induction, and in racing tune, the cars were especially potent. Indeed, the racing performance of the 8C was unequivocally dominant. Unseating the previous reigning champion, the Mercedes SSKL, the 8C was virtually unbeatable during its heyday, winning the Mille Miglia in 1932, 1933 (finishing 1st through 8th places!), and 1934. The car also won the Targa Florio in 1931, 1932, and 1933, and various Grands Prix including Monaco in 1932, and of course Monza, which is where the racing variant received the Monza designation.
The Pur Sang Alfa Romeos (and Bugattis) are fascinating and beautifully-wrought cars that are crafted to accurately recreate the experience of some of the most legendary racing cars of all time. The company describes their facility as an atelier, and a careful examination of the automobiles they produce, as well as the manner in which they produce them, demonstrates that that term is entirely appropriate. The company emerged from the restoration shop of Jorge Anadón in Argentina, who restored genuine prewar Bugattis but lamented the fact that he would never be able to own one himself. While he had one such car apart for restoration, he fastidiously measured each component and built tooling to accurately reproduce the car for himself. Although initially intended to be a one-off project, he eventually built others, and over the last thirty years, hundreds of Pur Sang recreations have been built by the skilled craftsmen who build the cars by hand using the same techniques with which the cars were originally constructed.
Pur Sang is based in Argentina, which has strict anti-importation laws. Therefore, the cars are made entirely in house. Pur Sang has their own foundry, CNC machining facility, they make their own tires, and beat and finish their own aluminum panels using an English wheel. The accuracy of these cars is extremely impressive. Experienced car enthusiasts would be extremely hard-pressed to determine that these cars are not originals, and indeed, most parts are interchangeable with original cars. Modern metallurgy is used, but the engine retains the overhead camshafts and architecture of the original cars.
@ Jay Leno's Garage: Alfa Monza
In 1924, Vittorio Jano created his first straight-eight-cylinder engine for Alfa Romeo, the 1987 cc P2, with common crankcase and four plated-steel two-cylinder blocks, which won the first World Championship ever in 1925. Albeit it was a straight-8, the 8C designation was not used.
The 8C engine, first entered at the 1931 Mille Miglia road race through Italy, had a common crankcase, now with two alloy four-cylinder blocks, which also incorporated the heads. The bore and stroke (and hence rods, pistons and the like), were the same as the 6C 1750 (bore: 65 mm, stroke: 88 mm 2,336 cc). There was no separate head, and no head gasket to fail, but this made valve maintenance more difficult. A central gear tower drove the overhead camshafts, superchargers and ancillaries. As far as production cars are concerned, the 8C engine powered two models, the 8C 2300 (1931–1935) and the even more rare and expensive 8C 2900 (1936–1941), bore increased to 68 mm and stroke to 100 mm (2,905 cc).
At the same time, since racing cars were no longer required to carry a mechanic, Alfa Romeo built the first single seater race car. As a first attempt, the 1931 Monoposto Tipo A used a pair of 6-cylinder engines fitted side by side in the chassis. As the resulting car was too heavy and complex, Jano designed a more suitable and successful racer called Monoposto Tipo B (aka P3) for the 1932 Grand Prix season. The Tipo B proved itself the winning car of its era, winning straight from its first outing at the 1932 Italian Grand Prix, and was powered with an enlarged version of the 8C engine now at 2,665 cc, fed through a pair of superchargers instead of a single one.
Initially, Alfa Romeo announced that the 8C was not to be sold to private owners, but by autumn 1931 Alfa sold it as a rolling chassis in Lungo (long) or Corto (short) form with prices starting at over £1000. The chassis were fitted with bodies from a selection of Italian coach-builders (Carrozzeria) such as Zagato, Carrozzeria Touring, Carrozzeria Castagna, Pininfarina and Brianza, even though Alfa Romeo did make bodies. Some chassis were clothed by coach-builders such as Graber, Worblaufen and Tuscher of Switzerland and Figoni of France. Alfa Romeo also had a practice of rebodying cars for clients, and some racing vehicles were sold rebodied as road vehicles. Some of the famous first owners include Baroness Maud Thyssen of the Thyssen family, the owner of the aircraft and now scooter company Piaggio Andrea Piaggio, Raymond Sommer, and Tazio Nuvolari.
The first model was the 1931 '8C 2300', a reference to the car's 2.3 L (2336 cc) engine, initially designed as a racing car, but actually produced in 188 units also for road use. While the racing version of the 8C 2300 Spider, driven by Tazio Nuvolari won the 1931 and 1932 Targa Florio race in Sicily, the 1931 Italian Grand Prix victory at Monza gave the "Monza" name to the two seater GP car, a shortened version of the Spider. The Alfa Romeo factory often added the name of events won to the name of a car.
'8C 2300 tipo Le Mans' was the sport version of the '8C 2300' and it had a successful debut in the 1931 Eireann Cup driven by Henry Birkin. It won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1931 (Howe-Birkin); 1932 (Chinetti-Sommer); 1933 (Nuvolari-Sommer) and 1934 (Chinetti-Etancelin).
The 8C 2300 Le Mans model on display at the Museo Alfa Romeo was bought by Sir Henry Birkin in 1931 for competition use, but it is not the car in which Birkin and Howe won the 1931 Le Mans 24 hours.