Thumbnail Alfa Romeo 8C

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01/01/2024 updated

30/01/2023 uploaded

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Member Only / 188

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Gold Member Only

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Member Only

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Country Flag BOI4653

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Red Leather

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Original Market Specification


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This car started life as a long-wheelbase, four-passenger cabriolet by Castagna. It was imported into the UK in 1935 for Cavaliere Aubrey Haskard Casardi, an Italian diplomat residing in London. Upon his family's emigration in 1937, the 8C followed him to St. Louis, Missouri where, following the Second World War, it came into the ownership of famous Los Angeles playboy and racer Tommy Lee.

Campaigned by Lee in various local sprints and high-speed runs at El Mirage dry lakebed, his heavy right food eventually caused engine issues. The broken 8C was given to LA car salesman Gill Schick in 1950, who fitted it with a Mercury V8 engine and continued its racing career. It returned at the 1950 Palm Springs road races but retired due to differential issues.

This was the push that Schick needed to commission famed racecar builder Emil Deidt to work his magic on the 8C. Deidt removed 12 inches from the frame (and extensively drilled it for lightness), scrapped the large Castagna coachwork, and fabricated an alloy cycle-fender body to fit. A Halibrand quick-change took the place of the offending axle, and a Norden steering wheel and an array of Stewart Warner gauges were also installed.

The build took over a year, and upon its completion, Schick sold the 8C to actor Keenan Wynn, who ran a race shop called British American Motors with mechanic Tom Bamford. With Bamford behind the wheel, the car ran at Palm Springs again in 1952, sadly failing to finish once more, and later at Pebble Beach, where it also retired, but now with engine issues. Bill Pollack’s Cadillac-powered Allard took the Del Monte Trophy that weekend, and speculation has it that this might’ve spurred Wynn to fit Cadillac’s new OHV V8 into the Alfa.

This transplant gave 160 horses of lightweight power to the 8C, and contemporary reports showed it was quick enough to keep up with Phil Hill's Jaguar C-type, but, despite some fourth-place finishes, either driver or mechanical error would spell failure for many of its outings. Towards the end of the year, Bamford had moved to Allard and Wynn, following his turn behind the wheel, sold the car to Bob Nelson, who drove it back home to Arizona. He continued to campaign the 8C in local events until family commitments took priority and it was pushed into the back of a barn; its new home for half a century.

When the nineties arrived, local racer Chuck McCain was called out to fix a burst water tank on a Tucson farm, and while he was there the owner showed him an old red sports car buried under piles of junk. Over the next few years, McCain tried repeatedly to buy the car, and his offer was finally accepted in 2000, but only if he was to retain it as it was under Bamford's campaigning. However, after researching more of the car's history, McCain realised its importance and, although he did restore the car and uphold his promise, stripped it of all genuine 8C parts - his plan was to restore the 8C separately while the 'hot rod' was reborn with a replica chassis.

Tragically, McCain was murdered in 2010, before he would ship the 8C parts out to specialist Jim Stokes as intended. The current owner purchased the parts and finished the job, entrusting Stokes to reconstruct his 'affordable way into 8C ownership' with a Touring-style body and short-chassis configuration.

Location History

Country FlagCarmel-by-the-Sea, California, United States -- -- Info2006 Pebble Beach



Silver Member Only -- - -- Info




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