The Alfa Romeo 8c Competizione was a 21st century take on that classic Alfa sports car recipe – a car that was beautiful, fast, rare, expensive. A car the Alfisti had been waiting decades for.
Alfa Romeo 8c Competizione – origins
The Alfa Romeo 8c Competizione was first shown as a concept at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show and did it steal the show? How could it not? Just look at it.
Designed and developed in-house by the Alfa Romeo Style Centre, the 8c Competizione was the kind of car Alfa became famous for – a stunningly beautiful, two seat, rear-wheel drive, exclusive, sports car. The kind of car Alfa Romeo enthusiasts had literally been waiting decades for Alfa to build.
The 8c Competizione moniker paid tribute to sporting and racing greats from Alfa Romeo’s history. In the Thirties and Forties, ‘8c’ identified Alfa’s road and racing cars equipped with the eight cylinder engine developed by the (now legendary) engineer Vittorio Jan0. ‘Competizione‘ honoured the 6C 2500 Competizione, driven by Fangio and Zanardi in the famous Mille Miglia race in 1950.
In 2007 Alfa Romeo enthusiasts prayers were answered when the car entered (limited) production at a price of £112,000.
Technology and performance
The Alfa 8C Competizione’s bodywork is made from carbon fibre. The design itself has hints to past Alfa Romeo greats. For example, there are echoes of the 33 Coupé Stradale from the late-sixties in that nose and those rounded rear light clusters are reminders of the Giulia TZ.
Mounted longitudinally in the front of the 8c Competizione is a 4.7 litre V8 engine built by Ferrari that produces over 400 bhp (at 7000rpm). This drives the rear wheels through a 6-speed sequential transmission. 0-62 mph is despatched in a mere 4.5 seconds, while the top speed was simply listed as “over 180mph”.
The six speed transmission is mounted at the rear of the car (transaxle) for better weight distribution. The driver could select any one of five different gearbox modes, from full automatic to manual-sport, where the time taken to change between gears is just 175 milliseconds.
Large 245/40 front tyres and 275/35 rear tyres wrap around 20-inch wheels designed to remind us of the famous Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio Verde. These are connect to double-wishbone suspension front and rear. All 8c’s were fitted with four-wheel ventilated disc brakes made by Brembo but carbo-ceramic brakes came as standard on the 8C Spider.
Models and Special Editions
Unveiled as a concept at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Spider was mechanically similar to the coupe. The Spider’s dampers were softened slightly to provide a more compliant ride and a simple cloth folding soft top took the place of the fixed roof.
Added extra bracing in the engine bay and strengthening in the floor plan left the 8c Spider weighing in at 90kg heavier than the coupe. Although, as mentioned, carbo-ceramic brakes came as standard on the 8c Spider and saved 14kg.
Out of the 500 8c Spiders Alfa Romeo produced, just 35 (officially) came to the UK, each at a price of £174,000.
Alfa Romeo 8c Competizione production ends
The 8c Competizione production ended in January 2009, with 8c Spider production ending in 2010. This was a 21st century super car, with old-school virtues – raw, beautiful and exclusive.
At the time the 8c was really defined by two things, rarity and price. Less than 100 8c coupes and Spiders officially came to the UK. With a list price of £174,000, the Spider was pricier than every contemporary Maserati and all Ferrari 430 models (including Scuderia). This may have raised a few eyebrows at the time but with just 500 coupe’s and 500 Spyders worldwide, all of which were sold before they left the factory, supply for this Alfa sports car was always far less than demand. Within months, cars were demanding £50k over list price and are just as strong nearly a decade after the first deliveries.
Beyond the super car storybook, the 8c Competizione influenced the design of more humble MiTo and Giulietta hatchbacks. It also arguably paved the way for the launch of the 4c sports car in 2013, proving that there was still space in Alfa Romeo enthusiasts hearts (and garages) for a Alfa badged super car in the 21st century.