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The Alfa Romeo 8C is Really Here!

by pete on November 12, 2008

alfa 8c.jpg
This Alfa 8C is painted in the optional color of Rosso Competizione.

For years we have heard rumors of the impending launch of a new Alfa Romeo in the United States. VeloceToday can now report that Alfa Romeo definitely has arrived! (ed)

An exclusive report by Werner Pfister
Photos by Werner Pfister

In July, 1951 Enzo Ferrari’s racing team won its first Grand Prix after only 4 years in existence. It was then that he was heard to say, “I have killed my mother…..” referring to the fact that he had just beaten the dominant Alfa Romeo that had nurtured him both as a driver and manager of the Scuderia Ferrari Alfa team in the pre-war era. Today, Alfa, now under the same corporate ownership of FIAT as Ferrari, has come back to the USA in a very big way.

alfa 8c.jpg
New Alfa 8Cs at Miler Motorcars. The Glickenhaus 8C is uncovered.

Contrary to a recent Autoweek article, Alfa launched its new 8C Competizione last week at Miller Motorcars in Greenwich, Connecticut. In fact, three 8Cs were lined up in their showroom on West Putnam Avenue hidden under red covers with only the famous Alfa shield hinting as to what was underneath. Alfa’s Project Manager, Renzo Barbirato and the development test driver, Domenico Martino anxiously awaited the first client to take delivery of an Alfa in the US in more than 15 years.

alfa 8c.jpg
Glickenhaus, on the left, is given a briefing and the Alfa key to his new Alfa 8C by Renzo Barbirato.

Jim Glickenhaus, well known as the owner of the Pininfarina Ferrari special called P4/5, is in fact, the very first new Alfa owner in the US. Although Alfas are available in 4 paint schemes, Jim wanted something even rarer on this limited edition car (500 units worldwide, approximately 80 for the US).

alfa 8c.jpg
An Alfa collector displays the new 8C, in “Rosso Alfa” red, next to his T33 Stradale. There are two additional optional colors, “Nero” a black metallic and “Giallo Racing” a yellow metallic.

He ordered his car to be painted in the same specially formulated color as his unique Ferrari. A quick check for the paint code sticker revealed that there was none confirming that this is a proprietary color that only Jim can access.

alfa 8c.jpg
Heritage and breeding still count at Alfa–the two cars show the family traditions, even though they are 40 years apart.

The ceremony involved an uncovering of the car and a photo op of the handover of the unique Alfa key. Then Engineer Martino carefully walked Jim through the car step by step. Once the checkout was done, Glickenhaus and Martino took a 15 mile ride through the Greenwich country side bedecked with beautiful fall foliage. After a few more photos on a tree lined lane they were back at the start with smiles all around.

alfa 8c.jpg
The vent is accented bythe famous Alfa four leaf clover, fist used by Alfa racing cars in the 1920s.

Before the day was over, two more car collectors came in for their individual introductions to their new Alfa 8Cs. The last collector took the entire gathered crowd to his personal museum of cars which displayed Alfas from the 1930s through the 1960s. After the museum tour, this collector brought out his Tipo 33 Stradale from which the 8C draws much of its inspiration. A walk around the two cars lined up side by side quickly revealed how the headlights, taillights, windscreen and overall body shape have been faithfully updated in the 8C.

alfa 8c.jpg
The 8C borrowed styling motifs from the T33 Stradale as well as the Bertone “Canguro”.

Then Martino decided that there should be a audible shootout between these Alfa cousins. The Tipo 33 was revved up and them Martino jumped on the throttle of the 8C and then Tipo 33 responded again. This joust was repeated several times and each time the new kid on the block demonstrated that its 4.7 liter muscle was no match in sound for the 2 liter vintage car. Finally, the 20 or so people who had gathered for this historic occasion burst out in a loud applause to cap off a fantastic reentry of Enzo’s mother, Alfa, in the US.

Read a Design Critique of the new Alfa 8C.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Atterbury November 12, 2008 at 1:20 pm

Hurrah!

I can finally stop holding my breath. ALFA is back in the States. I don’t care if it is only 80 cars. What lovely cars they are.

This must have been an emotional event for Mr. Barbirato. What joy it must give him to interact so closely with his customers.

I hope that the 8Cs get used up – don’t become museum pieces, for they are made to live on the road.

Blessings to ALFA on their journey ahead.

Michael Williams November 12, 2008 at 2:25 pm

I visited the world’s oldest Alfa dealer in Gent, Belgium recently. I had the good fortune to spend 15 minutes with an 8C on the showroom floor with no one else. WoW! Every bit as gorgeous in the flesh. The MiTo was also on display and, well, it is an acquired taste but I think I could acquire that taste! I was told that those quadrifoglio emblems on the 8C’s fenders are 5000 euros extra (there are under the clear coat and absolutely flush… not just a sticker) and a special color was something like 20,000 euros. I guess when you have this sort of money these little upcharges are no big deal. I’ll take a Mito in white please.

jack November 12, 2008 at 2:56 pm

since no price is mentioned i can only assume this car is priceless.

my old nemesis john d.igleheart used to be the alfa dealer in greenwich. i haven’t heard from him in years.
> jack

Mary Ann Dickinson November 12, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Yes, BRAVO indeed! A gorgeous car worthy of the history of the marque. I continue to be amazed that this Italian beauty was designed by a German!

And what a pity that all the 8C’s are already sold. I would sell my house to buy one. But since the 8C is a limited run and were completely sold out before the first one showed up on our shores, my house appears safe for now.

frank maderi November 13, 2008 at 7:29 am

BRAVO ! Much thanks to Werner for sharing .

33Nick November 13, 2008 at 10:35 am

One for the naysayers!

Perfect shots putting both sisters next to each other.

Thanks for a little dream today,

Nick

anatoly arutunoff November 13, 2008 at 12:09 pm

It looks nice; then can call it an Alfa, but we all know it’s a spinoff of the Maserati which is a spinoff of a Ferrari. The car’s situation is distantly related to the Packard Hawk being called a Packard. A proper Alfa has a straight-4 or -6, doggone it! And only building a few dozen: at least there “Alfa” returns to its roots. We’ll have to wait for some Korean or Indian or suchlike company to bring a NEW sportscar to market. The Miata is sorta a last gasp along with the Solstice and Saturn’s roadster. Long may they live, and good luck anyway, GM!

anatoly arutunoff November 13, 2008 at 12:16 pm

p.s. And regarding that offensive price for the Quadrifoglio: Car manufacturers, hotels, watchmakers; they all discovered a few dozen years go that if they raise their prices, with all the great fortunes in the recent world, the high price simply makes the object that much more exclusive. No skin off my credit card if people want to pay for stuff like that. There is one special car that’s worth the money, and my wife is getting one this year.

Ed McDonough November 13, 2008 at 3:24 pm

Dear Pete:

Just read about Alfas in Greenwich. I was at the NEC in Birmingham UK today to set up the AROC-UK stand at the Classic Car Show. I was able to wheel David Platt’s 8C into place and then go get the TZ2 and TZ 1, before a 1900CSS showed up. Oh ..we had James Wheeler’s Giulietta Spider racer on the back of his 1970 Alfa Furgone F11 flatback. Thought that might get you!

Ed

Bill November 13, 2008 at 3:29 pm

I know that something like this car will dazzle the bottom line and that’s ok. However from the numbers of folks here in the U.S. who are not hedge fund operators or recent fire-ees with their golden parachutes, how about a car like the one we fell in love with. In my case, the 1964 Spider. Simple, economical, and great fun. As far as this one is concerned, Chip Foose could probably equal it in his hot rod shop.

Jay Lewis November 14, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Toly is “right on” in his assessment – I’d rather have a twin-cam four or six. give me a vintage Alfa like the 1900 that used to grace his showroom floor at Automobiles of Italy. If we get an Alfa Four today it will likely be front wheel drive.

Jay

tgd November 14, 2008 at 4:14 pm

This car is the first shot and probably the last shot of Alfa re-entering the U.S. I don’t see them coming back with their real product line. Too much competition. It was hard enough with Maserati.

Joe November 15, 2008 at 6:31 am

As I am not expecting to own an 8C any time soon, I don’t mind the Maserati underpinnings. The color isn’t QUITE my favorite shade of red, but it beats “Giallo Fly” (I’m shuddering at the thought of an 8C so painted!) although black is the best color for this car, IMO.

Given the state of the global economy, I wonder how this would affect the “real” return of Alfa. I wouldn’t mind a Mi.To GTA painted AR136, please.

-Joe in SoFla

P.S. At those prices, I can live with magnetic Quadrifoglio stickers.

David Lucy November 15, 2008 at 10:59 am

I agree with Toly. Also, Alfa is back but for how long. Remember the 164…..

Keith Goring November 15, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Hello all,
To Jack- J.D. Iglehart is retired in South Carolina.
To Mary Ann D. -Hello!
To All- Just be Glad that Alfa has returned to the USA, even if in limited quantity.
KG in CT

David Rivkin November 17, 2008 at 11:09 am

While I welcome the 8C to our shores, it really doesnt do anything for me. I saw it at Meadowbrook and it has none of the sporty-sensuous appeal of the TZs or the SZs.

As for the “private” color, if it in any way matches the ugly Ferrari that Glickenhaus had created, well, then they deserve each other.

Vic Cerami November 17, 2008 at 6:45 pm

We had the pleasure of checking out the 8C at the Meadowbrook Concours and it was very much admired by almost everybody.
While your conparison photos are interesting, it is just so different that it should be considered alone for what it is. Its really not like any other Alfa.
Time will prove it to be another great Alfa Romeo.

Dino Pappous November 17, 2008 at 10:39 pm

As a board member of NYAROC, I have to say I’m pleased that Alfa has returned on some level. Why not with an over the top super car? Alfas of old were always pricey. Let the guy who ultimately buys a 147 or MiTo think that there is a little 8C pedigree in there!! Go Alfa!!

bobby November 19, 2008 at 2:42 pm

yay, alfa’s back! the 8c is one of the most beautiful cars ever. welcome back to the states, alfa.
i can’t wait to head into my local alfa dealer with a list of parts needed for my alfetta and milano! (or maybe now i can trade both of them in for an 8c!)

Tor Willy Austerslått November 19, 2008 at 6:59 pm

>i can’t wait to head into my local alfa dealer
>with a list of parts needed for my alfetta and
>milano!

You wish. We can’t get anything for those in Europe anymore, although the scrap yards tend to have the odd specimen … ;)

Milano and Alfetta parts are rarer than an 8C Competizione – in any colour!

Alfalan November 19, 2008 at 10:51 pm

8C + Tipo33….Great!!!

Johnny C. November 26, 2008 at 9:24 am

Sorry, but I totally miss the lines of the 33 in the 8C. The 33 is soooo much nicer (Scaglone?), even though the 8C (which i recently saw in the showroom of Stanguellini- FIAT/Alfa/Lancia dealer in Modena) is not that ugly (?). Clearly the “C” does not stand for “Competizione” and neither for “Carburatore”, but it may well stand for “Cazzata”.

Enrico Rolotti November 30, 2008 at 9:07 pm

There is a God…!
The proof is in the 8C Competizione.
Better than the human race, his other creation.
Viva L´Italia…!
Viva Alfa Romeo…
God Save Pininfarina.

Saluti tutti. Enrico

nick164L December 11, 2008 at 12:01 am

Although the return of Alfa Romeo is good news, I hope the build quality is on the same level as any GM, Ford, Honda, or even a Hyundai. I loved my 164L until it went the Alfa mechanic semi-weekly, and drained my credit card. Even after my experience, I still think I will own another Alfa on day, maybe a Spider.

Brian July 2, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Very nice Article Werner. Very nice.

Thanks again for all of the hospitality.

Regards,

Brian

Philip Hills December 3, 2009 at 7:42 am

One very lucky guy…..must have done something right in a previous life……and most likely this one as well!!!

Obviously the 8C is a stunning car but i can’t help thinking all they’ve done is take the best parts of the TZ2 (front) and Tipo33 (rear) and modernise it. I.e regulation light height / size / etc
Ferrari don’t just take the rear of a P4/330 and front of a 250LM and computer generate a contemporary replacement..or Porsche blend the 906 front with the 904GTS rear .i’m sure they would look good though.
I love Alfa’s – my parents own 3 currently and I had a Alfasud 1.7TI GreenCloverleaf Sprint before i become a Lotus man.
So its a not a gang up on Alfa society i’m representing, just to point out that its amazing how the current darling of the motoring scribes is a rehash of 2 cars nearly half a century old!!
Any comments greatfully received on my ideas if you think i’m a bit off the pace.

BR

Phil.

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