Classic Car Catalogue

Alfa Romeo 1931

6C 1750
8C 2300 - new model


8C 2300 was introduced in April at Mille Miglia. Light-alloy cylinder blocks and heads, dry sump lubrication. 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.


6C 1750

1750 Turismo (6 cyl, 1752 cc, SOHC, 46 bhp; 122 in)
1750 Sport/Gran Turismo (6 cyl, 1752 cc, DOHC, 55 bhp; 115 in)
1750 Super Sport/Gran Sport (6 cyl, 1752 cc, DOHC, 64 bhp; 108 in)
1750 Super Sport/Gran Sport compressore (6 cyl, 1752 cc, DOHC, 85 bhp; 108 in)
1750 Gran Turismo compressore (6 cyl, 1752 cc, DOHC, 80 bhp, 124.4 in) - new model

Alfa Romeo 6 C 1750 GTC

Alfa Romeo 6 C 1750

8C 2300

8C 2300 Lungo (8 cyl, 2336 cc, 142 bhp; 122 in) - new model
8C 2300 Corto (8 cyl, 2336 cc, 142 bhp; 108.3 in) - new model
8C 2300 Spider Corsa (R8 cyl, 2336 cc, 155 bhp; 108.3 in) - new model
8C 2300 Monza (R8 cyl, 2336 cc, 165 bhp; 104.3 in) - new model
8C 2300 Le Mans (R8 cyl, 2336 cc, 155 bhp; 122 in) -new model

WHEN Alfa-Romeo produced a new 8-cylinder racing car at the beginning of 1931, and straight away won the Targa Florio with it, one immediately conjured up visions of a 100% racer on the lines of the 1925 2-litre cars. But this was not so, for the type was subsequently put into production as a sports model, albeit with a lower compression ratio, 5.75 to 1, and equipped of course, with a comfortable body.
It will be remembered that one of these cars was acquired by Sir Henry Birkin, who raced it successfully, with high compression pistons, at Phoenix Park in the Irish Grand Prix, when he averaged 83.8 m.p.h., and in the 500 Miles race, during which he covered several laps of the Brooklands circuit at 125 m.p.h. Now the car is the property of Mr. Ernest Kleinwort, and fitted with low compression pistons, has resumed its role of a normal sports car.
Mr. Kleinwort recently gave us his kind permission to make a road test of the car for the benefit of our readers, and bearing the car's history in mind, it was with feelings of the liveliest anticipation that we attended at Mr. Kleinwort's house in the West End.
The mere sight of this AlfaRomeo is enough to thrill the heart of an enthusiast. Painted in the Italian national colour, bright red, the car is long and low, with the clean lines and general air of neatness which are characteristic of products of a manufacturer who has raced extensively.
Taking the passenger's seat, we set off for Haywards Heath, in Sussex, and the first point that struck us was. the Alfa-Romeo's amazing tractability. Through the crowded streets of South London the car was driven in a perfectly normal manner, no revving up in a block to avoid oiling up a plug—indeed Mr. Kleinwort informed us that he had not touched the plugs for the last 2,000 miles! Another point which makes the Alfa-Romeo so different from one's usual idea of a very fast sports model is that perfectly straight petrol can be used. In fact the only adjustment necessary on leaving Town for fast work in the country was to change the jets, which was not a long operation.
We then took over the car ourselves, and found the driving position rather unusual. The seat cushions were all that could be desired in their angle and comfort so that the seating position gave perfect visibility, but the steering wheel seemed rather high. When the car was stationary we were not favourably inclined towards this feature, possibly because we normally use a car in which the steering wheel is very low down in our lap. Once we got going, however, this feeling disappeared, and we found that the angle of the wheel seems to give one a marked feeling of accuracy in control. No doubt this was enhanced by the clear view of both the front wheels.
The engine is extraordinarily smooth—the 10-bearing crankshaft sees to that. Great care has to be taken in getting away from a standstill in low gear to avoid over revving. If the accelerator pedal is fully depressed the rev, counter needle jumps up to 5,500 r.p.m. in a flash, without the engine showing the slightest signs of roughness.
The gear change is simple and positive. The close gear ratios allow rapid changes-up to be made, and the power available at all speeds up to the maximum, is simply staggering. For example, on one occasion a motor cyclist gave chase on his 500 c.c. sports model. We came to a sharp corner, reducing our speed to 30 m.p.h.; slipping into second gear we gave the Alfa its head, and as we accelerated after changing up into third at 50 m.p.h., we left long black wheel marks behind us! A few minutes later the motor cyclist was not in sight.
How can one possibly describe in mere words the fascination of this superb car? Whether cruising on a straight main road at 70 m.p.h., or driving hard on a twisty secondary road, using the gears and brakes to the full, the Alfa-Romeo conveys the same feeling of perfection. The steering is in keeping with the rest of the car, taut, vibrant and alive. Every road shock is transmitted to the wheel, but strange to say this is not in the least unpleasant or tiring, and only serves to add to one's enjoyment of the accuracy with which the car can be placed. So controllable is the car that the sight of a corner ahead encourages one to increase speed. Indeed we felt that no matter how fast we approached we would always be able to corner safely. The tail just slides a little to be instantly corrected, and the car has that rare attribute, perfect weight distribution and poise.
The maximum speed we attained in our all too brief run was 95 m.p.h., at which speed slight traffic complications made a reduction in our gait advisable. The car was still gaining speed rapidly when we had to cut out, and Mr. Kleinwort informs us that the comfortable maximum is 107 m.p.h., with the engine turning over at 5,000 r.p.m. The top gear ratio is 4.25 to 1. Under favourable conditions, 5,300 r.p.m. can be obtained, which as can be seen from the speed chart represents a road speed of 114 m.p.h.
Hills, in the ordinary sense of the word, do not reduce the average speed of the Alfa-Romeo in the slightest degree; but an indication of the car's hill-climbing power on top gear can be judged by the fact that Worth Forest Hill was surmounted at a steady 75½ m.p.h. on that gear, after taking the bottom corner at 55 m.p.h.
The brakes are all that one expects from a firm of such vast racing experience. However violently they are applied no "judder" or swerve ever occurs—another feature which makes this Alfa-Romeo one of the safest cars we have ever driven.
As we climbed out of the driving seat at the conclusion of our run, we realised that this 2,300 c.c. 8-cylinder Alfa-Romeo embodies all those ideals of the perfect sports car, both in design and material, which every enthusiast carries in his heart. Naturally this perfection is expensive to build, and the chassis price is about £1,700—but we hoped fervently that one enthusiast at least, would one day obtain his heart's desire.

Motor Sport, August 1932


Tipo A (2xR6 cyl, 3504 cc, 230 bhp; 110.2 in) – (4 ex.) monoposto

The racing version of the 8C 2300 Spider driven by Tazio Nuvolari won the Targa Florio race in Sicily.
The 1931 Italian Grand Prix victory at Monza gave the "Monza" name to the twin seater GP car, a shortened version of the Spider.
8C 2300 tipo 'Le Mans' is the sport version of the '8C 2300' and it had a successful debut in the 1931 Eireann Cup driven by Henry Birkin. It also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1931 (Howe-Birkin).
1931 Monoposto Tipo A has two 6-cylinder engines fitted side by side in the chassis.

Motor SportJuly 1931
The new 12-cylinder Alfa-Romeo racing car, on which Arcangeli met his death and which has already proved itself excptionally fast, is a really remarkable machine. Mounted in a fairly wide chassis are two of the famous 1,750 c.c. 6-cylinder engines, with a bore and stroke of 65 x 88 mms., which thus give a total capacity for the 12-cylinder car of 3,496 c.c. Each engine is quite separate from the other, having its own supercharger, clutch, gearbox and propeller shaft, each of which drives one back wheel, and a differential is therefore particularly necessary. The steering wheel is situated in the centre of the car, and operates two push-and-pull rods, one for each front wheel, so that no tie-rod is needed.The driver thus sits in the middle of the car between the propeller shafts, and the overall height of the machine is kept satisfactorily low.
The complete car only weighs some 18 cwt., while the engine develops over 300 h.p., and the speed of the car is believed to amount to over 150 m.p.h.
Motor SportFebruary 1932

OF the various racing cars which have made their first appearance during the past season none perhaps contains a greater measure of technical interest than the 3½-litre 12-cylinder Alfa Romeo. The first of these cars took part in public competition for the first time in the Italian Grand Prix which was run at Monza towards the end of May, and was the machine on which the late Luigi Arcangeli unfortunately met his death a few days earlier. Although the car did not succeed in completing the course, two machines of the same type again appeared at the Italian track for the Monza Grand Prix in September, and although they were both again eliminated before the end of the contest, they showed themselves to be extremely fast, and possessed of a far greater degree of stability and controllability than might be supposed from a casual glance at the specification.
It is said that the car, which owes its design to the genius of Signor Vittorio Jano, had its origin as the result of what was intended more or less as a joke. During a discussion on the subject of how a really powerful racing car could be constructed with the famous 1,750 c.c. Alfa-Romeo engine as a basis, somebody suggested that the best method would be to put two engines in one car. Signor Jano immediately interpreted this idea in his own manner, and the 12-cylinder racing car was the result.
Briefly the machine consists of two 6-cylinder engines, each with its own clutch and gear-box, placed side by side in the same chassis, and driving the back axle through two propellor shafts. The engines are of the well-known Alfa-Romeo 6-cylinder super-sports type with a bore and stroke of 65 x 88 mm., the total capacity of the two units thus being 3,495 c.c. These engines have a fairly low compression ratio of 5½ to 1, the cylinder heads being hemispherical. The valves, of which there are two per cylinder, are made of cobalt and are of the flat-headed type, being mounted in the detachable head at an angle of 90° to each other. These valves are operated by overhead camshafts, of which there are two for each engine, and which are driven by a train of helically cut pinions from the rear end of the crankshaft. Each of these camshafts is carried in five bearings, and the valves are closed by three concentric springs with a combined tension of about 28 lbs. The valve timing is arranged to give a good degree of overlap, the inlet valves opening 5° degrees before top dead centre and closing 35° after the piston has reached the bottom of its stroke, while the exhaust valves open 45° early and close 13° late, the overlap thus amounting to 18°.
The cylinder heads and blocks are made of a special iron alloy, while the crankcases are of aluminium. The crankshafts which are machined out of the solid billet, are each carried in five plain bearings, with the camshaft drives at the rear, and the Roots type superchargers, which are of Alfa-Romeo construction, driven direct from their forward ends. The connecting rods are of H
Principal Characteristics.
Engine : Two 6-cylinder units.
Bore and Stroke : 65 x 88 mm.
Capacity : 3,495 c.c.
Compression Ratio : 5½ to 1.
Power: 300 h.p.
Maximum Speed : 4,800 r.p.m.
Valves : 2 per cylinder, overhead at 90°.
Camshafts : Overhead, 2 per engine.
Timing : Inlet, opens : 5° lead ; closes : 35° lag.
Exhaust opens : 45° lead ; closes 13° lag.
Crankshafts : On 5 plain bearings.
Connecting Rods : H-Section.
Pistons : Aluminium, 4 rings.
Ignition : Bosch coils.
Lubrication : Forced, single pump per engine.
Carburettors : Memini.
Superchargers : Roots type.
Clutches : Dry-plate.
Gearboxes : 4-speeds.
Transmission : Two cardan shafts, enclosed in torque tubes.
Wheels : Rudge-Whitworth.
Tyres : 30 x 6'.
Wheelbase : 9ft. 6ins.
Track : 4ft. 9ins.
section, and the very light aluminium pistons are fitted with three rings and a scraper. Lubrication is attended to by a single geardriven pump, the dry-sump principle not having been adopted.
The superchargers, which are effectively lubricated from the base chamber, each suck through a single horizontal-type Memini carburettor, the more complicated method by which the supercharger blows through the carburettor having been avoided, and are fitted with pressure relief valves which blow off if the pressure exceeds 8 lbs. Ignition is attended to by Bosch coils, the distributors being driven off one of the camshafts of each engine, while the revolution counters take their drive from the other. These engines run up to 4,800 revolutions per minute, at which speed the combined power output is in the neighbourhood of 300 h.p.
Each engine is built up in unit with a dry-plate clutch and a 4-speed gear-box of cast aluminium.
At the back of each gear-box is a spherical universal joint, and thence the drive is taken by a propellor shaft enclosed in a pressed-steel torque tube to two separate differential gears enclosed in aluminium casings and mounted side by side. Tests were made with the car fitted with a solid back axle, but the results were not altogether satisfactory and it was finally decided to use the two differentials.
Both engines revolve in the same direction and are positively geared together so that one cannot run faster than the other. The driver is situated in the centre of the car, between the two propellor shafts and has a gear-lever mounted directly on the top of its gearbox each side of him, the gear-levers being coupled together so that he can effect a change in both gear-boxes simultaneously with either hand. The steering wheel is, of course, in the centre of the car, and controls each front wheel independently through a worm-and-wheel gear and two separate drag links, no track rod being therefore necessary.
Each wheel is fitted with a large brake drum, some 18 inches in diameter and 2½ inches wide, made of duralumin and provided with linings of a special asbestos material. The brakes are operated by rods, the shoes being of the self-wrapping type and no servo-motor being employed.
Suspension at both front and rear is carried out by semi-elliptic springs combined with Hartford-type shock absorbers of Italian manufacture. Rudge-Whitworth wire wheels are used and are shod with 30 x 6" wired-on tyres. The car has a short wheelbase of 9ft. 6ins, and the track of 4ft. 9ins., is not wide when it is considered that two engines have got to be accommodated side by side in the chassis, while the complete car in racing trim weighs only some 23 cwt. At Monza the cars were fitted with a back-axle ratio of 3 : 1 which gave them a maximum speed on the level of about 165 m.p.h.
The whole design is obviously one of exceptional interest and one may well conjecture that more will be heard of these cars in the not distant future.
European Championship GP entries and results:
  Event: Entered: Raced: Finished: Results:
24.05.1931Italian GP 6 5 3 26 8C 2300 Campari / Marinoni 1st
          28 Type A Nuvolari / Borzacchini fail.
          30 8C 2300 Minoia / Zehender 2nd
          32 6C 1500 Pirola / Lurani 6th
          34 6C 1750 Lettieri dna
          50 6C 1750 Caniato / Tadini fail.
07.06.1931French GP 4 4 4 4 8C 2300 Minoia / Zehender 6th
          18 8C 2300 Campari / Borzacchini 2nd
          44 8C 2300 Nuvolari / Minozzi 11th
          48 6C 1750 Pesato / Félix 10th
12.07.1931Belgian GP 5 5 4 2 8C 2300 Minoia / Minozzi 3rd
          10 8C 2300 Nuvolari / Borzacchini 2nd
          16 8C 2300LM Birkin / Lewis 4th
          14 8C 2300 Campari / Zehender fail.
          24 6C 1750 Pesato / Félix 6th
19.07.1931German GP 3 1 1 44 8C 2300 Nuvolari 4th
          46 Monza Baconin Borzacchini dna
            Monza Luigi Arcangeli dna
Motor SportJuly 1931
The Italian GP winning Alfa-Romeo is one of the new racing editions of the 2,300 c.c. sports model which appeared for the first time in the 1,000 Miles Race in April. The 8-cylinder engine now has a bore and stroke of 76 x 88 mm., giving a capacity of 2,476 c.c., the bore having been increased by 2 mm. compared with the original sports edition. The cylinders are cast in two blocks, with the ten bearing camshaft bolted together in the centre, where are two helically cut gear wheels, one driving the supercharger, oil pumps and water pump, and the other operating the two overhead camshafts through a couple of intermediary pinions. There are two valves per cylinder and the valve gear is very similar to that on the 6-cylinder 1,750 c.c. model. The sparking plugs are situated in the centre of the cylinder head and are fed by a coil. The supercharger, which is of Roots type runs rather above engine speed, the compression ratio is 6.2 to 1, and dry-sump lubrication is used. The engine is built up as a unit with a multi-disc clutch and 4-speed gearbox, while the propellor shaft is enclosed in a torque tube. Suspension is by 4-elliptic springs all round, those at the front being shackled at their forward end.
Other GP races:
  Event: Entered: Raced: Finished: Best results:
26.04.1931 Borodino Grand Prix         Arcangeli   5th  
10.05.1931Targa Florio 10 7 5 14 Nuvolari 8C 2300 1st  
          16 Borzacchini 6C 1750 GS 2nd  
17.05.1931 Casablanca Grand Prix         Plate   8th →1500 3rd
            Capello   11th →1500 5th
07.06.1931 Geneva GP         Kersler   4th →1500 3rd
            Pirola   5th  
05.07.1931 Grand Prix de la Marne         Philippe Étancelin 8C 2300 4th 2000→ 4th
26.07.1931 Dieppe Grand Prix         Étancelin   1st 1500→ 1st
            Pesato     1500→ 6th
02.08.1931 Coppa Ciano         Nuvolari     2000→ 1st
            Campari     2000→ 4th
02.08.1931 Circuit du Dauphiné         Étancelin   1st  
            Zehender   3rd  
16.08.1931 Grand Prix du Comminges         Étancelin 8C 2300 1st  
16.08.1931 Coppa Acerbo         Campari   1st  
            Nuvolari   3rd  
06.09.1931 Monza Grand Prix       58 Borzacchini 8C 2300 2nd 2000→3000 c.c. 8th
            Minoia/Nuvolari 8C 2300 4th 2000→3000 c.c. 3rd
            Tazio Nuvolari Tipo A dnf 3000 c.c.→ 3rd
            Guiseppe Campari Tipo A dns 3000 c.c.→ 4th
27.09.1931 Masaryk Circut 5 3 0 4 Borzacchini / Nuvolari 8C 2300 fail.  
Other races:
  Event: Entered: Raced: Finished: Best results:
28.03.1931 6 Hours of Algeria   2 2   Corsini / Bellincioni   - Class I 2nd
            Pietrangeli   - Class II 1st
12.04.1931 Mille Miglia 30 30 20 86 Campari/Marinoni 6C 1750 GS 2nd 2.0 1st
          111 Klinger / Saccomani 6C 1750 GS 4th 2.0 2nd
          140 Gerardi / Gerardi 6C 1750 GS 5th 2.0 3rd
          117 Scarfiotti / Bucci 6C 1750 GS 6th 2.0 4th
          150 Tadini / Canavesi 6C 1750 GS 7th 2.0 5th
          70 Gazzabini / Guatta 6C 1750 GT 8th VC 1st, A 1st
          104 Nuvolari / Guidotti 8C 2300 9th 3.0 2nd
          134 Cornaggia Medici / Premoli 6C 1750 GS 10th 2.0 6th
          141 Boni / Severi 6C 1750 GT 11th 2.0 7th
          71 Cortese / Balestrieri 6C 1750 GT 12th VC 2nd, A 2nd
          151 Rusca / Minozzi 6C 1750 GS 13th 2.0 8th
          132 Caniato / Sozzi 6C 1500 SS 14th 1.5 1st
03.05.1931Giro di Sicilia         Gazzabini / Cantore 6C 1750 S 1st  
          70 Magistri / Fieri 6C 1750 S 2nd  
13.06.1931 Le Mans       16 Howe/Birkin 8C 2300 1st  
05.07.1931Spa 24 Hours       5 Pesato / Félix 6C 1750 GS 2nd  
            Rouleau/Rouleau   3rd  
18.07.1931 Irish GP Saorstat Cup 2 1 1   A. C. Taylor 6C 1500 11th  
19.07.1931 Irish GP Eireann Cup 1 1 1 8 Henry Birkin 8C 2300 LM 1st  
22.08.1931Tourist Trophy   5 2 8 Borzacchini 8C 2300 2nd Class D. 3000 1st
            Campari 8C 2300 6th  
13.09.1931 Circuit des Routes Pavées   3 2 19 Zehender 6C 1750 1st →2.0 Sport 1st
          28  Pesato   4th →2.0 Racing 2nd
          18 Corsini Dominico   acc →2.0 Sport 2nd
03.10.1931 Brooklands 500 Miles 1 1 0 41 Sir H. Birkin 8C 2300 dnf  
17.10.1931 Brooklands Senior Short Handicap         Sir H. Birkin 8C 2300 1st  
Coppa Principe di Piemonte         Borzacchini   1st  
            Severi   2nd  
            Pastore   3rd  

8C 2300 (Goffredo Zehender / Attilio Marinori) at Le Mans

24h Le Mans winner: 8C 2300 (Lord Earl Howe / Tim Birkin).

Sir Henry Birkin winning the Irish GP Eireann Cup in thesupercharged 8C 2300 LM.

Etancelin in the 8C 2300 at Monza.

Campari startuje w Mille Miglia.

Luigi Arcangeli in the Alfa Romeo 1750 SS at 7° Giro di Sicilia.

3rd at 7° Giro di Sicilia: Alfa Romeo 1750 SS (Costantino Magistri - Fieri).

1st at Targa Florio: Tazio Nuvolari in the 8C 2300.

Tazio Nuvolari in the 8C 2300 at Targa Florio.

  Event: Entered: Raced: Finished: Best results:
16-21.01.1931 Rallye Monte Carlo ? ? ?   Lurani Cernuschi   ?  
30.07-6.08.1931Coupe des Alpes 1 1 1 43 R. Foligno / F. Neuer 1750 9th Coupe des Glaciers →3000 2nd

Coupe des Alpes.