Alfa has built some truly epic cars in the last 110 years – perhaps none more beautiful than the Alfa Romeo 8C Spider!
While it’s true that Alfa Romeo’s 8C has never quite lived up to its styling in the driving department, it never wanted for character. Those concept car lines, barely altered from the 2003 design preview, and that bored and stroked Maserati V8 make for a special car. One enchanting enough to leave the model’s foibles – namely a harsh ride – easy to forgive. It’s why the UK’s 40-car run sold out immediately in 2007 – with each said to have commanded a significant premium over the initial 2.4 million list.
The heavily re-engineered version of the Ferrari-developed quad-cam V8, displaces 4.7 litres (500cc more than the GranTurismo with which the 8C shares some underpinnings) and sports re-shaped combustion chambers with a new head. It outputs 450hp at 7,000rpm and 354lb ft of torque at 4,750rpm, which is a car weighing just shy of 1.6-tonnes, means it hits 100km/h in 4.2 seconds and goes onto 291km/h . Fast, but not ballistic. As it should be.
Around that mid-mounted motor, the 8C gets even more exotic, with a semi-monocoque body and chassis made partly from carbon fibre. It was fine-tuned in the wind tunnel of a race car manufacturer, Dallara and while the swooping lines if its body is clearly shaped with aero in mind, much of the 8C’s slipperiness comes thanks to its flat floor. With help from Dallara, Alfa achieved a near-perfect 49:51 weight distribution, which coupled to a fairly compact wheelbase (at least by 2020 standards), makes it delightfully agile.
Yet with all that promise, it’s always been thought too tightly damped to work particularly well on British roads. Conversely, the 8C was claimed to never really hunker down at high speed either, making it difficult to categorise; not being razor-sharp enough to feel like an out-and-out performance car, or comfortable enough to take on the likes of Aston Martin’s DB9 as a grand tourer.
But who cares about such trivialities when you could simply stop at the side of the road and pass the time staring at the thing? Little wonder the four-pot 4C, which borrowed much from the design, received a similar amount of adulation. The 8C also appeared when Alfa wasn’t building cars of the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s calibre. It did not persuade anyone that the company could attain automotive perfection – but it reminded everyone with eyes and ears that Alfa could do ‘special’ as well as any manufacturer on the planet.
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