Massive Alfa 8C turnout celebrates Mille Miglia 80th

| 8 Jun 2011


An astonishing 11 (yes 11, 12 if you count the modern crowbarred in) Alfa Romeo 8Cs were gathered in south west London last night for an extraordinary celebration of the benchmark pre-war model.

The priceless cars were scattered unprotected among dining tables as more than a 170 guests marked the 80th anniversary of the eight-cylinder Alfa tackling its first ever competition, the Mille Miglia in 1931. It didn't win, by the way.

Also celebrating the genius of designer and engineer Vittorio Jano, the event - at the prestigious Hurlingham Club in Fulham - mirrored a 50th anniversary dinner on the same site some 30 years earlier.

C&SC's Alain de Cadenet (pictured below with his Touring-bodied Spyder) was instrumental in arranging the dinner, greatly aided by model guru Simon Moore in sourcing the cars. Uniquely, De Cadenet's car had also been at the 1981 event.

He said: "My son Aiden adores this car, even though he can't drive yet, and my daughter Amanda actually learned to drive in it, centre throttle and all. That was a challenge, but if you can learn on this the everything that follows is a doddle. "It is very important that the next generation get an opportunity to experience these cars, something that the values are sadly making ever more remote.

"I owned this car when I was 25 and I want today's 25-year-olds to have the same chances: I told the dinner that it was wonderful that we had no shortage of cars, but rather sad that in a generation's time we would probably have a dearth of drivers for them."

Other well-known 8Cs on display included Hugh Taylor's P3 (in Swedish racing colours)

and a road going version: the ex-Paul Grist P3 (below).

Also in the line-up was 8C die-hard, C&SC's own Mick Walsh's 8C favourite: the Zagato-bodied 8C owned by Berjard von Shenk.

And a long chassis version in rare Brianza coachwork.