The Alfa Romeo 8C prototype had shown the way three years ago at the Frankfurt Show; today that dream has become reality, albeit in a limited series. Five hundred units will be built and they will cost between 150 and 160 thousand euros each. Nearly all of them have already been sold to the vast number of Alfa fans. Much has changed on the way from the 2003 prototype to the volume production stage, above all as regards regulations: not only the European regulations but the American too, considering the fact that this coupé will mark the return of Alfa Romeo to the New Continent.

The most important part remains, however: the spirit of the car, its clean, straightforward lines, its essential nature as a great speedster, its reverence to tradition. “There’s an honesty to this car”, observes Wolfgang Egger, head of design at Arese, “and this is demonstrated by the fact that for the second time, two years on, the 8C has received first prize at the Villa d’Este concours. Certain cues must not be touched because they are the ones that generate emotion”.

It is not an easy matter to retrace the path which led from concept car to production line because the simplicity of the lines had to live with the extreme demands of the mechanicals and the constrictions dictated by international standards. And yet around the new power plant – 8 V-shaped cylinders, 4.7 litres, 450 bhp at 7000 rpm, positioned mid-rear rather than forward – the sculpture has taken shape: the compact, ultra-rigid steel frame is lined by a carbon fibre body.

To achieve this result, Egger and his colleagues needed eight months work, four scale models, a full-sized model and great creative and emotional momentum. Emotion: this Alfa is beautiful from from whatever angle you view it. “You like it however you look at it”, says Egger not without a touch of paternal pride: “Wide tyres, low stance, a style of balanced aggression. In a word, a looker”.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 161

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