The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione will get a successor in time for the company’s centenary in 2010, and it could be based on the Ferrari California if Alfa Romeo can strike a ‘difficult’ deal with Maranello.Alfa bosses believe the idea of building a low-volume supercar that embodies the marque spirit and provides design cues for models lower down the scale - pioneered with the limited-edition 8C coupe and convertible - has worked spectacularly well.Maserati engines and running gear were used for the original 8C, but Alfa Romeo's global marketing director Sergio Cravero believes that a car based on the new Ferrari California would be ideal as its replacement.“It would be great if Ferrari let us do it,” Cravero said, “but they are very hard to convince.” The 8C project will have broken even, financially speaking, by the time the 500 Spiders currently under construction have been delivered. Alfa Romeo had planned to only build coupes, and all 500 sold quickly, but demand for a drop-top variant was so great that the company bowed to the pressure.Cravero believes that the 8C project achieved much more brand recognition than a TV advertising campaign costing a similar amount of money, and is keen to repeat the process.The ‘new 8C’ would be a front-engined, rear-wheel-drive car, again made in limited numbers, but no firm decision has yet been made about its design or mechanical underpinnings. However, Alfa bosses acknowledge that to get a car ready within two years, a plan will need to emerge very soon.

Steve Cropley