It’s more powerful than any eight-cylinder Audi R8 or Aston Martin Vantage. It’s one of the most desirable sports cars that Italy has produced in a decade, and for those keen on an al fresco experience Alfa made the Spider to compensate.
There were only 500 Alfa Romeo 8C Competiziones made for the world to share, and exactly 41 found their way into the UK, all currently in private hands.
Except this one, which is owned by the Marque II Car Club. And since Marque II was kind enough to lend it to us, we can now tell you exactly how well it goes down a typical British B-road.
Getting the Alfa Romeo 8C out on the open road
Such things are subjective, but I don’t know anyone who would describe the Alfa Romeo 8C as anything short of sensational to look at. It’s smaller than you might expect though. With almost no rear overhang, the Alfa Romeo 8C is compact; at less than 4.4 metres long, it’s shorter than most family hatchbacks.
The dizzying excitement of your first moments with the car build when you climb on board. It’s low, with firm leather bucket seats, plenty of Ferrari-shared switchgear, and as many real carbonfibre fascia and door panels as you could conceivably make.
The brassy bark of Ferrari’s dry-sumped, flat-crank, 4.7-litre V8 yelps to a pin-sharp 5000rpm with the merest prod of your toe, and crackles and spits on its way back down to idle. Soundtracks get no more addictive or auspicious than this.
Now select ‘Sport’ mode (this leaves the exhaust bypass valves open, sharpens the throttle response and quickens the VDC stability control system), pull back on the right-hand gearshift paddle and nose out onto an empty road.
The quick but heavy steering almost feels unassisted at dawdling speeds; the ride is stiff, unforgiving. There’s not much protection from wind noise, even less from the roar of those massive wheels and tyres.
From low revs the Alfa Romeo 8C feels brisk, but at about 4000rpm it explodes into full stride, squatting and squirming on its huge rear wheels, and tearing towards the horizon.
Pedal response is fantastic, and the car’s brakes feel even more powerful than its engine, even though the pedal positioning means that you do have to left-foot brake for comfort.