Alfa Romeo 8C2300 & 2900
Following on from the 6C, Jano started work on a new eight cylinder engine in the late 1920's. The first examples of the new 8C2300, two short wheelbase versions ('corto') with bodywork by Zagato appeared in April 1931, in the Mille Miglia. Success evaded them due to rushed preparations, but in the following month Nuvolari won the Targa Florio in an 8C. Later that year victories were achieved in the Italian GP, the Dieppe GP, the Comminges GP and the Le Mans 24H, the latter victory repeated for the following three years. Numerous other race wins were achieved during the following years.
The new engine used two four cylinder blocks cast in aluminium with a central geartrain driving the camshafts and auxiliary equipment. The crankshaft, running in ten main bearings, was also in two parts. The light alloy cylinder heads, of which there were also two, were removable and carried the two camshafts and two valves per cylinder. With the same bore and stroke as the 6C1750 the total capacity was 2336cc. A single Roots-type supercharger was standard on all the cars, fuelling by a single Mimini twin-choke carburettor. The power output started around 130bhp in 1931, and various variants produced 155 then 165 finally reaching approx 178bhp a couple of years later.
Some engines (maybe 6) were bored out (65mm to 68mm) by the Scuderia Ferrari for the 1933 season to give a capacity of 2556cc. This was logically known as the 8C2600, but was never a new-build unit.
Originally only two chassis lengths were produced, the 'corto' and 'lungo', the latter also being known as the 'Le Mans'. Later the Spider chassis (originally a variant of 'corto') was slightly shortened and became known as the 'Monza' due to its success in the Italian GP at that venue. A large number of different body styles were built onto the 8C2300 chassis', both two- and four-seat and both open and closed. The two biggest suppliers of bodies were Touring and Zagato who between them made over half the total cars. Other coachbuilders included Castagna, Stabilimenti Farina, Pinin Farina, Brianza and others (Viotti, Boneschi, etc). Some cars also received bodies abroad, either from new or rebodied by their customers.
The 8C2900A first appeared in 1935 and used the 2905cc engine with twin superchargers (producing around 180bhp) from the Tipo B (or P3) race car in an all independently sprung chassis (the suspension was derived from that of the 8C racecar). Built in two series', the 2900A cars had a Grand Prix style bodywork, albeit with two seats, whilst the 2900B cars, first seeing the light of day in 1937, were built with two different wheelbases and usually carried more aerodynamic bodywork. Three 8C2900A cars competed successfully (ie took the first three places !) in the 1936 Mille Miglia.
Production volumes were low :
8C2300 : 188 8C2900 : 41
Driveline longitudinal engine at front with rear wheel drive Engines 8C2300 : 2336cc (65x88mm) eight-cylinder in-line, dohc, supercharged
8C2900 : 2905cc (68x100mm) eight-cylinder in-line, dohc, twin-superchargers
Wheelbase 8C2300 Corto : 2750mm
8C2300 Monza : 2650mm
8C2300 Lungo (Le Mans) : 3100mm
8C2900A : 2750mm
8C2900B : 2800mm or 3000mm
Track 8C2300 (all versions) : 1380mm
8C2900 (all versions) : 1350mm
Suspension front & rear : semi-elliptic leaf springs with friction dampers Brakes drums on all four wheels Gearbox 4 speed manual
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