RE: Alfa Romeo 8C | Spotted

RE: Alfa Romeo 8C | Spotted

Sunday 19th March 2023

Alfa Romeo 8C | Spotted

One of the most beautiful cars ever made. Full stop


When Alfa Romeo produces a new car, they normally look pretty special. The concepts often more so. The other thing about Alfa Romeos ­is they might look pant-wettingly good, but often they drive like a soggy sponge. I’m not saying this is a foolproof theory. In a world that includes the Ssangyong Rodius, the Alfa Romeo SZ does a valiant job of stealing the title of ugliest car ever made, while the current Giulia is a sweet steer.

The Alfa Romeo 8C, however, fits the Alfa theory perfectly. When the concept car was unveiled at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor show, its sheer beauty made people believe in God because what mere mortal could’ve designed such a magnificent thing? Well, actually it was a German fella called Wolfgang Egger, who also designed the 156. To my mind that is one of the prettiest saloon cars ever made, so Wolfgang was no one-hit-wonder. He also wasn’t taking any crap from the engineers, either, because when the production 8C arrived in 2007, barely anything had changed. Its curves were intact, and they weren’t just mimicking the 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2 but, dare I say it, improving on them.

It is a car of such errorless beauty it’s hard to know where to begin. If you sat watching it intently for a decade going around on a revolving plinth, I’d wager you wouldn’t get bored or find a dodgy angle. Not one. It has the perfect proportions, the perfect overhangs, the perfect amount of muscular presence, and yet that’s imbued with the perfect degree of femininity. Those graceful curves flow like liquid metal from nose to tail. Yes, I know I sound like some waffling designer talking utter nonsense, but that’s what this car makes you do: talk in platitudes. But I don’t think I am wrong, am I? It is simply a work of art.

That applies to the interior as well. It encapsulated the 1960s and yet it was modern, too. Spartan but luxurious, with exposed aluminium in all the right places, and not too much, either, so it felt like a pastiche. And just look at those seats. Oh those seats. Hard and unforgiving carbon on one side, but on the other was soft leather trimmed so exquisitely done you’ll want to marry them. Sprezzatura is an Italian word that means studied nonchalance; the art of appearing effortlessly put together and stylish. That’s the 8C in a nutshell.

And yet, they managed to make it rubbish to drive. How? Why? It’s not like they had to design it from scratch and realised they’d spent all the money on Wolfgang Sprezzatura, so there was nothing left for the oily bits. Alfa Romeo was part of Maserati and Ferrari at the time. It had access to all the bits from those two magic pots. Indeed, the engine was the Maserati/ Ferrari Tipo F136, which is a magnificent thing. Here it’s 4.7 litres and revs to 7,600rpm, which means it produces 450hp and play a tune of the angels. It has a transaxle gearbox, a limited-slip diff, a bodyshell made of carbon fibre and the very best ceramic brakes Brembo could find.

It had all the right pieces, yet somehow Alfa Romeo put them in the wrong order. The ride was too firm, which meant it would skip over lumpy surfaces rather than flow across them, and the handling balance was one minute giving you an armful of understeer and, just when you’d programmed that into your driving style, it would give you a fright that demanded a rapid dose of opposite lock. Mercurial, I think best described its dynamics.

At least that’s what I’ve heard and read. I will never know myself because I’ve never driven an 8C and I don’t intend to. You see, if I don’t drive one, I’ll never have to experience disappointment. I’ll just keep on staring at it, and in doing that there can be no danger of disappointment. It’ll just remain the perfect-looking car, forever. End of. Maybe I’m not alone in that. This 8C Spider has covered just 8,000 miles in 13 years, and, for once, I am not going to say that’s a shame. I am not going to say buy it and drive it. Buy it and stick it on a revolving plinth, and just look at it. If the Mona Lisa is speculatively worth a billion dollars, I’d say that makes this 8C a cheap art installation at just under a quarter of a million. And no less beautiful.


Specification | Alfa Romeo 8C Spider

Engine: 4,691cc, V8, naturally aspirated
Transmission: six-speed automated manual, rear-wheel drive 
Power (hp): 450 @ 7,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 354 @ 4,750rpm
CO2: N/A
MPG: N/A
Recorded mileage: 8,000
Year registered: 2010 
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £229,995

See the original advert here

Author
Discussion

CardShark

Original Poster:

4,199 posts

182 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
The irony being that there's no full stop where there should be within the headline biggrin

I'm most probably going to be against the grain here though I'll say it anyway - it's only drop dead in side profile only. I'll never declare it as ugly, far from it in fact, though I've never been too enamored with the 8C. It's just not quite as defined and proportioned as it should be.

If I'm condemned to Hell in a hand cart then so be it.

Don Roque

18,041 posts

162 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
These have always been a car that is heaped with plaudits for it's looks (well, the hard top model anyway). Despite that, I never thought they were anything more than just nice to look at. The 4C was much prettier and more interesting from every angle.

stuart100

565 posts

60 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
Talk about overrated wobble

Edited by stuart100 on Sunday 19th March 03:10

1781cc

585 posts

97 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
The writer must be a millennial or something as the SZ, although not pretty, is certainly not the ugliest car ever made and has a brutish charm that people of a certain generation will really appreciate.

I'd have one in a heartbeat, along with the Scighera GT concept




blue al

983 posts

162 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
Luckily we all have different tastes and I would certainly place this in the top 10 of good looking cars made since the year 2000, with soft top or without,
Perhaps seeing one in the flesh filling up with fuel and then hearing it driving off gave me a better perspective
Than proceeding posters.

Andy665

3,723 posts

231 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
I'm sure I remember reading an article that said they retuned the settings forthe convertible and that these changes were applied to the final coupes and made it a fair bit better to drive.

Beautiful looking car but more so as a coupe

BlandfordFly

14 posts

58 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
Just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder so the driving experience will be different for everyone.
If you've never driven one how can it be declared flawed. Author, please go take one for a drive then report back. I'll still ignore whatever you say though until I've driven one for myself!

OPC100

210 posts

191 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
It's nice, but the coupe is the purer and more beautiful design. But that's normally the case when you have coupe / convertible versions of the same car.

Don1

16,010 posts

211 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
I find the coupe far better looking than the convertible, strange as I normally prefer a roofless car.

Pflanzgarten

4,381 posts

28 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
Strangely unattractive compared to the coupe. I know someone who was offered one at just below list but bought the Mercedes gullwing that wasn’t a gullwing convertable instead.

Chubbyross

4,592 posts

88 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
Ok, perhaps I should be handing in my PH membership card now but I don’t get it with the 8C. Yes, it’s a lovely looking car but not one of the best looking ever. The coupe is definitely more attractive than the convertible but it’s just a bit too curvy and squat in my eyes.

MiniMan64

17,232 posts

193 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
Being drop top and white does it absolutely no favours at all.

anonymous-user

57 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
The SZ is a brutalist work of art designed with intent. It was a showpiece that ended up on the road.

Cold

15,352 posts

93 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
Dumpy looking little thing, a bit like a half melted Mito. But it sounds nice though.

trashbat

6,007 posts

156 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
I don't think Egger meaningfully designed the 156. He was the Chief Designer at the time but the 156 is credited to Walter de Silva (and then Giugiaro facelifted it). Egger did do the 8C though.

griffo71

34 posts

127 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
Andy665 said:
I'm sure I remember reading an article that said they retuned the settings forthe convertible and that these changes were applied to the final coupes and made it a fair bit better to drive.

Beautiful looking car but more so as a coupe
Yes, I recall that too - more fluent/forgiving IIRC

MyFingerSlipped

17 posts

17 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
Definite lottery win car for me, Coupe or Spider I'd settle for either.
Can't help thinking Alfa maybe tried to hard with it by going down the Carbon fibre route and trying to make it a super car.
If they had just made it as a fast comfortable GT like an SL I think it would have made more sense.

ducnick

1,862 posts

246 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
I had no idea these were still so expensive. Looks like the plan to pick one up when they depreciate to £40k might not work.
Go to the classifieds and look at 8C’s. Order by price descending. There is a much prettier one listed in London, built in 1977.

trashbat

6,007 posts

156 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
I haven't got any references for this but I'm fairly sure the 8C was a car very much originated in the marketing department and then the engineering was made to happen by whatever they had available, mostly from Maserati, rather than the usual product process where all departments had a bit more influence. This explains its very short development and some of the compromised elements of the product.

cerb4.5lee

31,750 posts

183 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
quotequote all
1781cc said:
The writer must be a millennial or something as the SZ, although not pretty, is certainly not the ugliest car ever made and has a brutish charm that people of a certain generation will really appreciate.

I'd have one in a heartbeat, along with the Scighera GT concept
I'm with John when it comes to the SZ, and the SZ looks like an absolute dogs dinner to my eyes. This on the other hand is lovely to look at for me, and the Coupe even more so.