The further we get from the 8C's debut - 15 years ago as a concept, more than a decade as a production car - the more extraordinary the entire project seems. Nowadays Alfa Romeo, albeit in a much better place than it was, is focusing on SUV development, mass market saloon sales and, er, probably more SUV development. Back in the mid-2000s, the range was rather less alluring, the 159 a fairly ordinary replacement for the 156, the 147 soldiering on and the Brera/Spider combo lumbering - albeit quite prettily - onto market. The notion of a bonafide GT flagship, both now and then, seemed extremely unlikely.
But what a flagship it was. Sensationally pretty, nearly twice as powerful anything else in the range and with Maserati underpinnings, it was a dramatic departure for the brand. Still looks that way, in fact, considering what preceded it in the decade before and what's followed since. The 2003 concept blew the minds of Frankfurt show goers, so it was no surprise to find the production version was received just as well in 2006; so well, in fact, that 1,500 orders were placed for a run of 500 cars. No surprise, then, that the Spider followed up soon after to double that original production number.
The UK was allocated just 40 8C Coupes, all in left-hand drive, of which this car is one. Rare already, then, but made the more so in this instance by being black - the launch colour was Competizione Red, which of course has a link to Alfa's racing past, and so proved popular with buyers. Specced with tan leather and a matching luggage set, it's arguably as attractive as any 8C has looked. Who cares for motorsport heritage when black and tan looks like this?
Normally that would be that with an 8C; typically it seems a shame that valuable classics are kept tucked away when they're such superb driver's cars but, given the Alfa's reputation, that wouldn't apply here. It was never regarded as much kop to drive, yet everybody adored the styling. Why not keep it as a piece of automotive sculpture?
This 8C promises to be a little different, though. Apparently upset with how the car drove from the factory, the original owner spent £20,000 on the 8C's suspension to make it handle how you would want a 450hp, rear-wheel drive V8 sports car from Alfa to handle. According to the advert it is now "a dream to drive, being sporty but not uncomfortable", which sounds encouraging. All the standard parts come with the car, too, if originality is a concern.
Who wants standard when better could be an option, though? Think how improved the 4C was by some relatively simple updates, and hope that a similar transformation has been wrought on the 8C. It'll still look fabulous and it'll still make loads of noise, but now it might be something pleasurable to drive, as well as just to admire. Which does sound rather good. It's backed up by the fact this car has covered 17,000 miles, at least 10,000 more than any others currently available.
At £225,000, this 8C is priced in line with those cars on the market - none are less than £200k. While the Alfa probably doesn't look like a dead cert for immediate appreciation, it also doesn't look set to plummet in the coming years. Being left-hand drive makes it ripe for export, the lack of imminent replacement should keep buyers interested and it will always have rarity on its side. With this particular 8C in theory being the most dynamically sorted there is, it could also be one of the most desirable around - certainly looks that way to us.
See the original advert here.