A Rare Alfa Romeo

Hugh Hunter, Alfa Romeo, 8C2900, Brooklands

This stunning Alfa Romeo 8C2900B spider with bodywork by Touring began its life as an Alfa factory entry for the 1938 Mille Miglia and was reputedly the winning car driven by Clemente Biondetti with Alfa mechanic Aldo Stefani beside him. That at least is what Hugh Hunter, here racing his Alfa on the Campbell Circuit at Brooklands on April 10, 1939, was told when he purchased the car from the Alfa Romeo stand at the London Motor Show in October 1938 where it was being used as a demonstrator. Subsequent research shows that there was, no surprise, a lot of swapping around of chassis plates, license plates, engines, etc. among the five  similar 1938 spiders during their lives at Alfa Romeo, where some remained until the end of World War II. As a result, there is some uncertainty as to which of these lovely spiders was the actual Mille Miglia winner.

During his ownership, Hunter raced this Alfa at Brooklands and ran it at various speed trials until the War intervened. Note that the exhaust system has been modified to fit the required triangular “Brooklands silencer” at its end. He went on to do some more racing in other makes, including an appearance at Le Mans in a Bentley in 1950 and several races in sports cars at Silverstone up through 1954.

The Alfa was sold near the end of the War to Anthony (“Tony”) Crook, later of Bristol Cars, who did a lot of competition with it. It then went to a new owner in Scotland and at the end of the 1960s was sold to a collector in the U.S.A. It now rests in an important automotive museum in Pennsylvania.

Anyone wishing to know about these fantastic prewar Alfa Romeos can begin an in-depth education with Simon Moore’s masterpiece The Immortal 2.9.

Photo by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection

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4 comments

  1. 2.9 Alfa,,when the car ended up in Scotland
    with owner Major Thomson,he had discarded
    front fenders and replaced them with cycle type,,Gad,!
    (sold at auction to settle his estate in 1970)

    Jim Sitz

    Like

  2. Jack Croul · · Reply

    Peter, here are some shots when I attended the 1951 Pebble Beach Road Race. Phil Hill won the main event on the 2.9, maybe it’s the same one. The other shots are Jim Kimberly at speed, and his car after it flipped, Bill Pollock is driving Carstains(sp) Cad-Allard.

    Jack

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    1. Thanks, Jack. The car that Phil drove at Pebble Beach was a different car that had come to America via Frank Griswold who sold it to Tommy Lee and, finally, it went to Phil. It is now part of Ralph Lauren’s collection.

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  3. Phil Hill told me long ago that his 2.9 Alfa was 2nd place car in Mille Miglia..driven by Pintacuda
    who had migrated to Argentina.(oddly Hill did not look him up on going there in 1954 to race)

    Phil also mentioned a phone call to his workplace in 1951 from man in Milwaukee who wanted to purchase the car,,Phil put hand over phone asked his boss, Roger Barlow what to say “,,$ 1800″
    and Hill delighted to make a 300 dollar profit after using car most of that year..!

    Hill then continued the season in factory XK 120 Jaguar built for Le Mans.
    When Hill went to Elkhart Lake in 1952, there was his old 2.9 being raced thru streets.

    Just before he died in 2008, he told me the best car he ever owned or desired was that car.
    when I asked the question his voice became much stronger..amazing.! He then told memories
    of driving it all over Southern California. (car bought from Tommy Lee estate. his sealed bid the
    highest offer.) Obviuosly did love the ” Immortal 2.9″
    faithfully

    Jim Sitz

    Like

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