A rare 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta is likely to be the most–expensive car offered at the Artcurial Paris Rétromobile 2019 classic car auction. The car with a known ownership history from new, including single-family ownership for the last four decades, may set a new Alfa Romeo marque record if it sells within the estimate of $18.6 to $25.6 million.
Alfa Romeo built only a handful of its masterpiece, the 8C 2900, in the late 1930s. They are some of the most purposefully beautiful sports cars of the era and, by all reports, far and away the best driving automobiles of the period.
Since there are so few (about 40 built), and because once they come into a collection they tend to become favorites that never leave, the appearance of an 8C 2900 for public sale is a historic event.
The 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta was delivered new in Italy in 1939, but was transported to England later that year, where it was owned by just four collectors.
In 1976, the father of the current owner, a great enthusiast of sports cars and beautiful coachwork, acquired this car. His son was present on the day he bought it, some 42 years ago. This masterpiece of a bygone era has remained in his possession ever since.
While the 180-horsepower, 2905-cc, dual overhead cam, twin-supercharged engine is at the 2900’s heart, its benign driving and handling characteristics would do any Grand Prix car of the era credit.
The car enjoyed a smooth ride and ambitious cornering capability, courtesy of four wheel independent suspension with a variable-rate transverse leaf spring and swing axles at the rear.
Parallel trailing arms with enclosed combined coil springs and hydraulic shocks make up the front. The gigantic hydraulically-actuated drum brakes are legendary both for their stopping power and for their reliability.