Musei Ferrari e Alfa Romeo, September 2015
David G. Fox
Our first full day at Lake Maggiore promised to be rain drenched. What better time to sprint back down the autostrada to Arese, north west of central Milan, and the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo.
The Alfa museum is in a beautifully remodeled facility in the woods just off the E62 outside of Milan. The building certainly looks as if it belongs to a company concerned with design. There is a showroom housing various new Alfas on the top floor (and there were a few new Jeep products arranged outside the building - products of Fiat Chrysler).
In the large entryway to the building, backed by a glass wall and a view of the woods outside, sat one of Alfa's new 4C Spider sports cars.
Engines were sprinkled throughout the exhibition. In the approach were several pre-WWII airplane engines, including this radial from 1939.
Timeline of Production Cars
1911 A.L.F.A 15 HP Corsa.
1925 RL Super Sport.
1931 6C 1750 Gran Sport Paris. The mild version of the 1752cc supercharged inline six cylinder engine produced 85hp and a top speed of 90mph.
1932 8C 2300 Corto "Mille Miglia." Ah, that magic year, 1932; it was good for more than just Fords. The 8C 2300 chassis was used under a limited number of Alfa Romeos produced between 1931 and 1934. The 2336cc light-alloy engines had eight cylinders in line, twin overhead camshafts, a supercharger, and put out 155hp. This was enough to move the 2205 pound Corto version to 115mph.
1931 8C 2300. The specifications listed for this specific engine indicated that the 2336cc displacement and assorted jewelry attached produced 163hp at 5400rpm.
1954 1900 Super Sprint.
1970 Montreal and its 2593cc V8 developing 194hp at 6400rpm.
2007 8C Competizione. Five hundred of these V8 powered cars were produced.
1952 1900 C52 Disco Volante barchetta by Touring.
1954 2000 Sportiva by Bertone.
1965 Giulia Sprint Speciale by Bertone.
1996 Nuvola by the Alfa Romeo Style Center.
1950 6C 2500 Super Sport "Villa d' Este."
1938 8C 2900 B Lungo. "Touring's masterpiece and the highest expression of the Alfa Romeo mystique." Only ten were produced. The Lungo's supercharged 2905cc eight cylinder engine produced 180hp at 5200rpm. Top speed was about 110mph.
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1963 Giulia TZ. Zagato styling on a tube chassis. Do you think Pete Brock studied one of these before designing the Cobra Daytona Coupe? Note the reflection of the Kamm-effect rear end.
Giulia Sprint Speciale, body by Bertone.
1966 1600 Spider "Duetto" - the Graduate.
1955 Giulietta Spider prototype. "Designed by Pinin Farina for the USA."
1925 GP Tipo P2. Twin carburetors and a supercharger give the 1987cc eight 155hp, which was enough for 140mph.
1931 8C 2300 Monza. "Born as a GT, goes on to challenge the Grand Prix. Campari and Nuvolari confirm its place among the greats."
1936 GP Tipo C 12C. Seemingly unusual for an Alfa is the 60 degree V12 in this car. It measures 4064cc, produces 370hp at 5800rpm, and took the 12C to 180mph. Two carburetors, two superchargers, beautiful bodywork, and only six were built.
1951 GP Tipo 159 "Alfetta." The engine in this car is back to the straight eight (dual block) configuration and smaller displacement. This generation, supercharged, but with just 1479cc, put out 425hp at 9300rpm and was capable of pushing the Formula 1 Alfetta to 190mph.
The GP Tipo 158 Alfetta was a pre-WWII design. They were fitted with 1479cc supercharged eights, which subsequently worked within new post-war Formula One rules. Both the Tipo 158 and 159 engines were two-valve, twin overhead cam designs. The Tipo 159 gained about 75hp over the later versions of the 158, as it benefitted from a pair of two-stage superchargers, rather than just one for the Tipo 158.
1952 GP Tipo 160 Boxer 12 with 2483cc and 281hp at 10,000rpm. Alfa retired from Grand Prix racing before finishing development of the Tipo 160 race car.
1977 Tipo 33 SC 12 Turbo. Power comes from a 2134cc, four-valve boxer 12, with four cams, twin turbos, and 640hp at 12,000rpm.
1935 P Bimotore. Yes, that's a second engine in the back. Each 3165cc straight eight was rated at 270hp. Note the Scuderia Ferrari logo.
The beautiful Alfa museum is kind of in the countryside, so we had a late lunch in the restaurant on site and then headed north toward Como. Soon we were again in the rain that continued to soak the northern-most part of Italy. In addition to the rain, it was clear that George and Amal weren't going to be available for a visit, so we ventured farther north by Lake Como into Switzerland, up, around, and back down to our hotel on Lake Maggiore and an anniversary dinner.
The Alfa museum website, museoalfaromeo.com, has photographs and descriptions covering a significant number of the cars in the collection. I did find fault with a couple of inernal links, but the site is definitely worth studying.
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