IT seems almost unbelievable that an example of one of the great pre-war cars, a straight-eight supercharged Alfa Romeo of the type that won Le Mans four times and the Mille Miglia three times, could be lost from sight for many, many decades only to be discovered about five years ago.
Even more amazing, the long-term owner, who is approaching his personal century, received the car as a 21st birthday present from his father back in 1937.
The car was bodied in France by the coachbuilding firm of Figoni, the only short chassis to be bodied by that famous house. It was completed in time for first owner Mr Weinberg to compete in the Paris-Nice rally in March 1933, an event in which he also competed in 1934.
According to the existing French registration records, the car passed to Count Francois de Bremond in May 1935 and he ran the Grossglockner Hillclimb that year, finishing fifth in class. He may have used it for other competitions but he sold it in August 1937. The agent or broker in the sale was Luigi Chinetti who was then resident in Paris but later became the first agent for Ferrari in North America, based in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The new owner had just graduated and his father gave him the car as a present – and he owned the car for over 70 years.
During the war, it was hidden from the occupying forces and used for some years after the war before being garaged but well looked after until being acquired by the current owner. It was then taken to restoration specialist Blakeney Motorsport in the UK a year and a half ago.
The car has not been restored but has been made safe to run as far as the engine, fuel system, dry sump oil system, brakes, steering, electrics and so on are concerned.