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Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 - From Diplomat to Playboy and now to Hampshire!

Monday 12th January 2015
As previously reported this beautiful seal grey Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 owned by Paul Gregory was our 'Car of the Show' at the London Classic Car Show and we promised to tell you more about it, here you go...

This 8C has been a Diplomat's super car and a playboy's racer in it's life and has been brought back to it's former glory from an Arizona barn find box of bits. It was finished just ahead of and showed off at last years GRRC car display in September 2014.

Born as a long-chassis cabriolet with body by Castagna it was powered by a supercharged 2.3-litre straight eight. With a different body and state of engine tune the 8C won at Le Mans and the Mille Miglia.

Owned by an Italian diplomat who took it to America with him it was sold to the playboy racer Tommy Lee. Subsequent owners weren't respectful of it's Italian power-plant, which was replaced with a Cadillac V8, generally destroying the car! It also had 400 holes drilled in the chassis to lighten it. The beautiful Alfa became a hybrid hot rod, not an uncommon fate in the US at the time. Despite this, says Paul, it held it's own against the Jaguar C-types of the early 1950s.

It was subsequently hidden away in shed in Tucson, Arizona, until a chance ‘barn find' by an American enthusiast who stripped out all the original Alfa parts. He was just about to pass them over to renowned Alfa specialist Jim Stokes in Waterlooville for restoration… when the American owner was shot dead by his janitor! Paul bought the parts and had them shipped over to Jim, who commenced rebuilding and restoring it in 2011.

According to the GRRC website, Paul had had Alfas for years but had always hankered after an 8C, all that held him back was the cost. This project was the only affordable way according to Paul. The car has been recreated as a replica of a Touring of Milan-bodied open tourer – not how chassis 229 began it's life, but period correct. Paul ensured it's accuracy by photographing and carefully measuring an original Touring-bodied 8C in Italy.

It is not a matching numbers car – it has a Jim Stokes engine (the original is in an 8C in Australia), the body has been made in Britain and the chassis holes are now filled, but with the weld marks showing, to preserve the history of this car. As a Jim Stokes car (a world leading 8C engineer) the car has a fascinating story, great quality with a great exhaust note – it is a special thing.

An Alfa Romeo 8C that is positively not red, we think this car is a beautiful piece of auto art - in a wonderful colour palette. Paul has been reported as being determined to use whenever possible, in particularly for endurance rallying and continental touring.

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