La Bella Macchina: Alfa Romeo 8C

Every now and then, you see something – a sunset, a building, a painting – that just takes your breath away, that makes you feel like you are in the presence of, not some thing, but something. It doesn’t happen to me that often, not even with cars, but it did the other day.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Alfa Romeo 8C.

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The 8C is a rare beast. Alfa Romeo produced only 1,000 examples between 2007 and 2010 – 500 coupes (the Competizione), like this one, and 500 roadsters. Of the 500 coupes, 90 came to the U.S. Of the 500 roadsters, we got a measly 35.

The 8C used the Maserati GranTurismo platform and powertrain, with a 4.7L V8 engine assembled by Ferrari that produces 444 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. It has a limited slip differential. The “official” top speed is 181 mph, although there has been speculation that it really tops out north of 190. Purchase price in the U.S. was $259,000.

I have always pined for the Alfa 8C (proof here), so when I heard from Lisa Copeland at Fiat/Alfa Romeo of Austin that she had an 8C in her service department, I pretty much literally grabbed my camera and hit the road. I had never seen an 8C before, and never expected to. Ah, when dreams come true…

It’s hard to explain what it is like to experience the 8C in person, although Jeremy Clarkson does pretty well here. It is absolutely astounding to look at, but not devastatingly beautiful like an Aston Martin or with the aggressively beautiful presence of a Ferrari or Lamborghini. It’s more like your favorite symphony or the painting that you keep coming back to, for reasons you can’t explain. You can’t compare it to anything else; it is self-contained perfection in its own way. It is the most amazing-looking car I have ever seen.

I could have just stared at the thing for hours, but after my initial intake of breath, I got to work, snapping about 150 photos in less than 20 minutes. Take a look…

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Steering wheel detail

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Perhaps the most sublime brake pedal ever?

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The tapered upward cut of the door is just incredible.

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Here’s the cutline – very high up on the window. I just love this detail.

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Even the HOOD is gorgeous.

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As is THIS.

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Someday I will drive this car. Because, in mathematical terms,

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In the meantime, the 8C’s smaller sibling, the Alfa Romeo 4C, is arriving on our shores imminently. For those in my area, head over to Fiat/Alfa Romeo of Austin to check it out. I know I will!

 

 

 

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