This ultra-rare 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B with open bodywork by Touring is expected to fetch almost £20 million when it is sold at Sotheby’s auction in California on August 19, making it the world’s most expensive pre-War car. “This is a personal favourite of mine, the 1939 Alfa Romeo is one of the grandest pre-war cars ever built,” said Ian Kelleher, managing director, RM Sotheby’s US West Coast division.
The car – believed to be one of seven ever made – has a 2,905cc, twin-supercharged eight-cylinder engine producing 180bhp and developed from Alfa’s racing engines of the period. That was a massive amount of power for the day and allowed a top speed of 110mph.
“You can achieve speeds in excess of 100 miles an hour in this car. This was a car that was designed to be a race car but then clothed in very light weight coachwork so that you basically could do anything you want with it.
“You can race it, you can take it out at night, it’s the best of both worlds in that respect, and the embodiment, in a lot of ways, of what pre-war Italian manufacturing in the classic car world, was about.
“So it isn’t just a thing of beauty, stagnant and sitting here, this is actually a car that has travelled several thousand miles on vintage car tours around the world.
“I think it’s important to note that as beautiful as it is, it’s even more exciting and more fun to drive.”
The car’s official estimate by RM-Sotheby’s for its auction at Monterey in California is between £15.3 million and £19.1 million ($20m-$25m).