Alpha-Romeo 8C Spider made it's European debut

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Officially making its European debut, the stunning Alfa Romeo 8C Spider was presented at the Villa d’Este Concorzo d’Eleganza where it also won the public vote on Sunday for the most beautiful concept car on display.

With the fantastic weather enabling the Spider to be displayed all throughout the public day on Sunday without a cover, the event closed with a wonderful afternoon for the employees at Centro Stile and Fiat Auto’s Elasis engineering centre when the 8C Spider was awarded with the public’s vote for the most beautiful concept car on display. BMW’s design chief Chris Bangle, who formerly worked at Fiat Centro Stile, awarded the minimalist trophy to Alfa Romeo’s design manager, Wolfgang Egger, and his highly enthusiastic and excited design team.

Rightly deserving its award, the 8C Spider shows just what the public want. Whereas it did not present the adventurous and interesting approach signalled by the Pininfarina Pininfarina Maserati Birdcage 75th, Bertone Bertone Suagnà, or the Renault Renault Altica, it was together with the Zagato Zagato 575 GTZ the only concept car to present an uncomplicated raw beauty which each visitor to the Concorza could understand and value. The 8C Spider represents a classic line, familiar to the Alfa Romeo brand through their heritage with past cars such as the Giulia TZ series and Tipo 33 Stradale.

Signifying what dream cars are all about, the 8C Spider looked resplendent in its traditional Rosso Alfa hue residing against the beautiful and affluent backdrop of Lake Como. The 8C was occasionally brought to life by Elasis engineers and Centro Stile designers throughout the public day at Villa Erba. Its supercharged 4.2-litre V8 engine derived from Maserati, produces a screaming and smooth sound without any over-the-top exhaust drama, and is mated to a 6-speed manual transaxle gearbox.

The 8C Spider is a design beyond the fashion trends which many contemporary brands settle for and strive to explore. It is a design which is timeless, and to a certain extent it has already stood the test of time. The 8C Competizione was presented almost three years ago at the Frankfurt IAA in September 2003, however the muscular lines of the carbon fibre bodied thoroughbred manage to look as fresh as ever. Certain external details on the 8C Spider are noticeably different to the sister 8C Competizione concept, including the grille treatment, with all grilles featuring matte aluminium inlays

The headlight housings are also finished in a purposeful matte black rather than chrome, and the Alfa 147-derived mirrors are finished in clear-lacquered carbon-fibre rather than being colour-coded. Special 20” alloy wheels custom-built by Speedline, shod with Pirelli PZero Corsa rubber, measuring 245/40ZR20 at the front and 275/35ZR20 at the rear, give the 8C Spider a purposeful stance and amply fill the wheelarches with minimal clearance. The generously-sized vented and drilled disc brakes are clearly visible together with the blood-red callipers finished with Alfa Romeo script.

The luxurious two-seat interior, which features woven inserts offsetting the black leather of the seats and dashboard, also includes many luxurious “off-the-shelf” features such as cruise control, dual-zone air-conditioning, and an audio system. The simple and effective design using many existing components from Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, reinforces that there was a vision to manufacture the 8C straight from the start of the project.

Indeed, the European debut of this exotic Alfa Romeo came shortly after the official announcement by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne that its sister 8C Competizione car will be built in a limited production of 500 pieces. The Spider, for the time being, will remain a one-off despite being nearly production-ready. The choice to build the 8C Competizione is also due to Alfa Romeo’s decision to return to the FIA GT racing series next year, which obviously calls for a closed GT car. The production version of the 8C Competizione will be presented at the Paris Salon in September, and will be fitted with the new Maserati 4.7-litre engine which will also be making its debut in the Maserati Quattroporte upgrade and brand-new Maserati Spyder

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