1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring

Darin Schnabel ©2016, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The 8C 2900 was not a mere sports car, but the most advanced, modern and compelling sports car that money could buy. To the gentleman who was accustomed to watching the workings of his Swiss watch or mastering the intricacies of his yacht’s sails, it was a symphony.

It is a reality understood by those in racing circles that these high-performance Alfa Romeos and many other similar cars were simply tools used on a track, and such is the nature of competition racing that as technology and rules evolved, so did the cars, which often led multiple lives. That these truly rare components from a model with such a miniscule production run survived to be united by a dedicated enthusiast is nothing short of remarkable.

To summarize, since no hard evidence exists to confirm the true sequence of events, it remains possible that this Alfa traveled to Brazil from Argentina in the mid- to late 1950s, sans Touring body, where it was then further modified and raced with the Chevrolet V8, only to be reunited with its original Touring coachwork some four decades later.

Mr. Tony Merrick had completed the restoration of the chassis, drivetrain and body by late 1997, with the exception of paintwork, which was performed — in its current lustrous black — upon arrival back in the United States. At that time, Sam Mann opted to add the chromed stone guards on the rear fenders, and the flashing on the rear of the front fenders, authentic design elements which he had admired on another 2.9 Touring Spider. The car subsequently debuted at the 1999 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it was awarded Second in Class and the Gwenn Graham Trophy for Most Elegant Convertible. More recently, this year it was deemed the Most Elegant Car at the Cavallino Classic Sports Sunday at the Mar-a-Lago Club.

Only approximately 32 2.9 chassis were made; the survivors are the most sought-after European sports cars of their generation, none more so than those bodied by Touring. Of the extant examples of the 8C 2900, it is believed that only 12 are Touring Spiders, seven of which are on the long chassis. They can be justifiably referred to as “Italy’s version of the Bugatti Atlantic,” as, like the famed Bugatti Type 57SC, they combined the best engineering and styling of their generation in one advanced, sensuous, undeniably thrilling package.