It began as a concept car that few expected to be built. Then Alfa Romeo decided that a bit of flag-waving would do it no harm, especially if they ran up one of the best-looking flags ever. Of course exotic cars are costly to develop from scratch, but conveniently the firm had a brother in the same business – Maserati.
The resulting 8C Competizione was sensazionale. Sitting on a trimmed version of the Maserati 4200 coupé floorpan, the carbon-fibre bodywork had all the swooping, athletic confidence of the great Alfas of the past, hurled along by a 4.7-litre variant of the Modena quad-cam V8, itself a co-production with Ferrari, tweaked to a lusty 444bhp. A quick rack and vast brakes kept everything in order – handy considering that in the marque’s long history this is its biggest power plant.
Limiting it to a total production of 500 made it a collector’s item – and who wouldn’t want to collect this if they had the moolah? Not only rarer but better-looking than its sibling, it also made noises that eclipsed almost anything on the road, especially when you pressed the Sport button – as well as tautening everything up that by-passed part of the exhaust.
Those who missed out on the 40 that came to Britain got a second chance, though, when Alfa decided to lop the top off and build another 500 8Cs. That’s what Mark Donaldson has on offer – one of the finest ways to muss up your hair ever invented. “Flawless,” is Mark’s description. “The build quality is better than you’d expect – no creaks or rattles – and there’s a lovely engine tone.” Unlike many supercars that have their tops chopped, the spider version of the 8C looks as though it was meant all along – compact, curvy and above all with the engine in the right place. “Entry and exit are easy, and even the electric hood works well,” Mark says. It’s a car for going places, nestled deep in the carbon-fibre and leather cockpit – though Mark adds “the boot’s awkward lid means you’re limited to a soft weekend bag”. But wherever you take it, it’s going to be an electrifying trip.
Despite being a three-dimensional invitation to burn up some road this one has not even broken 3000 miles on the odometer, so there’s plenty of room for enjoyment before worrying about the resale value – because that is just going to rise and rise.