Rare Rides has featured many an Alfa Romeo in past editions, but none as new as today’s 8C. With its very striking design, a limited manufacturing run, and a very high price when new, the low-slung coupe was instantly rare. A daring coupe from a small Italian manufacturer.
Alfa Romeo was fairly consistent in fielding a coupe from the early 1950s through the 2000s. Much less consistent was the company’s development of a dedicated sports car offering. Often going dormant in that market space for a decade or more, the nearest predecessor to today’s 8C is the RZ. That rectangular roadster was the later run of the SZ coupe featured here previously. And it exited production after 1994.
Nine years later, Alfa Romeo was ready to hint at its next sports car, when it debuted a concept at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show. The (nearly production-ready) concept was designed in-house at Alfa Romeo by German-born designer Wolfgang Egger. The 8C’s design was meant to hearken back to the exciting sporting Alfas of the Fifties and Sixties, and even its name pegged it as direct successor to the exciting 6C that competed at Mille Miglia.
Enough interest was generated at the Frankfurt show that Alfa Romeo decided to proceed with production, making the official announcement in 2006. Changes from the concept to the production 8C were very few, and included slightly different lamps, different wheels, and a hood which hinged from the rear instead of the front. 1,400 people put in their orders for a new 8C, and production started in 2007.
The slinky body of the 8C was made of carbon fiber, attached to a steel chassis. Lighter construction methods kept weight down to 3,494 pounds. Cars were finalized by Maserati in Modena. Though the 8C rode on a unique platform, it did share many parts with the Maserati GranTurismo. The engine itself was a collaborative design from Maserati and Ferrari — a 4.7-liter V8 built at Ferrari. Power on offer was a considerable 444 horses and 354 lb-ft of torque. The transmission, which had six speeds, was an automated manual that could be operated in two different manual modes and three automatic ones. 62 miles per hour arrived in 4.2 seconds, and top speed was officially reported at 181 mph.
Alfa Romeo never planned to fulfill all the orders it received for the 8C, limiting its coupe production to 500. Buyers forked over $265,000 for the privilege of owning one. A Spider version of the 8C arrived in 2008 and matched the coupe’s production figure of 500. It upped the ante on price, to $299,000. By the conclusion of production in 2010, a thousand 8Cs existed.
Today’s Rare Ride is the most commonly selected color: Alfa Red. One of the 90 cars delivered to the U.S. market, it’s covered just 2,862 miles in the past 12 years. Complete with its branded luggage, this 8C will set you back $319,900.