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1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Speciale Touring Coupe from CMC

By Mark Savage
Published: October 13, 2014
CMC Alfa Romeo
Product: The automotive Art Deco era, where sleek, streamlined profiles and styling flair were at their peak, left us an astounding number of quirky yet beautiful cars. European makers were at the forefront of such styling in the 1930s, with the likes of Bugatti, Delahey and Alfa Romeo wowing the wealthy aristocracy of the day.

Now CMC brings its prestigious moniker and die-cast model skills to the Alfa 8C 2900B Speciale Touring Coupe. It’s a recipe for a deliciously lavish 1:18-scale model.

In the 1920s, Vittorio Jano created his first straight-eight cylinder engine for Alfa Romeo and then the P3 single-seater that was a constant Formula 1 winner in the 1930s. Yet racing was only a part of the Alfa story. The Italian car maker was cranking out beautiful road cars, too, their bodies featuring radical, sweeping designs.

The coupe ran on a highly advanced chassis with four-wheel independent suspension and an alloy straight-eight engine with double overhead cams and twin superchargers. Although the 2900B was detuned a bit to improve reliability, it still boasted 200-plus horsepower. Just 32 were built from 1935 through 1938.

The Alfa 2.9 that CMC replicates was originally built as a Spyder for the Mille Miglia road race and then rebodied by Carrozzeria Touring in 1938 as a coupe for LeMans. The new body transformed the already beautiful coupe into one of the most stunning pre-war cars.

Performance: Where to begin with CMC’s beautiful Alfa? First, the shape is dead-on with the bulbous roof, including the rounded but steep drop off the back to the 8C’s nearly flat trunk. At the back of the cockpit’s cover is a clear window, more like a skylight shaped like a piece of bread. Through it you see a bit of the spare tire and cockpit’s rear compartment. This is just a sniff at the detail in this model.

There’s an exceedingly long center-hinged hood with four leather straps, complete with buckles, that hold it in place. You’ll need tweezers to undo the straps and pop either side of the hood, which can be held up with a bar on the stiffener wall. When open, you’ll see the long, lean straight-eight engine with requisite spark plugs and wires, plus coolant plumbing and a finely detailed engine block and headers.

But wait, there’s more. You can back out two screws on the rear wheel covers, which feature a distinctive longitudinal slash, to remove the wheel covers and change the car’s streamlined look. On the driver’s side, a hinged fuel filler door swings open easily to reveal a silver metal gas cap that also can be opened. Again, that’s impressive detail.

The car’s needle nose is exquisite with dual bug-eye headlights with running lights below. The black mesh grille is perfect and includes a silver Alfa Romeo script logo. A chrome accent piece runs down the hood and grille’s center. Inside of the two running lights are small, oval grilles with chrome trim. A round, painted

Alfa-branded logo and Superleggera (“super light”) logos rest just above the grille.

Close interior inspection reveals a three-spoke black steering wheel with a metal hub and, beyond it, three orange pull knobs on the dash. Two round dash gauges have detailed dials and glass faces, and there’s a small, round dial below the main dash. A tall floor shifter and parking brake levers stick up from the floor’s drive shaft area, and there’s a metal T-shaped foot brace on the passenger’s side floor, complete with rubber end pieces. Metal knobs on the windows allow you to slide the side windows open.

Outside, there’s finely executed chrome trim around all windows and for the delicate-looking windshield wipers. The door handles are a stylish sweep of metal and help open the tight-fitting doors.

Marketing: This is not your average — or even well-above average — die-cast model. This is museum quality.

You’ll want this in a special spot of your best display case to stir customers’ dreams and capture their attention. No, not many will be able to afford it, but they will want to aspire to it. Know, too, that CMC has an extensive line-up of European racers and exotic or rare vintage car models, all at premium prices.

Be sure to stock some other high-quality die-cast models in 1:18 and 1:43 scale for those who want quality but can’t afford the absolute top-level models. You’ll want to send customers home happy and inspire them to come back for the dream cars when they can afford to splurge.

VITAL STATS
Product: 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Speciale Touring Coupe
Maker: CMC
Maker: 1:18
Stock number: M-107
MSRP: $439.95

BOTTOM LINE
• Museum-quality detail
• Rare car
• Unusual shape adds to collectibility