Online Auto Museum

Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza by Zagato, #2211112, 1933

  • Before I say anything, please note that the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum provides a nice history of chassis #2211112, one I believe is written by the owner, Dr. Fred Simeone himself. To summarize for your benefit, this car is one of the few original 8C 2300 Monza cars produced by the Alfa Romeo factory. Chassis #2211112 was owned by Count Carlo Castelbarco, a racing driver of the early classic era whose existence must be carefully disambiguated from the more prolific, better known Luigi Castelbarco. For the 1933 Mille Miglia, Castellbarco prepared this car for himself and driver Franco Cortese. Ultimately, the pair placed second to Piero Taruffi.
  • Finding its way to the finish line of the 1933 Mille Miglia is a dramatic story for chassis #2211112. And as I dwell on the previous sentence I realize it would have been better to say that finding its way to the starting line of the 1933 Mille Miglia is a dramatic story. After Castelbarco gave Cortese the best-prepared car he could, a mechanic happened to fill the petrol tank the night before the race while an electrician worked underneath. A stray spark set the tail of the car on fire, melting the rear bodywork, tyres, seats, pipes, and wiring. Both the mechanic and test driver Bruno Bonini were badly injured in the process, and the car was pushed to the side of its garage. Franco Cortese arrived the next day and, four hours before the race, found the car as it had been left the previous night. Furious, he called Castelbarco to yell. Castelbarco responded by rousing enough mechanics and assembling enough spares to rebuild the back half of the car by their scheduled start. Another mechanic then inexplicitly poured a can of water into the petrol tank, which meant that after rebuilding half the car in a matter of hours, the team had to remove, drain, clean, and refit the tank. Reports say that Cortese drove through the streets of Brescia at over 120 miles per hour, arrived at the start platform merely a few minutes late, paused, and basically continued on from there at racing speed.
  • Today, chassis #2211112 retains much of its period bodywork and mechanicals. Given its history at the 1933 Mille Miglia, it might be impossible at this stage to claim complete factory originality, but according to the owner, a very large, if not complete measure of the body panels have been repaired and refitted to the car. Thus, chassis #2211112 is at least period correct, and presented in as close an approximation to how it would have run in the 1930s. There is one exception, however, which is the paintwork. Dr. Simeone has expressed that, had the restoration of this car begun during his ownership, he would not have had the car repainted and finished as if new.


Last Updated: Aug 19, 2017