From 5 to 9 April Essen will be hosting the 29th edition of Techno Classica at the Essen Exhibition Centre, ready to welcome enthusiasts and exhibitors - no fewer than 1,250 from thirty different countries - in more than 20 halls across an exhibition area of 130,000 square metres. FCA Heritage, the Group department dedicated to promoting the historic legacy of FCA's Italian brands, will be at this major event. Visitors will be able to admire several historic Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Abarth cars alongside the latest additions to the current range: there could be no better way of strongly reinforcing the individual brands' unique character on the worldwide scene, a heritage made up of cars and engineers, races and engines, style and innovation, that shaped technological progress and the history of racing during the last century.
The entire display on the FCA Heritage stand focuses on the ninetieth anniversary of the Mille Miglia: the first edition of what Enzo Ferrari described as "the world's finest race" got under way on 26 March 1927.
Alfa Romeo played the largest role in the legendary event, and this year it will again be supporting the “Red Arrow” commemoration event as automotive sponsor.
In fact, Alfa Romeo recorded some of its most glorious racing achievements with its legendary victories in the Coppa delle Mille Miglia, for which it holds the unbeaten record of 11 wins, 7 in consecutive years from 1932 to 1938.
The Alfa Romeo display therefore comprises 2 cars from the Arese Historical Museum: the RL SS Mille Miglia – the brand's first car to take part in the Mille Miglia, in 1927 – next to the legendary 8C 2300 Spider Corto Mille Miglia, which won the 1932 and 1933 editions of the race, the latter with the "Flying Mantuan" Tazio Nuvolari at the wheel.
Alfa Romeo RL Super Sport
Alfa Romeo presented the new RL to the public in Milan on 13 October 1921. The car went on sale from the next year in two versions, Normale and Sport. The Normale's 2916 cc six-cylinder engine delivered 56 HP, while on the Sport version, which featured the radiator with the distinctive dihedral angle, the displacement was increased to 2994 cm and the power to 71 HP. A shorter wheelbase and lighter weight also boosted the top speed from 110 to 130 km/h.
Drawing on the experience acquired from the Corsa version, christened the “Targa Florio” after Ugo Sivocci's triumph in the 1923 edition of the gruelling Sicilian race, in 1925 Alfa Romeo launched the RL Super Sport, with power increased to 83 CV and braking improved by the use of larger drums.
In 1927 Alfa Romeo took part in the first edition of the Mille Miglia with a team of five RL Super Sports, three private and two official, driven by Brilli-Peri and Marinoni. The RL SS cars gave a very good account of themselves, and Gastone Brilli-Peri was in the lead when the race reached Rome, before a breakdown forced him to pull out at Spoleto. The best position, in a race dominated by cars from the Brescian OM stable, went to the Mercanti-Sozzi team, which finished in 7th place.
In its long racing career the RL recorded more than ninety overall and class victories.
393 RL Super Sport cars were built in the years up to 1927: the model on show has the same bodywork as the cars that competed in the first Mille Miglia.
Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider Corto Mille Miglia
The 8C 2300 was introduced in 1931 in the wake of the P2 model, a Grand Prix car that achieved outstanding performances at the international level. It had a new straight-8 engine of 2236 cc, generating 142 HP at 5000 rpm. The chassis, closely derived from that of the 6C 1750, was available in two versions: with wheelbase of 3100 mm (8C 2300 “Lungo”) and 2750 mm (8C 2300 “Corto”). There was also a Spider Corsa version, with engine beefed up to 155 HP at 5200 rpm (165 HP at 5400 rpm in 1932), to provide a top speed of 185 km/h (up to 215 km/h in 1932). The new 8C 2300 Spider Corto MM cars made their Mille Miglia debut in 1931 and came home the winners at the next two editions, driven by Borzacchini-Bignami in 1932 and Nuvolari-Compagnoni in 1933. It was the start of an impressive cycle of victories for Alfa Romeo, which was to continue until 1938. 308 units of the 8C 2300 were built from 1931 to 1934, and in its various racing versions it achieved success in all the most important races of the time, also recording wins in the Targa Florio, the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Italian Grand Prix. Like the Alfa Romeo RL Super Sport, the car on display comes from the fine collection of “La macchina del tempo – Museo Storico Alfa Romeo”.