In May 2015 our 21st Credit Suisse rally was held in magnificent Tuscany. The rally could also have been titled “Alain, his Alfa, and lots of coffee” since there was the rally group that drove with discipline and observed the roadbook rules. And then there was another group ... Alain and his Alfa 8C were mostly in this second category, the espresso group. But this is only one of the rally stories which will make this rally unforgettable within our network of friends and enthusiasts.
My particular Alfa-Romeo 8C 2300
by Alain de Cadenet
If there's one rally that I look forward to more than any other, it's the Credit Suisse Tuscany Classics. But it doesn't take place every year. Can you think of any motoring activity more magnificent than driving along the infamous byways of the prettiest countryside in Italy in a car that was especially bodied to race in the 1932 Mille Miglia?
My particular Alfa-Romeo 8C 2300 started life at the end of 1930 as a test chassis for the factory at Portello just north of Milan. Must have done thousands of test miles with a very skimpy body and after a race at the 1931 Targa Florio in Sicily was sent to the Carrozzeria Touring company in Milan to be rebodied with the first all-aluminum Touring Spider body, which is still on her today.
Don't ask me why, but whenever I take FLC (her name derives from the number plate) to Italy she performs better than anywhere else. The oil pressure stays high, the supercharger gives an extra pound of boost, the motor stays cool. This car is just raring to go and do what comes naturally. Sitting in this car behind the wheel with the accelerator pedal in between the clutch and the brake and the long gear lever for the non-synchromesh crash gearbox is, for me, like pulling on an old soft leather thin-skinned glove.
Which is why, after well over 40 years in my custody, I can drive this car with impunity on the open roads and keep up with more modern machinery without any stress to either FLC or me. Just a slight relaxation of the reins and this thoroughbred is off at a gallop. It is only kindness itself to allow this to happen. Call me anthropomorphic if you will, but anything else would be cruelty to the car and we can't have that, can we?