Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 MM #11 – Spark

2300 MM
1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 MM #11
Pilots: R. Sommer, T. Nuvolari
Team: Soc. Anon. Alfa Romeo
Race: 1st overall (3.0 class) at Le Mans in 1933
Spark - 43LM33 (resin)

Published 11/21/22

Alfa Romeo’s 8C 2300 first came out in 1931, both for regular road use and competition. Designed by Vittorio Jano, the engine was a straight-8 (alloy cylinder block and heads) displacing 2336 cm³, with DOHC. Supercharged by a Roots-type blower, it could deliver up to 178 hp. Alfa Romeo produced a total of 188 units, with most of them being passenger cars. For competitions, Alfa modified the race cars according to the race. For instance, the Monza version was a short-wheel chassis used for Grand Prix racing – in fact, most of the 188 cars produced had a short-wheel base. Conversely, for endurance racing Alfa used a longer chassis, called MM (Mille Miglia) or LM (Le Mans). The difference between the two was that the MM had four seats while the LM had only two.

2300 MM
The 8C 2300 was a fast and reliable car, therefore perfect for La Sarthe.

In both the 1931 and 1932 24 Heures du Mans Alfa Romeo’s 8C 2300 came in first place. Yet, with Alfa Romeo struggling financially, in the end of 1932 the brand disbanded their works teams. With that, for 1933 Alfa’s cars would be in the hands of privateers, though some would receive factory support. Despite the lack of an official factory presence at La Sarthe, there were seven Alfa Romeo cars lined up for the race. Five of them were the big 8C 2300 in the 3.0 class, and two were 6C 1750 in the 2.0 class. Of the five 8C 2300, two were Monza, two were MM and one was a LM version. Supposedly there should have been two more 8C 2300, though they did not arrive for the race.

2300 MM
8C 2300 MM #11 had a huge fuel tank, supposedly allowing 27 laps between refills.

In the 1932 race, Raymond Sommer piloted an 8C 2300 LM to victory. His partner, Luigi Chinetti, got sick in the beginning of the race, forcing Sommer to take the wheel for almost 20 hours straight. In 1933 he was back at La Sarthe, and again with an 8C 2300. However, this year he used a MM version, fitted with an oversized fuel tank to allow less fuel stops. He also had another advantage: his co-driver would be the great Tazio Nuvolari. Il Mantuan was the current European Grand Prix Champion, and Alfa Romeo managed to release him from Scuderia Ferrari just for Le Mans. And just as important, two months before, he won the Mille Miglia, also piloting an 8C 2300 MM.  

Despite Il Mantuan’s bravado, a fuel leak almost meant disaster.

However, Sommer wanted to pilot most of the race, since Nuvolari had never raced at La Sarthe. He was also fearful that Nuvolari would break the car. Tazio would have none of that, since he thought Le Mans was a simple layout that would not trouble him. Besides, he was a Grand Prix champion, so they agreed to divide wheel-time equally. 8C 2300 MM #11 (chassis #2211109) started out in the lead, however at 4:30am on Sunday a fuel tank leak appeared. The solution? Chewing gum 😅. Though the fix worked, further stops were necessary as the makeshift repair came undone several times. Nonetheless, Nuvolari broke the lap record nine (!) times, and finished 370 m ahead of the second-place car. This was Alfa Romeo’s third overall victory at La Sarthe, and not the last one with a chewing gum fix.

All the four winning Alfas. In my eyes, the 8C 2300 MM #11 is the best-looking.

Though I’m not a big alfista, this model was a grail model for me. After all, it is a Nuvolari ride, fixed with chewing gum 😋. And by far, the most striking of the 8C 2300 Le Mans winners. However, it was really hard to find one. Even the Ixo version is scarce. Spark first released this at least a decade ago, and it vanished from the market. Fortunately, they began to re-issue some of their older releases, and 8C 2300 MM #11 is one of them. This one is from the newer batch, and nonetheless a recent release, it is already scarce. Again 😣. I was fortunate to get one only because my trusted dealer (MVR) secured one for me. A doozy of a model, with the habitual top-notch Spark detail level. So, a looker of a model and with huge history behind it? A must buy.

2 thoughts on “Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 MM #11 – Spark”

  1. Oi Werner,

    for me that’s a proper grail model, mainly because of the legendary aura the name Nuvolari carries with it. If i remember correctly that was the one and only participation del mantovano volante à la Sarthe.
    Regarding Alfa my other longtime target is the ’38 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Speciale Tipo Le Mans; not so fortunate racewise but nowdays still looking like a spaceship and figure it out back then in the thirties.

    By the way wonderful group shot and the history section of your reviews is very appreciated.

    Don’t know if links are accepted in here, I’ll try to link a song dedicated to Nuvolari by the late italian musician Lucio Dalla, who some twenty years later tributed Ayrton Senna da Silva with another one.


    Bring it on more of your stellar collection!

    1. Hey Giovanni!
      Thanks man, I’m glad you liked the photos and review. For me, the car can only be as cool as the history behind it, so historical aspects are fundamental. Yet, there are cars like the 2900B that though don’t have much history behind, are ICE cool. That’s one I would really like to have. TSM’s version is to die for, however when it came out (2018 or 2019?) it wasn’t plentiful and far from cheap. And now, it’s even more expensive – if, of course, you can find one. It is definitively on my to buy list.
      I knew about Senna’s song, though I didn’t know the author. As for Tazio’s song, this is the first time I hear it. And great video too!


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