The Tipo C monoposto was a breakthrough design for Alfa Romeo. Giovanni Guidotti, a long-time employee of Alfa Romeo, remembered the initial test of the prototype and the bizarre events which followed. He originally told the story to a prominent member of the “Alfisti” more than thirty years ago. The story was recently passed on to me. Although possibly an apocryphal tale, this is Guidotti’s story.
Story and montage by Peter Darnall
Alfa Romeo was a major force in European racing during the early 1930s. Vittorio Jano’s innovative designs had made Alfas the cars to beat in both sports car and Grand Prix venues. However, the economic hardships of the Great Depression and the years which followed brought government control to Alfa Romeo with ever-increasing pressure to produce materiel for Mussolini’s military ambitions. Racing activities had been turned over to Scuderia Ferrari with an arrangement which allowed the Portello factory to design and build the cars while the Scuderia campaigned them.
The AIACR (Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus), which was the governing body for international motor racing, had decreed that beginning with the 1934 Grand Prix season, race cars would not weigh more than 750 kilograms (about 1650 pounds), minus the weight of tires, fluids and driver. Although Vittorio Jano’s masterpiece, the P3 monoposto, met the weight requirements of the new formula, the vintage Alfa racer could not expect to compete with the technologically superior German Mercedes Benz and Auto Union machines.