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Peter Giddings Racing

HISTORY OF 1931 ALFA ROMEO 8C2300, CHASSIS #2211080


Whilst the full and doubtless fascinating history of #2211080 is still being researched, it apparently started life as one of the very first factory lightweight lungo (Le Mans) chassis, and then competed in races including the 1931 Irish Tourist Trophy Race driven by the great Campari (with Attilio Marinoni as co-driver).

After serving its time as a works racer, it was stripped down by the factory to a bare chassis and sent to France for Luigi Chinetti to build back up as an endurance racer.

By sending sub-assemblies to France, i.e. chassis, engine, gear box, etc., import duties were avoided.

Chinetti completed this sleight of hand by badging these cars as Alfa Romeo Paris, as opposed to Alfa Romeo Milano.

Years ago Chinetti confirmed this fact to Peter, describing middle of the night high speed runs over the border with Alfa Romeo parts in the back of the camion!

Upon receipt, Chinetti completed his trade mark competition modification of double skinning the front of the chassis to improve the strength and handling – particularly important for long distance events (in which he specialized) such as Le Mans.

Research indicates that #2211080 then came second at the 1933 Le Mans race driven by Chinetti (with co-driver Phillippe Varent).

In the 1930s it was common practice for both Alfa Romeo and Chinetti to rebody ex works racing chassis with more pedestrian coachwork (typically by Castagna or Figoni), and then sell same as new.

As a result, in June 1933, this early competition chassis was fitted with a handsome Figoni tourer body.

The first private owner was Count Januszkowski, a close friend of Chinetti, who dabbled in racing, but was more successful at the bridge tables on the Cote d’Azur!

In 1940, after the Germans attacked France, the Januszkowskis in #2211080 headed for the border packed with their luggage, a caged canary, their dog, and an uncaged mother-in-law.

Grossly overloaded #2211080 cried “enough” on the way to Toulouse, and was temporarily abandoned.

Rescued by Chinetti from the neutral territory of the U.S. Embassy in Fontainebleau, #2211080 then went into storage for the balance of the war.

Somewhat the worse for wear, #2211080 was then imported into Switzerland, its low recorded weight at that time reconfirming its special lightweight racing chassis.

In July 1961, #2211080 was imported into the United States, sans body.

The then owner, David Mize, sold the car to John O’Donnell, well known at that time as a purveyor of 8c Alfas and parts.

Eventually acquired by U.K. Alfa specialist and enthusiast, David Black, who proceeded to fit engine #2211087 and change the racing chassis to corto (Mille Miglia) type, at the same time fitting handsome open two seat Spyder Corsa coachwork in the style of Carrozzeria Touring.

Subsequently restored by Paul Grist for Roger Saul, #2211080 then competed in the 1997 Mille Miglia, and has since raced in several VSCC circuit events.

Peter looks forward to following in the wheel tracks of Chinetti and Campari with further circuit racing, and charismatic sporting road events.

Peter at Wine Country Classic

Peter at the Wine Country Classic, 2009. Photo by Kyle Burt.

Alfas at the Wine Country Classic

Three Alfa Romeo 8C2300's at the 2009 Wine Country Classic!!! Photo by Kyle Burt.

Rear view of 2211080

Alfa Romeo 2211080, Ferrari Challenge, Infineon Raceway, 2006. Photo by Mike Sims.

At Sears Point

Peter comes out of Turn 11 at Infineon Raceway,. May 2009. Photo by Dennis Gray.