If you’re lucky enough to be involved in the magical world of historic motorsport then Neil Twyman’s name will be familiar. In case you aren’t, Mr Twyman’s Hertfordshire-based emporium is one of the go-to places for race preparation if your bag is Alfa Romeos, Ferraris, Coopers, Lotuses and such like …
No stranger to Goodwood, for the 73rd Members’ Meeting he’s brought here for the first time his 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C Muletto. ‘Yes, it’s the first time it’s been here’ Neil begins ‘although I finished it a few years ago and have won three consecutive Fox & Nicholl Trophy races with it at Silverstone since then.’
The 8C ‘Mulettos’ (Muletto literally means ‘donkey’ or ‘mule’) were lightweight factory test and development cars. This one took part in the legendary Targa Florio with the minimalist body and ‘bolster’ tank before having new bodywork made for it. Having acquired the car 20 years ago, Neil set about restoring it with the kind of body it would have worn originally. ‘Most of the bodywork is actually original’ he explains ‘…the bonnet, radiator and so on. ‘I’ve basically built it in my spare time over the last 20 years.’
Asked how it is to race, Neil replies: ‘It’s good. But it makes a great road car; just fit lights and wings. I even drove it here! Few cars can make you feel like this one. You feel like a king’ he grins.
Despite boasting a supercharged, 2.6-litre Alfa Romeo straight-eight of around 220bhp, Neil didn’t rate his chances much. ‘I’ll be about halfway down the field. There are some very fast Bugattis in the Earl Howe Trophy race…not to mention the Grand Prix Alfa Romeo.’
It turned out Neil was exercising gentlemanly modesty. He qualified ninth and finished eighth out of a field of 26!