The Alfa Romeo 308 was a car of compromise. Built as an attempt to wrestle power back from the German giants who had taken control of Grand Prix racing in the 1930s, it suffered from both rule changes and team splits.
Video: Wild on‑edge hillclimb from 80‑year‑old Alfa Romeo
The rules in the world championship changed to reduce the capacity of the cars racing to 3.0-litres and Enzo Ferrari had departed from Alfa, taking chief engine designer Vittorio Jano with him. Alfa were faced with redesigning their engine without the two people who had brought them success. The result was the 308. A car fitted with a 3.0-litre straight-eight producing around 300PS. Which sounds significant, but then you realise the outgoing car hat a 430PS, 4.5-litre motor and the German rivals were producing around 425PS with their new 3.0-litre engines.
But while the 308 wasn’t that impressive in 1938, in 2020 it most definitely is. The idea of a massive straight-eight with oodles of torque is pretty alien to us, and the thought that that car would then be driven by a man wearing a near open-faced helmet with absolutely no sign of a seatbelt is pretty wild. So when you see that happen it sort of blows your mind.
At the wheel of the Alfa 308C in this video is Julian Majzub, a man who has never been known to hold anything backand can almost exclusively be found in the kind of pre-war machinery that would leave the rest of us backing away and making excuses. Add Julian’s complete lack of fear to this mighty car with very little grip and a hillclimb with some dust dragged onto the tarmac and it’s an awesome mix.
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