Weekend Wallpaper: Alfa Romeo Monza meet Porsche 962 – 50 years of history

By | April 28, 2013

Alfa Romeo Monza meet Porsche 962 - 50 years of history

Alfa Romeo Monza – Porsche 962 – 50 years of history

Sometimes serendipity provides the ultimate juxtaposition. In the Watkins Glen International Raceway Tech Garage I encountered one of those rare moments during the SVRA 2011 US Vintage Grand Prix. There, just waiting for me, sat a pair of classic racing vehicles whose moments in history lay only 50 years apart but whose indelible impact on racing will be with us forever. Alfa Romeo’s Monza, happened to rest next to another racing legend, Porsche’s 962. In each era both made racing history.

ConceptCarz.com’s Daniel Vaughn states: “Vittorio Jano was responsible for the design of the magnificent engineering marvel, the 8C 2300. The name was formed by following Alfa Romeo’s naming convention; the 8C represented the eight cylinder engine while the 2300 represented the cubic-capacity. The engine is comprised of two four-cylinder engine with the cylinders aligned in a row. Central gearing drives the overhead twin camshafts. A Roots-type supercharger was used to force air to the carburetor aiding in the production of 140 horsepower. Further modifications to the OHV engine increased the horsepower output to nearly 180.

The first 8C 2300 made an appearance in prototype form at the 1931 Mille Miglia. Two Grand Prix 8C 2300 models were later entered in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza where they finished first and second. In honor of this achievement, Alfa Romeo used the name ‘Monza’ on all their 8C 2300 Grand Prix vehicles. In 1932 the 8C 2300 became a dominant force, winning at Targa Florio followed by three consecutive victories at Le Mans. It was undefeated at the Grand Prix circuit, defeating the powerful Mercedes SSK and SSKL models and bringing an end to their dominance. It achieved many prestigious victories such as the Spa 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix and more. “

With this history in mind, how ironic this Monza bearing the yellow S/F Scuderia Ferrari logo should share space next to a Rothmans Porsche 962 at The Glen. Descended from the 956 and one of the fastest and most storied cars in Porsche’s history, the 962 won endurance races at Le Mans & Daytona.

Again quoting Daniel Vaughn at ConceptCarz.com, “For over ten years, the Porsche 962 dominated the racing circuit to include the 24 Hours of LeMans, Daytona, FIA and IMSA racing. The Porsche 962 was so popular and so competitive that even their $1,000,000 price tag could not keep up with demand. Nearly 150 were sold and because of such a large customer program, every component was available off the shelf direct from Porsche.”

Noting the names Derek Bell and Stefan Bellof listed just aft of the port driver side window we see this car transported some famous pilots. According to Wikipedia, Bellof laid down the fastest lap ever behind the wheel of a Porsche 956, a close relation to the 962, at the Nuburgring. Derek Bell is one of the world’s fastest and prolific drivers with multiple wins across endurance races such LeMans and Daytona as well as F1 and others.

Some might say serendipity brought these two legends together. I think a higher power wanted the world to see this meeting up close and personal. After all, Vintage Auto racing is heaven on earth.

See you at the track.

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Weekend Wallpaper is a weekly series featuring the automotive photography of the Daily Derbi crew.  This week’s photo is by Neil Eschenfelder

*Weekend Wallpapers are provided for personal / non-commercial use only. No commercial usage is allowed. By downloading the Weekend Wallpaper, you agree to these terms.

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