The Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale, hosted by Bonhams will offer prospective buyers a unique opportunity to purchase a slice of Grand Prix racing history when a 1932-34 Alfa Romeo Tipo B Grand Prix Monoposto goes under the hammer for a staggering £4,500,000 – 5,000,000.
This ex-Scuderia Ferrari, ex-Richard-Shuttleworth, 1935 Donington Grand Prix-winning beauty can justifiably claim to be the most significant Grand Prix car in the history of international road racing at the highest level – it was the Tipo B in its debut season of 1932 that became the first successful centre-seat monoposto Grand Prix car.
An unusual centre-line driving position and slightly uncomfortable single seat for the unaccompanied driver make for the ultimate driving experience. Open wheels and lack of mudguards are enough to make health and safety officials wear blinkers.
The Tipo B cars were manufactured originally by Alfa Romeo at Portello, Milan, in two batches in 1932-33, each of six individual cars, while the Scuderia Ferrari in Modena in combination with Portello produced one extra car – this particular car on offer now – from available parts, making 13 in all.
Engine size was enlarged progressively to 2.9 litres for 1934, and to 3,165cc or ‘3.2’ litres.
Painted in red with the usual Alfa badge on its hood, the Tipo B also wears two Ferrari logos on either side of the split bonnet side panels in reference to earlier days racing.
Leading Alfa Romeo authority Simon Moore validates this wonderful car most unequivocally in his definitive book, ‘The Magnificent Monopostos’, listing its racing appearances in Richard Shuttleworth’s hands as follows:
March 16 – Brooklands – Mountain Handicap. Retired
April 13 – Donington Park – 1st in a handicap race. Retired from a second race
April 22 – Brooklands Mountain Circuit – 1st in Heat, retired from Final
May 6 – Brooklands International Trophy – 4th
May 18 – Shelsley Walsh hill-climb – 1st in class
May 31 – Mannin Moar race, Douglas, Isle of Man – Retired with transmission trouble after leading the first 13 laps of scheduled 50
July 21 – Dieppe Grand Prix, France – finished 4th behind the two Scuderia Ferrari-entered sister cars and Wimille’s works Type 59 Bugatti, ahead of Farina’s 3.4-litre six cylinder Maserati 6C-34
August 13 – Nice Grand Prix, France – Retired 11 laps from the finish after the car boiled dry due to Shuttleworth’s mechanic having left the radiator cap unclipped at the final pit stop
September 4 – Brighton Speed Trials – fastest car (though beaten by a motorcycle)
October 5 – The Donington Grand Prix – 1st, ahead of the two ex-works Type 59 Bugattis of Lord Howe and Charlie Martin
October 19 – Brooklands – won the Mountain Championship, again beating Charlie Martin’s Type 59 Bugatti
November 17 – Brooklands – The Mountain Circuit lap record. This stood as the 2-3 litre class record for all time, faster than various Maseratis