1936 Alfa Romeo 12C

To compete with the German might of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union, Alfa Romeo let Vittorio Jano design and build his own V12 Grand Prix car. Called the 12C, it was going to be a successor to the largely successful Tipo B P3.

First prepared in 1936, the twelve liter V12 was impressive in specification, but only drove to two victories at Barcelona and the Vanderbilt cup. For the following season it was upgraded to include twin superchargers and the engine’s displacement was increased.

Unfortunately the upgraded cars didn’t keep pace with the well developed silver arrows and ace driver Tazio Nuvolari disliked the car’s handling. So much so, he defected to the German companies.

While the 12C’s racing career seemed over, Alfa Romeo tried once more, refining the chassis, sometimes using a remarkable 16 cylinder engine derived from twin Alfetta 158 engines. As in the years previous the cars didn’t work, and Alfa later focused on the Alfetta, selling off the four or so V12 cars.

In Detail

positionFront Longitudinal
aspirationRoots-Type Supercharger
valvetrainDOHC, 2 Valves per Cyl
fuel feed2 Weber Carburetors
displacement4495 cc / 274.3 in³
bore72 mm / 2.83 in
stroke92 mm / 3.62 in
power320.7 kw / 430 bhp @ 5800 rpm
specific output95.66 bhp per litre
bhp/weight530.86 bhp per tonne
body / frameAluminum Body on Steel Ladder Frame
driven wheelsRWD
front brakesDrums
f brake sizemm / in
rear brakesDrums
r brake sizemm / in
steeringWorm & Sector
f suspensionArms w/Coil Springs, Hydraulic Dampers
r suspensionSwing Axles w/Transverse Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs, Hydraulic Telescopic Dampers, Friction Dampers
curb weight810 kg / 1786 lbs
wheelbase2800 mm / 110.2 in
front track1370 mm / 53.9 in
rear track1430 mm / 56.3 in
length4240 mm / 166.9 in
height1130 mm / 44.5 in
gear ratios:1
top speed~310.6 kph / 193 mph