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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

engine V12
position Front Longitudinal
aspiration Roots-Type Supercharger
valvetrain DOHC, 2 Valves per Cyl
fuel feed 2 Weber Carburetors
displacement 4495 cc / 274.3 in³
bore 72 mm / 2.83 in
stroke 92 mm / 3.62 in
power 320.7 kw / 430 bhp @ 5800 rpm
specific output 95.66 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 530.86 bhp per tonne
body / frame Aluminum Body on Steel Ladder Frame
driven wheels RWD
front brakes Drums
f brake size mm / in
rear brakes Drums
r brake size mm / in
steering Worm & Sector
f suspension Arms w/Coil Springs, Hydraulic Dampers
r suspension Swing Axles w/Transverse Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs, Hydraulic Telescopic Dampers, Friction Dampers
curb weight 810 kg / 1786 lbs
wheelbase 2800 mm / 110.2 in
front track 1370 mm / 53.9 in
rear track 1430 mm / 56.3 in
length 4240 mm / 166.9 in
height 1130 mm / 44.5 in
gear ratios :1
top speed ~310.6 kph / 193 mph