Alfa 8C 2900 and Ferdinand Porsche? - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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Alfa 8C 2900 and Ferdinand Porsche?

"The Alfa Romeo 8C was launched in 1931 and, at the time of launch, was the world's fastest production car. The name comes from the eight-cylinder engine, designed by Vittorio Jano and consists of a full range of road and competition cars. Initially, the idea was to defeat the "Silver Arrows" of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union, so Alfa Romeo needed to renew its competition models such as 8C 2300 and Type B. Instead of starting from zero, Alfa Romeo used the services of Ferdinand Porsche, who already worked in the Auto Union, beginning development of the 6C 2300 B and the 8C 2900, both with independent suspension on four wheels." says Jornal dos Classicos.

First sight of this was in Classic & Sportscar April 2019 edition in a story o the Zell am See, where a 2.9 participated : "The 2.9 has close links with Porsche because the great Austrian was enlisted as a consultant to help design its independent suspension, and as payment he received several 8Cs to sell"

I googled it and found the first quote, so, this is true?

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Last edited by seasalt; 06-15-2019 at 10:40 AM.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 11:39 PM
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Repost: https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/#/topics/674524

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by seasalt View Post
"The Alfa Romeo 8C was launched in 1931 and, at the time of launch, was the world's fastest production car. The name comes from the eight-cylinder engine, designed by Vittorio Jano and consists of a full range of road and competition cars. Initially, the idea was to defeat the "Silver Arrows" of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union, so Alfa Romeo needed to renew its competition models such as 8C 2300 and Type B. Instead of starting from zero, Alfa Romeo used the services of Ferdinand Porsche, who already worked in the Auto Union, beginning development of the 6C 2300 B and the 8C 2900, both with independent suspension on four wheels." says Jornal dos Classicos.

First sight of this was in Classic &Sportscar April 2019 edition in a story o the Zell am See, where a 2.9 participated : "The 2.9 has close links with Porsche because the great Austrian was enlistedas a consultant to help design its independent suspension, and as payment he received several 8Cs to sell"

I googled it and found the first quote, so, this is true?

I would say that the best description for this text is BS.

The 1931 8C was the 8C2300, a cart sprung, otherwise excellent car. The first attempts of the Silver Arrows, at that time not yet fully successfull, was in 1934, so the idea of defeating the Germans with the 8C2300 is pure nonsense. As is nonsense the relationship between Porsche delivering the design of independent suspension as a result of race domination: it had yet to come! The contracts for the Porsche consultance on suspensions are dated 1934, and the first application at Alfa summer 1935. The need for new cars, both 6C and 8C was identified as early as beginning 1934, again before any German achievement in GP. And indeed the consultance was signed for both the 6C and 8C suspension schemes.

The idea that Porsche was paid with 8Cs is further BS, the contract had precise amounts to be paid by Alfa for the job, and no 8C2900 was ever delivered to any German carmaker. A 6C was instead to be delivered to Porsche as part of the contract, for study purposes.

Modern times, fake news rule even when dealing with history. Spinning BS earn you more money than telling any truth...


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Pete
For me, that just opens on the main forum page? Firefox and Chrome both.

Last edited by seasalt; 06-13-2019 at 08:02 PM.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 01:51 AM
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Originally Posted by seasalt View Post
For me, that just opens on the main forum page? Firefox and Chrome both.
He may have meant this thread.

-Ruedi
[SIZE="1"]'63 2600 Touring Spider (AR 191437, the car that started the 2000/2600 International Register, reassembly in progress)
ex-'65 2600 SZ (AR 856043, the car in my avatar, sold as resto project to Austria)
Maintainer of a private 2600 SZ register (not the one in the Netherlands).[/SIZE]
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tubut View Post
He may have meant this thread[/URL].
Thank you Tubut.

I did find a couple of relevant threads: Because of lack of posts, I cannot post URLs, but this post is titled "alfa-romeo-cars-sale-wanted/674732-1939-alfa-romeo-8c-2900-b-touring-berlinetta"
"Background to the 8C2900 model
The year 1934 saw the entry into Grand Prix racing of both Mercedes-Benz and Auto-Union (the "silver arrows") and it quickly became clear that suspension by rigid axles on semi- or quarter-elliptic springs was outdated. Alfa Romeo realised that the design philosophy behind the 8C2300 sports car as well as the Grand Prix Tipo B needed a complete revision. Rather than start from scratch, the management of Alfa Romeo contracted with the Porsche design office (who had been responsible for the design of the Auto Union) to design new all independent suspension systems for the 6C2300B (Project number 63) and the 8C2900 (Project number 69). Meanwhile the technical department at Alfa Romeo back in Milan designed a new very rigid frame - a complete change from the rather flexible ones used up to that time.

The 6C2300 model had been introduced in 1934 to replace the earlier six cylinder models but featured chain driven overhead camshafts rather than gear driven ones; it was still on semi-elliptic springs. For 1935, the engine and gearbox were retained but mounted in a new all independent chassis based on double trailing arms with enclosed spring/damper units at the front and torsion bars at the rear. This car was called the 6C2300B.

For the replacement of the very successful 8C2300 model, Alfa Romeo used similar but not identical front suspension on the 8C2900 as on the 6C2300B but a completely different rear set-up. This featured a gearbox in unit with the back axle, swing axles, radius arms and a transverse leaf spring supported in the middle; to prevent the worst swing axle effects, Alfa designed a system which effectively shortened the spring length independently on each side. There was a pair of shock absorbers on each side, one hydraulic, the other an adjustable friction type; the adjustment was by cable on the early cars, hydraulic on the later ones."

and "romeo-f12-a12/515626-transmission-f12"
"Historically speaking, the first Alfa production car using a transaxle was not the 1970s Alfetta but the 8C 2900 A from 1936, previously tested in race cars since 1934, as per the page from Fusi's "Tutte le Vetture..." below, with independent front and rear suspension designed at Porsche under separate contracts. The front suspension was designed earlier for the 6C 2300 and rear suspension designed specifically for the 8C with a transaxle. Both suspensions use an ingenious design that compensates for changes in toe-in and/or track width according to suspension travel."

Nothing touching on the purported payment in 8C cars.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 09:51 AM
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The first quote (link here) is from the auction text here, which seems to follow Simon Moore's descriptions. The second one (link here) I wrote 3 years ago -- and I learned quite a bit since then.

I'm convinced that the notion of "Porsche designed the front suspension" is incorrect. This notion sounds too much like outsourcing. In several sources, Busso and Fusi (and others) describe it as Dubonnet, Dubonnet/Porsche or even Dubonnet/Porsche/Jano suspension. The last term is probably the most accurate. One of the best descriptions seems to be embedded in Busso's comments in "La 6C2500: un'analisi severa" in Tito Anselmi's book "Alfa Romeo 6C 2500" (published in 1993), where he describes some technical aspects of the front and rear suspension, and also mentions that the 6C 2300B front suspension was "prepared towards the middle of 1934" (that is, before the German cars won races, the first of which was the Coppa Acerbo in Pescara in August of 1934).

According to Busso and Fusi, the front suspension is clearly based on Dubonnet's patent portfolio (Dubonnet had patents for both the trailing arm principle as well as spring and shock absorbing system, applied for in the 1929-1935 time frame). Alfa first used the Dubonnet system on some P2 racing monopostos as well as on the Bimotore, and changed and evolved on these cars and then the 6C 2300 B and the 8C 2900. I believe that Alfa under Jano, driven by market forces and, according to Busso, the "impatient" Scuderia Ferrari, already worked on the Dubonnet system several months before the collaboration with Porsche started. Where the house Porsche (that is, most likely, Porsche's engineer Karl Rabe) comes into the picture is for steering geometry: Porsche had several patents for linkage between steering box and steering rods, and specifically one patent that relates to the steering rods being attached to a lever that is mounted in the center of the frame and so corrects steering angle and toe-in according to suspension travel, which certainly has been used on the 6C 2300 B and 8C 2900. In essence, Porsche's steering geometry patent is an application of three-dimensional trigonometry with radii in multiple planes -- today, relatively easy to do on a computer, but quite complicated and elaborate when one has to do it by hand. Porsche later also patented the use of two independent torsional rods for the Dubonnet front suspension (instead of helical coil springs), which was used in the Volkswagen Beetle.

According to Busso, Porsche was also involved with geometry of the rear axle (not the suspension), where steering angle and toe-in were corrected according to the travel of the swing axle. IMO, it's also conceivable that some of Porsche's involvement may have been with the gearbox, both in terms of synchronisation of gears as well as shaping the geometry of the gear rings between the differential and the swing axles.

Several rumors seem to exist with respect to partial payment in cars, but none of the ones I heard relate to an 8C changing hands. At the time Porsche was involved, the 8C 2900 had not even been considered as a production model -- so, forget about that notion. But the rumor of payment "in kind" may have a different context: Total annual production of Alfa Romeo in 1935 was 91 cars, only 10 in 1936, and 270 cars in 1937. Money was tighter than tight -- so it's conceivable that payment took some other form than cash, but given the low production numbers, payment in form of a car may have been a little bit too rich. I don't remember where I read that Anton Pich, Porsche's son-in-law, drove a 6C 2300B, in which he brought an Adler rear axle to Alfa for studying before the axle was shipped to New York, and that his car was changed to 6C 2300 B Pescara specs. IMO, it is conceivable that some of these upgrades were not at full price and may or may not have been partial payment (or maybe just for road testing of the engineering work?).

It should be noted that Busso's comments in "La 6C2500: un'analisi severa" seem to have a somewhat bitter undertone (although my Italian is not that good to be sure) when he mentions that the Volkswagen Beetle introduced in 1939 had "close similarities" with the Alfa front and rear suspension, so much so that "the geometries were practically the same" as that of Alfa's, which leads is to another rumor: That Alfa's work concerning the rear axle was given to Porsche as partial payment (for Porsche to use) -- which would make the relationship between Alfa and Porsche to look more like a joint venture than an outsourcing contract. Given Busso's words, this seems to be a valid possibility, but I haven't seen any evidence of it (and I don't know what exactly the scope and the terms of Porsche contracts #63 and #69 were).

-Ruedi
[SIZE="1"]'63 2600 Touring Spider (AR 191437, the car that started the 2000/2600 International Register, reassembly in progress)
ex-'65 2600 SZ (AR 856043, the car in my avatar, sold as resto project to Austria)
Maintainer of a private 2600 SZ register (not the one in the Netherlands).[/SIZE]
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 02:01 AM
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I can positively state that there is a contract between Porsche and Alfa Romeo dated Sept 14, 1934 where Porsche is entrusted the design and construction of front and rear suspensions for a Turismo car (6C2300) and a Sports one (8C2900 - 220HP in the description), to be delivered between October and November 1934 - including detailed design and those related to the tooling needed for the construction of the same.
The amount to be paid was 50 000 RM. Payment in 4 parts: signature; overal drawings; detail drawings; assembled suspensions.
The contract was revised/completed in April 1936 with a license/patent deal. The patents owned by Porsche which would be used by Alfa are listed (14 German patents - some which are registered in different countries I guess are the same as the German ones). There come also the 2 6C2300Bs to be delivered to Porsche within 3 months from the signature. For the licensing and use of the patents, Alfa would pay 46 000 RM "through clearing", that is a kind of bank transfer. In the case Alfa would fail to deliver the two cars, an amount of 6000 RM per car was intended as compensation.
Reference is explicit to the suspension schemes, swing rear axle and front suspension with parallel swinging levers.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 03:14 PM
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Wow, Patrick, this is sensationally precise information -- thank you for sharing it, I'm glad somebody could finally shed some light on what Porsche's involvement was and how the payment was set up!

-Ruedi
[SIZE="1"]'63 2600 Touring Spider (AR 191437, the car that started the 2000/2600 International Register, reassembly in progress)
ex-'65 2600 SZ (AR 856043, the car in my avatar, sold as resto project to Austria)
Maintainer of a private 2600 SZ register (not the one in the Netherlands).[/SIZE]
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