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This photo of an Alfa 8C-35, the Tattersfield Special, at Indy was given to me by my great uncle, Paul Guthrie. Before he passed, he told me that he had owned the car and Cy Marshall had driven it to a respectable 8th place in the 1947 race. From my research, the car was entered by Bill White but there is no mention of my uncle ever owning the car. I'm trying to get the story straight. If anybody has any more information on this car, I would like to hear from you.

Mario Alvarez

In the first photo, my uncle is 5th from the right. The second photo was autographed by Cy Marshall and was given to my uncle.
 

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Alfa Romeo Tipo C N. 50012

It is quite likely that additional prints of these photos can be had from the Indianapolis Speedway Museum. The photo archive is quite interesting and I recommend anyone truly interested visit the museum and ask to go upstairs to see the archive where prints can be ordered quite reasonably. This does mean that one day should probably be spent in the Museum and another spent in the Photo Archive area.

The subject car here is Alfa Romeo Tipo C No. 50012, oftentimes referred to as "Type 8C-35" because of the engine which was later replaced in the Tipo C series with a 12 cylinder for many races in what was nominally the same chassis. This particular car carried an additional identifier "SF64" from Scuderia Ferrari, the official racing arm of Alfa Romeo at the time of the car's build and earliest racing.

The ownership history may be even more complicated than that of the car and its parts? Although William S. White was known as the owner for a long period because of his "entrant" status at multiple races, who knows how many silent partners there might have been at various times? Simon Moore is preparing a book on these cars and is well along with it. I don't know if he has additional information about USA ownership history but he is unlikely to scoop himself here. If you share some personal contact information (an email address?) with me I can put him in touch with you. I suggest a personal message using this forum.

I have a few notes I can share since they have been collected independently. I have had a bit of enhanced interest since I did a bit of work on the broken and disassembled engine when Peter Giddings purchased it from David Uihlein perhaps a dozen or more years ago. I also did some work on the similar engines numbered 50013 and 50015 and got to have a good look at engine 50014 when it was in Italy many years ago. I've also been allowed to have a close look at chassis 50012 on a couple of occasions as it sits on display in the Alfa Romeo Museum albeit with a 12-cylinder engine fitted. That 12-cylinder engine is numbered in such a way as to make me believe that it also has a complex history.

The car, as it appears in the photos shared above, has been modified considerably but it is clear that there are still many of the primary elements present. After racing in Europe 1935-1936, the car was brought to the USA by Scuderia Ferrari as a "backup car" for the Vanderbilt Cup Race held October 12, 1936. The car was used in practice by Nuvolari with the race #10 but the car was not used in the actual race. Farina raced in a 12-cylinder with race #10. After the race, 50012 was sold nominally to William S. White, owner of an unsupercharged Miller (race #17) that had raced with Geo. Conner driving. If I recall correctly, the story is that White was married to the owner of a chain of supermarkets and had some money as a result, but since the money was perhaps not really his, it may be that there were partners in the car from the start?

50012 was raced at Indianapolis in 1937 as the "Bowes Sealfast Special". Rex Mays and Lawson Harris shared the car and it was a DNF due to overheating. Rex Mays also raced it July, 1937 at the Vanderbilt Cup where he finished third despite a slow pit stop.

Over the winter of 1937/1938, the engine was reduced to three liters by Offenhauser and additional modifications were overseen by Jean Marcenac including some chassis and body modifications made by Ernie Weil.

Rex Mays raced again in the car at Indianpolis, May, 1938 where he qualified third, led the first few laps and then had a DNF with a "frozen blower".

At Indianapolis, May, 1939, Babe Stapp qualified 16th in 50012 and finished 5th overall.

Again at Indianapolis, for 1940, Harry McQuinn & Kelly Petillo finished 11th overall, sharing 50012 runnng as the "Hollywood's Pay-Day Special". The same team finished 7th o/a with 50012 at Indianpolis in 1941.

At Indianapolis 1946, 50012 was called the "Mobiloil Special" and Jimmy Wilburn completed only 52 laps to a DNF.

The photos above show Cy Marshall at Indianapolis 1947. Published results disagree as to whether the car finished 7th or 8th overall. I have seen an undated photo showing Art Scovell at the wheel of 50012 wearing the race #34 at a dirt track in Wisconsin. I've seen another sequence of photos of 50012 bearing race #15 with Duke Nalon at the wheel of the "Ziffrin Special" at Milwaukee. My notes indicate the car was "racing, spinning, crashed" in the photos.

William White divorced and became a tavern owner in the Los Angeles area and had the 8C-35 (without engine) on display in the back of the tavern for a time. The chassis was reportedly fitted at some point with an air-cooled Ranger engine and then a Chevrolet Six for a time. The last race number recorded for the car was race #32 "as last raced". The car was then sold or traded to Joe Gemsa in 1964 and then was traded again for a 1952 Singer and $350 to Michael Agabra. It was then sold to Alfa Romeo and photos show that the chassis and suspension had been modified substantially at the front.

Fusi restored the chassis of 50012 with some 8C2900 parts and with a 12C engine that had lived more than one life already. A new body was made and the car has been on display at Alfa Romeo for many years. It is the only Tipo C existing in 12-cylinder form so far as I know. Unfortunately, it made no history "in period" as a 12-cylinder. It was displayed 2009 at Retromobile and almost certainly at some Alfa Centennial events last year. I'm sure those events can be found through searching a bit online.

I will share more about the seeming disposition of some other parts of this car in another posting.

John de Boer
The Italian Car Registry
 

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Discussion Starter #4
John,
Thanks. That's quite a history lesson. Sorry I can't share any more information on the car besides what I've provided. My email is: helisa at me dot com.
 

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I guess after reading this history, this is not the car that is kept in the Indy Museum and will be displayed at the Keeneland Concours this July for the National Alfa Convention. ??? What is that car?
 

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I guess after reading this history, this is not the car that is kept in the Indy Museum and will be displayed at the Keeneland Concours this July for the National Alfa Convention. ??? What is that car?
See this thread.
 

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Indianapolis Speedway Museum

I don't know what the Speedway Museum will be displaying this year but I do know that they have an Alfa Romeo 308, something of an evolution and amalgamation of the Tipo C and some 2900 parts prepared for racing. The car has a "Tipo C" ID plate and is essentially a "lowered" Tipo C with a 3 liter engine in place of the 3.8 liter. The Grand Prix Formula had changed for 1938 and the 308 was a bit of a stop-gap as Alfa Romeo developed the 312 and then the 316 in an attempt to become competitive against the German builders. I had a good look at the car at Indianapolis many years ago when it was not on display but more time with it would certainly be nice. I'm sure that there is more to learn from looking carefully at all of the component parts but we cannot be certain that it is made up of all the same parts that it had in 1938. In fact, as with many racing cars, it is quite likely that some parts were replaced before it was sold off. Some parts perhaps were taken from another car or two, and some parts have probably been made new at some point or other, either as one or more repairs or in a search for more speed. As an example, another "308" was sold by Alfa Romeo as a special, fitted with an 8C-35 (3800cc) engine, perhaps the ultimate evolution of a Tipo C in 8-cylinder form.

The Speedway Museum car was completed 1938 after "Alfa Corse" had replaced "Scuderia Ferrari" as the racing arm of Alfa Romeo. Some of the same people were involved and Alfa Corse (A.C.) continued numbering cars just as Scuderia Ferrari had done previously. This car is number "308/77" (or A.C. "77", where 50012 is SF "64" as discussed above) and the engine fitted to 308/77 is a recycled and modified earlier race engine that bears Scuderia Ferrari (SF) "54" on a crankcase numbered "422022". This is basically a crankcase from an Alfa Romeo 2900 that was itself derived from that of a Tipo B ("P3") racing car. There are historical implications in all of these numbers but what may be most interesting is that, when I was at Alfa Romeo during the late 1990's and we discussed the three existing Alfa Romeo 308 cars in the world today, I was told that none of the three had correct-seeming number identities as far as Alfa Romeo is concerned. My personal opinion is that their expectations were (and maybe still are?) incorrect.

308/77 was sold 1940 to George Rand, was painted blue and did some racing during 1940. It was sold 1944 and did some more racing in the late 1940's and into the 1950's. I have not made a particular study of the racing history for the car and have collected fewer clues to ownership history. I don't know when it was first painted red in the USA but it may be that red is on the car now because it would have been red when it raced 1938 and 1939 in Italy? Here are some photos in the computer from a hasty visit at the Indy Museum a couple of years ago when the car was on display.

John
 

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Indianapolis and the Tipo C 50012

And a few more images taken February 2009 at the Speedway Museum.

Apologies for the poor image quality. But, some things need to be seen in person in any case!
 

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Indy 308 at keeneland 7/2011

I got several picture of the Indy Museum 308 at Keeneland Racetrack during the Concours during the Alfas in the Bluegrass National Convention in Lexington. The motor is numbered 422022 as is the firewall plate.
 

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Cy Marshall 8C-35

That's my dad sitting in the drivers seat. We have several of the original photos here in our gallery. We too have tried to track down this car and found that it is in fact in the Alfa museum. Would be interested in receiving any additional information about the car and others involved.

Cy Marshall, Jr.



This photo of an Alfa 8C-35, the Tattersfield Special, at Indy was given to me by my great uncle, Paul Guthrie. Before he passed, he told me that he had owned the car and Cy Marshall had driven it to a respectable 8th place in the 1947 race. From my research, the car was entered by Bill White but there is no mention of my uncle ever owning the car. I'm trying to get the story straight. If anybody has any more information on this car, I would like to hear from you.

Mario Alvarez

In the first photo, my uncle is 5th from the right. The second photo was autographed by Cy Marshall and was given to my uncle.
 
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