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Discussion Starter #1
Calling all Alfa historians!
I'm looking to build a 1/8 scale model of the 1935 German GP winner with which Nuvolari famously trounced the mighty Germans.

I'll be using a Pocher 1/8 Monza kit as a starting point, and want as fully detailed and accurate representation as I can get.

I have to confess to knowing next to nothing about the actual cars, other than the fact they're the sexiest looking early GP cars and the P3 is so deserving of a fine scale model build.

I'm aware the P3 is quite different to the Monza on several levels – dual prop shaft, narrow bonnet, single seat, exhaust on opposite side, narrower track at rear etc. But I need someone to hold my virtual hand and guide me through the differences in the engine and any other variations I should be aware of.

For instance, does anyone know where I may find colour photos of the 1935 GP winning machine, where I might find good detailed drawings or cutaways etc. Is the actual car still in existence, and if so where? Are there any similar P3s in England where I may potentially get photo research?

Any assistance provided will be rewarded with a credit in the build guide that will accompany the model.
 

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You will be able to retain precious little (I mean right nothing...) from the Pocher kit. Save your money, and build it from scratch. Maybe the wheels...

When searching for documentation, remind that the 1935 version featured front Dubonnet suspension instead of live axle, and quarter-elliptic rear. From 1934, the body was also wider as per the rules, so earlier pictures don't fit your needs.

The car still esists, and you may find pics by searching google pictures with alfa+P3+shirley.

There are drawings in Fusi's book, but much less expensive, you might look out for the Profile issued in the 70s.

Good luck!
 

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Furthermore, the 1935 German GP car seems to be special in the sense that supposedly the engine was bored out to 3.2 liters displacement.
 

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Furthermore, the 1935 German GP car seems to be special in the sense that supposedly the engine was bored out to 3.2 liters displacement.
I don't think there's an external difference between the 2.9 and the 3.2 engines. If the German GP cars had been fitted with the 3.8, then there ould have been an issue with the external size.


Patrick: Are you sure that Shirley's P3 is the 1935 German GP car (or is it an older P3 Nuvolari drove)? I last saw this car in July at the 2009 AROC convention in Portland, see pictures in post #18 of this thread -- it is supposedly in unrestored original condition with Nuvolari's sweat still in the leather seat.
No, I didn't check as I just looked out for useful pictures, and Shirley's car is certainly trimmed today as a representation of the 1935 German GP car. But I fail to see any Tipo B in the post you quote.
 

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The engine in the Monza kit is a 2.3, not a 2.9. It's not the same engine internally or externally.
The wheels are a different size, too.
If accuracy is your goal there is literally nothing you'll be able to use from that kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the input so far chaps, and sorry for late response – been away a few days.
Looks like it will have to be built from the ground up then, but i am still confused by the different configurations mentioned for the P3, i.e. wider body used in later models etc. My other problem is finding accurate photos of the '35 German GP machine. Sources on the internet show identical images listed as 1935 and 1934, so hard to judge which is the actual machine I should be basing it on.
Have the Cars In Profile booklet with great drawings but these are of the '33 French GP car.
Maybe a better bet for converting the Monza is to reproduce the '32 Monza GP winning Nuvolari car, which I have pics and a great cutaway drawing featured in The Car magazine, issue No 90.
For me there is no point in building yet another Alfa Monza straight from the box – they're a dime a dozen. I want to celebrate Nuvolari with either the very first genuine single-seater GP car from the '32 Italian GP or the widely regarded greatest victory ever at the '35 German GP.
So is the '32 car closer to what I have in the Monza kit? Certainly appears to have same or similar suspension setup at least.
 

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Alfa Romeo Tipo B ("P3") at GP Deutschland - Nurburgring 28 July 1935

Alfa Romeo Tipo B cars are certainly great cars. Aside the from the lovely visual aspects, they are mechanical works of art in many overt and subtle ways. I was intimately involved with the 1980's restoration of chassis 50001 and enjoyed the car tremendously even though I never got to drive it in anger. I got to tour Laguna Seca with it during the Alfa Parade at Laguna Seca in 1985. One lap, not at speed. Some excitment was had because we'd been told we would be given two laps on this tour, so were all quite surprised when we were suddenly stopped while accelerating near the start-finish line after just one lap. Several of us did a bit of sliding while coming to a hasty stop but no damage was done so far as I know. Marnix Dillenius asked me almost straight away how I felt as I slid the "million dollar car" towards another "million dollar car". My response was an acknowledgement that I would have probably felt obliged to fix them and that I doubted I would have done a million dollars damage. As many will recall, it used to be that this was a quite a lot of money. Heck, I could use it (or something less) right now!

I have to agree that an 8C Monza model is probably not an extremely helpful starting point. The front axle and transmission may be the only truly applicable parts, although there are other parts that might require only minimal modifications, such as the brake drums and perhaps wheels, depending on the target confuration. That said, you probably should study some 8C Monza cars as they will help you to understand the great variety of subtle differences that are possible in these kinds of purpose-built cars.

Unfortunately, photos of Nuvolari's winning Tipo B at the GP of Germany are surprisingly scarce. We can blame some of it on a World War, I suppose? I suspect there are some photos out there waiting to be discovered or shared but so far they have largely evaded the mainstream automotive media. I could probably add to this with a focused effort but here is a listing of a few photos that appear in a few places ... according to notes already compiled:

La Scuderia Ferrari (by Orsini & Zagari) page 293 (Italian edition, there's an English edition as well)
Quando Corre Nuvolari / When Nuvolari Raced (again two different language editions, by Valerio Moretti) page 202
Piloti Che Gente, by Enzo Ferrari page 70 (differing editions probably have the same photo?)
Cars In Profile (UK) page 139
Tazio Vivo page (by Cesare De Agostini) 113, 153 (2 photos)
Alfa Romeo (Fusi's "bible") (fairly late edition) page 258 reproduced a photo that appeared in Auto Italiana (magazine) 20 December 1936 page 21

I have not gone and checked, but I do not believe that these photos show enough detail to be sure of getting a model precisely correct. You would undoubtedly need to study some other cars as well and you would be well-advised to look at a few similar cars in any case to see how it might have been regarding certain details. Regardless, there will be a risk of needing to go back and make some revisions once a new photo is discovered and shared. But, there are some so-called "perfectly restored" cars out there that await the same fate.

The engine size has been disputed greatly and I will leave it to Simon Moore's coming opus on the Alfa Romeo GP cars to give us the revelation of what the collected evidence says about this. I rather suspect he will show us a photo or two that we may not have seen before? I do note that there was a possibly misleading comment in Motor Italia (magazine) of September 1935 that counted the surprise victory at Nurburgring as being among the successes of the 4 liter engine. The GP de l'ACF (France) held earlier was also mentioned .. and seems to have been accurate in that case. But, the 3.2 liter engine (a stretched 2.9) was the engine that was most commonly used at this time and which was nominally quite reliable and capable. And, it could be that the larger 3.8 superchargers were fitted to a 3.2 ... which is what some of the Tipo B cars racing today rely on to make some of their impressive power.

Nuvolari's car had the race #12 and had the so-called "Dubonnet" front suspension which is distinctively different from the earlier configurations, but which is also not exactly consistent in its own configuration. There appear to have been variations and there may have been some developmental changes over time. The rules for 1934 were different from 1932-33 and this required a change in the body width, hence a chance in the appearance. There were other suspension changes at the rear over time as well. It would not be accurate to say that each car changed substantially between each racing event, but there is no doubt that the design and build detail evolved over time.

Nuvolari raced a Maserati at the 1934 Nurburgring event so if you see a photo of Nuvolari in an Alfa Tipo B captioned "1934", it is an error.

As far as which car is the car today, it is true that we have learned some things over the last few years and we may be able to figure it out with some certainty at some point. The lack of detail photos from the event make it difficult to be certain. Unfortunately, there has been a huge amount of additional uncertainty inserted into any discussion due to the wishful thinking of the owners of several of these cars. I recall a comment being made in the 1980's, when Yoshiyuki Hayashi (a Japanese collector/investor) began purchasing Tipo B Alfa Romeo cars, and ended up with quite a large number, that it seemed he was trying to be sure that he had the 1935 German GP winning car. He purchased a few that were clearly NOT the car but it did seem as if he also tried to get each of those the MIGHT have been the car. Unfortunately, I have been told that he discarded most of the historic material that he received with most of his cars so the level of his actual historical interest is subject to some debate. But, doing a hasty review of my notes on these cars, I note that Doug Nye said that the 1935 GP-winning car was the second-series car known as 50005 and I agree that it seems to be quite likely. But, I've not made an actual study of it. Simon Moore has made a study, and while we do not always agree on each and every detail, I believe he will tell us enough in his upcoming book to allow us to make up our own minds ... until some new piece of information comes along.

Best of luck!

John de Boer
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow, thanks very much John for such a detailed and interesting response. Much appreciated and quite valuable for me.

So I'm thinking now that to do the '35 German Tipo B is going to be a major investigative effort before I even embark on the actual model. With such little photographic material and some amount of confusion as to it's post race history, I think it would be very tricky to attempt to recreate that particular car.

But what about the 1932 P3 Monoposto No.8 that won on it's first outing at Monza with Nuvolari? I understand this is the first recognised single seater GP car, and think it would make a great subject for a model as well.

As for my Pocher Monza kit, I will use whatever from it is relevant or useable and can sell the remaining pieces individually on Ebay, or even take moulds from what parts I can use and sell the lot. Having said that, if there is a similar paucity of photographic material on the actual '32 Italian GP car, then my model may end up being my interpretation of it, rather than an exacting reproduction of the original. This may give me some licence to adapt and use more Monza parts as long as the look right, even if they're not millimeter-perfect to the original.

So my next question would be; is there much material out there on the '32 Italian GP Alfa P3, and where's a good place to start looking? And am I right in thinking the '32 car will have a little more in common with the Monza than the later '34/5 cars?

Again, many thanks for the information.
 

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Alfa Romeo Tipo B ("P3") at GP d'Italia 5 June 1932

This car was also almost completely different from an 8C2300 Monza with nominally only the same few parts transferring over from the Monza with perhaps the brake drums being more directly suitable? I am not so intimately familiar with this configuration because almost all the 1932 cars (numbered 5001 - 5006) were modified to 1934 configuration when the rules changed. Many of the photos we have of those early cars show significant modification done over time. But, they were not all precisely like the 1934 model. So far as I know, we don't have any cars today in true 1932 guise to look at to give us a direct insight to what the car was. I have noted a few photo references but have not made an in-depth study of this car so there is almost certainly more to be found, perhaps with little effort?

As a start, the reporting of the day sometimes overtly announced the suppliers of parts in the car. This made for published results that listed things like: "Alfa Romeo - Dunlop" or "Alfa Romeo - Rudge" or "Alfa Romeo - Champion", etc. Because of this practice, we know that the car supposedly had Dunlop tires, Rudge-Whitworth wheels, Champion spark plugs, Bosch electrics and Solex carburetors. When it came to actual racing, there were times when parts were changed out for those from another manufacturer if it was thought to make the car faster, more suitable or more reliable ... or simply got it running after a failure. So we must be careful about what can be assumed from what was listed. that said, we should also not assume that parts were changed when there is no evidence to that effect.

Mechanically, the engine was listed at 2655cc so was not yet what we think of as the "definitive" 2.9 or 3.2. There would not have been much difference externally but there may have been small details? Again, not like a Monza 2.3 or 2.6, although a bit of work might fool the casual observer and a moulding of the engine would probably provide a decent departure point. There were crankcase changes to accomodate the twin blowers and a bit more length to allow for the enlarged displacement. The blowers on this early car may have been a bit smaller than what we are used to seeing today? The Solex carburetors were not used for long (being replaced by Weber) and we would have to research which Solex carb was used ... if I don't already have a note of that somewhere. I do have a note that the Tipo B (5005) in the Alfa Museum has Solex carbs on it. But, were they the ones in use in 1932 at Monza? It would be easy to make an assumption that might not be correct.

The gearbox might have been even more like the Monza as it may have been 4-speed at this time rather than the 3-speed version (wider gears and altered shift gate) used almost certainly at the Nurburburgring in 1935. But then, the 4-speed had already begn to prove a bit weak in the Monza 2.6 cars so it may be that the first Tipo B raced already had a 3-speed? There were occasions when a 4-speed was used in a Tipo B but ... was this one of them?

The oil piping along the chassis and bodywork are different from the 1932 cars to the later cars, both distinctive features. Front and rear suspension details changed from the Monza and during the development of the Tipo B but it may be that the rear leaf springs from an 8C Monza model could be used (with mods) for a model of this car? I have never thought to check if the dimensions might be nominally the same even though the location/suspension configuration is different.

Again, I don't have a lot of photos listed, but here is a start. At a minimum, I believe that these photos are a bit more detailed than the known Nurburgring '35 photos listed previously.

La Scuderia Ferrari (1979, Orsini & Zagari) page 166 and the same photo appears in the large-format Tazio Nuvolari book by Franco Zagari on page 104

Tazio Nuvolari (1992, large format by Zagari) pages 104, 105, 106

Le Grandi Alfa Romeo (1969, Fusi) page 70

Alfa Romeo Gli Uomini (magazine) anno 1 No. 3 page 19 may show a photo of this car? At the moment, I cannot recall anything whatsoever about this magazine and my note implies the photo was not identified or captioned but that the Tipo B wore race #8. Giorgio Nuvolari was in the car and Tazio and Alberto Nuvolari were looking on so it is a rare image showing Nuvolari with both of his sons.

As an aside, there is a show going on for a short time (September to November?) currently in Italy that is displaying photographs taken by Tazio Nuvolari as well as a portion of the show devoted to some of his racing exploits and memorabilia. It is being held in Mantova at the Palazzo Te and is called "Quando Scatta Nuvolari" which is a cute play on Italian language idiom. A pun, in fact. "Scatta" has two meanings in this context, having to do with taking a photo and starting a race rather spiritedly. I've seen only a preview of the show and hope to find a way to go see it although this is currently seeming unlikely ... unless you'd like to pay me to show you the way? I'm sure you can learn more and find your own way if you google the name of the show.

Alfa Romeo La Storia mensile (magazine) n. 1 page 16 shows Mussolini sitting in an early Tipo B that is likely to be this car after the Monza victory. Nuvolari and a group of others are looking on. Mussolini was an enthusiast but it is also an obvious propaganda moment. I would think that other photos might have appeared in contemporary press, not just automotive. Again, I don't know if I have this copied in my files but can check.

When you have settled on what you want to do in the way of a model, I can suggest some ways of finding additional information but I have to warn you that I am not really into models, although appreciatng good ones very much. It may not be much of a priority for most car guys I know but we can ask around for further references. You will undoubtedly have to do some research yourself and I do suggest that you try to see some cars. And, Simon Moore's upcoming book will undoubtedly be a "must-buy" if you are serious.

It would be reasonable to think that the "first" car that won at Monza was either 5001 or 5002 but this might not be correct. Both exist today but neither are in the 1932 form although 5001 is perhaps a bit closer? 5001 has had a two-seater body since 1935 ... when it won the Mille Miglia. Parts on the car come from other Tipo B cars with some of the parts-swapping done most likely at Alfa Romeo early on and then by Scuderia Ferrari before it was sold off and then perhaps some more by Scuderia Ferrari while they maintained and prepared the car for the new owner(s). It is simply the way of the times ... which continue today in real racing.

5002 exists in later form
5003 was modified into later form, then into a British special called "Multi-Union" and then returned more recently to Tipo B configuration but I haven't checked to see in which form it was brought back to. I saw it in England while some work was being done early on in the "restoration".
5004 exists only as an engine at the Alfa Museum with non-matching Weber carbs.
5005 may be the only car that exists nominally in 1932 form although it is clear that some parts have been changed. Although I have seen it a few times, I have not inspected it closely to see how good a yardstick it might be.
5006 was modified to 1934 rules but a subsequent restoration has returned it to 1932 appearance ... if enough research was done to determine which car it was in 1932.

Best of luck.

John
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Many thanks again John for the invaluable information. I'm very much warming to the idea of the Italian GP car, although again it looks like I'll have to dust off my researcher's hat and get busy.

I'm going to do a trawl for images reputed to be of that car, and maybe start drafting some scale drawings as a starting point and post some up here.

Watch this space... but don't hold your breath as I've started to get busy with work again.

regards,

Grant
 

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Victory by Design " Alfa Romeo " has a "50005' P3 on film, racing in 1934 and what it's looks like in the present day with a good close up of the suspension. Great series.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Nice catch Frank. I see from a description of the DVD that it features the 1935 German GP car. Will see if I can snag a copy of that on Ebay.

Thanks,

Grant
 

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Grant

You also can get it from the iTunes store for approx. $18.00 US.

Alan De Cadenet , the host and superb, [thrasher around the track] driver, , is a dyed in the wool Alfa man. With his own, interesting resume [3rd place at Le Mans].

Alan De Cadenet is like a latter day, Count Johnny Lurani, "once a Alfa man, always a Alfa man".

Page 101 in Peter Hull's ALFA ROMEO, Ballantines Illustrated History of the Car Margue book No2" has a, cross section of the P3 chassis layout, 1932.
In addition there are some 1934 photos of the P3 at Dieppe [photo shows the twin propeller shaft transmission] and the opposite page [111] show Louis Chiron, the French ace, at the wheel of a 3.8 liter P3 with Dubonnet independent front suspension from the 1935 Spanish GP at San Sebastian. This, I think, was the same modification to the P3 Nurburg Ring- Novolari P3 car.


Cheers
 

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Tipo B P3 chassis # entered at ACF GPs 1932, 34 & 35

Hi everyone,

I have been looking after this information, but I couldn't find it.

Could you please help me define the chassis # of the Alfa Tipo B P3 entered at the following ACF GPs:

. 1932:
- Nuvolari
- Borzacchini
- Caracciola

. 1934:
- Chiron
- Varzi
- Trossi / Moll

. 1935:
- Nuvolari
- Chiron

Thanks in advance for your precious help!
Antoine
 
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