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A dream has come to reality. Roadtrip summer 2023

Background story

The car world stoked in 2007 when the new Alfa Romeo 8C was presented at the IAA in Frankfurt with only a few minor changes to the actual concept car from 2003. Both, the Coupe and Convertible versions were built between 2007 and 2010. Each version has been produced 500 times. Almost. I’ll get to that a little later.



The overall design has been made by the German designer Wolfgang Egger, who was the Head of Design at Alfa Romeo Centro Stile back in the days. The car’s looks are undoubtedly finding its origin on the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale and Alfa Romeo TZ & TZ2 from the sixties. A decade that produced almost countless design icons.

Interestingly, Wolfgang Egger started to work as a car designer in 1989 at Alfa Romeo after his studies in Milan. In 1993, he became Head of Design at Seat and was responsible for the Seat Ibiza, Cordoba and Altea. However, he returned to Alfa Romeo in 2001 as a Head of Design and was responsible for the face-liftings of the Alfa Romeo 156, 166 and 147 before he has created the 8C, his masterpiece. Which remains to be his only sportscar design to get into production.

In 2007, he followed Walter Maria de Silva to Volkswagen, where he worked for Audi and Lamborghini. He later was leading the Audi e-Tron (based on the first generation R8) concept car development. Which actually led to the second generation R8’s design a few years later!

Just imagine if we would let Wolfgang Egger lose without any limitations, financially or in design aspects…

I mean the original 8C design study is already 20 years old. Yes, 20 years! And it still looks like it could have come out a couple years ago. The 8C is already a future classic and ages very well!

 

Long story short. I remember getting a 1/18 Bburago Alfa Romeo model kit as a child, which I still own today! I also saw the car in numerous car magazines and always dreamed of seeing one of these.

Well. Here I am today at the age of 25 having the keys to a 2009 Alfa Romeo 8C Spider all for myself to enjoy the car for an extended weekend. A dream comes true. Literally. I struggle to hold back the tears. The glassy eyes are unmistakable. It feels like being a ten-year-old child experiencing Christmas and its birthday at the same time.



The Alfa Romeo 8C was developed in Italy in collaboration with Dallara for the carbon fiber works and with Maserati for the drivetrain and production.The car is made of aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber, powered by the Ferrari/Maserati F136 4.7l 90° cross-plane (typically Maserati) V8 engine which has been used in several other cars like the Ferrari F430 and 458 Italia with less displacement, the Ferrari California (Ferraris with the flat-plane crankshaft) and late noughties Maseratis like the Quattroporte and Gran Turismo, the Alfa-Romeo 8C Competizione is undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements in automotive history.

Here we are. I’m driving my absolute childhood dream car. Never ever have I imagined ending up having an Alfa Romeo 8C for myself. I decided to use this time the proper way and do a short road trip with friends in various cool cars. The key: the bigger the variety, the better.

So, the cars couldn’t be any more different: The Alfa Romeo 8C aka the Italian beauty, the Nissan 300ZX aka the Japanese beast, the engine-swapped BMW E30 aka the drift boy, one of 2’300 Mercedes-Benz 190E Avantgarde Rosso edition aka the German icon with the Desigual-lookalike interior and the Toyota Corolla Levin AE86 aka the Japanese underground community racer.



Day 1

We are meeting up in the morning to strengthen ourselves for the first stint of our two-day-short tour through central Switzerland. After a chat about the cars, we are heading out towards the rather unknown “Hulfteggpass”. A short, but steep and twisty pass road with numerous sound-reflecting rock walls. It is the first time where I’m letting the 8C off the leash.

After 1 ½ hours of driving we stopped for a lunch break. Eaten so much until the stomach tenses and the belt needs to be adjusted one eyelet larger, we get back on the road and continue in the direction towards the Klausenpass.

After we passed all the small villages, the road leads up through the woods. The lower section has treated us with several tunnels where I had to do some downshifts and short pulls because the sound that comes out of the 8C’s pipes is from another world. This car sings an orchestra. Literally. So loud that the drivers behind me couldn’t even hear themselves screaming to each other. Another 50% pull above 3’500rpm, exhaust valves open, upshift to third gear, crackles, the V8 is singing, overload of dopamine and striatum… It’s like listening to a song where you get nonstop frissons. Emotions all over the place.

Further along some rock walls, long curves and some serpentines until you reach the plateau where the pine trees slowly disappear and the topography is treating you with spectacular views, especially towards the main attraction: the deep valleys. To be honest, this has just been our warm-up.

After a short break and chat where we shared our impressions and thoughts, we continued our journey towards Isleten, where we headed up a scenic road towards a vantage point where we had a pleasant view over the “Vierwaldstättersee”. Our last stint leads us towards Andermatt, where we stayed overnight. I highly recommend avoiding using the highway towards the Gotthard-tunnel because there’re traffic jams almost every weekend. On the other side, the regular road along the valley treads you with fantastic views, too.




Day 2

I woke up shortly after 6am to drive up the mighty Gotthard pass road myself to photograph the 8C where I’m not disturbing anyone else. And of course, to get clear roads for beautiful photos. The early bird catches the worm. It’s been a huge pleasure being up there on this scenic road all for myself, enjoying life and looking at the car while sitting on stone walls, hearing the chirping birds and water splashing down the cliffs. I guess the shown photos speak for themselves.

 


Two hours later, the sun kissed the valley. Time to head back down for breakfast and getting ready for day number two.

Our route continues to the well-known Furkapass which is known for its appearance in James Bond’s Goldeneye movie. The roads were still surprisingly quiet and empty at 9am during this end of July’s weekend. Nonetheless, better for us to enjoy the roads without cyclists and campers.

But we’re coming across something unexpected called Europ’Raid. A 22 day, 8’300-kilometer-long tour that leads through 20 countries in Europe. Over 300 Peugeot 205s participate for this adventure. There were stickered up cars all over the place at the Furka Belvedere and Grimselpass. Literally, they were everywhere!



Down the Grimselpass, along the reservoirs and rugged rock faces to Innertkirchen, right turn and straight towards the Sustenpass. One of my top 3 passes in Switzerland. A road made up and put together of what feels like that the best corner of any racetrack in the world has been aligned as a huge asphalt snake towards the top. Added is an incredibly diverse topography of canyons, tunnels, rock faces and viewpoints. A true happy place for us! Heaven on earth does actually exist.

But unexpectedly, a silver Peugeot 205 kept up with us. Pushes every horsepower out of it. What is going on here? It turned out that it is a 205 GTi with a professional rally driver behind the steering wheel. And the passengers are a youtuber with his professional cameraman who films the whole adventure. Quite a scene!



We stopped for a short chat, some guys changed their passenger seats and we continued driving with the French guys. All the way back down to Wassen, where we ended up eating lunch together and having a good time. Surprisingly fun turnout.

After lunchtime, the French continued their official route towards Italy while we took the other direction, facing northern Switzerland. Due to traffic jams we decided to drive back the same way via Klausenpass and Hulfteggpass.


To end the weekend, we spontaneously decided to have a barbecue during sunset, recapitulating all the impressions we’ve made the past 48 hours and celebrated our cars which never made any problems despite a tiny lack of cooling power in the engine-swapped BMW E30.

 

Two successful days are in the books. We literally can’t wait to plan the 2024 adventure. Some epic ideas are already flying around. Stay tuned!

If you’d like to see some more footage of our roadtrip, I highly recommend you to check the Vlogs we’ve filmed during this weekend.



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