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Homepage. This page: Background history to the ex-Dennis Poore 8C35.

1935 Alfa Romeo GP car, chassis #50013.

As the Dodge transporter has already been introduced, time to mention the star car that it once carried - this stunning Alfa Romeo 8C-35 from the mid 1930s, seen here at Bo'ness hillclimb in 1952, with Poore at the wheel. The Dodge is just visible at the top centre of the image, with its rear doors open (interior panels painted white).
Poore in the Alfa Romeo at Bo'ness in 1952
Photo: (C) Simon Lewis Transport Books - used with permission.
Poore driving the Alfa, features on the cover of the October 1950 race programme at Castle Combe.
Alfa Romeo on the Castle Combe race programme
A paddock photograph, perhaps at Goodwood, showing the Alfa with a see of admirers looking over it intently. To the left is a transporter belonging to another driver.
Alfa Romeo 8C
In earlier races, Poore didn't wear a crash hat. This photo was taken at an unknown venue, one rainy day in the early 1950s.
Alfa Romeo
Prescott hillclimb, with the Alfa Romeo in full flight.
Alfa Romeo 8C-35
Notwen Oils was one of the sponsors behind R.D. Poore and his 8C Alfa. Their logo appears on both the transporter and trailer.
Notwen Oils - sponsor to Dennis Poore
R.D. Poore acquired the 8C-35 in the years following WW2, and it was because of racing this large heavy machine that he decided to buy and convert the Dodge transporter in order to carry the car to meetings up and down the UK.

Previously, he'd used a V8 Ford road car with the trailer (which is also to be restored) hitched to the back. However the combined weight of the Alfa, and the massive trailer, were a bit much for the old flathead Ford to cope with, hence the search for a more effective replacement. But for now, back to the Alfa..

Alfa 8C-35

Plans were set in motion during 1934 to build a new car at Alfa Romeo, to take the fight to the superior cars being campaigned by the Mercedes Benz and Auto Union teams from Germany. The P3 (or Tipo B) was getting a little long in the tooth, and a replacement was needed if winning ways were to return to the Italian constructor. During the 1930s the cars were run in competition by Scuderia Ferrari, in the days before Enzo turned to building his own motorcars. The 8C-35 received a new chassis, penned by Vittorio Jano, with independent suspension at each corner, and the gearbox mounted at the back, just ahead of the rear axle. The engine of the new car, the Tipo C or 8C-35, was again, like the Tipo B, a straight 8, but now 3.8 litres in capacity and of a new design. The type's first competitive outing was in September 1935, for the Italian Grand Prix. The following year a sister type was produced, utilising the same basic chassis but now fitted with a V12 unit, and christened the 12C36. This in turn was modified during 1936/37 to create the 12C37, when the engine size was enlarged to 4.5 litres, and a host of changes made under the skin. With the V12s now spearheading the Scuderia's attack on the circuit, three 8C-35s were sold to private individuals.

Car no. 50013, which Poore later took over, was sold originally to Swiss driver Hans Reusch in around 1936, and he took it hillclimbing in September of that year at Shelsley Walsh in Worcestershire. The car, co-driven by Richard Seaman, would win the Donington GP later in that year. The 8C-35 would compete again at several venues in 1937/8 across Europe, with the car finally being sold to well-known dealer Robert Arbuthnot shortly before the outbreak of WW2.

After the war, amateur racer Dennis Poore acquired the car from Arbuthnot, and entered it in sprints and hillclimbs around the UK, with notable success. After rolling the car at an early hillclimb, he repaired the Alfa and repainted it in his chosen livery of green, with the flying Pegasus on the bonnet (an emblem shared with Ken Hutchinson, who ran a P3 in a similar colourscheme I believe, as part of the Hutchinson-Poore Racing Organisation). Poore retired from racing in 1955 to concentrate fully on his business interests, by which time the Alfa was already in semi-retirement, coming out only occasionally for VSCC Richard Seaman meetings.

In 1955 the car, the transporter, and the trailer, were all parked up on Poore's estate in a dry building, and left in storage for many years. The car never competed in his hand's again as far as I know, and rarely saw light of day. Poore sold his original estate, and moved from the Southampton area, bringing all his team effects to a new storage location at his new residence.

The Alfa at Bo'ness hillclimb
Perhaps the car's sole public appearance after competition was in 1974, for Castrol's "Great Motoring Extravaganza" held at Olympia. Poore was persuaded to bring the 8C-35 out of storage, and put it on display. The car was taken to Sten "Tammy" Aberg's garage which was down in the New Forest I believe, near Ringwood. Tammy had been Poore's second mechanic in the 40s and 50s, often working on the Alfa at race meetings. Poore engaged Tammy in prepping the car for display at the Castrol event. This entailed stripping all the grease and preservatives from the coachwork and chassis of the car, and polishing it up. The photograph at the foot of this page, showing the Alfa in its green paintjob, was taken at Tammy's garage during this preparation of the car for this racing car show.
Alfa Romeo 8C-35 50013 in 1974
Following the Castrol event, the Alfa was taken back to its storage building, where it would remain for many more years, out of sight. In 1987 Poore passed away, and the following year the team's equipment was put up for auction at Monaco. A private collector bought the team's effects, and the car (along with the transporter) spent some years in the Donington museum.

In the 1990s the car changed hands yet again, and set off for a new life in the USA with its new owner. He stripped it completely and re-commissioned the car so that it could once more compete against similar monoposto racing cars, this time in historic events. The restoration was thorough, and the car returned to a shade of red similar to that which it would have worn during the Scuderia Ferrari days, as opposed to the colour it wore when Poore raced it. From the mid 1940s until the 1990s the car had been preserved in very original order, barring a few upgrades (such as larger superchargers) that Poore installed during his ownership. As a result of this restoration, the car can occasionally be seen (and heard!) out on track.

Former team mechanic Sten Aberg with the Alfa Romeo at Goodwood
The only time I've seen 50013 was at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, back in 1997 or 1998. We stayed at Sten (Tammy) Aberg's home, as he lived not far from Goodwood, and in return we paid for his tickets to attend the 3 days at the FOS. We didn't know that the Alfa was taking part in the event, so it came as a great surprise to stumble across it, and its then-owner, in the paddock. Tammy hadn't seen the car since 1974, and was delighted to see the old stager once more. This was a great opportunity to see the car close-up for the first time, chat with the owner about both the car and the Dodge, and sit behind the wheel of this mighty machine. The slightly incongruous box attached to the side of the car, holds a battery for the new electric starter. Last I heard was that the car changed owner during 2006, being sold to Peter Greenfield, again in the USA.

More photos of the Alfa Romeo

Below are some more photographs showing the 8C-35. Where possible I've identified the source of the images, but if I've got any wrong, please let me know and I'll correct it, or remove it, if you own copyright and don't want it shown here. Thanks to Ted, at Ferret Fotographics, for ok-ing the use of some of his images here, in low resolution form. Click on any of the following thumbnails to see a larger version.
Alfa
Source: Not known
Alfa
Source: G. Griffiths
Alfa
Source: Ferret
Alfa
Source: G. Griffiths
Alfa
Source: Ferret
Alfa
Source: Ferret
Alfa
Source: Ferret
Alfa
Source: Not known
Alfa
Source: Not known
Alfa
Source: M/World Pub.
Alfa
Source: R. Jones
Alfa
Source: R. Jones

8C-35 at a postwar hillclimb

Antony dropped me a line in 2008, with the photo reproduced below, one of several that his father took either side of the war featuring single seater racing cars. The venue is believed to be Shelsley Walsh, and I suspect the date is late 1940s as Poore was still driving the Alfa minus a crash hat. Thanks to Antony for emailing the photograph, and agreeing to it being shown here!
Alfa Romeo at a post-war hillclimb

Video footage showing the Alfa running

If listening to straight eight Grand Prix car engines running is your thing, have a look at the link below on YouTube, that shows the restored Poore Alfa running at a show a few years back. What a sound!
In 2013, the car was sold at auction in Britain. The following video was created featuring the history of the car by use of period footage, including during Poore's ownership.
Return to the main Dodge transporter restoration page here.
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