Dieselpunks

Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Lord K's Garage. 6th issue: AEROSPIDER

There's only one car here today, but what a car! 1935 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Aerodynamica Spider with Jankovits Bros bodywork is sleek, perfectly symmetric and mid-engined. A hell of a car.

Here's a fine article that appeared in the Classic & Performance Car magazine last year:
It looks like the car Batman would have driven in his pre-Hollywood movie days – long, sleek and vaguely sinister. Batman, however, made his first comic-book appearance in May 1939, and this car predates that by several years. The Alfa Romeo Aerodynamica Spider was so advanced, it even surpassed the imagination of 1930s comic-book artists.

The Aerodynamica Spider – colloquially known as the Aerospider – is one of the all-time great ‘might have beens’. It’s one of the earliest mid-engined sports racers, and its body was shaped according to the most advanced aerodynamic thinking of the time. It also pioneered a central driving position, 30 years before Ferrari’s 365P – and well over 50 years before the McLaren F1. If fate hadn’t intervened, it would have had Alfa V12 power, too. But fate did intervene, and the Aerospider’s potential was never realised.

Don’t go thinking this is some unproven concept car, though, which never turned a wheel in anger. It was
certainly driven on the road in the late 1930s and may have been used in a few low-profile racing events before it was hidden away during WW2. But, until very recently, no-one knew exactly why, where or by whom the Aerospider was constructed. Now, thanks to painstaking research carried out by the current owner, a German enthusiast, the truth may finally have been revealed.

There are three key players in the Aerospider story. Four, if you include Mussolini; for it was his domineering presence, so the theory goes, that cast a long shadow over the project and was responsible for it being developed not at Alfa Romeo’s own factory but in the dockyards of a provincial town in what is now Croatia.
The central figure in the story is Alfa Romeo’s chief engineer, Vittorio Jano. In 1934 Alfa Romeo, which had dominated the race tracks of Europe for several years, received a nasty shock when Auto Union unveiled its mid-engined Type A ‘silver arrow’. Daimler-Benz also brought out the new Mercedes W25 – still front-engined, but powered by a dohc, supercharged straight-eight. At a stroke, Alfa was put on the back foot and Italy’s national pride was at stake. Jano was under pressure to come up with a response, and quickly...

Read more. And/or enjoy the slideshow:

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Comment by lord_k on October 9, 2009 at 9:39am
There is a metion of it in the article. Without a windscreen the car wasn't street-legal.
Comment by Tome Wilson on October 9, 2009 at 9:31am
It looks like the new one added a windscreen. I guess they didn't think the driver's head would be aerodynamic enough.

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