The winning 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Berlinettais the first of only five known Berlinettas built on the Lungo chassis and is claimed to be the beginning of Superleggera construction. Photo: The Peninsula Classics

1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Berlinetta wins The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award

Launched in 2015, The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award is among the top automotive accolades in the world. The 1937 Berlinetta 8C 2900B took the award from a selection of eight “Concours d'Elegance,” competition of elegance, contestants.

According to news from Peninsula Classics, the Alfa Romeo was the stand-out choice among the judges as the best car in the world. Hailing from Los Angeles, California, the car was entered into the running for the award after being named Best of Show at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Alfa Romeo is owned by David and Ginny Sydorick of Los Angeles.

An automotive jewel engineered by Ingegner Vittorio Jano, the 8C 2900 was designed to compete in sports car races, specifically the Mille Miglia, which it won outright in 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, and 1947. In racing trim, 8C 2900s dominated all the major competitions, and in road trim, they were the fastest grand touring cars, says Peninsula.

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Peninsula indicates that the 8C 2900 uses a Superleggera construction. Established in 1925 in Milan, Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring had first licensed Charles Weymann's system of fabric-covered lightweight frames and then developed its own Superleggera construction.

Patented in 1936, the Superleggera system consists of a structural framework of small-diameter steel tubes that conform to an automobile body's shape and are covered by thin alloy body panels that strengthen the framework. The winning vehicle, 412020, is the first of only five known Berlinettas built on the Lungo chassis and is the car that Touring refers to as the beginning of Superleggera, says Peninsula.

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Mark Miller is a contributing writer to SAE International. He has worked as a technology writer and editor for IBM and other advanced information technology firms. His areas of concentration include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, analytics and Internet of Things technologies.