She was called the “Tipo B”, but Tazio Nuvolari's extraordinary win at her Monza début in 1932 immediately set things straight: from now on, she was the car to beat. And that’s how, following the successes of the previous P2, for everyone she became the “P3”. The German company CMC reproduced a 1:18 scale model, which is a masterpiece
Photos by SpeedHolics
Fans may have an authentic feeling of reverence towards certain types of car. Today’s museum pieces that conceal authentic heroic deeds behind the patina of time. There is no other way to define the feats of those drivers, designers and engineers behind the most pioneering period of auto racing and motorsports. And it is not by chance that the first drivers were known as the “Knights of Risk”.
A similar kind of feeling can also be aroused when looking at a model car. It doesn't matter if it’s eighteen times smaller than the real one, or if its wheels have never touched the ground at a real circuit. Even a reproduction can thrill.
And this is what happened for us with the 1/18 scale model of the Alfa Romeo P3 that the German company CMC recently added to its catalogue. An item with all the consistency needed to deserve the attention of the most discerning collector. Shaping it are 1805 individual pieces which, following an unprecedented design and production, even for a company of the calibre of CMC, are almost all made from high-quality metal.
No one can deny that this reproduction can be defined as complete, 360 degrees: above and below, inside and out, even where it is hard for the eye to reach, the quality of the details remains perfect from every point of view. The same can be said for all the parts that are unveiled as you lift the bonnets and remove the bodywork panels, obviously starting from the supercharged straight-8 engine divided into two blocks.
The bonnet itself is a miniature engineering masterpiece, with stainless steel hinges and hooks that reproduce the same movement and the same locking system as the actual car.
As usual, to make things easier, CMC has included a pair of tweezers with curved tips in the package. In turn, the engine block is held together with 85 microscopic steel screws. And of course, all assembled by hand, as the original car was.
Designed by Vittorio Jano, the Alfa Romeo P3 made its début on 5 June 1932 at the 10th Italian Grand Prix in Monza, with two cars driven by Tazio Nuvolari and Giuseppe Campari. Nuvolari won by one lap and two-and-a-half minutes ahead of the second place; Campari finished in fourth place.
The name of the car was actually “Tipo B” but right from the start it was clear that the new car would have replicated the successes of the previous P2, and this is why it was nicknamed the P3.
This brought it luck: the P3 immediately made her name as the car to beat, and remained that way for all her competitive life. In 1932, Tazio Nuvolari won the European Grand Prix series, Alfa Romeo the Manufacturer's title and, in 1933, the P3 won six of the eleven races fought.
Jano introduced many innovations on this car, and the CMC engineers found themselves having to “re-design” these in scale. First of all, the transmission: the rear wheels are driven by two separate diagonal shafts. This solution allowed the driver’s seat to be positioned lower, thus lowering the centre of gravity of the whole car.
The scale reconstruction of the elliptical leaf spring suspensions and the friction dampers is another minor work of art. Even the four drum brakes, clearly visible through the wire wheels (the front ones steering) are faithfully reproduced. The attention to detail continues in the front of the model, with the steel brake linkages: the functioning mechanism can be fully appreciated by removing the lower panels (you will also find a screwdriver to remove the tiny screws in the package).
The model shown in this article (ref. M-219) reproduces car number 8, driven by Tazio Nuvolari on her début, when she won the Monza race in 1932. The engine corresponds to the first configuration, the version with 2654 cm3 and 215 HP. For the record, during her career the P3’s engine capacity was increased to 3822 cm3 and the power to 265 HP.
The CMC catalogue includes around a dozen different versions linked to drivers of the calibre of Rudolf Caracciola, Luigi Fagioli and Luis Chiron, as well as a limited set of 300 pieces devoted to Tazio Nuvolari, consisting of a small figure and the three cars in which he won the French GP, the Coppa Ciano and the Coppa Acerbo in 1932. There is also a “cut-off” version which allows us to admire all the genius and finesse of both Vittorio Jano’s work and that of the CMC designers.
Yet more proof of the value of a model car that pays uncompromising homage to a car considered to be one of the best pre-war competition cars, and for this reason a monument to the history of international auto racing.