Jorge Sordelli, Designer: Alfa Romeo 8C 2900-B Touring Berlinetta, 1938
Living in California brings plentiful opportunities to see the world's great classics and, as Sr. Sordelli has found, fans the inspiration to pay homage using those creative fashions at our disposal. At his disposal, however, is a wealth of facility many of us strive to replicate. This auto-industry designer is well versed in the 3D graphic arts, but fostered his love of prototyping automotive ideas from such a young age that his fabrication skill naturally grew to that of a master craftsman.
His 1:5 scale Alfa Romeo, a replica of Jon Shirley's 2008 Pebble Beach winning car, demonstrates such skill and dedication. Jorge was kind to send a wealth of photographs our way, and in turn I decided to write a small bit of well deserved praise. My bit is supplemented by a feature at Car Body Design that I whole-heartedly recommend. Nevertheless, a bit more praise is certainly worth the effort.
A few items that jump out at me include Sr. Sordelli's mention that the car is fabricated in bronze—that's bronze, and not brass—indicating the body is cast and not formed from sheet. This certainly explains the precision in the panel lines, not to mention the accuracy of the curves in the skirts as well as along the slant-back hood. Photographs of the chassis in its construction stages reveal that it and many of the undercarriage parts are made of brass. Here, the braising is top-notch, creating a structural foundation for the car that, when finished, shows only those signs of the joining process that might appear prototypical. Pieces like the complex differential appear to be formed from a synthetic modeling material, perhaps high-density foam of the sort that can be CNC machined. The drive shafts are machined brass, and many of the motor's signature features are formed in metal.
Browsing the Catia CAD renderings, the finished product appears wonderfully close to the digital mock-up, both inside and out. The plan to transform these drawings to a working model was surely meticulous—some of the scale drawings are visible in the larger set of images—and the level of finishing impeccable to produce such a smooth item. That's 2,500 hours of work. Note, however, that the fit of every piece is astonisghingly tight. No detail appears compromised in terms of its harmony with the larger piece of work. This is a wholly professional effort, and my only lasting question for Jorge is: Why did you only make one?
Special thanks, once again, to Jorge Sordelli for sharing his work. All photographs in this feature are courtesy of Sr. Sordelli.