Lot 261: Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 4th Series GS Spider
The 1750, and for that matter the 1500... must be among the finest ever made both from the point of view of engineering and driver satisfaction.' - Michael Frostick, 'Alfa-Romeo-Milano'. It was in 1923 that Enzo Ferrari, no less, persuaded Vittorio Jano to leave FIAT's racing department and join him at Alfa Romeo. One of the most gifted and influential automobile engineers of all time, Jano would not only supervise Alfa Romeo's Grand Prix racing programme but also design its road cars. This happy state of affairs resulted in the latter emerging as some of the most exciting of their day, establishing the Milanese marque's reputation for producing sporting driver's cars second to none. Logical derivative of the Tipo 6C 1500, itself directly descended from Jano's all-conquering P2 that had won the World Championship in 1925, the Tipo 6C 1750 arrived in 1929 boasting a derivative of the 1500's six-cylinder engine enlarged to 1,752cc. Built in single-cam Turismo and twin-cam Sport (later renamed Gran Turismo) variants, the 6C 1750 was an exciting fast touring car combining light weight with sparkling performance, more than 75mph being attainable, depending on coachwork. There was also a supercharged 'SS' version, which later evolved into the 'GS'. The 1750's sporting career, aided by its mechanical longevity, extended far beyond its production, which ceased in 1933. The unique 6C 1750 GS offered here was first registered in Milan on 19th July 1930 with the plate 'MI 28360'. Its original registration particulars make reference to the sports two-seater body and Castagna have confirmed the fact that '8513078' was bodied by them (see correspondence on file). It was during this period that the car was also believed to have been upgraded with the much more powerful, supercharged 6C 1900 6th Series engine that it has today. Milan-based Carrozzeria Castagna had been founded in the mid-19th Century when Carlo Castagna took over the carriage-making business of his erstwhile employer, a Mr Ferrari. With the coming of motorised transport, Castagna turned to making motor bodies, specialising in the chassis of prestigious makes including Isotta Fraschini, Mercedes-Benz, Hispano Suiza, Daimler, Lancia, Duesenberg and Alfa Romeo. By 1920 Castagna was Italy's biggest coachbuilder, with approximately 400 employees. However, the collapse of the American economy in the early 1930s and resulting closure of Isotta Fraschini was a serious blow to Castagna, which lost its biggest market and best customer at the same time. The firm went into decline, bodying its last cars in the early 1950s, but was revived in the mid-1990s and continues today. Records held by the Alfa Romeo Register show that '8513078' was originally sold to one Erika Glitz with a certificate of origin dated 18th July 1930. On 2nd October 1930 it was transferred (still in the Milan area) to Sergio Rusca. The next owner was Edoardo Visconti di Modrone (entry dated 26th January 1931) and in November 1934 it left the Milan area for the Trieste registration district, the new owner being Franco Sergas. On 28th May 1938 the Alfa moved to Cantu (Coma), its new owner being Giuseppe Citterio and on 22nd November that year it was acquired by Maggiore Raffaele Menaldi of Foggia. Thereafter no history is known until the car was rediscovered in the USA in the 1980s. Joe Marchetti sold the car to Brian Brunkhorst in 1987 and later that same year it was acquired by Ugo Isgro, apparently in need of total restoration. In October 1988 '8513078' passed into the long-term ownership of Massimo Sordi, who kept the car for close on 19 years, selling it to the current vendor in Holland in 2007. In the late 1980s, while in Mr Sordi's care, '8513078' was in the workshop of the renowned restorer, Dino Cognolato of Vigonza, Italy undergoing restoration, a process that took all of four years. There are pictures on file of the car showing it at his premises, and we are advised that Mr Cognolato still remembers the Alfa, having always liked the shape very much. Also on file is a detailed report prepared for the current owner in October 2008 by marque expert, R E San Giorgi, which states that the chassis details are correct for a 6C 1750 GS and that in his opinion the chassis number is authentic and unaltered. (It should be noted that confirmation of the body's provenance had not been obtained from Carrozzeria Castagna when this report was prepared). The car is fitted with a period-correct 6C 1900 steering box, while the gearbox, gearchange mechanism, rear axle, handbrake mechanism and brake rod adjusting mechanisms are all correct for a 4th/5th Series GS such as this one. After its lengthy sojourn within the Sordi collection, during which time it took part in the 1992 Mille Miglia, the Alfa arrived in Holland in May 2007 and was despatched to the workshop of Gert-Jan van der Meij for a thorough overhaul. Work carried out at this time included remaking the radiator, cleaning and sealing the fuel tank, stripping and cleaning the carburettors, overhauling the brakes and a lot more besides. In June 2007 the car had its first major European outing, participating in the Alfa Raduno in Antwerp, Belgium while other noteworthy events entered have included the Nierstichting Rally in 2007 and the Rotary Rally, Rode Kruis Rally and Assen Alfa meetings in 2008. A stunning and elegant car from any angle, this 1930s motoring icon represents Italy at its best and Alfa Romeo at it finest. Blessed with sublime coachwork from one of Italy's foremost carrozzeria and possessing greatly enhanced performance courtesy of the blown '1900' engine, '8513078' is eligible for a wide variety of the most prestigious historic motoring events and would grace any concours lawn.
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