There has been an Alfa Romeo museum, at the firm’s Arese site, since the mid 1970s. But for many of those years, only a few people were ever aware of its existence. There was next to no publicity of the fact that the marque had a treasure trove of over 300 models, and you had to apply or permission to visit. The reason “I am an enthusiast” was apparently sufficient an explanation. I saw one article about the museum back in the days when print media was the only way you found about what was in a place you had not visited, but once the internet took off early this century, there were growing numbers of articles that declared that it existed and gradually there were photos on show from those who had been. I paid a visit in 2008, and found an amazing collection of cars on show in a building which had all the attributes of a museum apart from any apparent staff or much in the way of publicity. You turned up at the site, and went to the gatehouse as if you were a regular plant visit, signed in, and the security guard then told me (in Italian) to go along the road, and that the building was on the left. I went in, and appeared to be the only person in there apart from a cleaner. Only one other couple came in during the several hours that I was entranced by the cars. The Arese plant was closed by the time, production having shifted to other sites in Italy and the plans were that it would all be redeveloped which begged the question as to what would happen to the museum. When a closure was announced in early 2011, everyone feared the worst, but in fact this lengthy period when the cars were off limits was because parent company FCA had ambitious plans to refurbish the museum and make something that was properly promoted and which would welcome far greater volumes of visitors than ever before. The closure was long, but eventually, in June 2015, to mark the firm’s 105th anniversary, and as a launch venue for the eagerly-awaited new Giulia, it was reopened, and those who went pronounced it as excellent. Needless to say, I was very eager to go and have a look, but frustratingly, it has taken nearly 3 years since that reopening before I managed it. However I was able to time my visit with a huge bonus, which is that I discovered that the 2018 Mille Miglia would be paying a visit, with all the cars doing a lap of the track that goes around the perimeter of what remains of Alfa’s site. Here are the highlights of this day at Arese:
MUSEO STORICO ALFA ROMEO
Although the building is as it was before, there has been a comprehensive remodelling, including a completely new entrance, with a well-stocked shop which you pass by to get to the ticket desk and the entrance turnstiles. The building comprises 6 floors and the tour takes you up, and then down, and finally up again, emerging at the end of the tour at the top of the building. Obviously not all of the cars and other artefacts that are in the collection are on display at any one time. The collection comprises more than 250 cars and 150 engines, and of these around 70 are on show. Many of the cars do appear at major Shows around the world, and some are entered in events such as the Mille Miglia or at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
First cars that I came across, positioned on the left as you entered the building, even before reaching the shop, let alone the ticket barrier were these camo-ed up Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifolgio cars, both of which had been used at the Nurburgring for the well-documented record attempts. In 2016 the Giulia achieved a time of 7 minutes 32 seconds, an astonishing figure for a relatively affordable car, and then in 2018 the Stelvio Quadrifoglio achieved 7 minutes 51.7 seconds.
Past the ticket barrier and the cars on show here were all prototypes or concepts.
2600SZ: This by some measure the rarest, and these days the most valuable of the various different 2600 Series models produced. Known as the SZ, for Sprint Zagato, it had a fastback bodystyle and a very different front end from the Berlina, Spider and Bertone-designed Sprint models which garnered the majority of the sales. This is the prototype, dating from 1963.
1967 Montreal Concept: The Montreal was introduced as a concept car in 1967 at Expo 67, taking its name from the city where the event was held. Originally, the concept cars were displayed without any model name, but the public took to calling it The Montreal. It was a 2+2 coupe using the 1.6-litre engine of the Alfa Romeo Giulia TI and the short wheelbase chassis of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT, with a body designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. One of the two concept cars built for Expo 67, both are retained by the museum.
1971 Caimano: The Alfa Romeo Caimano is a concept car designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign and presented at the Turin Motor Show in 1971. The Caimano features many unconventional design elements, one of the most striking being its large glass canopy-windshield, which incorporates the doors as well. The B and C pillars form a trapezoidal roll bar in the rear of the car, which also doubles as an adjustable spoiler which can be controlled from inside the cabin. Other features include two smaller windows on the doors for ventilation or paying toll, pop up headlights, a large Alfa Romeo logo printed on the hood in burnt orange and a cylindrical dashboard. The Caimano is based on the mechanicals of the Alfa Romeo Alfasud, using a 1,286 cc Boxer H4 engine producing 86 bhp and connected to a 5 speed manual transmission. The chassis is taken from the Alfasud as well, but has been shortened by almost 8 inches.
This is a styling buck for the much praised 8C Competizione. The completed car would be found later in the tour.
First of a series of 5 concept cars that I would see here, though in fact the last of the 5 to be made, all built on the Tipo 33 Stradale platform is this Bertone Navajo. This was unveiled at the March 1976 Geneva Motor Show. The Navajo is based on the 33 Stradale chassis No. 750.33.11. It was given a full fibreglass coupé body. The car is equipped with 2-litre fuel injected (SPICA) V8 engine producing around 230 bhp at 8800 rpm.
This one is also based on the 33 Stradale and is called the P33 Cuneo. It was first seen at the 1971 Brussels Motor Show.
This wall display shows the evolution of the iconic Alfa Romeo badge. Although it has changed in the 100 plus year history of the company, the alterations have been quite gradual.
Opposite these were a number of aero engines produced by the firm. An Alfa engine was first used on an aircraft in 1910 on the Santoni-Franchini biplane. In 1932 Alfa Romeo built its first real aircraft engine, the D2 (240 bhp), fitted to Caproni 101 D2. In the 1930s when Alfa Romeo engines were used for aircraft on a larger scale; the Savoia Marchetti SM.74, Savoia-Marchetti SM.75, Savoia-Marchetti SM.79, Savoia Marchetti SM.81 and Cant Z506B Airone all used Alfa Romeo manufactured engines. In 1931, a competition was arranged where Tazio Nuvolari drove his Alfa Romeo 8C 3000 Monza against a Caproni Ca.100 airplane. Alfa Romeo built various aircraft engines during the Second World War; the best known was the RA.1000 RC 41-I Monsone, a licensed version of the Daimler-Benz DB 601. This engine made it possible to build efficient fighter aircraft like the Macchi C.202 Folgore for the Italian army. After the Second World War Alfa Romeo produced engines for Fiat, Aerfer and Ambrosini. In the 1960s Alfa Romeo mainly focused upgrading and maintaining Curtiss-Wright, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and General Electric aircraft engines. Alfa Romeo also built Italy’s first turbine engine, installed to the Beechcraft King Air. Alfa Romeo’s Avio division was sold to Aeritalia in 1988, from 1996 it was part of Fiat Avio. Alfa Avio was also part of developing team to the new T700-T6E1 engine to the NHI NH90 helicopter.
The core of the museum comprises cars grouped together in three themes, though because of the layout of the building and size of the rooms, some of these are spread across more than one exhibition hall.
The first theme is branded “Timeline” and illustrates the history of the marque very nicely from the beginning in 1910 right up to cars of the twentyfirst century. Although there is not space to show an example of every different production model that the firm has made, many of the core ones do feature in this display which comprises one of the largest halls as well as two smaller ones situated a floor lower.
1910 24 HP: This is is 4.1-litre four-cylinder passenger car, the first model produced by Italian car manufacturer ALFA (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili), which in 1919 would become Alfa Romeo. It was introduced in 1910, the year ALFA was founded, and produced until 1914 in ALFA’s Portello factory near Milan. The model’s name comes from its tax horsepower rating, then frequently used as vehicle designation. The 24 HP was commercially successful and continued to be developed for a decade. In 1914 some updates transformed the 24 HP into the ALFA 20-30 HP, produced in 1914 and 1915—with some hundred cars assembled after the war in 1920. In turn the 20-30 HP evolved into the 1921–22 Alfa Romeo 20-30 ES Sport, the first car to be badged Alfa Romeo from its introduction. In total the 24 HP and 20-30 HP were produced in 680 examples.
1911 15HP Corsa: The A.L.F.A 15 HP was derived from the 12 HP and had a four-cylinder engine with 2,413 cc of displacement. Compared to the predecessor, the displacement was unchanged, but power output was increased. The 15-HP engine had a compression ratio of 4.2:1 and developed a maximum output of 24 hp at 2,400 rpm. Bore and stroke were, respectively, 80 and 120 mm (3.1 and 4.7 in). It was a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive car. The 15 HP had a three-speed gearbox, and was equipped with a parking brake. The track was 1,300 mm (51.2 in). The 15 HP was available in two types of body: torpedo and saloon. The car had a top speed of 95 km/h (59 mph). It was designed by Giuseppe Merosi and was priced at 9,500 lire.
1925 RL SuperSport: The Alfa Romeo RL was produced between 1922–1927. It was Alfa’s first sport model after World War I. The car was designed in 1921 by Giuseppe Merosi. It had a straight-6 engine with overhead valves. Three different versions were made: Normale, Turismo and Sport. RL total production was 2640. The RLTF (Targa Florio) was the race version of RL – it weighed half of normal versions, the engine had seven main bearings instead of four and double carburetors. In 1923 Alfa’s race team had drivers like Ugo Sivocci, Antonio Ascari, Giulio Masetti and Enzo Ferrari. Sivocci’s car had green cloverleaf symbol on white background and when he won Targa Florio 1923, that symbol was to become the Alfa team’s good luck token. In 1927, 2 different RLSS were entered in the first Mille Miglia, but both dropped out after briefly leading the race. A 1925 RLSS version with rare, original bodywork by Thornton Engineering Company in Bradford, UK, is on permanent display in the Brooklands exhibit at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, PA, USA. It is one of only 9 RLSS still in existence. A total of 1315 RL models were made.
1931 6C 1750 Gran Sport: By the late 20s, Alfa’s RL was considered too large and heavy, so a new development began. The 2-litre formula that had led to Alfa Romeo winning the Automobile World Championship in 1925, changed to 1.5-litre for the 1926 season. The 6C 1500 was introduced in 1925 at the Milan Motor Show and production started in 1927, with the P2 Grand Prix car as starting point. Engine capacity was now 1487 cc, against the P2’s 1987 cc, while supercharging was dropped. The first versions were bodied by James Young and Touring. In 1928, a 6C Sport was released, with a dual overhead camshafts engine. Its sport version won many races, including the 1928 Mille Miglia. Total production was 3000 (200 with DOHC engine). Ten copies of a supercharged (compressore, compressor) Super Sport variant were also made. The more powerful 6C 1750 was introduced in 1929 in Rome. The car had a top speed of 95 mph, a chassis designed to flex and undulate over wavy surfaces, as well as sensitive geared-up steering. It was produced in six series between 1929 and 1933. The base model had a single overhead cam; Super Sport and Gran Sport versions had double overhead cam engines. Again, a supercharger was available. Most of the cars were sold as rolling chassis and bodied by coachbuilders such as Zagato, and Touring. Additionally, there were 3 examples built with James Young bodywork. In 1929, the 6C 1750 won every major racing event it was entered, including the Grands Prix of Belgium, Spain, Tunis and Monza, as well as the Mille Miglia was won with Giuseppe Campari and Giulio Ramponi, the Brooklands Double Twelve and the Ulster TT was won also, in 1930 it won again the Mille Miglia and Spa 24 Hours. Total production was 2635.
1932 8C 2300 Mille Miglia Corto: In 1924, Vittorio Jano created his first straight-eight-cylinder engine for Alfa Romeo, the 1987 cc P2, with common crankcase and four plated-steel two-cylinder blocks, which won the first World Championship ever in 1925. Although it was a straight-8, the 8C designation was not used. The 8C engine, first entered at the 1931 Mille Miglia road race through Italy, had a common crankcase, now with two alloy four-cylinder blocks, which also incorporated the heads. The bore and stroke (and hence rods, pistons and the like), were the same as the 6C 1750 (bore: 65 mm, stroke: 88 mm 2,336 cc). There was no separate head, and no head gasket to fail, but this made valve maintenance more difficult. A central gear tower drove the overhead camshafts, superchargers and ancillaries. As far as production cars are concerned, the 8C engine powered two models, the 8C 2300 (1931–1935) and the even more rare and expensive 8C 2900 (1936–1941), bore increased to 68 mm and stroke to 100 mm (2,905 cc). At the same time, since racing cars were no longer required to carry a mechanic, Alfa Romeo built the first single seater race car. As a first attempt, the 1931 Monoposto Tipo A used a pair of 6-cylinder engines fitted side by side in the chassis. As the resulting car was too heavy and complex, Jano designed a more suitable and successful racer called Monoposto Tipo B (aka P3) for the 1932 Grand Prix season. The Tipo B proved itself the winning car of its era, winning straight from its first outing at the 1932 Italian Grand Prix, and was powered with an enlarged version of the 8C engine now at 2,665 cc, fed through a pair of superchargers instead of a single one. Initially, Alfa Romeo announced that the 8C was not to be sold to private owners, but by autumn 1931 Alfa sold it as a rolling chassis in Lungo (long) or Corto (short) form with prices starting at over £1000. The chassis were fitted with bodies from a selection of Italian coach-builders (Carrozzeria) such as Zagato, Carrozzeria Touring, Carrozzeria Castagna, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina ( later Pininfarina ) and Brianza, even though Alfa Romeo did make bodies. Some chassis were clothed by coach-builders such as Graber, Worblaufen and Tuscher of Switzerland and Figoni of France. Alfa Romeo also had a practice of rebodying cars for clients, and some racing vehicles were sold rebodied as road vehicles. Some of the famous first owners include Baroness Maud Thyssen of the Thyssen family, the owner of the aircraft and now scooter company Piaggio Andrea Piaggio, Raymond Sommer, and Tazio Nuvolari. The first model was the 1931 ‘8C 2300’, a reference to the car’s 2.3 litre (2336 cc) engine, initially designed as a racing car, but actually produced in 188 units also for road use. While the racing version of the 8C 2300 Spider, driven by Tazio Nuvolari won the 1931 and 1932 Targa Florio race in Sicily, the 1931 Italian Grand Prix victory at Monza gave the “Monza” name to the twin seater GP car, a shortened version of the Spider. The Alfa Romeo factory often added the name of events won to the name of a car.
1935 6C 2300B: The 6C 2300 (2,309 cc) was designed by Vittorio Jano as a lower-cost alternative to the 8C. In 1934 Alfa Romeo had become a state-owned enterprise. That year, a new 6C model with a newly designed and larger engine was presented. Chassis technology, however, had been taken from the predecessor. One year later a revised model, the 6C 2300 B, was presented. In this version the engine was placed in a completely redesigned chassis, with independent front suspension and rear swing axle, as well as hydraulic brakes. 760 examples of the rigid-axle 6C 2300 were produced and 870 examples of the B-model.
1947 6C 2500 Freccia d’Oro: Final evolution of the Alfa Romeo 6C was the 2500 which was announced in 1938. The 2500 had an enlarged engine compared to the predecessor models, with this Vittorio Jano designed double overhead cam engine available with either one or three Weber carburettors. The triple carburettor version was used in the top of line SS (Super Sport) version. The 2443 cc engine was mounted in a steel ladder frame chassis, which was offered with three wheelbase lengths: 3,250 mm (128.0 in) on the Turismo, 3,000 mm (118.1 in) on the Sport and 2,700 mm (106.3 in) on the Super Sport. Although it was clear that World War II was coming and car development would be stopped, Alfa did continue to produce a few hundred 6C 2500s were built from 1940 to 1945 before resuming production, Postwar. The first new Alfa in this period was the 1946 6C 2500 Freccia d’Oro (Golden Arrow), of which 680 were built through 1951, with bodies by Alfa. Various coachbuilders made their own versions of the 2500, with most of the bodies made by Touring of Milan, though this one has a Rigoli Robini Cabriolet style which is rather attractive. The car was sold to wealthy customers like King Farouk, Alì Khan, Rita Hayworth, Tyrone Power, and Prince Rainier. One was also featured in The Godfather in 1972. The 6C 2500 was one of the most expensive cars available at the time. The last 6C was produced in 1952, when it was replaced by the 1900.
1950 1900 Berlina: Designed by Orazio Satta, the 1900 was Alfa Romeo’s first car built entirely on a production line. It was also Alfa’s first production car without a separate chassis and the first Alfa offered with left-hand drive. Launched at the 1950 Paris Motor Show, the 1900 was offered in two-door or four-door models, with a new 1,884 cc 90 bhp 4-cylinder twin cam engine. It was spacious and simple, yet quick and sporty. The slogan Alfa used when selling it was “The family car that wins races”, not-so-subtly alluding to the marque’s success in the Targa Florio, Stella Alpina, and other competitions. In 1951 the short wheelbase 1900C (C for Corto, the Italian for short) version was introduced. It had a wheelbase of 2,500 mm In the same year the 1900TI with a more powerful 100 bhp engine was introduced, it had bigger valves, a higher compression ratio and it was equipped with a twin carburettor. Two years later the 1900 Super and 1900 TI Super (also 1900 Super Sprint) with 1975 cc engine were introduced. The TI Super had two double carburettors and 115 bhp. The transmission was a 4-speed manual on basic versions and 5-speed manual in Super Sprint version, the brakes were drums. The 1900 had independent front suspension (double wishbones, coil springs and hydraulic telescopic shock absorbers) and live rear axle. Production at the company’s Milan plant continued until 1959: a total of 21,304 were built, including 17,390 of the saloons.
1954 1900C Super Sprint: The 1900C was introduced in 1951 as the coupe version of the four-door Alfa Romeo 1900. The addition of the C in the name wasn’t for coupe as many assume, but for corto – the Italian word for short. Although the 1900 model series was the first with a unibody chassis, and the the first to be fitted with the new 1884cc DOHC inline-4, the then general manager of Alfa Romeo, Iginio Alessio, chose to develop the unibody chassis in such a way that the iconic Italian carrozzerie, or coachbuilders, could build custom bodies for it. He had become concerned with the difficulty posed by creating custom bodies for these newly engineered cars – and as a result of this decision the Alfa Romeo 1900 and 1900C were both bodied by some of the greatest names in Italian coachbuilding – including Zagato, Touring, Pinin Farina, Bertone, Boneschi, Boano, Colli, Stabilimenti Farina, Vignale, and of course, Ghia. Alfa Romeo gave official contracts to Touring to build the sporty 1900 Sprint coupé and to Pinin Farina to build an elegant four seat Cabriolet and Coupé. Carrozzeria Zagato built a small series of coupés with the unofficial designation of 1900 SSZ, designed for racing with an aerodynamic lightweight aluminium body and Zagato’s trademark double bubble roof. One-off specials were numerous, from the famous Bertone BAT series of aerodynamic studies, to an infamous sci-fi like Astral spider designed by Carrozzeria Boneschi for Rafael Trujillo the dictator of the Dominican Republic. There was a Barchetta or “Boat Car” made by Ghia-Aigle in Lugano Switzerland designed by Giovanni Michelotti at the request of a wealthy Italian who had two passions: the ‘Riva’ boats and a woman, his mistress, the car has no doors or windscreen wipers. A number of them were to be seen here including the 1900C Farina.
1955 Giulietta: Following the 1900 family, Alfa’s next new model range would be cheaper and aimed at capturing some of the market from middle class buyers. Known as Giulietta, the 750 and later 101 Series were a series of family-sized cars made from 1954 to 1965, and Alfa Romeo’s first, successful, foray into the 1.3-litre class. The first to be introduced was the Giulietta Sprint 2+2 coupé which was premiered at the 1954 Turin Motor Show. Designed by Franco Scaglione at Bertone, it was produced at the coachbuilder’s Grugliasco plant, near Turin. A year later, at the Turin Motor Show in April 1955, the Sprint was joined by the 4-door saloon Berlina. In mid 1955, the open two-seat Giulietta Spider, featuring convertible bodywork by Pininfarina arrived. The Giulietta used unibody construction and a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Front suspension was by control arms, with coaxial coil springs and hydraulic dampers. At the rear there was a solid axle on coil springs and hydraulic dampers. The axle was located by a longitudinal link on each side, and by a wishbone-shaped arm linking the top of the aluminium differential housing to the chassis. All Giuliettas (save for the last SZ examples) had hydraulic drum brakes on all four corners. The Giulietta used an Alfa Romeo Twin Cam straight-four of 1290 cc, with an aluminium alloy engine block and cast iron inserted sleeves. Bore and stroke measured 74.0 mm and 75.0 mm. The aluminium alloy cylinder head was of a crossflow design and featured hemispherical combustion chambers. The double overhead camshafts were driven by two timing chains, and acted on two valves per cylinder, angled 80°. In 1957 a more powerful Berlina version, called Giulietta T.I. (Turismo Internazionale) was presented with minor cosmetic changes to the bonnet, the dial lights and rear lamps. Carrozzeria Colli also made the Giulietta station wagon variant called Giulietta Promiscua. Ninety-one examples of this version were built. Carrozzeria Boneschi also made a few station wagon examples called Weekendina. A new version of the Giulietta Berlina debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1959. Mechanical changes were limited to shifting the fuel pump from the cylinder head to a lower position below the distributor, and moving the previously exposed fuel filler cap from the tail to the right rear wing, under a flap. The bodywork showed a revised front end, with more rounded wings, recessed head lights, and new grilles with chrome frames and two horizontal bars. The rear also showed changes, with new larger tail lights on vestigial fins, which replaced the earlier rounded rear wings. The interior was much more organised and upholstered in new cloth material; the redesigned dashboard included a strip speedometer flanked by two round bezels, that on the T.I. housed a tachometer and oil and water temperature gauges. The T.I. also received a front side repeater mounted in a small spear, unlike the Normale which kept the earlier small round lamp with no decorations. During 1959 the type designation for all models was changed from 750 and 753 to 101. In February 1961 the 100,001st Giulietta rolled out of the Portello factory, with a celebration sponsored by Italian actress Giulietta Masina. In Autumn 1961 the Giulietta was updated a second time. Both Normale and T.I. had revised engines and new exhaust systems; output rose to 61 bhp and 73 bhp. With this new engine the car could reach a speed of almost 100mph. At the front of the car square mesh side grilles were now pieced together with the centre shield, and at the rear there were larger tail lights. Inside the T.I. had individual instead of bench seats, with storage nets on the seatbacks. June 1962 saw the introduction of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, which would eventually replace the Giulietta. As until 1964 the Giulia only had a larger 1.6-litre engine, production of the standard Berlina ended with 1963, whilst the T.I. continued for a full year more. A last T.I. was completed in 1965. The Giulietta sport models had a different fate: Sprint, Sprint Speciale and Spider were fitted with the new 1.6-litre engine, received some updates and continued to be sold under the Giulia name until they were replaced by all-new Giulia-based models during 1965. These days., the Berlina is the model you see the least often. A few of the model are used in historic racing where the car takes on the might of those with far larger engines. A total of 177,690 Giuliettas were made, the great majority in Berlina saloon, Sprint coupé or Spider roadster body styles, and it was the Berlina to be seen in this part of the exhibition.
1962 2600 Sprint: The 2600 was an evolution of the 2000 (102 Series), which replaced the 1900, the first volume production model that Alfa had made. By the time the 2000 was launched in 1958, Alfa had added the Giulietta family to their range, and these cars were always going to be sell in far greater volume than the larger ones in a world that was still getting back on its feet after the war, but the 2000 was an important flagship, nonetheless. The 2000 models ran for 4 years, from 1958 to 1962, at which point they were updated, taking on the name of 106 Series, with minor styling changes being accompanied by a larger 2600cc engine under the bonnet. As with the 2000 models, the new 2600 cars were sold in Berlina (Saloon), Sprint (Coupe) and Spider (Convertible) versions, along with a dramatically styled SZ Coupe from Italian styling house Zagato and a rebodied Berlina from OSI, all of them with an inline twin overhead cam six cylinder engine of 2.6 litres, the last Alfas to offer this configuration. Just 6999 of the Sprint models were made and 2255 Spiders, very few of which were sold new in the UK where they were exceedingly expensive thanks to the dreaded Import Duty which made them much more costly than an E Type. These days you are more likely to see any of these than the Berlina, though. The saloon car just did not sell, with just 2092 of them being made over a 4 year period, making it the least popular Alfa saloon of all time. The one seen only came to the UK a few months ago, from South Africa and is one of less than 500 right hand drive models that were built. It is one of the later series of cars, with a floor gear change, as opposed to the column change of earlier cars, and with individual front seats as opposed to a bench. As standard, the Berlina had twin Solex carburettors with primary and secondary chokes, the latter being opened progressively for greater smoothness and economy. This one has acquired twin Webers at some point. It has a hand throttle (common on Italian cars of the period) and fan motors to demist front and rear screens. There is a five speed gearbox. One down side of a car of this era is the fact there are 16 grease points which need to be attended to every 2500 miles.
1963 Giulia: First of the all-new Giulia models to appear was the Berlina, launched in 1962. The styling was quite straight forward, but great attention was paid to detail. The engine bay, cabin and boot were all square shaped. But the grille, the rooflines and details on the bonnet and boot made for an integrated design from bumper to bumper. Thanks to Alfa Romeo using a wind tunnel during its development, the Giulia was very aerodynamic with a drag coefficient of Cd=0.34, which was particularly low for a saloon of the era and not a bad figure even for cars of today. Couple that with the fact that Alfa Romeo was one of the first manufacturers to put a powerful engine in a light-weight car (it weighed about 1,000 kilograms) and thanks to an array of light alloy twin overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine, similar to that of the earlier Giulietta models range, the car had a lively performance which bettered that of many sports cars of the day. The Tipo 105.14 was the first model, with a 1,570 cc Twin Cam engine with single down-draft carburettor generating 91 hp at 6500 rpm. The “TI” nomenclature referred to a class of Italian saloon car racing known as “Turismo Internazionale”, and had previously been applied to higher-performance versions of the 1900 and Giulietta saloons in the 1950s. However, for the Giulia saloon, the Ti was at first the only version available, and later, with the introduction of the TI Super and Super, the TI became the base version for the 1,600 cc engine class. The steering column gearchange (the only one in the Giulia range) was replaced with a floor change for 1964 (Tipo 105.08). Right hand drive cars, available from 1964, only ever had a floor change (Tipo 105.09). Brakes were by drums all around at first. Discs were introduced later, first at the front, and later all around. A brake servo was not fitted at first, but was introduced in later cars. The steering wheel featured the only horn ring ever in the Giulia range. The dashboard with a strip speedo is a notable feature, as is the steering wheel with a horn ring. The Giulia TI was phased out in 1968 and re-introduced as the austerity model 1600 S. Tipo 105.16 was a special racing model introduced in 1963. Quadrifoglio Verde stickers on the front wings were a distinguishing feature. Only 501 were made for homologation and today it is very rare and desirable. The 1,570 cc engine was fitted with two double-choke horizontal Weber 45DCOE carburettors for 110 hp at 6500 rpm. The body was lightened and a floor gearchange was fitted as standard, as were alloy wheels of very similar appearance to the standard steel ones of the TI. The TI’s instrument cluster with its strip speedometer was replaced with a three-instrument binnacle comprising speedometer, tachometer and a multi-gauge instrument (fuel, water temperature, oil temperature and pressure) – these instruments were similar to those fitted to the contemporary Giulia Sprint and Sprint Speciale coupes and Spider convertibles. The steering wheel was a three-spoke item with centre hornpush, also similar to that of the more sporting models. Braking was by discs all around, although the first cars used drums and early disc models lacked a servo which was introduced later. The police cars seen in The Italian Job were of this type. Tipo 105.06 was an austerity model made from 1964 to 1970 with a 1,290 cc single-carburettor engine for 77 hp at 6000 rpm. Four-speed gearbox with floor change fitted as standard (the 1300 was the only Giulia model not fitted with a five-speed gearbox). Though the engine was given a 105 series type number, it was basically the engine from the 101 series Giulietta Ti. This model appears not to have been exported to many markets outside Italy, if at all. Braking was by discs all around, without a servo at first, later with a servo. Tipo 105.26 was introduced in 1965. It transferred the technology from the racing TI Super to a road car, to make the most successful Giulia saloon. 1,570 cc engine with two double-choke Weber 40DCOE carburettors for a milder, but torquier tune than the TI Super – 97 hp at 5500 rpm. There was a new dashboard with two large round instruments (speedo and tacho) and clock, a sportier steering wheel with three aluminium spokes and centre horn push, similar to that of the Ti Super, later changed for one with the horn pushes in the spokes. All-around disc brakes with servo were fitted as standard from the outset. The serpent crest of the Sforza family appears in a badge on the C-pillar and is a distinguishing feature of the Super. For 1968, there was a suspension update, including revised geometry and a rear anti-roll bar. The wheels were changed in size from 5J x 15 to 5J x 14, and tyres from 155/15 to 165/14. For 1970, updates included dual-circuit brakes, centre-mounted handbrake lever to replace under-dash “umbrella handle”, larger external doorhandles, and top-hinged pedals (the latter in left hand drive models only; right hand drive continued with bottom-hinged pedals to the end of production). In 1972, Tipo 105.26 was rationalised into the Giulia 1.3 – Giulia 1.6 range. Tipo 105.39 built from 1965 to 1972. Right hand drive model replaced in 1970 by the 1300 Super. 1,290 cc engine with single down-draft carburettor for 81 hp at 6000 rpm. Unlike the re-deployed 101-series Giulietta engine of the austerity-model 1300, the 1300 ti motor was a 105 series engine, basically that of the sportier GT1300 Junior coupe with different camshaft timing (but the same camshafts) and induction system. Five-speed gearbox. Three-spoke bakelite steering wheel with plastic horn push covering the centre and spokes. Dashboard initially with strip speedo like that of the TI. For 1968, updates included a dashboard based on that of the Super, but with a simpler instrument binnacle, still featuring two large round instruments (speedo and tacho) and a separate fuel gauge, and the same suspension, wheel and tire updates applied to the Giulia Super in the same year. For 1970, updates included dual-circuit brakes, centre handbrake, larger external doorhandles and top-hinged pedals (on left hand drive cars only), again as applied to the Super for that year. Tipo 105.85 was basically a Giulia TI re-introduced in 1968 as a lower-level model to come between the 1300 and 1300 ti on one hand, and the Super on the other. It had a re-interpretation of the 1,570 cc single-carburettor engine for 94 hp at 5500 rpm and similar trim to the 1300 ti. Replaced in 1970 by the 1300 Super which offered similar performance in a lower tax bracket. The last cars from 1970 featured the top-hinged pedals, centre handbrake and dual-circuit brakes as for the Super and 1300 ti. Tipo 115.09 was introduced in 1970. It was basically a 1300 ti fitted with the engine from the GT 1300 Junior coupe that featured two double-choke horizontal carburettors; the engine actually had the GT 1300 Junior type number. This model was rationalised into the Giulia Super 1.3 – Giulia Super 1.6 range in 1972. In 1972 a rationalisation of the Giulia range saw the Super 1300 (Tipo 115.09) and the Super (Tipo 105.26) re-released as the Super 1.3 and Super 1.6. The two models featured the same equipment, interior and exterior trim, differing only in engine size and final drive ratio. The 1300 ti was dropped. A small Alfa Romeo badge on the C-pillar is a distinguishing feature, as are hubcaps with exposed wheel nuts. In December 1972 Alfa-Romeo South Africa released the 1600 Rallye. This locally developed more powerful 1600 cc version of the 1300 Super used the 1300’s single-headlight body shell. The car was largely ready for competition and was only planned to be built in limited numbers, and was fitted with racing-style rear-view mirrors, rally lamps, fully adjustable seats, and a limited-slip differential. Claimed power was 125 hp. The Giulia Super range was re-released in 1974 as the Nuova Super range, including the Giulia Nuova Super 1300 and 1600 This featured a new black plastic front grille and a flat boot lid without the characteristic centre spine. Otherwise the cars differed little from their Giulia Super predecessors and bore the same Tipo numbers with an S suffix. A Nuova Super fitted with a Perkins 1,760 cc diesel with 54 hp at 4000 rpm, was the firm’s first attempt at diesel power. The same Perkins diesel was used also in Alfa Romeo F12 van. The diesel version was slow, 138 km/h (86 mph), and the engine somehow unsuitable for a sport sedan so it was not big seller, only around 6500 examples were made in 1976 and the car was not sold in the UK. Production of the Giulia ceased in 1977.
1971 AlfaSud:These characterful small cars evoke a very positive reaction, with many people wistfully recollecting one that they, or their parents, owned back in the 1970s, but observing that the car, whilst divine to drive, simply rusted away almost before your very eyes. There are a lot more of these cars left in the UK than you might imagine, but most of them are on SORN, needing massive restorations that may or may not ever happen. That should not detract from the splendour of the models on show at this event. Alfa Romeo had explored building a smaller front wheel drive car in the 1950s but it was not until 1967 that firm plans were laid down for an all-new model to fit in below the existing Alfa Romeo range. It was developed by Austrian Rudolf Hruska, who created a unique engineering package, clothed in a body styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign. The car was built at a new factory at Pomigliano d’Arco in southern Italy, hence the car’s name, Alfa Sud (Alfa South). January 18, 1968, saw the registration at Naples of a new company named “Industria Napoletana Costruzioni Autoveicoli Alfa Romeo-Alfasud S.p.A.”. 90% of the share capital was subscribed by Alfa Romeo and 10% by Finmeccanica, at that time the financial arm of the government controlled IRI. Construction work on the company’s new state sponsored plant at nearby Pomigliano d’Arco began in April 1968, on the site of an aircraft engine factory used by Alfa Romeo during the war. The Alfasud was shown at the Turin Motor Show three years later in 1971 and was immediately praised by journalists for its styling. The four-door saloon featured an 1,186 cc Boxer water-cooled engine with a belt-driven overhead camshaft on each cylinder head. It also featured an elaborate suspension setup for a car in its class (MacPherson struts at the front and a beam axle with Watt’s linkage at the rear). Other unusual features for this size of car were four-wheel disc brakes (with the front ones being inboard) and rack and pinion steering. The engine design allowed the Alfasud a low bonnet line, making it very aerodynamic (for its day), and in addition gave it a low centre of gravity. As a result of these design features, the car had excellent performance for its engine size, and levels of roadholding and handling that would not be equaled in its class for another ten years. Despite its two-box shape, the Alfasud did not initially have a hatchback. Some of the controls were unorthodox, the lights, turn indicators, horn, wipers and heater fan all being operated by pulling, turning or pushing the two column stalks. In November 1973 the first sport model joined the range, the two-door Alfasud ti—(Turismo Internazionale, or Touring International).Along with a 5-speed gearbox, it featured a more powerful version of the 1.2 engine, brought to 67 hp by adopting a Weber twin-choke carburettor; the small saloon could reach 160 km/h. Quad round halogen headlamps, special wheels, a front body-colour spoiler beneath the bumper and rear black one around the tail distinguished the “ti”, while inside there were a three-spoke steering wheel, auxiliary gauges, leatherette/cloth seats, and carpets in place of rubber mats. In 1974, Alfa Romeo launched a more upscale model, the Alfasud SE. The SE was replaced by the Alfasud L (Lusso) model introduced at the Bruxelles Motor Show in January 1975. Recognisable by its bumper overriders and chrome strips on the door sills and on the tail, the Lusso was better appointed than the standard Alfasud (now known as “normale”), with such features as cloth upholstery, headrests, padded dashboard with glove compartment and optional tachometer. A three-door estate model called the Alfasud Giardinetta was introduced in May 1975. It had the same equipment of the Alfasud “L”. It was never sold in the UK and these models are particularly rare now. The Lusso model was produced until 1976, by then it was replaced with the new Alfasud 5m (5 marce, five speed) model, the first four-door Alfasud with a five-speed gearbox. Presented at the March 1976 Geneva Motor Show, it was equipped like the Lusso it replaced. In late 1977 the Alfasud Super replaced the range topping four-door “5m”; it was available with both the 1.2- and 1.3-litre engines from the “ti”, though both equipped with a single-choke carburettor.The Super introduced improvements both outside, with new bumpers including large plastic strips, and inside, with a revised dashboard, new door cards and two-tone cloth seats. Similar upgrades were applied to the Giardinetta. In May 1978 the Sprint and “ti” got new engines, a 78 hp 1.3 (1,350 cc) and a 84 hp 1.5 (1,490 cc), both with a twin-choke carburettor. At the same time the Alfasud ti received cosmetic updates (bumpers from the Super, new rear spoiler on the boot lid, black wheel arch extensions and black front spoiler) and was upgraded to the revised interior of the Super. The 1.3 and 1.5 engines were soon made available alongside the 1.2 on the Giardinetta and Super, with a slightly lower output compared to the sport models due to a single-choke carburettor. All Alfasuds were upgraded in 1980 with plastic bumpers, new instrument panel, headlamps and rear lights as well as other revisions. The Ti version was now fitted with a twin-carburettor version of the 1490 cc engine that had been fitted to the Sprint the previous year, developing 95 bhp A three-door hatchback was added to the range in 1981 in either SC or Ti trim and the two-door Ti and Giardinetta were deleted from most markets around this time. Belatedly in 1982 the four-door cars were replaced by five-door versions as by now, most of its competitors were producing a hatchback of this size, although some also produced a saloon alternative. The range was topped by the five-door Gold Cloverleaf, featuring the 94 hp engine from the Ti and enhanced interior trim. In 1983 an attempt to keep pace with the hot hatchback market, the final version of the Alfasud Ti received a tuned 1490 cc engine developing 105 PS Now named Quadrifoglio Verde (Green Cloverleaf) this model was also fitted with Michelin low profile TRX tyres on metric rims as well as an enhanced level of equipment. The five-door Alfasud saloons were replaced by the 33 models in 1983. The 33 was an evolution of the AlfaSud’s floorpan and running gear, including minor suspension changes and a change from four-wheel disc brakes to front disc and rear drum brakes to reduce costs. The three-door versions continued for a further year before being replaced by the unsuccessful Alfa Romeo Arna a joint venture between Alfa Romeo and Nissan.
1972 Alfetta: Taking its name from the successful Formula One car of 1951, the Type 159, was the Alfetta, and there were several of these to be seen here. The 116 Series Alfetta was launched in 1972, equipped with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder. It was a three-box, four-door saloon (Berlina in Italian) with seating for five designed in-house by Centro Stile Alfa Romeo; the front end was characterised by twin equally sized headlamps connected to a central narrow Alfa Romeo shield by three chrome bars, while the tail lights were formed by three square elements. At the 1975 Brussels Motor Show Alfa Romeo introduced the 1,594 cc 08 PS Alfetta 1.6 base model, easily recognizable by its single, larger round front headlights. Meanwhile, the 1.8-litre Alfetta was rebadged Alfetta 1.8 and a few months later mildly restyled, further set apart from the 1.6 by a new grille with a wider central shield and horizontal chrome bars. Engines in both models were Alfa Romeo Twin Cams, with two overhead camshafts, 8-valves and two double-barrel carburettors. Two years later the 1.6 was upgraded to the exterior and interior features of the 1.8. In 1977 a 2.0-litre model was added. Launched at the March Geneva Motor Show, the Alfetta 2000 replaced the long running 115 Series Alfa Romeo 2000. This range-topping Alfetta was 10.5 cm (4.1 in) longer than the others, owing to a redesigned front end with square headlights and larger bumpers with polyurethane inserts; the rectangular tail light clusters and C-pillar vents were also different. Inside there were a new dashboard, steering wheel and upholstery materials. Just a year later, in July 1978, the two-litre model was updated becoming the Alfetta 2000 L. Engine output rose from 122 PS to 130 PS; inside, the upholstery was changed again and dashboard trim went from brushed aluminium to simulated wood. The 2000 received fuel injection in 1979. A turbodiesel version was introduced in late 1979, the Alfetta Turbo D, whose engine was supplied by VM Motori. Apart from a boot lid badge, the Turbo D was equipped and finished like the top-of-the-line 2000 L both outside and inside. Therefore, it received a tachometer—very unusual in diesels of this era, but no standard power steering, in spite of the additional 100 kg (220 lb) burden over the front axle. The turbodiesel, a first on an Alfa Romeo’s passenger car, was of 2.0 litres and produced 82 PS. The Alfetta Turbo D was sold mostly in Italy and in France, as well as a few other continental European markets where the tax structure suited this model. It was never offered in the UK. In 1981 Alfa Romeo developed in collaboration with the University of Genoa a semi-experimental Alfetta version, fitted with a modular variable displacement engine and an electronic engine control unit. Called Alfetta CEM (Controllo Elettronico del Motore, or Electronic Engine Management), it was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The 130 PS 2.0-litre modular engine featured fuel injection and ignition systems governed by an engine control unit, which could shut off two of four cylinders as needed in order to reduce fuel consumption. An initial batch of ten examples were assigned to taxi drivers in Milan, to verify operation and performance in real-world situations. According to Alfa Romeo during these tests cylinder deactivation was found to reduce fuel consumption by 12% in comparison to a CEM fuel-injected engine without variable displacement, and almost by 25% in comparison to the regular production carburetted 2.0-litre. After the first trial, in 1983 a small series of 1000 examples was put on sale, offered to selected clients; 991 examples were produced. Despite this second experimental phase, the project had no further developments. In November 1981 the updated “Alfetta ’82” range was launched, comprising 1.6, 1.8, 2.0 and 2.0 Turbo Diesel models. All variants adopted the bodyshell and interior of the 2.0-litre models; standard equipment became richer. All Alfettas had black plastic rubbing strips, side sill mouldings, tail light surround and hubcaps; the 2000 sported a satin silver grille and a simulated mahogany steering wheel rim. July 1982 saw the introduction of the range topping Alfetta Quadrifoglio Oro (meaning Gold Cloverleaf, a trim designation already used on the Alfasud), which took the place of the discontinued 2000 L. The Quadrifoglio Oro was powered by a 128 PS version of the usual 1962 cc engine, equipped with the SPICA mechanical fuel injection used on US-spec Alfettas; standard equipment included several digital and power-assisted accessories like a trip computer, check control panel and electrically adjustable seats. Visually the Quadrifoglio Oro was distinguished by twin round headlights, concave alloy wheels, and was only available in metallic grey or brown with brown interior plastics and specific beige velour upholstery. In March 1983 the Alfetta received its last facelift; the exterior was modernised with newly designed bumpers (integrating a front spoiler and extending to the wheel openings), a new grille, lower body plastic cladding, silver hubcaps and, at the rear, a full width grey plastic fascia supporting rectangular tail lights with ribbed lenses and the number plate. The C-pillar ventilation outlets were moved to each side of the rear screen. Inside there were a redesigned dashboard and instrumentation, new door panels and the check control panel from the Quadrifoglio Oro on all models. Top of the range models adopted an overhead console, which extended for the full length of the roof and housed three reading spot lamps, a central ceiling light, and controls for the electric windows. Alongside the facelift two models were introduced: the 2.4 Turbo Diesel, replacing the previous 2.0-litre, and a renewed Quadrifoglio Oro, equipped with electronic fuel injection. Thanks to the Bosch Motronic integrated electronic fuel injection and ignition the QO had the same 130 PS output of the carburetted 2.0, while developing more torque and being more fuel efficient. In April 1984 the successor of the Alfetta debuted, the larger Alfa Romeo 90. At the end of the year the Alfetta Berlina went out of production, after nearly 450,000 had been made over a 12-year production period.
1970 Montreal: Reaction to the concept seen earlier on the tour was sufficiently encouraging that Alfa decided to put the car into production. The result, the Tipo 105.64, was shown at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show and was quite different from the original, using a 2593 cc 90° dry-sump lubricated V8 engine with SPICA (Società Pompe Iniezione Cassani & Affini) fuel injection that produced around 200 PS (197 hp), coupled to a five-speed ZF manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential. This engine was derived from the 2-litre V8 used in the 33 Stradale and in the Tipo 33 sports prototype racer; its redline was set at 7,000 rpm, unheard of for a V8 at that time. The chassis and running gear of the production Montreal were taken from the Giulia GTV coupé and comprised double wishbone suspension with coil springs and dampers at the front and a live axle with limited slip differential at the rear.Since the concept car was already unofficially known as The Montreal, Alfa Romeo kept the model name in production. Stylistically, the most eye catching feature was the car’s front end with four headlamps partly covered by unusual “grilles”, that retract when the lights are switched on. Another stylistic element is the NACA duct on the bonnet. The duct is actually blocked off since its purpose is not to draw air into the engine, but to optically hide the power bulge. The slats behind the doors contain the cabin vents, but apart from that only serve cosmetic purposes. Paolo Martin is credited for the prototype instrument cluster. The Montreal was more expensive to buy than the Jaguar E-Type or the Porsche 911. When launched in the UK it was priced at £5,077, rising to £5,549 in August 1972 and to £6,999 by mid-1976. Production was split between the Alfa Romeo plant in Arese and Carrozzeria Bertone’s plants in Caselle and Grugliasco outside Turin. Alfa Romeo produced the chassis and engine and mechanicals and sent the chassis to Caselle where Bertone fitted the body. After body fitment, the car was sent to Grugliasco to be degreased, partly zinc coated, manually spray painted and have the interior fitted. Finally, the car was returned to Arese to have the engine and mechanicals installed. It is worth noting that because of this production method, there is not necessarily any correspondence between chassis number, engine number and production date. The Montreal remained generally unchanged until it was discontinued in 1977. By then, production had long ceased already as Alfa were struggling to sell their remaining stock. The total number built was around 3900. None of them were sold in Montreal, Quebec since Alfa did not develop a North American version to meet the emission control requirements in the United States & Canada. The car was both complex and unreliable which meant that many cars deteriorated to a point where they were uneconomic to restore. That position has changed in the last couple of years, thankfully, with the market deciding that the car deserves better, and prices have risen to you whereas a good one would have been yours for £20,000 only a couple of years ago, you would now likely have to pay more than double that.
1985 Alfa 75: This was the last Alfa model to be developed before the company was bought by Fiat. It was introduced in May 1985, to replace the 116 Series Giulietta with which it shared many components. It was named to celebrate Alfa’s 75th year of production. The body, designed by head of Alfa Romeo Centro Stile Ermanno Cressoni, was styled in a striking wedge shape, tapering at the front with square headlights and a matching grille. The 75 was only ever sold as a four door saloon, though at the 1986 Turin Auto Salon, a prototype 75 estate was to be seen, an attractive forerunner of the later 156 Sportwagon. This version was, however, never listed for sale, being cancelled after Fiat took control of Alfa Romeo. The car, dubbed the 75 Turbo Wagon, was made by Italian coachbuilder Rayton Fissore using a 75 Turbo as the basis. Two estate versions were to be found at the later 1987 Geneva Motor Show; one was this Turbo Wagon and the other was a 2.0 litre version named the Sportwagon. The 75 featured some unusual technical features, most notably the fact that it was almost perfectly balanced from front to rear. This was achieved by using transaxle schema — mounting the standard five-speed gearbox in the rear connected to the rear differential (rear-wheel drive). The front suspension was a torsion bar and shock absorber combination and the rear an expensive de Dion tube assembled with shock absorbers; these designs were intended to optimize the car’s handling; moreover the rear brake discs were fitted at the centre of the rear axle, near the gearbox-differential group. The engine crankshaft was bolted directly to the two-segment driveshaft which ran the length of the underside from the engine block to the gearbox, and rotated at the speed of the engine. The shaft segments were joined with elastomeric ‘doughnuts’ to prevent vibration and engine/gearbox damage. The 2.0 litre Twin Spark and the 3.0 Litre V6 were equipped with a limited slip differential. The 75 featured a then-advanced dashboard-mounted diagnostic computer, called Alfa Romeo Control, capable of monitoring the engine systems and alerting the drivers of potential faults. The 75 engine range at launch featured four-cylinder 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 litre petrol carburettor engines, a 2.0 litre intercooled turbodiesel made by VM Motori, and a 2.5 litre fuel injected V6. In 1986, the 75 Turbo was introduced, which featured a fuel-injected 1779 cc twin-cam engine using Garrett T3 turbocharger, intercooler and oil cooler. In 1987, a 3.0 litre V6 was added to the range and the 2.0 lire Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine was redesigned to have now two spark plugs per cylinder, the engine was named as Twin Spark. With fuel injection and variable valve timing this engine produced 146 hp. This was the first production engine to use variable valve timing. In North America, where the car was known as the Milano, only the 2.5 and 3.0 V6s were available, from 1987 to 1989. The North American 2.5-litres were fundamentally different from their European counterparts. Due to federal regulations, some modifications were required. Most noticeable from the outside were the ‘America’ bumpers, with the typical rubber accordions in them. Furthermore, these bumpers had thick (and heavy) shock-absorbing material inside them and in addition, they were mounted to the vehicle on shock absorbers. To accommodate these shock absorbers, the ‘America’-bodies were slightly different from the European ones. The North American cars also had different equipment levels (depending on the version: Milano Silver, Milano Gold or Milano Platinum). electrically adjustable outside mirrors, electrically reclining seats and cruise control were usually optional in Europe. The car was also available with a 3-speed ZF automatic gearbox option for the 2.5 V6. Other, more common options such as electrically operated rear windows and an A/C system were standard in the USA. The USA-cars also had different upholstery styles and of course different dashboard panels also indicating speed in mph, oil pressure in psi and coolant temperature in degrees F, and as a final touch the AR control was different, including a seat belt warning light. The European-spec 2.5 V6 (2.5 6V Iniezione or 2.5QV) was officially sold only between 1985 and 1987, although some of them were not registered until 1989. Relatively few of them were sold (about 2800 units), especially when the 155 PS 1.8 Turbo was launched, which in some countries was cheaper in taxes because of its lower displacement. To create a bigger space between the V6 and the inline fours, the 2.5 was bored out to 2959 cc’s to deliver 188 PS and this new engine was introduced as the 3.0 America in 1987. As its type designation suggests, the 3.0 only came in the US-specification, with the impact-bumpers and in-boot fuel tank. However, the European ‘America’s’ were not equipped with side-markers or the door, bonnet and boot lid fortifications. Depending on the country of delivery, the 3.0 America could be equipped with a catalytic converter. In 1988 engines were updated again, the 1.8 litre carburettor version was replaced with fuel injected 1.8 i.e. and new bigger diesel engine was added to the range. In the end of 1989 the 1.6 litre carburettor version was updated to have fuel injection and 1990 the 1.8 Turbo and 3.0i V6 got some more power and updated suspension. The 3.0 V6 was now equipped with a Motronic system instead of an L-Jetronic. The 1.8 Turbo was now also available in ‘America’-spec, but strangely enough not available for the USA market. The 3.0 V6 did make it to the United States, and was sold as Milano Verde. The UK never particularly warmed to the 75 when it was new, but its reputation has got ever stronger as the car ages.
1987 Alfa 164: I was delighted to see that the larger 164 was also represented here, as I had the pleasure of driving one for 4 years and 160,000 miles and to this day, it is the car I regret parting with more than any other of the fleet that I have owned over the years. When I bought mine, Alfa were selling a very small number of cars per month in the UK, so they were never that common, and sadly, survival rates are very low. Most people who know anything about the history of the 164 will be aware that this is one of the four so-called Type 4 cars, a joint venture involving Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Saab. In 1978 these four marques agreed to each develop an executive saloon based on a shared platform to compete against the likes of the Ford Granada and Opel Rekord (Vauxhall Carlton) as well as more premium saloons by BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the form of the 5-Series and E-Class, respectively. Alfa’s Project 164 started life as Project 154 and was completed in 1981, then still under Alfa Romeo. A year later, that project morphed into the 164 based on the Type Four platform. This new model was designed by Enrico Fumia of Pininfarina, with a wedge shape that afforded it a leading drag coefficient of Cd=0.30. The design would later influence the rest of the Alfa Romeo range starting in 1990 with the major redesign of the 33 and culminating with the 155, and Pininfarina also adapted it (much to the maker’s chagrin) for the 1987 Peugeot 405 and the 1989 Peugeot 605 saloons. Initial testing of the 164’s dynamic elements (engine and drivetrain) began in 1984, where mules based on the then contemporary Giulietta were used. In 1985, the first pre-production 164’s were put through their paces on the road. Heavily disguised, with many false panels and even a false nose design (borrowing heavily from the then equally undeveloped 155), sporting 4 round headlamps, these vehicle mules served to test the 164 for the gruelling 1 million kilometre static and road testing demanded of the design. In 1986 and 1987, the first 150 164’s were given their pre-production testing. In terms of engineering demands, these exceeded every Alfa before, and by quite a substantial margin. In Morocco, desert testing saw 5 grey 164 Twin Sparks and V6’s undergo the equivalent of the Paris-Dakar rally. Road conditions varied from good tarmac to off-road conditions, and accelerometers confirmed the superiority of the 164 in terms of passenger comfort. This data was cross-confirmed in the engineering laboratory with a sophisticated dummy in the driver’s seat, with accelerometers both in its seat, and in its ears to mimic that of the semi-circular canals of the ear. The Twin Spark and the V6 underwent handling trials at Arese. The Twin Spark displayed very mature driving manners at the limit, with minimal skid. The V6 displayed a 25% increase in at-the-limit skid, a natural consequence of its greater nose weight. ABS testing confirmed that the Twinspark has superior braking to the V6. Brake linings of the 164’s were run at maximum braking until they literally glowed with heat, and displayed no deviation in form. The 164 was the first Alfa to feature slotted double-walled disc brakes. At no point were the discs drilled to release excess heat, the original design being demonstrated to be excellent. Sound production was tested in an anechoic chamber, the car being subjected to stress and road noise testing, with instruments and with live subjects at the wheel, on a specially designed rig. Electromagnetic stability of the complex electronic system was also tested, in an anechoic chamber equipped with EM emitters (radar). The 164 engines were run to destruction, the Twinspark proving to be the most robust, and with the longest possible engine life. The V6 displayed only 10% shorter overall engine life. All this testing meant that by the time the production car, called the 164 was unveiled at the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show – the last model to be developed while the Alfa Romeo was still a fully independent company, even though the launch was a few months after the takeover by Fiat – that the car was far more thoroughly developed and tested than any Alfa preceding it. There were plenty of innovations in the build, too, thanks to the extensive use of galvanised steel for the frame and various body panels for the first time in the brand’s history. Moreover, the car featured advanced electronics thanks to the most complex wiring harness fitted to any Alfa Romeo. For example: it had three onboard computers (one for air conditioning, one for instrumentation, and one for the engine management); air conditioning and instrument functions shared a multiple-mode coded Zilog Z80-class microcontroller for dashboard functioning). The instrumentation included a full range of gauges including an advanced check-panel.. The car was a sensation at launch. For a start, it looked fantastic thanks to Enrico Fumia of Pininfarina’ design. The first 1:1 scale model of the car had been produced in 1982 and design cues had been publicly revealed on the Alfa Romeo Vivace concept car, which was exhibited at the 1986 Turin Motorshow that went on to influence the design of the Alfa Romeo GTV and Spider (916 series) launched in 1993, but the result was distinctive and elegant and very different from any of its rivals, or indeed any of the other Tipo 4 cars. The 164 became the first Alfa to benefit from extensive use of computer aided design, used to calculate structural stresses that resulted in a very rigid but still relatively lightweight chassis. Although sharing the same platform as that of the Lancia Thema, Fiat Croma and Saab 9000, by virtue of the fact that it was the last of the four to enter production, it featured unique front suspension geometry and the most distinctive styling of the lot. In fact, for example, the other cars all shared identical side door panels. Though still voluminous, the 164 had the tightest aperture to the boot, which had a 510-Litre capacity. The interior was spacious and modern, available with standard velour seating or leather trim depending on the model. Its dashboard continued the avantgarde design of the exterior with a centre dashboard that was dominated by a large number of seemingly identical buttons arranged in rows. Air-direction within the ventilation system was controlled by a pair of servomechanisms, which were constructed using notoriously fragile plastic gears that were prone to failure. Depending on the model, the 164 could feature automatic climate control and electronically controlled damping suspension – the latter, for example, in the sports-oriented Quadrifoglio Verde (“Green Cloverleaf “) and 164S models. This suspension actively reduced damping in response to conditions to provide a dynamic compromise between road holding and comfort. At launch, the original 164 range comprised three models: a 148 bhp 2.0 Twin Spark, the 192 bhp 3.0i V6 12-valve and a 2.5 Turbodiesel (badged “TD”). It took a year before the first cars reached the UK and the first eighteen months saw only the 3 litre model offered. The bigger selling 2.0 TS arrived in the simmer of 1990, just before the range was expanded by the 4-cylinder 2.0i Turbo, the sports-oriented 3.0i V6 Quadrifoglio Verde (badged “QV” or “S”) and North American export versions that included the luxury-oriented 164 L (“L” for Lusso) and the 164 S (in essence, the “QV”). Apart from minor running production upgrades, the next change came in 1993 with the launch of the 164 Super. Key differences on the outside consisted of larger bumpers with chrome trimmings added to the upper edge and revised headlights with a slimmer profile. Inside, there were revised instruments and a centre console that featured more delineated switchgear. The range was now also bolstered by a 3.0 V6 24V with a 24-valve engine upgrade and the 3.0 V6 Quadrifoglio 4 (badged “Q4”), which was the most powerful and sole all wheel drive variant built. Production ended in late 1997, with a gap of nearly two years before the replacement model would go on sale.
1997 Alfa 156: When the 156 was launched in 1997, things looked very bright for Alfa. Striking good looks were matched by a driving experience that the press reckoned was better than any of its rivals. The car picked up the Car of the Year award at the end of the year. and when it went on sale in the UK in early 1998, waiting lists soon stretched out more than 12 months. Reflecting the way the market was going, Alfa put a diesel engine under the bonnet, launched a (not very good, it has to be admitted) automated transmission with the SeleSpeed, added a very pretty if not that commodious an estate model they called Sport Wagon and then added a top spec 3.2 litre GTA with its 250 bhp engine giving it a performance to outrun all its rivals. And yet, it did not take long before the press turned on the car, seduced by the latest 3 Series once more, citing build quality issues which were in fact far from universal. The 156 received a very minor facelift in 2002 and a more significant one in late 2003 with a new front end that was a clue to what would come with the car’s successor. Production ceased in 2005.
2008 8C Competizione: Although I am sure there are those who would beg to differ, my contention is that car styling in the twentyfirst century has gone through a period which will not be viewed particularly positively in years to come, with a myriad of forgettable designs and more recently plenty which in trying to be distinctive are just downright ugly. There have been a few high points, though, and top of that list for me must be the Alfa 8C Competizione, a lone example of which was to be seen here. As well as the looks, this car also has noise on its side, with a sound track which must rate as one of the best of recent times. So that is two boxes ticket for me. The press saw it rather differently, and were rather critical of the car when it was new, but for me, finding plenty to fault with the way the car drove. First seen as a concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003, the concept was conceived as a reminder for people who were perhaps slightly disillusioned with contemporary Alfa products that the company could still style something as striking in the 21st century as it had been able to do in the 1950s and 1960s. Public reaction was very positive, but Fiat Group Execs were very focused on Ferrari and Maserati and they were not entirely convinced that a car like this was appropriate as it could encroach on those brands’ territory. It was only in 2006, with new management in place that it is decided that a limited production run of just 500 cars would give the once proud marque something of a boost. Announcement of the production version, visually little different from the 2003 concept car was made at the 2006 Paris Show, and it was soon evident that Alfa could have sold far more than 500 cars To turn the concept into reality, Alfa used a shortened Maserati Quattroporte platform with a central steel section, subframes front and rear and main outer panels that were all made from carbon fibre, with the result that the complete car weighed 300 kg less than the GranTurismo. Final assembly was carried out by Maserati, with the cars being built between 2007 and 2010. Competiziones (Coupes) first, and then 500 Spiders. Just 40 of the Competizione models came to the UK. Most of them were sent to the US, so this car is exceptionally rare and is much sought after by collectors. They were fearsomely expensive when new, listing for around £150,000, but prices have never dipped far below this, so anyone who bought one, should they ever feel the need to sell it, is not going to lose money on the car.
Second theme is branded “Bellezza”, ie Beauty. This features some of the most attractive cars ever to wear the Alfa Romeo badge. The first hall contains cars most of which were concepts, and, much to the chagrin of many an enthusiast, were not put into series production. The second hall contains cars that you could buy, if you had the means. A coachbuilt Alfa Romeo of the late 1930s was one of the most expensive cars you could buy. Take a look at these cars and it is not hard to see why!
1914 40/60 HP Aerodinamica: In some ways this is the most bizarre vehicle in the entire collection. Hard to believe when looking at this very odd-looking car but the ALFA 40/60 HP was a road car and race car, made between 1913 and 1922 and was designed by Giuseppe Merosi, as were all other Alfas at that time. The 40/60 HP has a 6082 cc straight-4 engine with overhead valves, which produced 70 bhp and its top speed was 125 km/h (78 mph). The race model 40-60 HP Corsa had 73 bhp and a top speed of 137 km/h (85 mph), and it also won its own category in the Parma-Berceto race. In 1914 the Milanese count Marco Ricotti commissioned from Carrozzeria Castagna the ALFA 40/60 HP Aerodinamica (also known as Siluro Ricotti), a prototype model which could reach 139 km/h (86 mph) top speed. The original did not survive, but this replica was created in the 1970s. 40/60 HP production and development was interrupted by the First World War, but resumed briefly afterwards. 40-60 HP Corsa had now 82 bhp and a top speed of around 150 km/h (93 mph). Giuseppe Campari won the 1920 and 1921 races at Mugello with this car.
1954 Sportiva: After the heady glory days of its Grand Prix domination with the Alfetta, Alfa Romeo struggled to find its competitive spirit in the early 1950s. Sports cars became the priority to promote the new direction for Milan, but both the Gioacchino Colombo-designed Disco Volante and later the 6C-3000 coupés under Giuseppe Busso failed to deliver despite impressive specifications and bold ideas. As Italy rebuilt after the war and the illustrious company moved away from bespoke machinery to a mass-produced line, the 1900 introduced in 1950 became the mainstay of the car division. The unitary platform of the production saloon evolved into handmade, short-wheelbase coupés from Italy’s finest coachbuilders, a succession of one-off show cars – and even a military jeep. When the firm later concentrated on a twin-cam Giulietta to launch a new era at Portello, a 1900 swansong development was created under the direction of Busso. Maybe the success of Mercdes-Benz’s sensational 300SL encouraged Alfa’s director Orazio Satta Puliga to give the go-ahead for a new lightweight spider and coupé based around the mechanics of the older 1900. The plan was to put the fixed-head into limited manufacture, aimed at wealthy privateer racers. The four-cylinder motor – with its iron block and light-alloy head – was bored out to give 1997.4cc and with twin Weber 50DCO3 carburettors, hotter cams, 9:1 compression and dry sump, it punched out 138bhp at 6500rpm. Unlike the Disco Volante’s engine, the ignition switched from magneto to coil with a camshaft-driven distributor. The unit had proved its reliability with the 1900 TI in endurance events, but powering the Sportiva’s lightweight square-tube spaceframe with beefy longerons through the sills and clothed in Superleggera alloy bodywork, this 915kg machine had a 140mph potential. The frame was extensively drilled and, other than the windscreen, all the windows were Perspex, which underlines the drive for further lightness with competition in mind. The front end followed 1900 practice with unequal-length wishbones, coil springs and dampers, but the rear was a beautifully engineered de Dion set-up with Watt linkage and finned inboard drum brakes. The talented Austrian engineer Rudolf Hruska, who had managed the 1900 project, was also closely involved with the new 2000 prototypes, and enlisted Nuccio Bertone to make the bodies with the brilliant Franco Scaglione as the stylist. Like many of Alfa Romeo’s top engineers, Scaglione had an aviation background with a specialist interest in aerodynamics, as his BAT show cars dramatically demonstrated. How many Sportivas were built remains a mystery that has challenged Alfa historians for decades, but it is generally believed that there were four cars – two spiders and two coupés – with chassis numbers from 1366.00001 to 1366.00004. Of the two open Sportivas, only one survives: 00002 in the factory collection. The fate of the other is unrecorded, prompting the theory that only one was built with the body changing through aerodynamic testing. To further confuse matters, a third coupé – with deeply cut away front wings and exposed exhaust exiting ahead of the rear wheel – appears in period photographs. The first prototypes took to the road in August ’54, the compact-looking roadster evolving progressively from finned BAT-style tail to a more rounded version. A scoop photo in the February 1955 issue of Auto Italiana reveals a spider on track at Monza adorned with threads of wool to study airflow, which was filmed with a cine camera from a chase car. ‘The fins were soon removed as they proved useless,’ Busso recalled in his memoirs. The spider competed just once, in the Vermicino-Rocca di Papa hillclimb, where it won the sports-car class and came second overall to Salvatore Casella’s Mercedes 300SL. As Alfa focused on developing the Giulietta, the Sportiva was pushed into the background. The two coupés were completed, with more cohesive styling and a better finish. The silver car was used extensively for evaluation, as its higher mileage confirms. At one point, possibly for testing tyres and 2600 disc brakes, it was fitted with Dunlop-style disc wheels but was later put back on Borranis. The two Sportivas were kept under wraps – to avoid distracting attention from the Giulietta launch – but finally the red coupé was unveiled on the Alfa stand at the ’56 Turin Salon. It shared space with a 1900 Pininfarina Coupé and the new Giulietta, while across the aisle the Turin coachbuilder displayed the wild Superflow. The two fixed-heads are subtly different, with contrasting front air vents under the bumper (the silver car ‘00003’ has neater vertical louvres), sidelight positions and bootlid design, although both are clearly fully resolved designs. The plan to build 100 was abandoned because Alfa Romeo’s management concluded that the car was too expensive to produce. So all three were initially confined to the Portello vault until plans began to build a new factory museum in 1965 under the direction of historian Luigi Fusi. Few knew about the second red Sportiva until Fusi instigated a fascinating swap with an Australian. While sorting cars for a comprehensive historical display, Fusi was keen to plug gaps. When he learned from Roy Slater, an English-born Alfisti who lived in Italy, that the only surviving 1920 20/30 was in Australia, contact was made with owner Lionel Jones. The ordinary-looking vintage four-cylinder tourer might have seemed an unlikely exchange for the sexy prototype, but the 20/30 was the oldest remaining car to feature the Alfa Romeo badge, so was very significant for the museum collection. Jones had discovered the tourer in 1967 after a customer to his Sydney engine-rebuilding workshop had mentioned an old Alfa stored on an outback farm. Various marque histories had stated that none of the 300 20/30s built were left, so Jones was happy to prove the experts wrong and painstakingly restore the rare model. When Fusi heard about the find from Slater, he made contact with Jones with offers to purchase the 20/30, but the Australian wasn’t interested. Refusing to give up, Fusi sent a list of historic Alfa Romeos to tempt him for a swap – with a new Sud thrown in to sweeten the deal. At heart, Jones believed that the 20/30 should return to the factory and decided that the rarely seen Sportiva ‘00004’ would make the perfect exchange. The particulars of the deal took months to sort, but the 20/30 was crated up in Sydney’s docks in 1971 and shipped to Italy. Tickets later arrived for him and his wife Pauline to fly as special guests to the unveiling of the important machine. The opening of the crate was delayed for a special reception at Portello and, for most of the evening, Jones chauffeured Alfa management around the factory in his old car. Back in Australia, Jones had to wait several months before the Sportiva arrived because Fusi claimed that the factory wanted to make sure that it was in top condition before shipping. The big day when the Sportiva was finally rolled out of its shipping container created quite a commotion on Sydney docks, with the local paper headlining the story as ‘The rarest car in the World’. Unsurprisingly, the Sportiva was the pride of New South Wales Alfa enthusiasts, and was the star of the show wherever it appeared. Although the mileage remained low (it had clocked just 400km when it arrived), Jones enjoyed driving the Sportiva and covered more than 6000km during his 18-year ownership, but much of that was before a disastrous track day in ’76. While exploring the car’s impressive performance, Jones overcooked it through a turn and clipped the kerb, which tripped up the red coupé. After the roll, possibly caused by the limited grip of the original Stelvio tyres, the Sportiva landed on its roof with amazingly little damage – other than breaking the windscreen. Jones came off far worse and suffered a broken neck. The bulbous passenger-side sill houses the car’s exhaust system. Once he’d recovered, hobbies including radio-controlled model aircraft took priority, but the meticulous rebuild was eventually finished. Replacing the glass proved a challenge and, after writing to Alfa and Bertone, he was informed that only two had been made in 1954. The return letter bluntly stated that: ‘Mr Bertone would never build a car around a standard windscreen.’ An Australian specialist made a replacement in the end, and the Sportiva was back on the road. In 1987, Jones decided to sell the Sportiva to fund the purchase of an aeroplane. The Alfa went under the hammer with Sotheby’s, where it made AU$380,000. Few in Europe were aware of the sale, but Dutch dealer Rudy Pas of Classic Car Associates sealed its brief return visit. The Sportiva quickly sold to Japan where it went on to share space with another Bertone-built Alfa masterpiece, the Giorgetto Giugiaro-styled ’64 Canguro, as well as the Pininfarina TZ ‘750114’. Unseen for the next two decades, the Sportiva returned to Europe after being acquired by a Swiss collector. Having seen that car at Retromobile earlier in the year, it was nice to see the Alfa museum’s silver sister car.
1952 1900 CS Disco Volante: The Alfa Romeo 1900 C52 “Disco Volante”,commonly known simply as Alfa Romeo Disco Volante (Italian for “Flying Saucer”), is a series of experimental sports racing cars produced between 1952 and 1953 by Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo in collaboration with Milanese coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring. The car was distinguished by streamlined, wind tunnel tested bodywork. Three spiders were made in 1952, with a 2-litre all-alloy four-cylinder engine; a year later one was modified into a coupé, and another one into a more conventional-looking spider. Two more examples were built fitted with a six-cylinder 3.5-litre engine from the Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM racing car. Four of the five cars built in total survive today. The 1900 C52 was originally developed in 1952 to take part to Sport category races. Its fully enveloping aerodynamic bodywork was developed and built together with Carrozzeria Touring, and wind tunnel tested. Studied to achieve a low drag coefficient even in crosswinds, the body featured a lenticular cross-section both viewed from the front and from the side; the underbody was faired-in. According to some the design of the Jaguar E-type has some design cues similar to the Disco Volante. Built around an all-new tubular space frame, the Disco Volante used lightened components from the Alfa Romeo 1900. As on the 1900, the engine was an inline-four with double chain-driven overhead camshafts, but used an aluminium block and inserted sleeves instead of the 1900s cast iron one. While the 1900s 88 mm stroke was retained, cylinder bore had grown from 82.55 mm to 85 mm, bringing total displacement to 1,997.4 cc; compression ratio was raised to 8.73:1. So configured, fed by two twin-choke sidedraught carburettors, the engine produced 158 PS (156 bhp) at 6,500 rpm. The transmission was 4-speed gearbox with synchronised forwards speeds and a multi plate dry clutch. Suspension was, as on other Alfa Romeos of the time, by double wishbones at the front and solid axle linked to the chassis by an upper triangle and two lower longitudinal reaction arms.] The brakes were drums on all four corners, and the 6.0×16″ tyres were fitted to wire wheels with duralumin rims. Thanks to its aerodynamic shape the car could attain a top speed of 220 km/h (140 mph). Three examples of the two-litre Disco Volante were built in total. In 1953 two of them were modified to carry out further aerodynamic tests. One was given a fixed roof, becoming an enclosed coupé; the other, doing away with the characteristic bulging wings in favour of more conventional ones, became the so-called “fianchi stretti” (Italian for “narrow hips”) spider. The latter car was the only Disco Volante to be raced in period—being fielded in some competitions during 1953—since the program did not progress past the experimental stage. Two more cars with the original spider body style were built fitted with a 3,495 cc, cast iron block, double overhead camshaft straight-six engine from the contemporary Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM racing car in place of the all-alloy four-cylinder; one was dismantled soon after its construction. Thanks to an output of 230 PS (227 bhp) at 6,000 rpm, the 3.5-litre Disco Volante could reach a top speed of 240 km/h (149 mph). The spider and coupé 2.0-litre prototypes are preserved in the Museum here, and are regularly used in classic car races. Estimated value of each is between 1 and 2 million Euro. The fianchi stretti spider is part of the Schlumpf collection, on display in the Musée national de l’automobile in Mulhouse, France. Finally, the unique remaining six-cylinder 3.5-litre spider is preserved in the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile in Turin.
1965 Giulia Sprint Speciale Prototipo Bertone: This prototype by Bertone was produced as a potential replacement for Giulietta SS, named “Giulia SS Bertone Prototipo”, but the new shape did not enter production and the next generation Giulia SS carried over an unchanged Giulietta SS body. The car was designed in 1965 by Giorgetto Giugiaro during the end of his stay at Bertone.
1968 Carabo: Well known by those of a certain age, thanks to the fact that Matchbox made a model of it, the Alfa Romeo Carabo is a concept car first shown at the 1968 Paris Motor Show. It was designed by Marcello Gandini, working for the Bertone design studio. The Carabo name is derived from the Carabidae beetles, as evoked by the car’s iridescent green and orange colouring. The wedge design came into fashion in the late 1960s. The Carabo is often considered the winner of the ‘Wedge War’ award of 1968 and as the direct predecessor of the Lamborghini Countach and having heavily influenced many car designs to follow well into the next decade. It was never intended for production but was fully functional and showcased features never expressed in any other car design of its day, including its wedge design and scissor doors. The prototype was built on the chassis of an Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale (chassis No. 750.33.109.), which features a mid-mounted 2.0 litre V8 engine mated to a 6-speed Colotti manual transmission. The Carabo engine made 230 bhp at 8,800 rpm and 200 Nm (148 lb/ft) of torque at 7,000 rpm. This allowed it to be able to reach a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). The scissor doors later appeared on the Lamborghini Countach, which was also designed by Marcello Gandini.
1969 Iguana: This concept car was produced in 1969. It was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Italdesign. The car was previewed at the Sport Car Show in Monza and presented officially at the Turin Auto Show in 1969. It was the first Alfa Romeo model designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro as head of his own carrozzeria, and was based on the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale road-going version of the Tipo 33/2. Although it did not go into production, the Iguana is reflected in Giugiaro’s later work. The body of the Iguana was painted a metal-flake grey, while the roof frame and cabin pillars were finished in brushed metal, a treatment Giugiaro later applied to the DMC DeLorean. The chassis inherited from the Stradale was of tubular steel. The fuel tank was lined with rubber. The body was a coupé executed in fibreglass. The low sloping nose between raised sections over the wheels and depth of the windshield would be revisited on the Porsche Tapiro and Maserati Bora, while the definition of the rear elements will also appear in other cars styled by Giugiaro, notably the Alfetta GT. The Iguana was initially equipped with a 1,995 cc aluminium V8 engine delivering 230 bhp of power at 8,000 rpm. The engine was capable of 266.9 bhp, but was detuned for reliability. This had been the first V8 engine produced by the House of the Snake, and in the Iguana was combined with a SPICA fuel injection system and a six-speed Colotti gearbox. Thus equipped the car was capable of a top speed of 260 km/h (161.6 mph). At some point, and for reasons unknown, the original engine was replaced with one of the 2,593 cc 200 bhp V8s built for the Montreal. Suspension was upper and lower A-arms at all four corners. Brakes were Girling disks, and the wheels were Campagnolo alloys.
1996 Nuvola: This stunning machine is a concept car with coupé body first shown by Alfa Romeo at the Mondial de l’Automobile Paris motor show in 1996. Nuvola literally means “cloud” in Italian, but also hints to the legendary Italian racing driver Tazio Nuvolari. The Nuvola has a front-mounted engine and four wheel drive. The Nuvola is a 2-door, 2-seat coupé with a polyester body coupled to a welded tubular steel space frame. It is powered by a longitudinal 2.5 litre twin-turbo, 60-degree Alfa Romeo V6 engine coupled to a 6-speed manual transmission and four-wheel drive. The engine puts out 300 PS (296 bhp) at 6000 rpm and 285 lb⋅ft (386 N⋅m) at 3000 rpm, making the Nuvola capable of a top speed of 174 mph (280 km/h) and 0 to 60 mph acceleration in 6 seconds. This concept car was intended both as a future design manifesto and a technology demonstrator, the idea behind it being the rebirth of the coachbuilt automobile: Alfa Romeo would have supplied rolling chassis to be bodied by independent coachbuilders, and possibly sold through Alfa Romeo dealers. To achieve this stylistic flexibility the car was based on a modern space frame chassis with a separate body; it was designed to handle virtually any body style, from coupé to roadster to shooting brake. The Nuvola was penned by a group of young designers from Centro Stile Alfa Romeo, at the time headed by Walter de Silva. It featured LED lighting and bumpers fully integrated in the shape of the bodywork. What a shame it remained a one-off.
1969 33/2 Coupe Speziale: Also known as Alfa Romeo 33.2, this is a Pininfarina designed concept car, first presented at the Paris Motor Show in 1969. This 2-door coupé was designed by Leonardo Fioravanti, then working at Pininfarina; the design was influenced by the Ferrari 250 P5 concept shown a year earlier at Geneva. The 33.2 featured hydraulically working butterfly doors and pop-up headlights. It is based on the 33 Stradale chassis No. 750.33.115. It bore a striking yellow paint.
The next room on the tour was one which has featured in many of the reviews I had seen of the revamped musuem, as it is quite spectacular. Starring here are a number of models from the Giulietta and Giulia Series cars that were produced from the 50s to the mid 70s.
As well as another Giulietta Berlina, there was also the very pretty Spider and the very aerodynamic Sprint Speciale (SS).
The Sprint Speciale was produced between 1957 and 1965, latterly with Giulia badging. Just 1,366 examples were made. The first cars were fitted with the 1,290cc Giulietta engine and then in 1963 this was replaced by the more powerful 1,570cc Giulia unit. The SS, or Sprint Speciale series was never intended to be a volume car and it was considerably more expensive than the other models in the Giulietta and Giulia ranges. It certainly looked special, with streamlined bodywork which bore a marked resemblance to some of the marque’s earlier competition designs, particularly the famous Disco Volante sports-racer, not to mention the BAT 9 show car. With an all-up weight of under 950kgs, a five-speed gearbox and an output of 112bhp (in Giulia form) these were excellent road cars and were equally used in competition. They don’t come up for sale very often, and needless to say, the price tag is not small when they do.
Giulia models here included another example of the Berlina, as well as the more exclusive body styles, of which the Spring is the best known.
Looking very different from the rest of the Giulia range was a rather special Coupe, designed by Zagato. First seen in public at the Turin Motor Show of 1969, the GT 1300 Junior Zagato was a limited production two seater coupe with aerodynamic bodywork penned by Ercole Spada while he was at renowned Milanese styling house Zagato Based on the floorpan, driveline and suspension of the 1300 Spider, the Junior Zagato had a floorpan shortened behind the rear wheels to fit the bodyshell. the model evoked the earlier, race-oriented Giulietta Sprint Zagatos which featured aluminium bodywork and had a very active competition history. However, the Junior Zagato featured a steel bodyshell with an aluminium bonnet and, on early cars, aluminium doorskins. The Junior Zagato was not specifically intended for racing and did not see much use in competition. In total 1,108 units were constructed, with the last being built in 1972 although the records suggest that a further 2 cars were built in 1974. In 1972 the 1600 Zagato came out of which 402 units were produced. In this case the floorpan was unaltered from the 1600 Spider, so that the normal fueltank could be left in place. As a consequence, the 1600 Zagato is approximately 100 mm (3.9 in) longer than the 1300 model. This can be seen at the back were the sloping roofline runs further back and the backpanel is different and lower. The lower part of the rear bumper features a bulge to make room for the spare wheel. The 1600 Zagato has numerous other differences when compared to the 1300 Junior Zagato.so if you ever see two side by side, and were a real expert, you could probably tell them apart easily. The last 1600 Zagato was produced in 1973 and the cars were sold until 1975. This is definitely a “marmite” car, with some people loving the rather bold styling and others finding to just odd for their tastes. I am in the former category.
The original TZ, currently sometimes referenced as TZ1 to differ from later TZ2 was presented at the 1962 Turin Auto Show. It featured a 1,570 cc twin cam engine and other mechanical components shared with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and carried a 105 series chassis number, but was a purpose built sports racing car, with a tubular spaceframe chassis built in the province of Perugia by SAI Ambrosini and the light all-aluminium bodywork was made by Zagato, final assembly was made Delta of Udine, with Carlo Chiti initially on board as a consultant before becoming the project leader. The firm soon changed its name to Auto-Delta and relocated to its current site in Settimo Milanese, on the outskirts of Milan, not far from the Alfa Romeo Portello Plant. It has disc brakes and independent suspension. The result was a lightweight coupé of only 650 kilograms (1,430 lb) and top speed of 134 miles per hour (216 km/h). The TZ was built both for street and racing trim, with the latest racing versions producing up to 160 brake horsepower (120 kW). Alfa’s twin-spark cylinder head, as also used in their GTA, contributed to the speed of the TZ; the standard Giulia alloy block with wet steel liners was installed at an angle under the hood of the TZ to improve airflow. Aiding the TZ in its quest for performance was the treatment of the rear bodywork. Incorporating the research of Dr. Wunibald Kamm, the TZ used a style called coda tronca in Italian, meaning “short tail.”, otherwise known as the Kamm tail. The principle is that unless an aircraft-like extended tail is incorporated, which is not practical for an automobile, there is little, if any, increase in drag and a marked decrease in lift or even some downforce by simply chopping off a portion of the tail. Zagato had previously proved the success of this tail treatment in their coda tronca Sprint Zagato sports-racing cars, and it was a natural evolution to adapt this to the Giulia TZ. The car debuted at the 1963 FISA Monza Cup, where TZs took the first four places in the prototype category. At the beginning of 1964 the TZ was homologated (100 units were needed for homologation) to the Gran Turismo category. After homologation it started to take more class wins in Europe and North-America. Of the first TZ, 112 units were built between 1963 and 1965.
And the third room of cars that are part of the Beauty theme were the earlier ones from the immediate pre- and post-war period. This was an era when many Alfa models had coachbuilt bodies and there were spectacular examples of their art on display here.
1938 8C 2900B Lungo: The 8C 2900 was designed to compete in sports car races in general and the Mille Miglia in particular. It used the 2.9 L version of the 8C engine and was based on the 8C 35 Grand Prix racing chassis. As such, it had an inline 8-cylinder 2.9-litre engine using two Roots type superchargers fed by two updraught Weber carburettors and fully independent suspension with Dubonnet-type trailing arm suspension with coil springs and hydraulic dampers at front and swing axles with a transverse leaf spring at the rear. The 8C 2900A was shown to the public at the 1935 London Motor Show and was advertised for sale there. The engine, with a compression ratio of 6.5:1 and a stated power output of 220 bhp at 5300 rpm, was detuned from the Grand Prix racing version. Ten 2900As were built, five in 1935 and five in 1936. Scuderia Ferrari entered three 8C 2900As in the 1936 Mille Miglia and again in the 1937 Mille Miglia. In 1936 they finished in the top three positions, with Marquis Antonio Brivio winning, Giuseppe Farina finishing second, and Carlo Pintacuda finishing third. In 1937 they finished in the top two positions, with Pintacuda winning and Farina finishing second; the third 2900A, driven by Clemente Biondetti, did not finish. The 8C 2900A also won the 1936 Spa 24 Hours with Raymond Sommer and Francesco Severi. The 8C 2900B began production in 1937. The 2900B design made some concessions to comfort and reliability. The engine was detuned further, having a compression ratio of 5.75:1 and a stated power output of 180 bhp at 5200 rpm. The 2900B chassis was available in two wheelbases: the Corto (short) at 2,799 mm (110.2 in), which was longer than the 2900A’s 2,718 mm (107.0 in) wheelbase, and the Lungo (long) at 3,000 mm (118.1 in). The wheels of the 2900B had 19-inch rims fitted with 17-inch (432 mm) hydraulic drum brakes. Thirty-two 2900Bs were built in regular production, ten in 1937, and twenty-two in 1938. Another 2900B was assembled from parts in 1941. Most of these cars were bodied by Carrozzeria Touring, although a few were bodied by Pininfarina. An 8C 2900 with Pininfarina cabriolet bodywork was auctioned for US$4,072,000 by Christie’s at Pebble Beach, California. This was the tenth highest price ever paid for a car at auction at the time.
1938 6C 2300B Mille Miglia: The 6C 2300 (2,309 cc) was designed by Vittorio Jano as a lower-cost alternative to the 8C. In 1934 Alfa Romeo had become a state-owned enterprise. That year, a new 6C model with a newly designed and larger engine was presented. Chassis technology, however, had been taken from the predecessor. One year later a revised model, the 6C 2300 B, was presented. In this version the engine was placed in a completely redesigned chassis, with independent front suspension and rear swing axle, as well as hydraulic brakes. 760 examples of the rigid-axle 6C 2300 were produced and 870 examples of the B-model.
There were both pre- and post-war versions of the 6C 2500 here. Earlier of them a 1939 6C 2500 Sport and there was also a 1950 6C 2500 Super Sport Villa d’Este. Introduced in 1938, the 2500 (2,443 cc) was the final 6C road car. World War II was coming and car development was stopped, but a few hundred 6C 2500s were built from 1940 to 1945. Postwar, the first new Alfa model was the 1946 6C 2500 Freccia d’Oro (Golden Arrow), of which 680 were built until late 1951, with bodies by Alfa. The 2500 had an enlarged engine compared to the predecessor model; this Vittorio Jano designed dual overhead cam engine was available with either one or three Weber carburettors. The triple carburettor version was used in the top-of-the-range SS (Super Sport) version. The 2,443 cc engine was mounted onto a steel ladder frame chassis, which was offered with three wheelbases: 3,250 mm (128.0 in) on the Turismo, 3,000 mm (118.1 in) on the Sport and 2,700 mm (106.3 in) on the Super Sport. Various coachbuilders built their own bodied versions of the 2500, but most bodywork was built by Touring Superleggera of Milan. The Tipo 256 was a racing version of 2500 made in eight examples between 1939 and 1940 for the Mille Miglia and the Le Mans 24 Hours. It was made in Spider (convertible) and Berlinetta (coupe) Touring bodystyles. With a power of 125 bhp it could achieve a top speed of 200 km/h (120 mph). The car was sold to wealthy customers like King Farouk, Alì Khan, Rita Hayworth, Tyrone Power, and Prince Rainier. One was also featured in The Godfather in 1972. The 2500 was one of the most expensive cars available in its time. The final 6C was built in 1952 and the model was replaced by the 1900.
Third of three these is “Speed” and this is where you will find many of the cars from Alfa’s illustrious racing past. This goes back almost as far as the origins of the marque, as even that first car, the Alfa 24 HP was modified so it could take part in the motor sport of the era.
Two example of the RL Series were here: a 1923 RL Targa Florio and a 1924 car.
1925 Tipo P2: The Alfa Romeo P2 won the inaugural Automobile World Championship in 1925, taking victory in two of the four championship rounds when Antonio Ascari drove it in the European Grand Prix at Spa and Gastone Brilli-Peri won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza after Ascari died while leading the intervening race at Montlhery. Although 1925 brought drastic changes of regulations, from 1924-1930 the P2 was victorious in 14 Grands Prix and major events including the Targa Florio. It was one of the iconic Grand Prix cars of the 1920s, along with the Bugatti Type 35, and enabled Alfa Romeo, as world champions, to incorporate the laurel wreath into their logo. The P2 was introduced by Alfa Romeo for the Circuit of Cremona in northern Italy in 1924, where Antonio Ascari won at over 158 km/h (98 mph), and then went on to win the speed trial at 195 km/h (121 mph). The car was the first creation of Alfa’s new designer Vittorio Jano who had been recruited from Fiat by Enzo Ferrari when Nicola Romeo scrapped the P1 after its poor performance in the 1923 Monza Grand Prix against Fiat. The P2 was powered by Alfa’s first straight-8 cylinder supercharged engine with 2 carburettors placed after the compressor. The P2 had two body styles using either a cut off or long rear. The car’s last race was in 1930. Only 2 of the 6 original models survive, with the other one at the Turin Automobile Museum.
There were two examples of the legendary 8C 2300 here, a 1931 8C 2300 Monza and a 1932 8C 2300 Le Mans. The bodywork on this pairing is quite different, showing how Alfa optimised the car for the specific circuits and events for which it was entered. The 8C 2300 Le Mans’ was the sport version of the ‘8C 2300’ and it had a successful debut in the 1931 Eireann Cup driven by Henry Birkin. It won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1931 (Howe-Birkin); 1932 (Chinetti-Sommer); 1933 (Nuvolari-Sommer) and 1934 (Chinetti-Etancelin). The 8C 2300 Le Mans model on display at the Museo Alfa Romeo was bought by Sir Henry Birkin in 1931 for competition use, but it is not the car in which Birkin and Howe won the 1931 Le Mans 24 hours. A 1933 8C 2300 Le Mans, chassis #2311201, is part of the permanent collection at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, PA, US. The car was owned by Lord Howe who campaigned it in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1934 (DNF) as well as in 1935 when it set the fastest lap before retiring.
1934 Tipo B Aerodinamica: The Alfa Romeo P3, P3 monoposto or Tipo B was a classic Grand Prix car designed by Vittorio Jano, one of the Alfa Romeo 8C models. The P3 was first genuine single-seat Grand Prix racing car and Alfa Romeo’s second monoposto after Tipo A monoposto (1931). It was based on the earlier successful Alfa Romeo P2. Taking lessons learned from that car, Jano went back to the drawing board to design a car that could last longer race distances. The P3 was the first genuine single seater racing car, and was powered by a supercharged eight-cylinder engine. The car was very light for the period, weighing just over 1,500 lb (680 kg) despite using a cast iron engine block. The P3 was introduced in June, halfway through the 1932 Grand Prix season in Europe, winning its first race at the hands of Tazio Nuvolari, and going on to win 6 races that year driven by both Nuvolari and Rudolf Caracciola, including all 3 major Grands Prix in Italy, France and Germany. The 1933 Grand Prix season brought financial difficulties to Alfa Corse so the cars were simply locked away and Alfa attempted to rest on their laurels. Enzo Ferrari had to run his breakaway ‘works’ Alfa team as Scuderia Ferrari, using the older, less effective Alfa Monzas. Alfa procrastinated until August and missed the first 25 events, and only after much wrangling was the P3 finally handed over to Scuderia Ferrari. P3s then won six of the final 11 events of the season including the final 2 major Grands Prix in Italy and Spain. The regulations for the 1934 Grand Prix season brought larger bodywork requirements, so to counteract this the engine was bored out to 2.9 litres. Louis Chiron won the French Grand Prix at Montlhery, whilst the German Silver Arrows dominated the other four rounds of the European Championship. However the P3s won 18 of all the 35 Grands Prix held throughout Europe. By the 1935 Grand Prix season the P3 was hopelessly uncompetitive against the superior German cars in 6 rounds of the European Championship, but that didn’t stop one final, legendary works victory. The P3 was bored out to 3.2 litres for Nuvolari for the 1935 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, in the heartland of the Mercedes and Auto-Union empire. In the race, Nuvolari punctured a tyre early on while leading, but after the pitstop he carved through the field until the last lap when Manfred von Brauchitsch, driving the far superior Mercedes Benz W25 suffered a puncture, leaving Nuvolari to win the race in front of 300,000 stunned Germans. The P3’s agility and versatility enabled it to win 16 of the 39 Grands Prix in 1935. The P3 had earned its place as a truly great racing car.
1935 16C Bimotore: Perhaps the most intriguing of all the race cars was this amazing device, the 1935 GP 16C Bimotore. The year 1934 saw the domination of racing through German technological might in the form of Mercedes and Auto Union Grand Prix cars. What had belonged to the French and Italian teams was now in German hands. Alfa Romeo was desperate to regain their superiority. Scuderia Ferrari was still the official racing team for Alfa Romeo, which provided it with the cars to compete in races all over the world. Enzo Ferrari, who wanted to give his drivers an outstandingly powerful car, decided to have one designed and built with two engines. Time was short and Luigi Bazzi had only a few months to prepare the Alfa Romeo 16C Bimotore. The idea was as ambitious as it was complex, but Bazzi, starting from the chassis of an Alfa Romeo P3, managed to find space for two straight eight engines of 3165 cc each, one in the usual place in front of the driver and the other behind him, and create one of the most original racing cars of any era. The car had rear-wheel drive, with the rear axle powered by a differential mounted at the output of the three-speed gearbox, and two long half-shafts in a “V” configuration, driven by final drives and acting on the rear wheels. The rear engine driveshaft passed “straight through” the gearbox and connected to the flywheel of the front engine and the single clutch, which thus controlled the power from both the straight eights. Two fuel tanks were mounted along the sides of the car, replacing the one normally fitted behind the driver, in the space now occupied by the second engine. The mathematical sum of the 270 hp generated by each eight-cylinder engine, supercharged by volumetric compressors, was 540 HP: an extremely high value even for a Grand Prix car. In the Modena workshops, Bazzi managed to prepare two cars: one for Louis Chiron and one for Tazio Nuvolari. The car made its debut at the Tripoli Grand Prix on 12 May 1935. The long straights of the Mellaha circuit in Libya appeared to be the ideal terrain for testing the car and giving all this horsepower its head: Nuvolari and Chiron finished fourth and fifth respectively. Alfa Romeo tried its luck again at Avusrennen on 26 May, and Chiron succeeded in gaining second place. On 15 June 1935, on the Altopascio-Lucca section of the new motorway from Florence to the coast, “Nivola” once again climbed into the cockpit of the Bimotore for an attempt at the flying kilometre and flying mile land speed record. The figures from the chronometers were an average speed of 321.428 km/h over a kilometre, with an average time of 11.20 seconds, and an average speed of 323.125 km/h for the mile, with a time of 17.93 seconds: the maximum speed was around 364 km/h. Nuvolari received congratulations from many sides, including from his great rival Achille Varzi, who insisted on being present and was unstinting in his praise for the record-breaker. The major reason for its relative lack of success could be traced to its prodigious use of fuel and tyres brought on by its excessive weight and power. More often then not the car was either entering or leaving the pits after receiving some sustenance. Thus the noble attempt that became the Alfa Bimotore could have easily been called the first Ferrari but rather than struggle to make it race worthy the project was soon dropped. With one of the cars scrapped the other was sold to British amateur driver Austin Dobson for national events at Donington and Brooklands.
1938 8C 2900 Le Mans: Alfa Corse prepared and entered a single 8C 2900B, chassis number 412033, for the 1938 Le Mans. The car featured a streamlined coupé body at a time when Le Mans racers were almost always open cars. The aerodynamic coupé was built by Carrozzeria Touring. In 1987, an Italian magazine had the car tested at the Pininfarina wind tunnel, where a Cx of 0.42 was measured, down to 0.37 with air intakes closed. The coupé, driven by Sommer and Biondetti, led for most of the race, but tyre trouble was then followed by a dropped valve. The car was driven to the pits, but had to retire there. At the time the valve dropped, the coupé had a lead of more than 160 km over the next car. This was the only time the coupé was raced by Alfa Corse. After the war, it was entered in minor races under private ownership, was then displayed at the Donington museum from the 1960s before being added in 1987 to the Alfa Romeo museum, which now runs it at many events.
1937 12C: The Alfa Romeo 12C or Tipo C was a 12-cylinder Grand Prix car. The 12C-36 made its debut in Tripoli Grand Prix 1936, and the 12C-37 in Coppa Acerbo 1937. The 12C-36 was a Tipo C fitted with the new V12 instead of the 3.8 litre straight-eight of the 8C-35. The 12C-37 was a new car, with a lower chassis and an engine bored and stroked to 4475 cc, now with roller- instead of plain bearings and two smaller superchargers instead of a single large one. The car suffered poor handling, which could not be cured in time for the 1937 Italian GP, and thus was not successful. This is given as the reason for Vittorio Jano’s resignation from Alfa Romeo at the end of 1937. The 12C-36 used the existing six Tipo C chassis. Four examples of the 12C-37 were built, although only two were actually assembled for the 1937 Coppa Acerbo and Italian GP. Early in 1938, the Tipo C (8C-35, 12C-36) chassis were modified into 308s, with the straight-eight engine fitted lower in the chassis and a completely new body. The four 12C-37 chassis were instead assembled into 312 (V12 downsized to 3-litre) and 316 (V16 obtained from two 158 engines fitted to a common crankcase) formula race cars.
1940 GP Tipo 512: The Alfa Romeo Tipo 512 was intended for replacement for Alfa Romeo 158 Voiturette racing car. Designed by Wifredo Ricart as his second car for Alfa Romeo after V16-engined Alfa Romeo Tipo 162. The car was first mid-engined Alfa Romeo model. This racing car has flat 12 engine (technically speaking it is 180 degree V12) using mid-engine layout. With two Roots type superchargers, the engine could produce up to 225 bhp per litre. The engine had very short stroke compared to other Grands Prix cars at that time, only 54.2 millimetres (bore 54mm). The potential of this machine is not so clear, since it is a prototype. The power of the engine measured at the bench was of 335 bhp at 8600 rpm. In the Alfa Romeo museum in Arese, alongside the 512 exposed is the following data:the maximum power (estimated) 500 hp at 11,000 rpm and maximum speed over 350 km/h (217 mph). The car’s development was finished in 1940 and stopped during World War II, another chassis was built also but this car never raced. The Tipo 512 was first tested on September 12, 1940, by Alfa Romeo chief test driver Consalvo Sanesi, despite being very powerful its handling was not good enough. On June 19, 1940 Alfa Romeo’s test driver Attilio Marinoni was killed while testing 512 suspension fitted to an Alfetta 158. Alfa Romeo won the Formula 1 World Championship with the Alfetta 158 in 1950, taking the place for which 512 was originally designed. Only 2 prototypes were created. Both are currently at the Museum, seen here in complete and sectioned form.
Tipo 158 and 159 Alfetta: The Alfa Romeo 158/159, also known as the Alfetta (Little Alfa in Italian), is a Grand Prix racing car produced by Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo. It is one of the most successful racing cars ever produced- the 158 and its derivative, the 159, took 47 wins from 54 Grands Prix entered. It was originally developed for the pre-World War II voiturette formula (1937) and has a 1.5-litre straight-8 supercharged engine. Following World War II, the car was eligible for the new Formula One introduced in 1947. In the hands of drivers such as Nino Farina, Juan Manuel Fangio and Luigi Fagioli, it dominated the first two seasons of the World Championship of Drivers. The first version of this successful racing car, the 158, was made during 1937/1938. The main responsibility for engineering was given to Gioacchino Colombo. The car’s name refers to its 1.5-litre engine and eight cylinders. The voiturette class was for racing cars with 1.5-litre engines, standing in the same relation to the top ‘Grand Prix’ formula (usually for 3-litre engines) as the Formula Two does to Formula One today. Alfa’s 3-litre racing cars in 1938 and 1939 were the Tipo 308, 312 and 316. The 158 debuted with the works Alfa Corse team at the Coppa Ciano Junior in August 1938 at Livorno, Italy, where Emilio Villoresi took the car’s first victory. At that time the 1479.56 cc (58.0 x 70.0 mm) engine produced around 200 bhp at 7000 rpm. with the help of a single-stage Roots blower. More success came at the Coppa Acerbo, Coppa Ciano and Tripoli Grand Prix in May 1940. Soon World War II stopped development of the car for six years. After the war the engine was developed further to push out 254 bhp in 1946. In 1947, the Alfetta was put back into service. The new rules allowed 1500 cc supercharged and 4500 cc naturally aspirated engines. The 158 was modified again, this time to produce over 300 bhp and was denoted as Tipo 158/47. The car made a tragic debut in the 1948 Swiss Grand Prix where Achille Varzi lost control of his car and was killed. Another loss for the team came in practice for the 1949 Buenos Aires Grand Prix, where Jean-Pierre Wimille was killed in an accident (driving with Simca-Gordini). In 1950, the 158 was eligible for the new World Championship of Drivers. The car won every race in which it competed during that first season of Formula One; it was incredible that a car which had originated in 1938 was so victorious, most likely because all the other constructors (as few as there were) had less money to build and develop their cars and the Alfa had so much development time. The Alfa Romeo team included talented drivers such as Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio, the latter of whom later won the World Drivers’ Championship five times. At the end of the 1950 season, a further updated version known as the 159 was produced, which was used for the 1951 season. This version had reworked rear suspension, the old swing axle was replaced with a De-Dion axle and the engine produced around 420 bhp at 9600 rpm. The 159 had top speed of 305 kilometres per hour (190 mph) and it weighed 710 kilograms (1,570 lb). In order to achieve this power however, the simplistically designed engine was fitted with larger superchargers over time. This fact, combined with the rich mixture required to burn methanol in the engine resulted in extremely poor fuel economy – the 159 achieved 1.5 mpg compared to the Talbot-Lagos of the time, which delivered 9 mpg. The British Grand Prix at Silverstone was the first Formula One Grand Prix not won by an Alfa primarily because Fangio and Farina both had to stop twice simply to re-fuel their cars – and the Ferrari of José Froilán González did better on fuel and would go on to win the race, with Fangio second. Still, the Alfa had the edge on performance and with wins in Switzerland, France and Spain, Fangio won his first of five championships that year. For their second-to-last World Championship race (until 1979), the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Alfa Romeo introduced a new evolution version known as the 159M, the “M” standing for Maggiorata (“enlarged”). After an unsuccessful bid by Alfa Romeo to obtain government assistance to meet development costs, the team announced their retirement from Grand Prix racing at the end of 1951 (leaving the development of the 2.5-litre Alfa Romeo 160). This, combined with problems for other Formula One teams lead to a decree by the FIA that all Grand Prix races counting towards the World Championship of Drivers in 1952 and 1953 would be for cars complying with Formula Two rather than Formula One. The car’s last Grand Prix win came in 1953 at Merano Grand Prix, Italy.
33 Stradale Prototipo: First seen in 1967, the 33 Stradale was based on the Autodelta Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 racing car. The car, designed by Franco Scaglione, and built by Carrozzeria Marazzi, made its debut at the Paris Salon de L’Auto 5 October 1967. A mid-engined sports car, it is one of the world’s first supercars; it was the fastest commercially available car for the standing kilometre when introduced. The first prototype (chassis no. 10533.01) was built at Autodelta’s workshop in Settimo Milanese, side by side with the Tipo 33 “Periscopica” race car in 1967. The body was built by Franco Scaglione and his men, while Autodelta made the technical production. Another magnesium bodied prototype (chassis no. 10533.12) (planned for some street racing) was started by Scaglione. However, this was not finished until 1968 by Marazzi. The two prototypes are the only ones to have dual headlight arrangement. This was redesigned by Scaglione on the following production cars due to regulations on minimum headlight distance from the ground. The two prototypes carry the projects original serial numbers, 105.33.xx. However, the Tipo 33 racing- and production Stradales got 750.33.0xx (racing) and 750.33.1xx (stradale) chassis numbers. Marazzi claims to have built 18 chassis. 5 of them were used for 6 concept cars (one chassis was used twice) by Pininfarina, Bertone and Giugiaro/ItalDesign. Eight are confirmed with Scaglione’s beautiful bodies. The rest are experimental or unconfirmed at this point. There are huge holes in the history of the Tipo 33s and the exact number (allegedly 18) of actual Stradale-chassis (with 10 cm longer wheelbase than the race cars) doesn’t quite match the range of chassis numbers. The car was introduced at the Sport Car Show at Monza, Italy in September 1967. The 33 Stradale is the first production vehicle to feature dihedral doors, also known as butterfly doors. The 33 Stradale also features windows which seamlessly curve upward into the ‘roof’ of the vehicle. The car has aluminium body on aluminium tubular chassis. As a result of being built by hand, each model differs from the others for some details. For example, early models had twin headlights, replaced in the last ones by single lights. The position of the windscreen wiper, and even the number of them, is another thing that differentiates each example from the others. Also the late models have vents added behind both the front and rear wheels to allow hot air from the brakes to escape. The car has 13-inch Campagnolo magnesium wheels, the front wheels eight and the rear wheels nine inches wide; the brakes used are disc brakes by Girling, the rear ones are inboard. The suspension system of the car is directly derived from the race cars of the 1960s with upper and lower control arms in front and double trailing arms in the rear, along with substantial anti-roll bars. The race-bred engine bore no relation to the mass-produced units in Alfa’s more mainstream vehicles. The engine is closely related to the V8 of the Alfa Montreal, albeit with smaller capacity and in a much higher state of tune. Both engines were derived from the 33 racers’ but differed in many details. Both engines had chain driven camshafts as opposed to the racers’ gear driven ones, but the Stradale kept the racing engine’s flat plane crankshaft, whereas the Montreal engine had a crossplane crank. Race engineer Carlo Chiti designed an oversquare bore x stroke of 78 mm × 52.2 mm dry-sump lubricated all-aluminium 1,995 cc V8 engine that featured SPICA fuel injection, four ignition coils and twin spark plugs per cylinder. The engine used four chain-driven camshafts to operate the DOHC 2 valves per cylinder valvetrain and had a rev-limit of 10,000 rpm with a compression ratio of 10.5:1,producing 227 bhp at 8,800 rpm and 206 Nm (152 lb/ft) at 7,000 rpm of torque in road trim and 270 bhp in race trim. Because every Stradale is hand built and unique the power levels can vary by car, used rpms etc., for example the first production Stradale (No. 750.33.101) has a factory datasheet that claims 243 hp at 9,400 rpm with a “street” exhaust and 254 hp with open exhaust. As on the racing car, the transmission was a six-speed transaxle made in house by Alfa Romeo. The car takes less than six seconds to reach 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standing start and has a claimed top speed of 260 km/h (160 mph). In 1968, the German Auto, Motor und Sport magazine measured a top speed of 252 km/h (156.6 mph) and 24.0 seconds for the standing kilometer which made it the fastest commercially available car for this distance. It achieved this using an engine less than half the displacement of those in high-performance contemporaries such as the Lamborghini Miura, Ferrari Daytona, and Maserati Ghibli. Built in an attempt by Alfa to make some of its racing technology available to the public, it was the most expensive automobile for sale to the public in 1968 at US$17,000 (when the average cost of a new car in 1968 was $2,822). In the same year, in Italy, the retail price for a 33 Stradale was 9,750,000 lire. In comparison, the Lamborghini Miura was sold for 7,700,000 lire, while the average worker’s wage was about 150,000 lire. The Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale are hardly ever traded; thus their value is very hard to estimate. At the 2015 Detroit auto show, while presenting the Alfa 4C Spider, Alfa’s Head of North America estimated the current market value of the 33 Stradale at “well over $10 million”. Only 18 were made. The prototype (chassis No. 10533.01) was sold to private Gallery Abarth, Japan. The second magnesium bodied Stradale prototype (chassis No. 10533.12) and the five concept cars are now part of the Alfa Romeo Museum.
1966 Scarabeo: The Alfa Romeo Scarabeo are concept cars engineered by Giuseppe Busso and Orazio Satta Puliga for Alfa Romeo with a bodies designed by Sergio Sartorelli at Officine Stampaggi Industriali. The cars debuted at the Paris Motor Show in 1966. After the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 project was passed on to Autodelta, Giuseppe Busso proposed a new rear-engined sports car to Orazio Satta Puliga and his design team. The car was to use the same tubular chassis of the 33, but it was to be cheaper and lighter than previous designs. The Scarabeo was given the Inline-four engine from the Alfa Romeo GTA. The engine was mounted transversally in the rear of the car, along with the clutch and gearbox. In an effort to save costs, the suspension was based on the Renault R8. The tubular chassis of the Tipo 33 was used, and fuel tanks were mounted on both sides of the cockpit. The body design of the Scarabeo was given to Officine Stampaggi Industriali, a relatively new design company in Borgaro Torinese. The car was given a sleek and light design which allowed for great handling and a high top speed of 200 km/h (124.3 mph). After being displayed at the 1966 Paris Motor Show, a second prototype with a simpler design was built. A third Barchetta prototype was started but never completed. Despite refinement for production, the Scarabeo project was dropped in favour of a full racing program at Autodelta. The second and third prototype currently reside at the Alfa Romeo Museum.
1968 Tipo 33/2: This was a sports racing prototype raced by the Alfa Romeo factory-backed team between 1967 and 1977. These cars took part for Sport Cars World Championship, Nordic Challenge Cup, Interserie and CanAm series. A small number of road going cars were derived from it in 1967, called the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale. Alfa Romeo started development of the Tipo 33 in the early 1960s, with the first car being built in 1965. It was sent to Autodelta to be completed and for additional changes to be made. It used an Alfa Romeo TZ2 straight-4 engine, but Autodelta produced its 2.0 litre V8 soon after. The 2000 cc Tipo 33 mid-engined prototype debuted on 12 March 1967 at the Belgian hillclimbing event at Fléron, with Teodoro Zeccoli winning. The first version was named as “periscope” because it had very characteristic air inlet. It was powered by a 1995 cc 90° V8 of 270 hp, with a large-diameter tube frame. The original T33 proved unreliable and uncompetitive in the 1967 World Sportscar Championship season, its best result a 5th at the Nürburgring 1000, co-driven by Zeccoli and Roberto Bussinell. In 1968, Alfa’s subsidiary, Autodelta, created an evolution model called 33/2, and one of these cars was shown. At the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Porsche 907 with 2.2 litre engines were dominating the overall race, but Alfa took the 2-litre class win, with Udo Schütz and Nino Vaccarella; after that the car was named as “Daytona”. The win was repeated at the Targa Florio, where Nanni Galli and Ignazio Giunti also took second place overall, followed by teammates Lucien Bianchi and Mario Casoni. Galli and Giunti then won the class at the Nürburgring 1000 km, where the 2.5 litre version finished for the first time, 4th place in the 3.0 litre class with Schütz and Bianchi. However, in most races, the Alfa drivers were outclassed by their Porsche rivals which used bigger engines. In 1968, the car was used mainly by privateers, winning its class in the 1000km Monza, Targa Florio and Nürburgring races. At the end of season Alfa Romeo had finished third in the 1968 International Championship for Makes. A total of 28 cars were built during 1968, allowing the 33/2 to be homologated as a Group 4 Sports Car for 1969. Alfa continued to develop the car, and with the 33TT12 Alfa Romeo won the 1975 World Championship for Makes, and with the 33SC12 the 1977 World Championship for Sports Cars, taking the first place in all eight of the championship races
There were two examples of the later Tipo 33/12. The 33/TT 12 (Telaio Tubolare, tubular chassis) appeared in 1973 with the Carlo Chiti-designed 12 cylinder 3.0L flat engine (500 bhp). The 1973 season was more or less development time and in 1974 the car won at Monza 1000 km and finished the season with second place in the championship. It wasn’t until 1975 that, after years of trying, Alfa Romeo won the 1975 World Championship for Makes. The season was one of almost total domination with seven wins in eight races., Winning drivers were: Arturo Merzario, Vittorio Brambilla, Jacques Laffite, Henri Pescarolo, Derek Bell and Jochen Mass. For 1976 Autodelta was concentrating on other things and the car was rarely used in competitions.
The successor of the 33/TT12 1976 was the 33/SC12, SC referring to SCatolato, a boxed chassis. The 3.0 L flat-12 engine now produced 520 bhp. With this car Alfa Romeo won the 1977 World Championship for Sports Cars, the 33SC12s driven by Arturo Merzario, Jean-Pierre Jarier and Vittorio Brambilla having won every race in the series. At the Salzburgring the car reached an average speed of 203.82 km/h (126.6 mph); in that same race Arturo Merzario also tested a 2134 cc turbocharged SC12 producing 640 bhp finishing second with that car. The SC12 Turbo was Alfa’s first twin turbocharged 12 cylinder engine and it was introduced around the same time as Renault’s Formula One turbo engine. In the Alfa Romeo engine each bank was fed with its own turbocharger; that feature was adopted by many racecar makers in the following years. The flat-12 engine was later used on Brabham-Alfa BT45, BT46 and Alfa Romeo 177 F1 cars.
There were also two racing Giulia cars, a GTA 1300 Junior and a 1750 GTAm, both dating from 1970 At the time of the 1963 launch of the Giulia Sprint coupe. Alfa Romeo was very active in motorsport. Autodelta, the racing division of Alfa, developed a car for competition that closely resembled to the roadgoing model. These cars were named GTA instead of GT, the ‘A’ standing for “Alleggerita”, Italian for lightweight. The GTA was produced first in 1965 as a 1,570 cc and later as a 1300 Junior version. The GTA automobiles were also manufactured in either street (Stradale) or pure race (Corsa) trim. The GTA had aluminium outer body panels instead of steel, (the inner steel panels were also of thinner gauge, the inner and outer panels were bonded and pop-riveted together), magnesium alloy wheels, clear plastic side windows, an aluminium rear upper control arm, different door handles and quarter window mechanisms, and lightweight interior trim. The engine had a new double ignition cylinder head (called twin plug, later in the eighties the system was called twin spark) cylinder head with a Marelli distributor from a Ferrari Dino, 2-barrel 45 mm Weber carburetors instead of 40 mm and magnesium camshaft cover, sump, timing cover and bell housing. The transmission gear ratios were closer than standard and the gears were machined for lightness and quicker shifting. Dry weight of the 1600 was approximately 1,640 pounds (740 kg). In stradale form this car boasted approximately 115 PS (113 hp) (up from 106 PS (105 hp)) and a maximum torque of 142 N⋅m (105 lb⋅ft) at 3,000 rpm. In full race form this engine could produce up to 170 PS (170 hp). The 1600 GTA did not have a brake booster and had a thicker radiator than the standard vehicle. For homologation 500 cars were made for racing and road use. The GTA 1300 Junior (1968–1975) had a 1300 cc engine that was based on the 1600 engine but with a short stroke crankshaft. The GTA Junior in stradale form did not have many of the light weight features of the 1600 GTA, such as the plastic windows, magnesium engine components and alloy wheels. At the start the engine produced 96 PS (95 bhp) but was soon raised to 110 PS (110 bhp). Autodelta prepared fuel injected racing cars had 165 PS (163 bhp). 450 GTA Juniors were produced.
The GTAm (1969–1971) could produce up to 240 PS (240 bhp) in the 2000 cc car—a car usually related to the GTA, but unlike the GTA derived from the GTV 1750 (US version). The 1750 GTAm (later called 2000 GTAm when the 2000 GTV was introduced) was created in 1969. There are two schools of thought about the “Am” moniker, neither one ever having been officially confirmed by Alfa Romeo: one expands Am to Alesaggio Maggiorato (Italian: increased bore), the other Alleggerita Modificata (Italian: lightened Modified). The car had a full steel body modified with aluminium and / or plastic parts. Because of an increased minimum weight in 1971, up from 920 to 940 kg (2,030 to 2,070 lb), the GTAm’s had less need for aluminium and / or plastic parts. The base for the GTAm was the 1750 GTV with a SPICA mechanical fuel injection system. The majority of the genuine GTAm’s built by Autodelta have a chassis number starting with 105.51.XXXXXX. The European market 1750 GTV with dual carburettors from Dell’Orto or Weber carburettor and chassis numbers starting with 105.44.XXXXXX was also used as a base. The same goes for the 2000 GTV and the 1300 GT Junior bodyshell that was lighter. Note that some racing teams and private workshops ordered the parts from Autodelta and other tuners and assembled the cars themselves on a new or existing bodyshell. The original 1750 engine block (actually 1779 cc) was used and by inserting a monosleeve instead of four individual cylinderliners, received 1,985 cc and later to 1,999 cc to participate in the 2000 cc class, explaining the “maggiorata” (enlarged). According to the sources, some 40 GTAm’s were built by Autodelta and by private workshops. This number is difficult to verify as the GTAm’s didn’t have their own specific chassis number series.
The Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI was a FIA Class 1 touring car that Alfa Corse raced from 1993 to 1996 in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft and the subsequent International Touring Car Championship. A high revving 2.5 L 60° V6 engine was coupled to a four wheel drive system, rated at 426 PS (420 bhp) at 11,500 rpm. Alfa Corse entered two 155 V6 TIs for works drivers Alessandro Nannini and Nicola Larini; the 1993 season was dominated by Larini winning 11 of 22 races. In 1994, the rivals from Mercedes seemed to have the advantage, but Alfa did manage to win a further eleven races. A more consistent performance from the Germans gave them the title. Since the 1995 season, the team got new sponsorship livery from Martini Racing. The 1996 version had a 2.5 L 90° V6 engine based loosely on the PRV engine rated at 490 PS (483 bhp) at 11,900 rpm. The car has a top speed of around 300 km/h (190 mph) and weighed 1,060 kilograms (2,340 lb). The Alfa 155 V6 TI has a record of 38 wins (plus 3 other non championship races). The victories were obtained by seven different drivers: 17 (+1) Nicola Larini, 13 (+1) Alessandro Nannini, 2 Stefano Modena, 2 (+1) Christian Danner, 2 Michael Bartels, 1 Kris Nissen and 1 Gabriele Tarquini.
1979 Formula 1 Type 179: The Alfa Romeo 179 is a Formula One car which was used (in different variants) by the Alfa Romeo team from 1979 to 1982. The 179 made its debut at the 1979 Italian Grand Prix, replacing the flat-12 engined Alfa Romeo 177. During its lifespan there were many versions and 179D version was used for the last time at the 1982 South African Grand Prix. Alfa Romeo hired Frenchman Patrick Depailler for the 1980 season; Depailler had a good reputation as a testing and development driver, and this proved invaluable for the 179’s competitiveness. The car was far from competitive at the first races of the season in Argentina and Brazil; Depailler and his teammate Bruno Giacomelli qualified at the back of the grid for both races even though the former finished 5th in Argentina. But a month later in South Africa the car had become far better and Depailler qualified 6th on the grid, and another 4 weeks later at Long Beach the Alfa had improved even further and Depailler qualified the car an amazing 3rd on the grid, whilst Giacomelli qualified 6th. Although Alfa Romeo did not win a race that season largely due to horrendous unreliability, they were often up there with the front runners, although the team’s season was marred by the death of Depailler at a testing session at Hockenheim in Germany when he crashed horrendously and went into trees after blacking out whilst taking the ultra-fast Ostkurve nearly flat out at 270 km/h (170 mph). Giacomelli bravely raced at Hockenheim a week later, finishing 5th. But the team ended the season on a positive note, with Depallier’s testing not having gone in vain when Giacomelli stuck his Alfa on pole at the last race of the season at Watkins Glen; he led most of the race until electrical failure put him out of the race.Rear view of 179B (1981) in Turin Automobile Museum. At the beginning of the 1981 season, the 179s were fitted with adjustable dampers and denoted as 179C. A lower 179D was the next evolution and the final version which raced was the fully carbon-fibre 179F. There was also a V8-engined test mule of this car, the 179T in 1982, which was used to test the new 1.5 L turbocharged engine. The 179’s best achievements were Bruno Giacomelli’s pole position at the 1980 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen and 3rd place in the 1981 Caesars Palace Grand Prix. The car scored 14 points from 61 races. Following the 1980 season, Alfa entered one of their 179s, with Giacomelli doing the driving, in the non-championship 1980 Australian Grand Prix at the Calder Park Raceway in Melbourne. The race that year was open to Formula One, Formula 5000 and Formula Pacific cars with the Alfa, along with the Williams-Ford of 1980 World Champion, Australian Alan Jones, being the only F1 cars in the race. Calder circuit owner and race promoter Bob Jane invited the factory Alfa team in the hopes of attracting spectators from Melbourne’s large Italian community (a ploy that, along with the presence of Jones, saw a capacity crowd on race day). Giacomelli qualified second behind Jones (and easily faster than the F5000 cars) and after showing surprising speed and taking the lead from Jones part-way through the race, eventually finished a lap behind the Williams in second place.
1978 Alfa-Brabham BT45B: The Brabham BT45 was a Formula One car designed by South African engineer Gordon Murray for the 1976 Formula One season. In upgraded BT45B and BT45C form, it also competed in the 1977 and 1978 seasons. The car was the first Brabham to use Alfa Romeo type 115-12 flat 12-cylinder engine with 500 hp and 340 Nm (251 lb/ft) of torque. It was equipped with a Hewland six-speed transmission. It used the front air intakes of the previous Brabham, but by regulation no longer has the air-brooms behind the cockpit and has side panels with larger air intakes to feed the engine and more radiant surfaces. The frame was an aluminium monocoque, while the braking system was constituted by ventilated disc brakes produced by Girling. The front suspension consisted of double wishbones with pull-rods, coil springs and stabilizer bars, while the rear used coil springs and stabilizer bars. For the 1978 season, pending the development of BT46, a C version of the BT45 was created. This model was equipped with a revised radiator. The BT45 had its first start at the 1976 Brazilian Grand Prix in the hands of Carlos Pace and Carlos Reutemann. They suffered reliability problems, especially the engine. During the first season, the best results were three fourth places. 1977 was better: Pace finished second in the first race and led for thirteen laps in South Africa with the BT45B, unluckily he died a few days later in a plane crash. His teammate, John Watson, drove to the pole at the Monaco Grand Prix but was passed on the first lap by Jody Scheckter’s Wolf, after that he spent more than half of the race in second position, before retiring with gearbox problems. He then took second place in France, and Stuck gained two podiums, in Germany and Austria. Its results allowed the German to finish 11th overall in the Championship. The BT45C competed in two Grands Prix in 1978, before the arrival of the BT46. With this latest release, Niki Lauda achieved two podiums. Jackie Stewart tested an early BT45C (chassis number 8) in 1978 and returned an overall favourable impression of the car as well as the team, with the smooth, torquey Alfa Romeo flat-twelve and the Brabham gearbox coming in for particular praise. The chassis was not yet fully sorted and Stewart disliked the cable-operated clutch; but the Brabham was still the fastest car he ran in a series of tests at Paul Ricard.
TZ2: Alfa Romeo launched the first TZ in 1962 to replace the SZ. A new version of TZ was introduced at the Turin Auto Show in 1964 in the Zagato stand. In order to reinforce the structure and further reduce the car’s weight, Zagato replaced the light alloy body with an even more streamlined fibreglass body moulded tight to the chassis providing lower drag and reduced weight of 620 kg (1,370 lb). The new design was called the Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2. The TZ2 was only built as racing version; it was equipped with an Autodelta-prepared twin plug, dry sump lubrication 1,570 cc DOHC straight-4 engine producing around 170 bhp at 7000 rpm. With this engine the car reached top speed of 245 km/h (152 mph). The rear window was also changed, now single unit rather than three part window in TZ. Development of TZ cars was stopped in the end of 1965, to make room for the new Alfa Romeo GTA racing program. The TZ2 took class win on 25 April 1965 in the 1000 km of Monza, with Bussinello-De Adamich finishing seventh overall and first in the GT 1600 category. Also in 1965 it took class victories thanks to Rolland-Consten in the 12 Hours of Sebring; Bianchi-Rolland in the Targa Florio; and Adamich-“Geki” in the 1000 km of Nürburgring, the 6 Hours of Melbourne, the Giro d’Italia and the Criterium des Cevennes. There were further class wins the following year: at Monza (De Adamich-Zeccoli), Sebring (Andrey-“Geki”), in the Targa Florio (Pinto-Todaro) and at the Nürburgring (Bianchi-Schultze). Only 12 TZ2s were built. The car won the prestigious Gran Turismo Trophy at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
1952 6C 3000CM: In 1952 engine parts of the 6C 3000 were used again on the 6C 3000 CM—for Competizione Maggiorata or Competition Enlarged Displacement. The powerplant comes from a project by Giuseppe Busso. It differed from its predecessor by still using several components of the 3-litre engine from the 6C 3000 prototype, but engine capacity was increased to 3,495 cc. The chassis was a tube frame based around a centre backbone; suspension was by double wishbones and De Dion tube at the rear. Six examples were built: four coupés and two spiders, bodied by Carrozzeria Colli. A coupé was driven by Juan Manuel Fangio and Giulio Sala to a second overall finish at the 1953 Mille Miglia. For the Mille Miglia the engine had been tuned to put out 275 PS. Fangio was leading the race, but a problem with the steering forced him to slow down. Again with Fangio at the wheel, a spider won the 1st Gran Premio Supercortemaggiore held in Merano in 1953.
When passing out of the main hall with all these fabulous racing cars, heading towards the stair and the next part of the museum, I came across these vast display cases packed with a variety of the different model Alfa Romeos that have produced over the years.
The next few cars were parked by themselves in what were little more than corridors connecting the various parts of the building together.
This would appear to be a 4C prototype.
75 Evoluzione: The 1987 Alfa 75 Turbo Evoluzione, made to compete in Group A touring categories, was developed the following year with a version tuned to comply with IMSA (International Motor Sport Association) regulations. In the latter configuration, the 75 delivered a power of 335 HP, which were upped to 400 in 1989, unleashed by its classic supercharged, twin-cam, 1762 cm3 straight-4. The body of the IMSA features wider track and streamline aerodynamics with a showy carbon-fibre rear spoiler. The 75 Turbo Evoluzione IMSA won two editions of the “Giro d’Italia Automobilistico” in 1988 and in 1989.
1981 Alfetta GTV: As was still the practice in the 1970s, Alfa followed up the 1972 launch of the Alfetta Berlina with a very pretty coupe. Styled by Giugiaro, this car, initially called the GT, and premiered in the autumn of 1974, looked completely unlike the saloon on which it was based. The first cars had 1.8 litre four cylinder engines and there was one of those on show. In 1976 the range was expanded both up and down with a 1.6 and a 2.0 model, the latter adopting the legendary GTV name. In 1981, with the 2.5 litre V6 engine that had been developed for the ill-fated Alfa 6 luxury saloon available, Alfa was able to create a true rival for the 2.8 litre Capri with the GTV6. A facelift modernised the look of the car with plastic bumpers front and rear and a new interior looked rather better as well as being more ergonomically logical. These days you more often see the later plastic bumpered models, and these were the cars on display here. Included among them were a couple of cars sporting 3.0 badging and right hand drive. These are South African cars. From 1974 South African Alfetta’s were manufactured at Alfa Romeo’s own Brits plant. South Africa was one of two markets to have a turbocharged GTV6, with a Garrett turbocharger and a NACA intake. An estimated 750 were assembled before all production ceased in 1986. The South African range included a 3.0 litre GTV-6, predating the international debut of the factory’s 3.0 litre engine in 1987 (for the Alfa 75). and 212 of these were built in South Africa for racing homologation. The last 6 GTV-6 3.0’s were fuel injected. To this day, the GTV-6 remains the quintessential Alfa Romeo for South Africans.
The 156 competed in various motor racing championships including the World Touring Car Championship, European Touring Car Championship and the British Touring Car Championship. The 156 touring car program was run by Fiat Group’s partner N.Technology S.p.A., founded as Nordauto Squadra Corse to compete in Italian Touring Car Championship. In 1994 name was changed to Nordauto Engineering and 2001 to N.Technology. In 1998 the 156 Group N version was offered for sale to the public. The 156 Group N had no carpets, seats or upholstery, but included additional track safety devices. 156 drivers won titles in the 1998 and 1999 Italian Super Touring Car Championship, the 2000 European Super Touring Car Cup and 2000 South American Super Touring Car Championship and the 2001, 2002 and 2003 FIA European Touring Car Championship.
The Alfa 75 was probably even more successful in motorsport. Alfa Romeo and its racing department Alfa Corse raced the 75 Turbo Group A in the World Touring Car Championship in the 1987 season. There were six official entries, two were ran directly by Alfa Corse, two by Brixia Corse, one by Albatech, and one by the Swedish team Q-Racing. Team drivers included Formula One veterans such as Nicola Larini, Gabriele Tarquini, Alessandro Nannini, Jacques Laffite, and Mario Andretti as well as World Sportscar champion Jean-Louis Schlesser. The Class 2 car had enough power (approximately 320 bhp) to be on par with the new and more track focused BMW M3. However, Alfa had very little success in the WTCC and with the whole season descending into a political farce, Alfa Romeo team boss Cesare Fiorio withdrew the team before the overseas races. Australian driver Colin Bond, winner of the 1975 Australian Touring Car Championship and 1969 Hardie-Ferodo 500, had been racing the GTV6 since 1984. Remaining loyal to Alfa Romeo, he ran a Caltex sponsored Alfa 75 in the 1987 Australian Touring Car Championship, replacing the GTV6. Bond’s new 75 was built by the Italian Luigi team, but Bond found that the engine produced about 200 bhp rather than the promised 320 bhp. This saw him finish in a distant 9th place in the championship while the team’s engine builder, Melbourne based Alfa expert tuner Joe Beninca, tried to reclaim the lost 120 bhp. This was finally achieved by converting the car to right hand drive, allowing for an exhaust system that did not wind around the steering rack. Bond also drove the end of season endurance races including the Bathurst race of the WTCC. After Bond qualified in 21st, co-driver Lucio Cesario destroyed the front of the 75 in a crash at the top of the mountain on lap 34 of the race, forcing the car’s withdrawal from the Calder Park and Wellington races of the WTCC. The car was repaired in time for the Australian Grand Prix support races in Adelaide where Bond qualified for a second place start and finished 5th in the car’s “down under” swansong. Bond was the only driver to embrace the 75 in Australia but switched to race the all-conquering Ford Sierra RS500 starting in 1988 in a bid to return to the winners circle. Gianfranco Brancatelli won the 1988 ITC series with Alfa 75 Turbo and Giorgio Francia placed second in the 1991 ITC. The 9th Giro d’Italia automobilistico in 1988 was won by the team of Miki Biasion, Tiziano Siviero and Riccardo Patrese with a 75 Turbo Evoluzione IMSA. A 75 Turbo Evoluzione IMSA also won the 10th Giro d’Italia automobilistico in 1989. The British Alfa Romeo Dealer Team ran a pair of cars in the 1986-87 seasons with drivers Rob Kirby and John Dooley. Racing in Class B, the team started with the V6 version of the 75, alongside their older GTV6, before upgrading to the 75 turbo. They were able to match the pace of the Ford Escort RS turbos but once Frank Sytner’s BMW M3 appeared, they were rendered uncompetitive.
Final race car was this 1988 Alfa Formula Boxer: After great success of one-make championship Trofeo Alfasud, in 1987 Alfa Romeo launched the new Formula Alfa Boxer racing car which had engine derived from 33 and the Sprint. Amato Ferrari won the debut championship in 1987, followed by Mirko Savoldi in 1988 and by Alessandro Zampedri in 1989. In 1990 this engine was replaced by more powerful Quadrifoglio Verde engine. In 1992 was launched European Championship (Formula Boxer Europe) and the choice of chassis was liberalized. The last Formula Alfa Boxer series season was in 1995. At the wheel of an Ermolli, Andrea Boldrini was the first champion, followed by Danilo Tomassini, and by Tony Kanaan driving a Tatuus.
The Alfa Romeo 1900 M (better known by its nickname Alfa Romeo Matta, meaning “mad”) is a four-wheel drive utility vehicle produced by Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo from 1951 to 1954. Developed on request of the Italian Ministry of Defence, it was made in both military (AR 51) and civilian (AR 52) versions. The AR 51 (Autovettura da Ricognizione, “Reconnaissance Car”) was the result of the request of a light reconnaissance vehicle for use on paved, unpaved and mountain roads. A civilian version, the AR 52, was later developed from the military AR 51; several variants were made, adapted for use in agriculture, fire-fighting, and road maintenance. The Matta was built from 1952 to 1954, with 2,007 military AR 51s for the Italian Army and 154 civilian AR 52 units produced. In 1954, the Italian army abandoned the AR 51 and switched to the Fiat Campagnola, which was mechanically simpler. The Matta was powered by a 1884 cc twin cam, 8-valve inline-four engine with dry sump lubrication. The cylinder head was aluminium and featured hemispherical combustion chambers, while the engine block was cast iron. Output was 65 PS at 4,400 rpm.
Seen alongside it was a prototype that was conceived as a sort modern day Matta. This is AR148, intended for military use. There was also a civilian version, AR146, but both were cancelled as a result of the Fiat acquisition in 1987.
NEW CAR SHOWROOM
Final part of the tour is a new car showroom, from which you could buy a car. On display in here were example of all the current range: Mito, Giulietta, Giulia, Stelvio and the 4C Compextizione.
There were further examples of several of these parked up outside.
First cars that I saw as I exited the museum to head towards the track were this pairing of the N-Ring versions of the Giulia and Stelvio. First seen at the 2018 Geneva Show, and designed to pay tribute to their Nürburgring lap records, the special editions have an exclusive Circuito Grey exterior with carbon fibre accents on the grille and mirror caps. The models have also been equipped with black wheels that are backed up by a carbon-ceramic braking system. Moving into the cabin, drivers will find carbon fibre shelled Sparco racing seats with red contrast stitching. Designers also installed an individually numbered plaque and a leather / Alcantara steering wheel with carbon fibre inserts. Other highlights include a Harman Kardon premium audio system and an 8.8-inch infotainment system with GPS navigation as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Production will be limited to 108 units each and both models will be powered by a twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 engine that produces 510 PS and 600 Nm (442 lb-ft) of torque. It enables the Stelvio Quadrifoglio to accelerate from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 3.8 seconds before hitting a top speed of 283 km/h (175 mph). Likewise, the Giulia Quadrifoglio hits 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.9 seconds and tops out at 307 km/h (190 mph).
Even more impressive to my eyes were the line of cars that were displayed on the grass area a bit away from the track vantage points.
There were two examples of the fanulous 6C 1750: one with a Sport Vibarti body dating from 1929 and a later 1932 GTC Cabrio Cesare Sala.
The other pre-war car in this display was a 1938 6C 2300 Mille Miglia
There were also two examples from the post war 6C 2500 family, a 1947 SS Coupe Aerlux Touring and also from 1947 a Super Sport Spider Pininfarina.
Three very different looking examples of the 1900 family were here: a 1952 Berlina, a 1957 SS Touring and the very rare 1955 CSS Zagato.
Completing the collection were a couple of Giulietta models, a 1955 Sprint and a 1956 Spider.
In anticipation of the large crowds to watch the Mille Miglia, the instructions were not to come on site and hope to find a space in the regular car park, but instead to park a little way up the road from where a shuttle bus transferred everyone back and forth to the Museum site. There were a few exceptions, with a handful of splendid historic Italian cars, not just Alfa Romeo parked up in a line bordering the path that led to the museum entrance.
As well as a Giulietta Spider, the later 105 Series cars were represented by a Giulia Sprint GT and the later 2000 GTV.
Alfa replaced the Giulia-based Spider model with an all-new design which finally made its debut in 1966 together with the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce at an event organised in Gardone Riviera. With its boat tailed styling, it quickly found favour, even before taking a starring role in the film “The Graduate”. The original 1600cc engine was replaced by a more powerful 1750cc unit at the same time as the change was made to the rest of the range, and the car continued like this until 1970, when the first significant change to the exterior styling was introduced on the 1750 Spider Veloce, with the original’s distinctive elongated round tail changed to a more conventional cut-off tail, called the “Kamm tail”, as well as improving the luggage space. Numerous other small changes took place both inside and out, such as a slightly different grille, new doorhandles, a more raked windscreen, top-hinged pedals and improved interior trim. 1971 saw the Spider Veloce get a new, larger powerplant—a 1962 cc, 132 hp unit—and consequently the name was changed from 1750 Spider Veloce to 2000 Spider Veloce. The 1600 Spider restarted production a year later as the Spider 1600 Junior, and was visually identical to the 1300. 1974 saw the introduction of the rare, factory request, Spider-Targa. Based upon the Spider, it featured a Porsche style solid rear window and lift out roof panels, all made out of black GRP type material. Less than 2,000 models of such type were ever made and was the only part solid roof Spider until the introduction of the factory crafted hard top. The 1300 and 2000 cars were modified in 1974 and 1975 respectively to include two small seats behind the front seats, becoming a “two plus two” four seater. The 1300 model was discontinued in 1977. Also, between 1974 and 1976, the early-style stainless-steel bumpers were discontinued and replaced with black, rubber-clad units to meet increasingly stringent North American crash requirements. 4,557 examples of the 1300 Junior were made and 4,848 of the 1600 Junior as well as 16,320 2000 Spider Veloces and 22,059 of 2000 Spider Veloce US version. There were also 4,027 1750 Spider Veloces produced. Several examples of the Series 1 and Series 2 cars were to be seen here.
The Series 3 Spider was previewed in North America for the 1982 model year with the introduction of 2.0 litre Bosch electronic fuel injection to replace the SPICA mechanical injection. The Spider underwent a major styling revamp in 1983, which saw the introduction of black rubber front and rear bumpers. The front bumper incorporated the grille and a small soft rubber spoiler was added to the trunk lid. The change altered the exterior appearance of the car considerably and was not universally praised by enthusiasts. Various other minor mechanical and aesthetic modifications were also made, and the 1600 car (never available in North America) dropped the “Junior” name. The Quadrifoglio Verde (Green Cloverleaf) model was introduced in 1986, with many aesthetic tweaks, including sideskirts, mirrors, new front and rear spoilers, hard rubber boot mounted spoilers with integral 3rd stoplight, unique 15″ alloys and optional removable hardtop. Different interior trim included blood red carpets and grey leather seats with red stitching. The QV was offered in only 3 colours: red, silver and black. It was otherwise mechanically identical to the standard Spider Veloce model, with a 1962 cc double overhead cam, four-cylinder engine (twin two-barrel carburettors in Europe; North American models retained the Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection introduced for the 1982 model year except that the VVT mechanism was now L-Jet activated) and five-speed manual transmission. The interior was revised with a new centre console, lower dash panels (to meet U.S. regulations) and a single monopod gauge cluster (with electronic gauges). For the North American market a model dubbed the Graduate was added in tribute to the car’s famous appearance in the 1967 film, The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman. The Graduate was intended as a less expensive “entry-level” Alfa. While it had the same engine and transmission as the Quadrifoglio and Veloce, it lacked the alloy wheels and luxury features of the other two models. The Graduate model had manual windows, basic vinyl seats, a vinyl top, and steel wheels as standard. Air conditioning and a dealer-installed radio were the only options. It first appeared in 1985 in North America and continued until 1990. Minor changes occurred from 1986 to 89, including new paint colours, a centre high mount stop lamp midway through 1986 for North American models, a move away from the fade-prone brown carpet and new turn signal levers. Some 1988 models featured automatic seatbelts that extended from a large device between the front seats.
Rather more recent were examples of both the 4C Competizione and the 4C Spider.
By the time I came to leave there were plenty of visitor cars in the main museum car park, and among them were a number of the latest Giulia model.
Fiat launched a new large saloon in 1959, the 1800 and 2100, with Pininfarina styling which looked very similar to the BMC quintet of Austin Cambridge and Morris Oxford and relatives, as well as the Peugeot 404. A versatile Estate model followed not long after. In 1961, the model received a face lift, with a new front end featuring twin headlights and an enlarged 2.3 litre 4 cylinder engine, creating the 2300. Joining the saloon and estate models was the stylish Coupe, designed by Ghia. It was available in two versions, the regular 115 bhp 2300 Coupé and the more potent 2300S Coupé which put out 150 bhp thanks to double twin-choke carburettors. The shape of the car was first seen in public when Ghia presented it as a prototype sports coupé at the 1960 Turin Motor Show. The production version was presented in 1961 and went on general sale in 1962. Having developed the coupé body, Ghia lacked the production capacity needed for the volumes envisaged, and were obliged to subcontract its production to OSI. The coupé body was welded to the standard floor platform of the 2300 saloon with which it shared its core components. (Despite being a new model, the 2300 saloon was in most respects a well-proven design, being a larger engined version of the Fiat 2100 that had been available since 1959. The wheelbase was identical, but the coupé had a slightly wider track at both ends than the saloon, and final drive gearing for the coupé was increased to 3.9 (3.72 for the 2300S coupé) which translated to 20.9 mph per 1,000 rpm. Inside the 2300 Coupé featured power operated windows and other luxury fittings. It was a costly car and only sold in small quantities, with production ceasing in 1968.
In 1976, 400 examples of the Fiat 131 Abarth Rally were built for homologation purposes. These cars were built in a cooperation between Fiat, Bertone and Abarth. Bertone took part-completed two door standard bodyshells from the production line in Mirafiori, fitted plastic mudguards front and rear, a plastic bonnet and bootlid and modified the metal structure to accept the rear independent suspension. The cars were fully painted and trimmed and then delivered back to the Fiat special Rivalta plant where they received the Abarth mechanicals. The street version of the car used a DOHC 4 valves per cylinder derivative of the standard quad cam inline-four engine, equipped with a double downdraught 34 ADF Weber carburettors producing 140 PS at 6400 rpm and 127 lb/ft at 3600 rpm of torque. The street cars used the standard gearbox with no synchromesh (Rally type regulations required the use of the same type of synchromesh on the competition cars as on the street versions) and the hopelessly underdimensioned brake system of the small Fiat 127. Competition cars used dry sump lubrication and eventually Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection. In race specifications, the engine produced up to 240 PS in 1980, being driven to World Championship status by Walter Röhrl.
Representing Lancia was this Flavia Coupe. Named after the Via Flavia, Roman road leading from Trieste (Tergeste) to Dalmatia and launched at the 1960 Turin Motor Show, the Flavia was initially available only as a four-door saloon, featuring a 1.5 litre aluminium boxer engine, Dunlop disc brakes on all four wheels, front-wheel drive and front suspension by unequal-length wishbones. This model was soon joined by a two-door coupé, designed by Pininfarina on a shortened platform. Vignale built 1,601 two-door convertibles, while Zagato designed an outlandish-looking light weight two-door sport version. The sport version has twin carburettors for extra power (just over 100 hp); however, this version of the engine was notoriously difficult to keep in tune. Even the single-carburettor engine suffered from the problem of timing chain stretch. Sprockets with vernier adjusters were fitted to allow for chain wear, and the cam timing was supposed to be checked every 6000 miles. Early cars also suffered from corrosion of the cylinder heads caused by using copper gaskets on aluminium heads; nevertheless, the car was quite lively for its day, considering the cubic capacity. Later development of the engine included an enlargement to 1.8 litres, a mechanical injection version using the Kugelfischer system, and a five-speed manual gearbox. Towards the end of the 1960s, when Fiat took control of the company, the Vignale and Zagato versions were discontinued. The coupé and saloon versions received new bodywork, first presented in March 1969 at the Geneva Motor Show. The engine increased to 2.0 litres, available with carburettor or injection, and four- or five-speed gearbox. The 2.0 litre models were only made with revised Pininfarina Coupe and revised Berlina bodies.
2018 MILLE MIGLIA VISITS ARESE
Although the Mille Miglia, in its reincarnated form, starts and finishes in Brescia and heads all the way south to Rome, the route does vary every year, so the chance to see the cars at the Arese site where they would complete a lap of the track around the site is not one that occurs every year. A large crowd had gathered, as I found out when I made my way through the museum to the edge of the track, where I had to jostle for position in the hope I would not just be able to see the cars but hopefully also get photos. Once I had secured that, I did not dare to move, so ended up rooted to the spot for more than three hours. Almost everyone else did the same, undeterred by the onset of drizzle.
Before the historic cars arrived, we were treated to an array of Ferrari models which arrived and did the same lap of the track as the older cars would do.
After these, the the police arrived, and several cars and bikes then repeated the same lap as the Ferraris had done. The whole event enjoys full support of the Police who travel with the cars, which must be one of the more fun aspects of the job. Certainly the gusto with which several of them tackled the circuit suggested that they were having lots of fun. And the crowd certainly appreciated their display.
And so to the historic cars. There are strict criteria for entry, not just in terms of limiting the numbers, but also the cars which must be of the same type as competed in the original series of 24 Mille Miglia races held from 1927 to 1957. Not surprisingly, the majority of entrants are cars that you would expect, with a large number of them Italian marques, but there were more than a few surprise entrants which looked like they might prioritise comfort over speed. The crowd did seem a little partisan, with the loudest cheers for the local product. They arrived roughly in chronological order, reflecting the official race numbers, with the earliest cars coming first and ending with the most recent. It was a good three hours between the arrival of the first and last, and what a spectacle it was. Most drivers made a tidy route around the circuit but a few allowed enthusiasm and exuberance to get the better of them, resulting in some near misses with the hay bales.
AC came back to the market after the Second World War with the 2-Litre range of cars in 1947, but it was with the Ace sports car of 1953 that the company really made its reputation in the post war years. Casting around for a replacement for the ageing 2-Litre, AC took up a design by John Tojeiro that used a light ladder type tubular frame, all independent transverse leaf spring suspension, and an open two seater alloy body made using English wheeling machines, possibly inspired by the Ferrari Barchetta of the day.Early cars used AC’s elderly 100 bhp two-litre overhead cam straight-six engine (first seen soon after the end of the First World War), which, according to a 1954 road test by Motor magazine, gave a top speed of 103 mph (166 km/h) and 0–60 mph in 11.4 seconds and a fuel consumption of 25.2 mpg. It was hardly a sporting engine, however, and it was felt that something more modern and powerful was required to put the modern chassis to good use. Joining the Ace in 1954 was the Aceca hard top coupé, which had an early form of hatchback rear door but used the same basic timber framed alloy body. From 1956, there was the option of Bristol Cars’ two-litre 120 bhp straight-six with 3 downdraught carburettors and slick four-speed gearbox. Top speed leapt to 116 mph (187 km/h) with 0–60 mph in the nine second bracket. Overdrive was available from 1956 and front disc brakes were an option from 1957, although they were later standardised. In 1961 a new 2.6-litre (2,553 cc ) straight-six ‘Ruddspeed’ option was available, adapted by Ken Rudd from the unit used in the Ford Zephyr. It used three Weber or SU carburettors and either a ‘Mays’ or an iron cast head. This setup boosted the car’s performance further, with some versions tuned to 170 bhp, providing a top speed of 130 mph (209 km/h) and 0–60 mph in 8.1 seconds. However, it was not long before Carroll Shelby drew AC’s attention to the Cobra, so only 37 of the 2.6 models were made. These Ford engined models had a smaller grille which was carried over to the Cobra. With the engine set well back in the chassis, the Ace handled well and was successful in competition.
There were large numbers of Alfa Romeo models entered, of course. And they all seemed to get the biggest cheer of all from the crowd. Oldest of these were an array of 6C 1500 and 1750 cars, sporting a variety of the different bodies that the coachbuilders of the time produced.
Although it looks quite different, this is also a 6C 1750. Around 1931, the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport, styled as a roadster by Zagato, and powered by a twin-camshaft 1752cc 6 cylinder engine designed by Vittorio Jano, was regarded as an absolute gem, a thoroughbred which had already proved itself by winning the Mille Miglia. This car was fitted with asupercharger and its owners competed in national races. In 1938, the coachbuilder Carrozzeria Aprile in Sanova acquired the exhibited 6C for the sum of 4000 lire. The Spider was styled with a customised aerodynamic body at Aprile. The design was proposed by Mario Revelli de Beaumont. The Alfa Romeo was owned by Feltri until 1956 and the current owner, renowned collector Corrado Lopresto purchased the car in 2008. The sports car is reminiscent of the Alfa Romeo Alfetta and was put through a painstaking restoration which included research work carried out by the Milan Politecnico in order to achieve a precise definition of the original colour. Since its restoration, the 6C 1750 Gran Sport bodied by Aprile has already won a number of awards at various events. I enjoyed seeing it when it came to the UK for the Concours of Elegance, so it was good to see it once more.
Also competing was this splendid 8C 2300 Monza
Still a pre-war car, but looking rather more modern was this 6C 2300 Pescara Spider. It was joined by another 6C 2300 as well as an 8C 2900 Boticella and a 1942 6C 2500 Touring.
Post-war entrants included a number more 6C 2500 cars, the 1900C and Giulietta Sprint, as well as the rare Matta, something of an unlikely contender.
The Allard J2 is a sports roadster that was made by Allard. The J2 was mainly intended for the American market. Since 1981, replicas of the later J2X have been manufactured by a succession of companies in Canada, whilst a continuation of the original models is also now being produced in the UK. The standard J2 engine in Britain was the 3.6 L flathead V8 engine from the Ford Pilot, delivering 85 hp.A 4.4 L Mercury V8, delivering 110 hp was also available. American enthusiasts modified their cars by fitting an Oldsmobile, Chrysler, or Cadillac V8.J2s exported to the United States were shipped without engines. Then, an engine of the buyer’s choice installed locally.This proved to be very successful, and the use of American components made it very easy to find parts for Allard’s customers. The front suspension was a swing axle with coil springs while the rear had a De Dion tube system with coil springs, inboard brakes and a quick-change differential. Ninety J2s were built between 1950 and 1951. In 1952 Allard replaced the J2 with the J2X. It was produced until 1954. In an attempt to improve handling, the J2X had redesigned front suspension arrangement that allowed its engine to be positioned about 18 cm (7.1 in) further forward than the J2 engine had been. This did a few things beside improving the weight distribution: it gave the driver more leg room, and also facilitated easy identification between the two models J2 and J2X (“X” for extended). The longer nose sticks out beyond the front wheels (unlike the J2 where the nose stops even with the front of the front tyres) and this is the easiest way to differentiate between the two. The J2X also had side access panels for the engine and most models came with a standardised wide flat hood scoop, unlike the J2s where each one has a different custom built hood arrangement. Also offered as an option was a differential with quick-change ratios, and a larger fuel tank. Its 170 hp engine could propel the car from 0-60 in 10 seconds and gave the J2X a top speed of 111.6 mph. 83 J2Xs were built. The interior remained simple with only a few gauges.
This is a Speed 20 SB. The Speed 20 was made between late 1931 and 1936 by Alvis Car and Engineering Company in Coventry. It went through four variants coded SA to SD. In October 1935 the Speed 20 was supplemented by a 3½-litre car initially sold alongside their Speed 20 SD and named 3½-litre SA. After their Speed 20 was dropped from their catalogue the 3½-litre car was given a shorter wheelbase and named Speed 25 SB. The engine for the Speed 20 was a heavily modified version of the one used in the preceding Silver Eagle cars, producing 87 bhp. Triple HV4 type SU carburettors were fitted. As before the engine and clutch unit sat on flexible conical rubber mountings in a system used by Alvis from 1925. The chassis was new and lowered by making it a “double drop” type where the side rails go over the front and rear axles. A centralised lubrication system was fitted allowing oil to be provided to moving suspension parts through a maze of pipework. Both front and rear suspension used half-elliptic leaf springs and the self-servo brakes, with 14 in drums, were mechanically operated. The four-speed manual gearbox was mounted in-unit with the engine. The car could be fitted with a variety of coachwork. Standard bodies were a four-door sports saloon from coachbuilders Charlesworth, a four-seater sports coupé or four-door tourer by Cross & Ellis, but some cars were supplied in chassis form and carried bodies by coachbuilders such as Vanden Plas. Approximately 400 of the SA cars were made. The SB launched at the October 1933 London Motor Show had a new cruciform braced chassis, slightly longer at 124 in (3,150 mm), with independent front suspension using a single transverse leaf spring with a long solid anchorage in the centre. Steering was improved using new designs employed for racing Alvis cars since 1925. Road shocks were not transmitted from one wheel to the other nor did they affect the steering wheel and the gyroscopic effect was eliminated. Rear springs damped by Hartford Telecontrol dampers are long and underslung. The engine remained the same but the new all-silent gearbox, the first of its type, gained synchromesh on bottom gear and was mounted separately from the engine. A built-in jacking system was fitted as standard. As with the SA, a wide range of bodies were fitted to the cars. Large Lucas 12 in (305 mm) P100 headlamps became standard, adding to the sporting appearance of the car.
bFrom 1921 to 1937, Amilcar was a successful French sports-racing car manufacturer. These diminutive cars dominated the 1,100-cc racing class into 1927; this one placed second overall in the Brooklands J.C.C. 200-mile race, trumping numerous 1.5-litre Bugattis. It even won its first competition event, the 24-hour test of endurance held on a 3-mile circuit in the Forest of St. Germain. Weighing just 850 lb, the CGSS has an 1,100-cc supercharged four yielding about 35 hp. This is a CGSS Siluro Corsa
With more short chassis cars than tourers being produced in 1929, the efforts of the Aston Martin works were clearly going towards the sports end of the market. By the end of the year the ‘Standard Sports Model’ had developed into the ‘Four-seater “International” Sports Model’, more commonly known simply as the “International”. It was quickly and widely regarded as one of the best light sports cars of the day. The name “International” was coined to cash in on the works’ racing efforts. The appearance of the cars at Brooklands race track and in rallies, sprints and hill climbs all around the country alongside the works team cars, increased the cars’ sporting reputation. The “International” was truly a sports car in the best tradition of the earlier Bamford and Martin cars. Now with twin 1⅛” carburettors it had dry sump lubrication as standard, which kept the temperature of the oil at least 10 degrees cooler than in the wet sump engines. It was fitted with relatively large fourteen inch diameter brakes operated by Perrot shafts at the front. The “International” was expensive but performance was good enough for the motoring press to praise the car highly. A significant amount of advertising was placed in the popular motoring press highlighting competition successes. The “International” had a similar but dimensionally different chassis to the ‘Standard Sports Model’. Also slightly different, was the brake arrangement, and the gearbox was moved back in the chassis to leave more room in the driver’s side foot-well. These small modifications were typical of the subtle development that all the Bertelli cars went through. This was in part a result of Bertelli driving the cars himself in competition. For example, he would have been well aware that the gearbox of the early cars needed to be moved back; he would have had a pain in his left leg where they constantly rubbed! Renwick and Bertelli had designed and developed a simple yet rugged 1½ litre sports car. The build quality was very high with the best standard of materials used throughout. The entire car (with the exception of the steering box) was designed and built at the factory (from November 1929, now Aston Martin Ltd). It was very carefully assembled with engines, rear axles and gearboxes all tested on their own dynamometers, after which they were stripped and checked. This made it very expensive to produce. However, the simplicity and elegance of the design made for an efficient little sports car, which had the legs of many of its competitors. Built on the short chassis, most of the first series cars were bodied by E. Bertelli Ltd. The standard “International” coachwork was a slightly perpendicular open 2/4 seater, with minimal space in the back for passengers. It was characterised by a rather high profile stemming from a tall ‘wet case’ radiator (the shell forming the water tank) which was further emphasized by the 21″ wheels. The fuel tank was enclosed beneath the rear of the body and the spare wheel bracketed on to the body at the extreme rear. The exhaust system was taken from the cylinder head in a simple manifold with the downpipe going down inside the bonnet to the tail pipe and exhaust box below the car. The windscreen folded forward from the base, not flat onto the scuttle (with the exception of the “International Le Mans” model). Small numbers of both and 2 and 4 door saloon versions were also produced.
There were also a couple of examples of the Le Mans, dating from 1932. By 1932, the ‘International’, though a success in many ways, was beginning to show its age. It had largely been designed in the mid 1920s, and with its remote gearbox and worm drive axle, Perrot shaft operated rod brakes, and not least its rather limited cylinder head design, it was clearly lagging behind its competitors. Sidney Whitehouse, still very much involved in the company (and not always to Bertelli’s approval), insisted that if they were to build a new model it should be easier to make and should include a proprietary rear axle instead of the worm drive unit, and a bought in gearbox in order to at least attempt to reduce costs. The new car, to be known as the ‘New International’, looked very much like the old model with the rather perpendicular 2/4 seater body, but was an almost completely new car. Claude Hill designed a new and simplified chassis; the brakes were now operated by enclosed cables which could be bolted straight onto the front backplates (negating the costly Perrot shafts), with the handbrake now attached to the off side of the brake cross shaft to the right of the driver. There was a bought in Laycock gearbox, in unit with the engine. True to Whitehouse’s instructions, in place of the heavy and expensive worm drive axle, a bought in ENV rear axle with screw cut bevel gears was fitted. The new car was numbered B2/200, a new number to start the new second series of cars. A few of the old style ‘Internationals’ were however still being made and sold in 1932, but compared to the new cars, they were clearly out of date. However, at the same time, a few more sporting cars with low pointed tail bodywork were being developed. Known at first as the ‘Le Mans 2 seater’, and later the ‘Competition 2 seater’, they served as prototypes for a batch of new works’ racing cars, LM8, 9 and 10, which were largely financed by Lance Prideaux-Brune. The new LM team were fitted with an Aston Martin designed gearbox, very similar to the ‘International’ box with sliding dogs and straight cut gears (much easier to modify ratios), fitted in unit with the engine. The Laycock box was very simple to use with easy gear selection, but it was difficult to modify for racing and was never going to be suitable for competition work. More importantly they were also fitted with a new cylinder head and inlet manifold which alone increased power by at least 5 bhp. Electron was used as much as possible in place of aluminium to reduce weight. The new team cars were fast and handled extremely well and were immediately competitive. A third model was also introduced for the 1932 Motor Show, a 2/4 seater, lower than the ‘New International’, and with the humped scuttle and outside fuel tank of the 2/4 seater ‘International Le Mans’. Built on the new chassis and with the Feltham designed gearbox and uprated cylinder head, this was to become one of the best cars Aston Martin made, and was known simply as the ‘Le Mans’.
There were several post-war Astons here, all of them from the DB2/4 family. This was the first new post-war Aston, and the first car to adopt the now legendary DB naming convention, reflecting the fact that in 1947 David Brown had bought the Aston Martin and Lagonda companies and incorporated them as Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. Lagonda’s 2.6 litre dual overhead cam, straight-six engine, more powerful than the pushrod 1.9 litre unit in the Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports, was the main objective in Brown’s acquisition of the company. W. O. Bentley had supervised the engine’s design, which was largely by William (Willie) Watson, an engineer with the pre-war Invicta company who had collaborated on Lagonda’s pre-war V12 and also designed the short-lived post-war version. Work then started on producing a new car, which was called the DB2. This new model would utilise a version of the Lagonda engine in a shortened version of the tube-frame chassis designed by Claude Hill for the Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports, with a fastback coupé body designed by Frank Feeley. Three pre-production cars were entered for the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans. One, which would become the development car for the production DB2, had the Lagonda straight-6, while the four-cylinder Aston Martin 2-litre unit powered the other two. After six laps the Lagonda-powered car, driven by Leslie Johnson, retired with overheating caused by failure of the water pump. One of the 2-litre cars was in 4th place and running without brakes when it crashed two hours short of the finish, fatally injuring driver Pierre Maréchal. The other finished 7th, crewed by Arthur Jones and Nick Haines. A month later, the larger-engined car, driven by Leslie Johnson and Charles Brackenbury, finished 3rd in the Spa 24-hour race, where one of the 2-litre cars was driven to 5th by Nick Haines and Lance Macklin. For 1950 all three factory team cars were equipped with the Lagonda engine. At the 1950 Le Mans race the one driven by George Abecassis and Lance Macklin finished 5th, with Brackenbury and Reg Parnell bringing another home 6th, which won Aston Martin 1st and 2nd in the 3-litre class. Across the Atlantic, Briggs Cunningham drove his DB2 to 2nd in its class at the inaugural Sebring race meeting in December 1950. The factory team cars continued racing in Europe throughout 1951, including at Le Mans, where Macklin and Eric Thompson took 3rd overall, with Abecassis and Brian Shawe-Taylor 5th. David Brown soon embarked on a series of Aston Martins designed specifically for competition use, starting with the DB3. Meanwhile, the production DB2 debuted at the New York Auto Show in April 1950 and continued in production until April 1953, by which time 411 had been made. The first 49 had a chrome-framed front grille in three separate parts, and large rectangular cooling vents in the front wings. Subsequent cars had a one-piece grille with horizontal chrome slats, and no side vents. The single-piece bonnet was hinged at the front. At the rear of the fixed-head coupé (FHC) a small top-hinged lid gave access to the spare wheel, and luggage space was behind the front seats, accessible only from inside the car. Later in 1950, a Drophead Coupé (DHC) variant was introduced. At least 102 were built. In April 1950, an engine with larger carburettors, inlet camshaft the same as the exhaust (for increased duration), and higher compression ratio pistons (8.16:1) was made available. Aston Martin’s first Vantage upgrade option offered 125 hp. Initially the higher compression ratio made the engine unsuitable for the British market, as the postwar austerity measures of the early 1950s restricted UK vehicles to 72 octane “Pool petrol”. The first DB2 Vantage, LML 50/21, was delivered to, and raced by, Briggs Cunningham in the United States. A revised version of the DB2 was launched in 1953, called the DB2/4. It was available as a 2+2 hatchback, marketed as a Saloon, as a Drophead Coupé (DHC) and as a 2-seat Fixed Head Coupe. A small number of Bertone bodied spiders were commissioned by private buyers. A further update in 1957 created the Mark III, and this was produced until the launch of the DB4 in 1958.
A number of the “Big Healey” were entered. Donald Healey had been producing a range of expensive sports cars from the 1940s, cars such as the Silverstone, the Abbott and the Farnham. For the 1952 London Motor Show, he produced a new design, which was called the Healey Hundred, based on Austin A90 mechanicals, which he intended to produce in-house at his small car company in Warwick. It was one of the stars of the 1952 Show, and it so impressed Leonard Lord, the Managing Director of Austin, who was looking for a replacement to the unsuccessful A90. that Lord struck a deal with Healey on the spot, to build it in quantity. Bodies made by Jensen Motors would be given Austin mechanical components at Austin’s Longbridge factory. The car was renamed the Austin-Healey 100, in reference to the fact that the car had a top speed of 100 mph. Production got under way in 1953, with Austin-Healey 100s being finished at Austin’s Longbridge plant alongside the A90 and based on fully trimmed and painted body/chassis units produced by Jensen in West Bromwich—in an arrangement the two companies previously had explored with the Austin A40 Sports. By early 1956, production was running at 200 cars a month, 150 of which were being sold in California. Between 1953 and 1956, 14,634 Austin-Healey 100s were produced, the vast majority of them, as was the case for most cars in this post war era, going for export. The car was replaced by an updated model in 1956, called the 100-6. It had a longer wheelbase, redesigned bodywork with an oval shaped grille, a fixed windscreen and two occasional seats added (which in 1958 became an option with the introduction of the two-seat BN6 produced in parallel with the 2+2 BN4), and the engine was replaced by one based on the six-cylinder BMC C-Series engine. In 1959, the engine capacity was increased from 2.6 to 2.9 litres and the car renamed the Austin-Healey 3000. Both 2-seat and 2+2 variants were offered. It continued in this form until production ceased in late 1967. The Big Healey, as the car became known after the 1958 launch of the much smaller Austin-Healey Sprite, is a popular classic now. You come across the 3000 models more frequently than the 100s, as they accounted for more than 60% of all Big Healey production
The 3 Litre was the company’s first model, first shown in 1919 and made available to customers’ coachbuilders from 1921 to 1929. It was conceived for racing. The Bentley was very much larger than the 1368 cc Bugattis that dominated racing at the time, but double the size of engine and strength compensated for the extra weight. The 4000 lb (1800 kg) car won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1924, with drivers John Duff and Frank Clement, and again in 1927, this time in Super Sports form, with drivers S. C. H. “Sammy” Davis and Dudley Benjafield. Its weight, size, and speed prompted Ettore Bugatti to call it “the fastest lorry in the world.” The 3 Litre was delivered as a running chassis to the coachbuilder of the buyer’s choice. Bentley referred many customers to their near neighbour Vanden Plas for bodies. Dealers might order a short cost-saving run of identical bodies to their own distinctive design. Most bodies took the simplest and cheapest form, tourers, but as it was all “custom” coachwork there was plenty of variation. The 2,996 cc straight-4 engine was designed by ex-Royal Flying Corps engineer Clive Gallop and was technically very advanced for its time. It was one of the first production car engines with 4 valves per cylinder, dry-sump lubrication and an overhead camshaft. The four valve SOHC Hemi design, with a bevel-geared shaft drive for the camshaft, was based on the pre-war 1914 Mercedes Daimler M93654 racing engine. Just before the outbreak of the war Mercedes had placed one of the winning Grand Prix cars in their London showroom in Long Acre. At the suggestion of W.O. Bentley, then being commissioned in the Royal Naval Air Service, the vehicle was confiscated in 1915 by the British army, dismantled at Rolls-Royce and subjected to scrutiny. A notable difference to both the Mercedes and the aero engines was the cast-iron monobloc design, and the fully Aluminium enclosed camshaft, which greatly contributed to its durability. But having the valve-head and block in one-piece made for a complicated and labour intensive casting and machining. This was a feature shared during that time by the Bugattis which the car was later to compete with. The engine was also among the first with two spark plugs per cylinder, pent-roof combustion chambers, and twin carburettors. It was extremely undersquare, optimised for low-end torque, with a bore of 80 mm and a stroke of 149 mm. Untuned power output was around 70 hp, allowing the 3 Litre to reach 80 mph. he Speed Model could reach 90 mph; the Super Sports could exceed 100 mph. A four-speed gearbox was fitted. Only the rear wheels had brakes until 1924, when four-wheel brakes were introduced. There were three main variants of the 3 litre and they became known by the colours commonly used on the radiator badge. There was a definite rule controlling badge colours but astonishingly it has since been established that given “special circumstances” the factory would indeed supply a “wrong” colour. Blue label was the standard model with 117.5 in wheelbase from 1921 to 1929 or long 130.0 in wheelbase from 1923 to 1929. The Red label used a 5.3:1 high compression engine in the 117.5 in wheelbase chassis and was made from 1924 to 1929. The Green label was made between 1924 and 1929 and was the high performance model with 6.3:1 compression ratio and short 108 in wheelbase chassis. 100 mph performance was guaranteed. As well as 3 Experimental cars, Bentley produced 1088 examples of the 3 litre, and the Speed Model numbered 513 and there were 18 Super Sports.
Bentley replaced the 3 Litre with a more powerful car by increasing its engine displacement to 4.5 litres. As before, Bentley supplied an engine and chassis and it was up to the buyer to arrange for their new chassis to be fitted with one of a number of body styles, most of which were saloons or tourers. Very few have survived with their four-seater coachwork intact. WO Bentley had found that success in motorsport was great publicity for the brand, and he was particularly attracted to the 2 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, the inaugural running of which took place 26–27 May 1923, attracting many drivers, mostly French. There were two foreign competitors in the first race, Frank Clement and Canadian John Duff, the latter winning the 1924 competition in his personal car, a Bentley 3 Litre. This success helped Bentley sell cars, but was not repeated, so ater two years without success, Bentley convened a group of wealthy British men, “united by their love of insouciance, elegant tailoring, and a need for speed,” to renew Bentley’s success. Both drivers and mechanics, these men, later nicknamed the “Bentley Boys”, drove Bentley automobiles to victory in several races between 1927 and 1931, including four consecutive wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and forged the brands reputation. It was within this context that, in 1927, Bentley developed the Bentley 4½ Litre. Two cylinders were removed from the 6½ Litre model, reducing the displacement to 4.4 litres. At the time, the 3 Litre and the 6½ Litre were already available, but the 3 Litre was an outdated, under-powered model and the 6½ Litre’s image was tarnished by poor tyre performance. Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin, described as “the greatest British driver of his day” by W. O. Bentley, was one of the Bentley Boys. He refused to adhere strictly to Bentley’s assertion that increasing displacement is always preferable to forced induction. Birkin, aided by a former Bentley mechanic, decided to produce a series of five supercharged models for the competition at the 24 Hours of Le Mans; thus the 4½ litre Blower Bentley was born. The first supercharged Bentley had been a 3-litre FR5189 which had been supercharged at the Cricklewood factory in the winter of 1926/7. The Bentley Blower No.1 was officially presented in 1929 at the British International Motor Show at Olympia, London. The 55 copies were built to comply with 24 Hours of Le Mans regulations. Birkin arranged for the construction of the supercharged cars having received approval from Bentley chairman and majority shareholder Woolf Barnato and financing from wealthy horse racing enthusiast Dorothy Paget. Development and construction of the supercharged Bentleys was done in a workshop in Welwyn by Amherst Villiers, who also provided the superchargers. W.O. Bentley was hostile to forced induction and believed that “to supercharge a Bentley engine was to pervert its design and corrupt its performance.” However, having lost control of the company he founded to Barnato, he could not halt Birkin’s project. Although the Bentley 4½ Litre was heavy, weighing 1,625 kg (3,583 lb), and spacious, with a length of 172 in and a wheelbase of 130.0 in, it remained well-balanced and steered nimbly. The manual transmission, however, required skill, as its four gears were unsynchronised. The robustness of the 4½ Litre’s latticed chassis, made of steel and reinforced with ties, was needed to support the heavy cast iron inline-four engine. The engine was “resolutely modern” for the time. The displacement was 4,398 cc. Two SU carburettors and dual ignition with Bosch magnetos were fitted. The engine produced 110 hp for the touring model and 130 hp for the racing model. The engine speed was limited to 4,000 rpm. A single overhead camshaft actuated four valves per cylinder, inclined at 30 degrees. This was a technically advanced design at a time where most cars used only two valves per cylinder. The camshaft was driven by bevel gears on a vertical shaft at the front of the engine, as on the 3 Litre engine. The essential difference between the Bentley 4½ Litre and the Blower was the addition of a Roots-type supercharger to the Blower engine by engineer Amherst Villiers, who had also produced the supercharger. W. O. Bentley, as chief engineer of the company he had founded, refused to allow the engine to be modified to incorporate the supercharger. As a result, the supercharger was placed at the end of the crankshaft, in front of the radiator. This gave the Blower Bentley an easily recognisable appearance and also increased the car’s understeer due to the additional weight at the front. A guard protected the two carburettors located at the compressor intake. Similar protection was used, both in the 4½ Litre and the Blower, for the fuel tank at the rear, because a flying stone punctured the 3 Litre of Frank Clement and John Duff during the first 24 Hours of Le Mans, which contributed to their defeat. The crankshaft, pistons and lubrication system were special to the Blower engine. It produced 175 hp at 3,500 rpm for the touring model and 240 hp at 4,200 rpm for the racing version, which was more power than the Bentley 6½ Litre developed. Between 1927 and 1931 the Bentley 4½ Litre competed in several competitions, primarily the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The first was the Old Mother Gun at the 1927 24 Hours of Le Mans, driven as a prototype before production. Favoured to win, it instead crashed and did not finish. Its performance was sufficient for Bentley to decide to start production and deliver the first models the same year. Far from being the most powerful in the competitions, the 4½ Litre of Woolf Barnato and Bernard Rubin, raced neck and neck against Charles Weymann’s Stutz Blackhawk DV16, setting a new record average speed of 69 mph; Tim Birkin and Jean Chassagne finished fifth. The next year, three 4½ Litres finished second, third, and fourth behind another Bentley, the Speed Six, which possessed two more cylinders.The naturally aspirated 4½ Litre was noted for its good reliability. The supercharged models were not; the two Blower models entered in the 1930 24 Hours of Le Mans by Dorothy Paget, one of which was co-driven by Tim Birkin, did not complete the race. In 1930, Birkin finished second in the French Grand Prix at the Circuit de Pau behind a Bugatti Type 35. Ettore Bugatti, annoyed by the performance of Bentley, called the 4½ Litre the “fastest lorry in the world.” The Type 35 is much lighter and consumes much less petrol. Blower Bentleys consume 4 litres per minute at full speed. In November 1931, after selling 720 copies of the 4½ Litre – 655 naturally aspirated and 55 supercharged – in three different models (Tourer, Drophead Coupé and Sporting Four Seater, Bentley was forced to sell his company to Rolls-Royce for £125,175, a victim of the recession that hit Europe following the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
This 1934 3.5 litre car is one of what is known as “Derby” Bentley. These were produced after the acquisition of Bentley by Rolls-Royce, in 1934, at which point the focus of the brand shifted to the production of large and elegant tourers. The cars retained the famous curved radiator shape based on earlier Bentley models, but in all meaningful respects they were clearly Rolls-Royces. Although disappointing some traditional customers, they were well received by many others and even W.O. Bentley himself was reported as saying that he would “rather own this Bentley than any other car produced under that name.” The Rolls-Royce Engineer in charge of the development project, Ernest Hives (later Lord Hives), underlined the Rolls-Royce modus operandi in a memo addressed to company staff “our recommendation is that we should make the car as good as we know how and then charge accordingly.” At a time when the Ford 8 could be purchased new for £100, an early Bentley 3½ Litre cost around £1,500 (equivalent to £6400 vs. £96,000 today), putting it beyond the reach of all but the wealthiest consumers. Despite not being a car of remarkable outright performance, the car’s unique blend of style and grace proved popular with the inter-war elite and it was advertised under the legend the silent sports car. Over 70% of the cars built between 1933 and 1939 were said to have still been in existence 70 years later. Although chassis production ceased in 1939, a number of cars were still being bodied and delivered during 1940. The last few were delivered and first registered in 1941. The 3.5 litre came first. Based on an experimental Rolls-Royce project “Peregrine” which was to have had a supercharged 2¾ litre engine, the 3½ Litre was finally fitted with a less adventurous engine developed from Rolls’ straight-6 fitted to the Rolls-Royce 20/25. The Bentley variant featured a higher compression ratio, sportier camshaft profile and two SU carburettors on a crossflow cylinder head. Actual power output was roughly 110 bhp at 4500 rpm, allowing the car to reach 90 mph. The engine displaced 3669 cc with a 3¼ in (82.5 mm) bore and 4½ in (114.3 mm) stroke. A 4-speed manual transmission with synchromesh on 3rd and 4th, 4-wheel leaf spring suspension, and 4-wheel servo-assisted mechanical brakes were all common with other Rolls-Royce models. The chassis was manufactured from nickel steel, and featured a “double-dropped” layout to gain vertical space for the axles and thus keep the profiles of the cars low. The strong chassis needed no diagonal cross-bracing, and was very light in comparison to the chassis built by its contemporary competitors, weighing in at 2,510 pounds (1,140 kg) in driveable form ready for delivery to the customer’s chosen coachbuilder. 1177 of the 3½ Litre cars were built, with about half of them being bodied by Park Ward, with the remainder “dressed” by other coachbuilders like Barker, Carlton, Freestone & Webb, Gurney Nutting, Hooper, Mann Egerton, Mulliner (both Arthur and H J), Rippon, Thrupp & Maberly, James Young, Vanden Plas and Windovers in England; Figoni et Falaschi, Kellner, Saoutchik and Vanvooren in Paris; and smaller concerns elsewhere in UK and Europe. Beginning in March, 1936, a 4¼ Litre version of the car was offered as replacement for the 3½ Litre, in order to offset the increasing weight of coachwork and maintain the car’s sporting image in the face of stiff competition. The engine was bored to 3½ in (88.9 mm) for a total of 4257cc. From 1938 the MR and MX series cars featured Marles steering and an overdrive gearbox. The model was replaced in 1939 by the MkV, but some cars were still finished and delivered during 1940-1941. 1234 4¼ Litre cars were built, with Park Ward remaining the most popular coachbuilder. Many cars were bodied in steel rather than the previous, more expensive, aluminium over ash frame construction.
There were a couple of Mark VI-based Specials, with bodywork which looked very much like the pre-war cars. When Mark VI bodies rusted, it was quite common for people to craft a new body for the still functional mechanicals.
Representing BMW was the 328, a sports car made between 1936 and 1940, with the body design credited to Peter Szymanowski, who became BMW chief of design after World War II (although technically the car was designed by Fritz Fiedler). It had a 1971cc straight 6 OHV engine and 3 solec carburettors which gave it an output of 79 bhp at 5000 rpm, and a top speed of 150 km/h, making this relatively light car ideal for motorsport. The 328 was introduced at the Eifelrennen race at the Nürburgring in 1936, where Ernst Henne drove it to win the 2.0 litre class. The 328 had more than 100 class wins in 1937, including the RAC Tourist Trophy, the Österreichische Alpenfahrt, and the La Turbie hillclimb. In 1938, the 328 won its class at Le Mans, the RAC Tourist Trophy, the Alpine Rally, and the Mille Miglia. The 328 won the RAC Rally in 1939 and came in fifth overall and first in class in the 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans. The car continued its competition career after the war, with Frank Pratt winning the 1948 Australian Grand Prix driving a 328.
There were a couple of the 527 Gran Sport taking part. Bollack, Netter, et Cie, more commonly known as B.N.C., was a small French automobile company in Levallois-Perret, situated on Avenue de Paris 39. B.N.C. was established by Lucien Bollack (an engineer who had also worked for Hispano-Suiza) and his financier, banker René Netter, in January 1923. The technical director was Jacques Muller, also known as “Jack”. Muller’s earlier J.M.K. cyclecar formed the basis of their first car the “DZ”. B.N.C. were a successful maker of cyclecars, winning many rallies albeit not selling very many cars. In the late 1920s, the company tried to penetrate a higher market sector – unfortunately the demand for large passenger cars and for ultra-light racing cars were both low, and Bollack and Netter were forced out of their company in 1928 when the business was acquired by Charles de Ricou, an energetic businessman who by now had a reputation for rescuing financially troubled automobile manufacturing businesses. In the case of B.N.C. his timing was less than perfect, however, in that (like many others) he failed to anticipate the Great Depression, B.N.C. launching the large 8-cylinder engined “Aigle” in October 1929, a few days before the stock market crashes gave notice of a decade of severe contraction and stagnation for the French economy. Shortly after he had taken over at B.N.C., de Ricou took over two other companies in financial difficulty, Lombard and Rolland-Pilain; Charles de Ricou took a double stand, directly opposite one of the principal entrances of the Grand Palais, at the 25th Paris Motor Show in October 1931, and displayed on it cars from all three of his companies, B.N.C., Lombard and Rolland-Pilain. Models on display included the new B.N.C. 6-cylinder engined 2-litre B.N.C coupé “Vedette ADER”. In the event this car was never produced for sale, however. For 1931 a line of sporty front-wheel drive B.N.C. cars with pneumatic suspension were presented but came to naught. The doors of the firm were shuttered shortly afterwards. One of B.N.C.’s drivers, André Siréjols, had already been building special bodies for B.N.C. cars. He took over the remaining stock of parts and kept on assembling a trickle of cars into the fifties, usually referred to as “B.N.C. Siréjols”. The last of these continuation cars were equipped with Ford’s “10 HP” 1172 cc side valve four. Beginning with a single model, the DZ, before the first year was over the range had reached double digits. Three chassis and three different engines were offered, as were a plethora of bodystyles. B.N.C. mainly produced sports cars, and their design was similar to that of the Amilcar. The cars’ engines were not made at the factory, but were instead purchased from proprietary engine manufacturers such as Ruby (927 cc) and S.C.A.P. (900 cc). B.N.C. later produced a car with a 1,100 cc S.C.A.P. or Chapuis-Dornier engines, fitted with a Cozette supercharger. While most had three-speed gearboxes, a number of cars received four-speed units. In 1927 the B.N.C. Sport was presented, with overhead-valve engines from S.C.A.P. or Ruby, spoked wheels, and a strongly inclined radiator. In the late 1920s, BNC tried their hand at producing large passenger cars (the “Aigle”) with four to five-liter eight-cylinder engines made by Lycoming. To prove the mettle of the cars, a standard B.N.C. with an 1,100 cc Ruby engine lapped the (then unpaved) Le Mans circuit for 24 hours straight in 1928. The average speed was above 90 km/h (56 mph).After having been forced out of the company, Lucien Bollack retained the import rights to the American Lycoming engines. He went on to manufacture the large Lycoming-engined (again of four or five liters) Aigle in 1929. Only a very few were built, however (possibly only a single example), and the company had ceased trading by 1930. The firm’s greatest victory was a double win at Fontainebleau (with lady racer Violette Morris at the wheel of the winning car), at the 1927 Bol d’Or. In 1928 a BNC finished in seventh place at Le Mans. At the 1929 Le Mans 24 hour race the manufacturer entered three cars. Two were powered by 995cc engines and retired from the race early on. The third was a 1500cc car and covered 88 laps before retiring: this car attracted attention for another reason, since it featured an imposing vertical radiator-grill at the front rather than a sloping grill of the style that by this time had become a standard feature of BNC track cars. In 1930, a B.N.C. won its class at the Spa 24 Hours race. The following year, while leading its class, the engine broke down a few hours before the finish and the car ended up in thirteenth place, with Duray and Charlier driving. B.N.C. cars are also still used in rallies.
This is an example of the first car to bear the Bristol name, the 400. After World War II, the Bristol Aeroplane Company decided to diversify and formed a car division, which would later be the Bristol Cars company in its own right. BAC subsequently acquired a licence from Frazer Nash to build BMW models. Bristol chose to base its first model on the best features of two outstanding pre-war BMWs, namely the 328’s engine, and the 326’s frame. These were covered with a neat mainly steel body but with aluminium bonnet, door and boot skins and inspired by the BMW 327’s. Launched in 1947, the Bristol 400 featured a slightly modified version of BMW’s six-cylinder pushrod engine of 1,971 cc This engine, considered advanced for its time due to its hemispherical combustion chambers and very short inlet and exhaust ports, developed 80 horsepower at 4,500 revs per minutes and could carry the 400 to a top speed of around 92 mph with acceleration to match. In order to maintain a hemispherical combustion chamber, the valves had to be positioned at an angle to the head. In order to drive both sets of valves from a single camshaft, the Bristol engine used a system of rods, followers and bell-cranks to drive the valves on the far side of the engine from the camshaft. Owners soon found that setting and maintaining the numerous clearances in the system was difficult but vital to keep the engine in tune. The gearbox was a four-speed manual with synchromesh on the upper three ratios and a freewheel on first. The model 400 was the only Bristol to be fitted with a steel and aluminium skin, and had all flat glass, but for the curved rear window, glazed in perspex, which was available to specification with a top hinge. This feature was very welcome on warmer climate export markets, where the sliding door windows provided only marginal ventilation to the passengers. The 400 featured independent front suspension with a transverse leaf spring and a live axle, located by an A-bracket over the differential case and longitudinal torsion bars with transverse arms and brackets at the rear. It featured a lengthy 114 inch wheelbase and a very BMW-like grille at the front of its long bonnet. The passenger area was very short, with the spare tyre mounted inside the boot on the first cars, but eventually mounted on the rear hinged boot lid, inside an aluminium cover. 487 examples were made.
Seeking a rival for the elegant Alfa Romeo and Lancia tourers of the period, Bristol shipped a 400 chassis to Farina in late 1946 and the result was the very elegant 400 Farina Cabrio, of which only a handful were made.
Arnolt negotiated with Bristol Cars Ltd in the UK for the purchase of 200 of their 404-series chassis and the 1971 cc, six-cylinder 130 hp engines from the earlier 403 model. Arnolt needed to find a new chassis source to meet his obligation to Bertone, in whom he had invested heavily, after MG proved unable to fill the original order for 200 cars. The chassis Bristol supplied were sent to Carrozzeria Bertone where they received a highly aerodynamic body with a flowing design that allowed the minimal hood height to clear the cars’ three single barrel Solex 32 carburettors. The bodies were designed by Bertone’s new designer/aerodynamicist, Franco Scaglione (soon to be famous as the designer of the Alfa Romeo B.A.T. concept cars). The very tall Bristol engine created problems for designing a sleek-looking sports car. Franco Scaglione handled these with particular genius – first by incorporating a hood scoop to lower the surrounding sheet metal, and then by incorporating sharply creased fender lines out over the wheels to draw the eye’s attention away from the unusually tall peak in the hood. A few design changes were requested by S.H. Arnolt. Arnolt created a racing team for the Sebring 12-hour race, and in 1955, at their first attempt, the special lightweight cars finished first, second and fourth in the Sports 2000 class, winning the Team Trophy, a feat which was replicated in 1956 and 1960. The following year they took second and third in class. In 1957 the team withdrew after Bob Goldich’s fatal accident on the first lap of his first stint in the car co-driven by Wacky Arnolt, while a privately entered Arnolt Bristol finished fifth in class. 1960 brought a final class win, finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in class, and placing 14th, 22nd and 39th overall. The cars were available in four body styles: competition—a stripped road racer; bolide—a slightly better-appointed road racer; deluxe—a better-appointed version of the bolide (side windows and convertible top, instruments mounted in a housing in front of the driver, glove box set in the dash); and coupé, with pop-up headlights. At least one open car was subsequently fitted with a removable hardtop by S.H. Arnolt. Prices as per a 1956 factory letter were $3995 for the competition model, $4245 for the bolide, $4995 for the deluxe and $5995 for the coupe. Factory options for the Arnolt-Bristol included a front sway bar, remote shifter, 11-inch Alfin drum brakes, convertible top, bumpers, Borrani KO steel wheels (nine sets were sold, and one car was sold with Borrani wire wheels) and several different rear end gear ratios. A special racing fuel tank was installed in some of the race cars but was never offered for sale to the public. Late in 1959 and 60, the 12-inch bell-shaped Bristol drum setup was offered, and in 1961 Bristol front disc brakes were offered to retro fit to the Arnolt-Bristol. The majority of the cars had steel bodies, with aluminium trunk and hood. The cars came with an owner’s manual, spares manual and shop workbook, as well as a spare wheel and tire and complete tool kit. Additional items such as Arnolt key fobs, neck ties, ice buckets and Arnolt logo head scarves were available from the company. A wide variety of promotional literature, including brochures and postcards, was also produced. All of the cars were originally sold with Bristol BS1 MkII six-cylinder engines; some have subsequently been fitted with other engines. All Arnolt-Bristols were built between January 14, 1953 and December 12, 1959. The majority were built in 1954 and 1959. A total of 142 cars were produced, of which 12 were written off after a factory fire. The fire-damaged cars were used as a source of spares by Arnolt in later years. The total production included six coupes, and two aluminium alloy-bodied cars. One of the cars was originally right hand drive: the rest were all left hand drive. One of the cars never received a body, and was used as a rolling chassis for auto shows. This chassis is still in the possession of the Arnolt family. Despite the racing successes, the cars did not sell well. Some of the cars did not sell until after 1960, and the last car to be sold, fitted with four headlights, remained unsold until 1968. Approximately 85 of the cars are still known to be extant, in conditions that vary from needing complete restoration to concours quality.
Alphabetically first of a number of US cars that were competing was this 1929 Master Six Coupe.
Oldest of the Bugatti models competing was this Type 23 Brescia. An evolution of the earlier Type 13, Bugatti capitalised on its success by producing this full-production postwar Brescia Tourer. It used the multivalve Brescia engine, and 2,000 examples were built from 1920 through 1926, making it the first full-production multi-valve car ever made.
There were 4 examples of the Bugatti Type 35 entered. The Type 35 was phenomenally successful, winning over 1,000 races in its time. It took the Grand Prix World Championship in 1926 after winning 351 races and setting 47 records in the two prior years. At its height, Type 35s averaged 14 race wins per week. Bugatti won the Targa Florio for five consecutive years, from 1925 through 1929, with the Type 35. The original model, introduced at the Grand Prix of Lyon on August 3, 1924, used an evolution of the 3-valve 1991 cc overhead cam straight-8 engine first seen on the Type 29. Bore was 60 mm and stroke was 88 mm as on many previous Bugatti models. 96 examples were produced. This new powerplant featured five main bearings with an unusual ball bearing system. This allowed the engine to rev to 6000 rpm, and 90 hp was reliably produced. Solid axles with leaf springs were used front and rear, and drum brakes at back, operated by cables, were specified. Alloy wheels were a novelty, as was the hollow front axle for reduced unsprung weight. A second feature of the Type 35 that was to become a Bugatti trademark was passing the springs through the front axle rather than simply U-bolting them together as was done on their earlier cars. A less expensive version of the Type 35 appeared in May, 1925. The factory’s Type 35A name was ignored by the public, who nicknamed it “Tecla” after a famous maker of imitation jewellery. The Tecla’s engine used three plain bearings, smaller valves, and coil ignition like the Type 30. While this decreased maintenance requirements, it also reduced output. 139 of the Type 35As were sold. The Type 35C featured a Roots supercharger, despite Ettore Bugatti’s disdain for forced induction. Output was nearly 128 hp with a single Zenith carburettor. Type 35Cs won the French Grand Prix at Saint-Gaudens in 1928, and at Pau in 1930. Fifty examples left the factory. The final version of the Type 35 series was the Type 35B of 1927. Originally named Type 35TC, it shared the 2.3 litre engine of the Type 35T but added a large supercharger like the Type 35C. Output was 138 hp, and 45 examples were made. A British Racing Green Type 35B driven by William Grover-Williams won the 1929 French Grand Prix at Le Mans.
The Type 38 was produced in 1926 and 1927. It used the 2 litre engine from the Type 35A “Tecla”. The supercharger from the Type 37A was later fitted, making the Type 38A. Its gearbox and brakes were later used in the Type 40, while its radiator and axles were shared with the Type 43. 385 examples were produced, 39 of which were supercharged 38As.
There was also a couple of the Type 40 here, a model introduced in 1926 and produced through 1930, used the 3-valve 1496 cc engine first used in some Type 37s. It was an enclosed tourer or (as the Type 40A) small roadster. About 830 were built. The Type 40A shared its block with the Type 40 and displaced 1627 cc. All 40 Type 40As were built in 1930.
There were a couple of examples of the 1929 Chrysler Model 75 here
Equally unlikely looking a competitor was this Saratoga sedan, dating from 1954.
There were a couple of examples of the 202 SMM Spider competing. Since the beautiful 202 Coupe never made large scale production and all the cars were handmade, the small talented group at Cisitalia, including Carlo Abarth, Dante Giacosa and Giovanni Savonuzzi, made several variants of the 202. Of the more important versions, the SMM Nuvolari Spider was built and named after a class victory at the 1947 Mille Miglia by famed driver Tazio Nuvolari. It is easily identified by its large rear fins, twin windscreens and usual Italian red paint scheme. In total, around 200 cars were made which made a large impact on the later marques, including Abarth’s later range of cars. For the upcoming 1947 season, Giovanni Savonuzzi, who had designed most of the 202, sketched a coupe body for Cisitalia’s competition car. The design was executed by Stabilimenti Farina upon both chassis #101 and #102. After two coupes had been finished, a spider version, Called the SMM for Spider Mille Miglia, was completed which would adorn all subsequent competition cars bearing the MM designation. At the 1947 Mille Miglia, the Cistitalia spider really proved itself by leading most of the race in capable hands of Tazio Nuvolari. Despite having competition with engines three times larger, Nuvolari held back the competition until troubles ensued in the rain. In the end, the Cistitalia took second overall and first in class. For this epic effort, subsequent competition spiders were known as 202 SMM Nuvolaris. Since the 202 SMM received much attention at the Mille Miglia, Stabilimenti Farina continued production of the design for several customers. In total around 20 cars were made very similar to Nuvolari’s winning car.
This is a 202 D 2800 Coupe
Final Cisitalia here was this 1948 Colombo Barchetta
This Citroen Barquette dates from 1945.
1100 Sport and 1100 Siluro Motto
A single 212 Inter, chassis no. 0223EU, was fitted with the available 225 S or 2.7 L Colombo V12 engine, combined with a long wheelbase Europa type chassis, creating a unique model that would be properly referred to as a 225 Inter or 225 Europa. This 1952 one-off model was given a Giovanni Michelotti-penned coupé body built by Vignale.
This is a 225S Berlinetta Vignale. The Ferrari 225 S was a sports racing car produced by Ferrari in 1952. It was an evolution over the preceding Ferrari 212 Export with important engine upgrades that greatly improved power output. The model was extensively used in competition, winning many international races. The most important include 1952 Monaco Grand Prix for sports cars, Portuguese Grand Prix, Coppa d’Oro di Sicilia, Coppa della Toscana, Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti and many others. It was the final Colombo V12 engine iteration before the 250-family stretched it to 3.0-litres capacity. The 1952 Ferrari 225 S was a continued development from the 212 Export sports car. The new car shared many common aspects over the predecessor with some important improvements. With the similar chassis, so did the wheelbase and track measurements remained the same. The V12 engine received a slightly larger total displacement, due to a bigger bore. The power output benefited greatly from Aurelio Lampredi’s technical research. The engine improvements consisted of an innovative and more efficient intake manifold design and an upgraded distribution system. Those improvement will be carried over to the next generation of Colombo V12-engined cars that debuted the very same year. Most cars used tried and tested tubular steel spaceframe chassis. Those had an “ED” or “EL” serial number suffix. Alternatively the 225 S could be based on an innovative “Tuboscocca” chassis and sport an “ET” suffix. Fourteen open spyder cars were created, bodied by Vignale to a Giovanni Michelotti design. One particular example with a unique bodywork of open style wings was produced. The s/n 0176ED, commissioned by Antonio Stagnoli, also featured small inboard headlights and an outside spare wheel flush with the rear trunk. Additionally six closed Berlinettas also with a Vignale coachwork were made. There was also a single Touring Barchetta, s/n 0166ED, that was raced by Eugenio Castellotti. Ferrari continued to lose interest in Carrozzeria Touring and focused on other coachbuilders. Vignale was still in favour but would soon be replaced by Pinin Farina and Scaglietti. In total 21 cars were produced. All were right-hand drive as was common for a racing cars. Some were converted from the 212 Export range, like the s/n 0104E, 0170ET or 0190ET. Some were even of a 166 MM ancestry like the s/n 0152EL, the very first 225 S.
The 1954 and 1955 seasons were the heyday of the four-cylinder Ferrari sports racer. The company hit its stride, earning the World Sportscar Championship in 1954 and contending in 1955 despite the legendary Mercedes-Benz team. The Ferrari sports car lineup at the beginning of 1954 was made up of the 2.0 L 500 Mondial and 3.0 L 750 Monza. The team replaced the Mondial with the 500 TR later that year, and feverishly worked to hold off Mercedes-Benz, developing the larger 857 S and six-cylinder 118 LM and 121 LM. The planned V12 sports racer family, including the 250 Monza of 1954 and planned 410 S of 1955, were less notable. The early experiments with Lampredi’s four-cylinder engine led to the creation of the famed 500 Mondial. Named to mark the world (“Mondial”) championships won by Alberto Ascari, the 500 Mondial featured a 2.0 L version of Lampredi’s four-cylinder engine in a small and light body with an advanced suspension. The car debuted on December 20, 1953 at the 12 Hours of Casablanca driven by Ascari and Luigi Villoresi, placing second to a 375 MM. In 1954 four 500 Mondials were entered in Mille Miglia race, with best result being second overall after Lancia D24. The Mondial remained competitive through the end of the decade, including an entry in the 1957 Mille Miglia, and was raced as late as 1962, when Javier Valesquez entered chassis 0448MD in the 1962 Carrera Presidential race in Mexico City. The 500 Mondial’s 2.0 litre engine was taken from the 500 F2 which won the world championship but was detuned to produce 170 hp. It was extremely light at 720 kg (1,590 lb). and handled well with a modern de Dion tube rear suspension. The first 500 Mondials were spiders bodied by Pinin Farina, but Carrozzeria Scaglietti later created a series of barchettas. Two berlinettas were also built by Pinin Farina. 29 were built in total. Of the 13 Pininfarina spiders built, 5 were the earlier Series I version with covered headlights. The car won the prestigious Gran Turismo Trophy at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, meaning it will eventually be re-created for use in Gran Turismo 6.
1954 saw the introduction of a new four-cylinder sports racer, the 750 Monza. Sporting a three-litre version of the 500 Mondial’s engine, the Monza was much more powerful, with 250 hp available, but barely heavier at 760 kg (1,675 lb). The new-style body was penned by Pinin Farina and presaged the droop-nose look of the famed 250 GTO, but it was Scaglietti’s 750 Monza, with its faired-in headrest suggesting the flowing Testa Rossa that drew attention. Alberto Ascari was killed in the car during an impromptu testing session at Monza in 1955. Mike Hawthorn and Umberto Maglioli piloted their 750 Monza to victory at Monza on its very first race, giving the car its name. Although they were strong on the track, the Monza was unable to hold off the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR in 1955, allowing the Germans to seize the sports car championship that Ferrari claimed in 1954.
The short-lived 857 S of 1955 was an attempt to hold off the strong Mercedes-Benz team, something the 750 Monza and the 376 S/735 LM were unable to do. An existing 750 Monza chassis received an enlarged version of Lampredi’s four, now displacing 3.4 litres and producing 280 hp. The car was not competitive with the German team at the 1955 Tourist Trophy, so Lampredi went back to the drawing board for the next season. At the 1955 Targa Florio, the 857 S came third overall, driven by Castellotti. A year later, at the 1956 1000 km Buenos Aires, Olivier Gendebien and Phil Hill scored second place.
The first road car to use Colombo’s 250 V12 was the 250 Europa GT, introduced at the 1954 Paris Motor Show. It was also the first Ferrari to use the Gran Turismo moniker. Pinin Farina’s sober Paris coupé was just one of many shapes for the 250 GT model line, with coachbuilt production extending through 1956 before the 250 line became more standardized. The original 250 Europa GT used a 2,600 mm (102.4 in) wheelbase on a conventional chassis, with 600-16 Stella Bianca tyres. The wet sump V12 was tuned to 220 PS, with three Weber 36DCZ3 carburettors. Echoing Vignale’s 250 Europa, Pinin Farina added now-familiar vents to the front fenders, a standard styling cue for many of the 250 GTs that followed. Chassis Nr. 0373 finished third at the Liège-Rome-Liège rally in 1956.
The Ferrari 375 MM, was a sports racing car produced by Ferrari in 1953 up to 1955 for the road cars. It was named “375” for the unitary displacement of one cylinder in the 4.5 L V12 engine, and the “MM” stood for the Mille Miglia race. In total 26 units were made, including four converted from the 340 MM. The first prototype was a Vignale Spyder and three next cars were Pinin Farina Berlinettas, all converted from the Ferrari 340 MM. Majority of the cars would be bodied by Pinin Farina in a spider style. The engine was based on its Ferrari 375 F1 counterpart, but with shorter stroke and bigger bore, for the customer cars and unchanged for the factory ones. Perhaps the most known 375 MM is the Pininfarina “Bergman Coupé”, s/n 0456AM, commissioned in 1954 by director Roberto Rossellini for his wife, actress Ingrid Bergman. Rossellini also owned another 375 MM spyder, s/n 0402AM, which sustained a crash and was rebodied into a coupe by Scaglietti. The Scaglietti coupe was subsequently bought by the Microsoft executive Jon Shirley and restored by Ferrari specialist Butch Dennison. It would later become the first postwar Ferrari to win Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The list of notable examples also includes a coupé created by Carrozzeria Ghia to a Giovanni Michelotti design. It was the last Ferrari ever to be bodied by this Turinese coachbuilder. The car was presented at the Torino Motor Show and the New York Auto Show, both in 1955. The 375 MM was available with two different engines, both of around 4.5 L capacity. One was for customer cars and the other for the factory teams. Factory race drivers received a straight derivative of the Formula One unit from the 375 F1. Designated as the tipo 102, it had the same total capacity of 4493.73 cc from the same internal measurements as the 375 F1, at 80 by 74.5 mm of bore and stroke. The new updated engine, codenamed as the tipo 108, was reserved for the customer cars. The engine had a changed capacity of 4522.68 cc, thanks to its 84 by 68 mm of bore and stroke, and would also be mounted in the 375 America road car. Both versions used three Weber 40IF/4C or 42DCZ carburettors and could produce 340 PS (250 kW; 335 hp) at 7000 rpm. The chassis was of a tipo 102 designation and was derived from its predecessor, the 340 MM, also made out of welded steel tubes. Wheelbase was slightly longer than before, now at 2,600 mm (102.4 in). The suspension setup was also inherited from the 340 MM, but with an addition of the Houdaille-type hydraulic shock absorbers in the front and rear. Although intended for the Mille Miglia, the 375 MM was also raced with limited success in the Carrera Panamericana, scoring fourth place in 1953 and finishing second in 1954. Other major successes in 1953 included overall wins at Spa 24 Hours, driven by Giuseppe Farina and Mike Hawthorn duo, 12 Hours of Pescara with Hawthorn and Umberto Maglioli and 12 Hours of Casablanca, won by Farina and Piero Scotti. The 375 MM with Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi, was contesting the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans alongside its 4.1-litre siblings, to no avail due to a clutch problems. In the 1000 km Nürburgring race of 1953, the 375 MM scored another victory with Giuseppe Farina, this time aided by Alberto Ascari. This race along with Spa 24 Hours counted towards the 1953 World Sportscar Championship, won for Ferrari in due honour to the 375 MM. In 1954 in Argentina, Giuseppe Farina with Umberto Maglioli won the 1000 km Buenos Aires, that was a championship race. On 760 km track of Coppa della Toscana, Piero Scotti won in the 375 MM ahead of Gordini. Later, the 375 MM competed in races in Europe, South and North Americas, winning many of them. The car did not score any more championship points as it was replaced by a bigger displacement derivative, the 375 Plus.
The first America cars were the 340, produced between 1950 and 1952. Using the new Lampredi V12 developed for Formula One racing, the 340 America could produce 220 PS. Originally only 23 copies were built: 11 by Vignale, eight by Touring, and four by Ghia. Giovanni Michelotti designed Coupé and 2+2 Coupé for Ghia and Coupé and Spider for Vignale. The first two Americas were converted from the 275 S. In 1951, 340 America Vignale Berlinetta won Mille Miglia race driven by Luigi Villoresi. Three Touring barchettas were also entered that year but did not finish. The 340/342 America was replaced by its larger-engined brother, the 375 America.
And this is a 514S. These were produced from 1921 to 1926 and had a 1438cc engine generating a heady 35 bhp.
This is a 1937 Fiat 1500 Sport Barchetta. The Fiat 1500 was an all-new design that was first shown to the public at the Milan Motor Show in November 1935. Automotive engineers had begun to pay greater attention to aerodynamic considerations and the 1500 was an outstanding example of this newly acquired knowledge applied to passenger car design. Developed in a wind tunnel, the 1500’s striking-looking body featured a raked back radiator grille intended to reduce aerodynamic drag, though this would be replaced by a more conventional, upright grille in 1940, no doubt at the dictates of fashion. Beneath the skin there was a tubular backbone chassis boasting independent front suspension, the latter making its first appearance on a FIAT car. The 1500’s engine was a 1,493cc overhead-valve six that shared its 65x75mm bore/stroke dimensions with the contemporary four-cylinder Tipo 508 and produced a maximum of 45bhp, which was transmitted to the rear wheels via a four-speed gearbox. Top speed was in the region of 113km/h. FIAT offered open models as well as the standard saloon, and the 1500 chassis was popular with independent coachbuilders such as Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin and Carrozzeria Colli of Milan, which offered voluptuous one-off bodies in sheet aluminium. Competition versions with special bodies raced at events such the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio. The 1500 recommenced manufacture after WW2 and by the time the model was deleted in 1948 some 42,500 had been produced. According to a letter from FIAT Archivio E Centro Storico, chassis number ‘019.373’ was manufactured on 1st November 1937 with a standard steel saloon body. In more recent years the car has been beautifully re-bodied with its current aluminium barchetta coachwork. The quality of the restoration must be seen to be appreciated and the car is described as ‘on the button’, while the 1,500cc straight-six engine breaths through Weber carburettors and sounds wonderful. Finished in the charming colour combination of Old English White with red leather interior, the car boasts ample room for passengers and a large boot for luggage.
Various small scale enhanced versions of the Fiat 508 “Ballila”, the family car of the 30s, appeared including the 508 “Spider, a small 2-door 2-seater cabriolet bodied car. The driver and passenger sat side by side, but the driver’s seat was fixed a few centimetres further back than the passenger seat. On the Spider the seat coverings were made from leather. The car was available in both standard and “Lusso” (“de Luxe”) versions. The windscreen could be folded down and the removable fabric hood could be stored in a suitably shaped storage bag provided for the purpose. The early “Spider” came with the same three-speed “no-synchromesh” gear-box as the “Berlina”. However, it benefitted mechanically from the 1934 upgrade, switching to a four-speed transmission. In the case of the “Spider”, however, the 1934 upgrade was not accompanied by any change to the body shape. With a lower sleeker shape than the “Spider”, styling for the 2-seater “Spider Sport” included a distinctive tail treatment which attracted the catch-phrase “insect tail”, designed in 1933 by Ghia and said to have been inspired by small roadster bodied English cars of the period. The early “Spider Sport” models came with the same crash gearbox as the other cars, but the engine was fed by a special carburettor, which with its raised compression ratio of 7:1 gave rise to a maximum output listed as 30 hp at 4,000 rpm. The final drive ratio was also altered, and top speed went up to 110 km/h (69 mph). The “Spider Sport” received the transmission upgrade to 4 speeds in 1934 together with a special overhead valves (at a time when other 508 variants still came with a side valve engine) and other technical enhancements which pushed the power up to 36 hp. The most sporting versions advertised their performance aspirations with a more steeply tapered Tail section These are probably the best known cars from the Ballila range these days.
A number of special versions of the 508 were also entered, with a variety of striking body designs, all aimed at aerodynamics and hence making the cars that bit faster. These included a 508C Special and a
508 CS MM Berlinetta.
The Fiat 1100 was introduced in 1937 as the Fiat 508 C or Balilla 1100, a replacement for the Fiat 508 Balilla. Under the new body the 508 C had more modern and refined mechanicals compared to the 508, including independent front suspension and an enlarged overhead valve engine. In 1939 it was updated and renamed simply Fiat 1100. The 1100 was produced in three consecutive series—1100, 1100 B and 1100 E—until 1953, when it was replaced by the all-new, unibody Fiat 1100/103. The Fiat 508 C was first introduced in 1937. It was powered by a 1,089 cc four-cylinder overhead-valve engine rather than the earlier Balilla’s 1-litre unit. Power was up by a third, to 32 PS at 4,000 rpm. Drive was to the rear wheels through a 4-speed gearbox, and for the period, its comfort, handling, and performance were prodigious,making it “the only people’s car that was also a driver’s car”. Unusual for a modestly priced car of the time was the independent front suspension, while the rear had a leaf sprung live axle. According to the manufacturer top speed was 110 km/h (68 mph). Exterior styling recalled the 1935 Fiat 1500 and the 1936 Fiat 500 “Topolino”, with the typical mid-thirties heart-shaped front grille. The main body style for the Fiat 508 C was a 4-door pillarless saloon with 4 side windows (two windows on each side without the rear quarter window), and suicide doors at the rear. Other body styles listed by Fiat were a 4-door convertible saloon (saloon with folding roof, based on the standard 4-door model), a 4-door torpedo, a 2-door 4-seat cabriolet, and, for a brief period, a sporty 2-door 2-seat spider built by Carrozzeria Viotti. In 1938 Fiat put on sale a long-wheelbase six-passenger variant, named 508 L. Besides the 280 mm (11.0 in) extended wheelbase (at 2,700 mm or 106.3 in), other differences from the 508 C were wider wheels and tyres (5.50–15 instead of 5.00–15 tyres) and a shorter final drive ratio, which reduced top speed to 95 km/h (59 mph). The 508 L was sold as a 4-door, 6-window saloon, pillarless and with rear-hinged aft doors like the 508 C, able to carry six passenger thanks to two foldaway seats. Additionally there was a 4-door, 6-window taxi (Tassì) version, which differed in possessing a B-pillar—to which all four doors were hinged—and a partition between the driver and passenger compartments. Indeed, most 508 L saloons saw service as taxis or livery cars. The lengthened 508 L also formed the base for two light commercial vehicles, a van (Italian name 508 L Furgoncino) and a platform lorry (508 L Camioncino). Again in 1938 a sports model was introduced, the 42 PS 508 C Mille Miglia. In 1939 the car underwent a restyling of the front end and became the Fiat 1100, also inappropriately known as 1100 A to distinguish from the later variants. The car had gained a taller, pointed grille—which earned it the popular nickname of 1100 musone, i. e. “big muzzle”—with horizontal chrome bars, the top three extending back over window-shaped louvres on each side of the redesigned engine bonnet. Available body styles were six, all carried over from the previous model: saloon, convertible saloon, cabriolet, sports berlinetta, long-wheelbase saloon and taxi. No significant changes were made to the car’s mechanicals. After World War II, in 1948, the 1100 received some mechanical and interior upgrades, and was renamed 1100 B. The revised type 1100 B engine produced 35 PS at 4,400 rpm thanks to improved inlet and exhaust manifolds and a larger 32 mm diameter choke carburettor. Inside the cabin there was a two-spoke steering wheel instead of the previous three-spoke one, new instrumentation and new trim. The 1100 B was available as saloon, long-wheelbase saloon and taxi. In total 25,000 were made between 1948 and 1949. The 1100 B lasted only one year as in 1949 the car was re-introduced with a curvy boot and new name, the 1100 E.
There were lots of special bodies produced, among them were this trio of cars, all of them the 1947 1100S MM Gobbone.
Other special bodied post war 1100 models were also entered, with these having Zagato bodies.
There were lots of examples of the 500 Topolino and the later 500C here. Known for being the car which really put Italy on wheels, the Topolino was one of the smallest cars in the world at the time of its production. Launched in 1937, three versions were produced until 1955, all with only minor mechanical and cosmetic changes. It was equipped with a 569 cc four-cylinder, side-valve, water-cooled engine mounted in front of the front axle, which meant that it was a full-scale car rather than a cyclecar. The radiator was located behind the engine which made possible a lowered aerodynamic nose profile at a time when competitors had a flat, nearly vertical grille. The shape of the car’s front allowed exceptional forward visibility. The rear suspension initially used quarter-elliptic rear springs, but buyers frequently squeezed four or five people into the nominally two-seater car, and in later models the chassis was extended at the rear to allow for more robust semi-elliptic springs. With horsepower of about 13 bhp, its top speed was about 53 mph and it could achieve about 48 mpg. The target price given when the car was planned was 5,000 lire. In the event the price at launch was 9,750 lire, though the decade was one of falling prices in several part of Europe and later in the 1930s the Topolino was sold for about 8,900 lire. Despite being more expensive than first envisioned, the car was competitively priced and nearly 520,000 were sold. Nowadays the car seen here is known as the 500A, and this shares its body with the later 500 Model B, but the later car had more power, a heady 16 hp. It was made between 1948 and 1949. The Model A was offered as a 2-door coupé, 2-door cabriolet and a 2-door van, while the Model B also introduced a 3-door estate under the name 500 B Giardinetta (“estate car”).
The 500 Model C was introduced in 1949 with a restyled body and the same engine as Model B, and was offered in 2-door coupé, 2-door cabriolet, 3-door estate and 2-door van versions. In 1952, the Giardinetta was renamed the Belvedere (“A turret or other raised structure offering a pleasant view of the surrounding area”, referring to its sunroof). The Model C was produced until 1955. Among the 500s here were the original Topolino, as well as several 500c and Belvedere models.
This 1948 Zanussi Fiat Fontebasso Sport is one of three cars built. In the post-war years Fioravante Zanussi race-prepared several small-capacity cars for private drivers, mainly using Fiat, Alfa Romeo and BMW engines. This barchetta was built on a Fiat 500 B chassis by Fioravante Zanussi in 1948. It was fitted out in a barchetta sport, in aluminium, by Tullio Vendrame of Mareno di Piave (Treviso). This particular sport barchetta is the only remaining of three built with this particular front and it is the only one uprated by Antonio Fontebasso, the first owner together Diego Zanotto. Fontebasso wanted to participate in several races. The work was completed in 1948 and the car ran the Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti in 1949 and in 1950. In this period Fontebasso decided to emigrate to Brazil and the car was driver by the co-owner Diego Zanotto. It was probably fitted with a 500cc engine with a Siata cylinder head. The original engine was replaced with an engine Lancia Ardea reduced to 750cc at an uncertain date in the past.
Produced from 1953 to 1969, this was an all-new unibody replacement for the Fiat 1100 E, which descended from the pre-war, body-on-frame Fiat 508 C Balilla 1100. The 1100 was changed steadily and gradually until being replaced by the new Fiat 128 in 1969. There were also a series of light commercial versions of the 1100 built, with later models called the Fiat 1100T, which remained in production until 1971. The Fiat 1100 D also found a long life in India, where Premier Automobiles continued to build the car until the end of 2000. Like other manufacturers, after World War II Fiat continued producing and updating pre-war types. The first blank sheet design was the 1950 1400, the first with unibody Fiat, which took place of the 1935 1500. Fiat’s intermediate offering between the 1500 and the diminutive 500 was the 1100 E, the last evolution of the 508C Nuova Balilla 1100 first launched in 1937. Its replacement it was codenamed Tipo 103; like the 1400 was to use unit construction, while the 1100 E’s 1.1-litre engine was carried over unaltered. The Fiat Nuova 1100, or Fiat 1100/103 as it was called after its internal project number, was introduced at the April 1953 Geneva Motor Show. Unlike the 1100 E it replaced, the 103 had a modern four-door saloon pontoon body topping new unibody construction, both pioneered in Fiat’s range by the 1950 1400. If the 103’s body was all-new, its engine was well-tested, having debuted in 1937 on the predecessor of the outgoing 1100 E, the 508 C Balilla 1100. Updated as type 103.000, the 1,089 cc overhead valve four-cylinder was fed by a single Solex or Weber downdraught carburettor, and put out 36 PS at 4,400 rpm—just one horsepower more than on the 1100 E. The 4-speed manual transmission had synchromesh on the top three speeds and a column-mounted shifter, fashionable at the time. The car could reach a top speed of 116 km/h (72 mph). The new model was offered in two different versions: the spartan Tipo A and richer Tipo B. The former was only available in a grey-brown paint colour, had separate front seats instead of a bench, reduced, non-chromed exterior trim, and lacked a heater and ventilation. The type B came in a choice of paint hues and interior fabrics, and could be ordered with factory-fitted whitewall tyres and radio. A distinguishing feature of 103s throughout the 1950s were the doors, both hinged on the centre pillar; this would only change in 1960, when the 1100 started to adopt the more modern bodyshell of the Fiat 1200 saloon. At the October 1953 Paris Motor Show Fiat launched a sporting version of the 103, the 1100 TV—standing for Turismo Veloce, “Fast Touring”. The TV was fitted with an improved engine (type 103.006), which developed 48 PS at 5,400 rpm rather than the 36 PS of the regular versions, mainly thanks to a twin-choke Weber carburettor and a higher 7.4:1 (instead of 6.7:1) compression ratio. Later in 1954, compression ratio was raised further to 7.6:1 and power reached 50 PS. Top speed was 135 km/h (84 mph). Another notable mechanical difference was the propeller shaft, two-piece instead of one-piece in order to dampen torsional vibrations, intensified by the increased engine output. The TV’s bodyshell, outfitted by Fiat’s Carrozzerie Speciali special bodies department, differed from the standard in having a larger, curved rear window and prominent rear wings, supporting differently shaped tail lamps. A distinguishing trait of the TV was a single front fog lamp, inset in the grille and flanked by two chrome whiskers. Specific exterior trim included thicker chrome spears on the sides with “1100 TV” and “Fiat Carrozzerie Speciali” badging, a taller bonnet ornament, special hubcaps, and whitewall tyres. As standard the TV was painted in a two-tone livery, with the roof and wheel rims in a contrasting colour. Inside it featured a tortoiseshell celluloid two-spoke steering wheel, two-tone cloth and vinyl upholstery, colour-coded fully carpeted floor, and until the end of 1954 reclining buckets which could optionally be fitted instead of the standard bench seat. At 1,225,000 Italian lire (1953 price) the 1100 TV was markedly more expensive than the standard Tipo A and B saloons, priced respectively 945 and 975 thousand lire. The TV was appreciated by Fiat’s more sporting clientele, who entered it in numerous races in period; its most prestigious victories include class wins at the 1954 and 1955 Mille Miglia, and an outright win at the 1954 Cape Town to Algiers trans African rally. A new 1100 body style was introduced at the 1954 Geneva Motor show, a 5-door estate named 1100 Familiare on its home market. Abroad it was alternatively known as the 1100 Family, 110 Familiale, 1100 Kombiwagen or 1100 Familiar in English-, French- German-, and Spanish-speaking markets respectively. The rear door was side-hinged, and the vinyl-covered rear bench could be folded down to form a flat loading surface, able to carry a load of 300 kg (661 lb). A third row of two forward-facing jump seats allowed to carry a fifth and sixth passenger, folding level with the boot floor when not in use. From a mechanical standpoint, aside from taller tyres, the Familiare was identical to the standard saloon. The 1100/103 TV Trasformabile, a two-seater roadster, was introduced in March 1955 at the Geneva Motor Show. As its name implied, it was based on mechanicals from the 1100 TV. Like the Turismo Veloce saloon, the American-inspired design of the Trasformabile was the work of Dipartimento Carrozzerie Derivate e Speciali, the special bodies department of Fiat, rather than of a third-party coachbuilder; it was penned by the department’s head, engineer and designer Fabio Luigi Rapi. 571 of these first series Trasformabiles were built. In 1956 it received a more powerful engine (three more horsepower) and a modified rear suspension; 450 more of these were built. From 1957 it became the 1200 Trasformabile as it was now equipped with the more powerful 55 PS “1200” engine (1221 cc). Production of this model continued until 1959, with circa 2360 of the 1.2-litre Trasformabiles built. The 1.2 also received slight changes to the front and rear design, with bigger headlights being the most noticeable difference. From 1954 to 1956 Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Pinin Farina independently built and sold a 2-door 2+2 coupé based on 1100 TV mechanicals, in a small series of about 780 examples. The design was first seen on a one-off displayed at the 1953 Paris Motor Show and entered by Umberto Agnelli at a race event held in 1954 near Turin, the Orbassano 6 hours Cup. The hand-built body was steel with aluminium doors, bonnet and boot lid; starting from 1955 a panoramic rear window was used, similar to the one found on coeval Pinin Farina-bodied Ferraris. In June 1956, after three years and 257,000 cars built, the entire 1100/103 range was updated. The new series bore the type code 103 E. All models—saloon type A and B, Familiare, TV and TV Trasformabile—were continued. Compression ratios were raised to 7:1 for the standard engine and 8:1 for the Turismo Veloce’s, for a 4 PS (to 40 PS at 4,400 rpm) and 3 PS (to 53 PS at 5,200 rpm) gain in power respectively. Suspension was made softer, and the steering geometry altered. Standard saloons wore new chrome trim and a new radiator grille with vertical bars and a rectangular fog lamp in the middle, à la TV; the TV also had a similarly redesigned grille, but now had two rectangular driving lamps, one under each headlight. The TV’s contrasting paint colour was extended the body sides, from the side trim down. Inside the dashboard was new, and featured a strip speedometer, an ivory plastic steering wheel, and a lower padded fascia; new features were a glove compartment, armrests to all four redesigned door cards, two-tone seat upholstery, and a windscreen washer. Luggage space was improved by adopting a fold-down rear backrest and moving the spare tyre under the boot floor. The Trasformabile roadster was updated too to the new TV specifications; the 103 E TV Trasformabile can be identified from details like the turn signals, no more supported by chrome stems but rather attached directly to the front wings. In September 1957 the 1100 was updated again as a 1958 model, most notably with a completely redesigned rear end, and took on the new type code 103 D. It premiered at the Paris Motor Show in October, together with the new 1200 Granluce. The latter was an elegant saloon, developed from the 1100 designing a more modern bodyshell and enlarging the engine to 1.2 litres, and replaced the 1100 TV. Therefore, the 1100 range was left temporarily without an upmarket variant, and consisted of just two models: saloon and estate, both sporting contrasting colour roofs as standard. The saloon’s new tail was longer and carried tailfins. Boot space had increased, and the rear window had also been enlarged. On the other hand, the estate’s sheetmetal was unchanged; body-colour buttresses were added to fit the new tail lights to the 1954-vintage body. Almost all of the exterior trim was new, including door handles and turn signal repeaters. Exterior distinguishing features of the 1958 model were a new grille made of thin vertical bars crossed by four horizontal ones, with a Millecento (1100 spelled out in Italian) script on its centre, and “stepped” chrome spears on the sides. From a mechanical standpoint the main improvement were the uprated brakes, with self-centering brake shoes and wider drums, transversely instead of longitudinally finned. Engine output went up from 40 to 43 PS at 4,800 rpm, thanks to a larger carburettor, a new aluminium cylinder head, and a water-cooled inlet manifold with an individual duct per each cylinder. Top speed rose accordingly to 125 km/h (78 mph). In 1959 Fiat re-introduced an upmarket 1100 model, positioned between the standard saloon and the 1200 Granluce: the 1100 Lusso (type 103 H), also known as De luxe or Luxus on foreign markets. Based on the 1100 model 1958 bodyshell, the Lusso was distinguished by elaborate exterior trim. At the front for the first time on a 1100 the Fiat badge was moved from the bonnet to the centre of the grille, featuring a new square mesh radiator. The body-side chrome spear split in two to encompass a contrasting colour band (matching the roof paint) extended from the front doors to the end of the rear quarter panels, where there was a brass-plated ornament. The fuel filler cap was hidden under a lockable flap. There were new hubcaps, and the bumpers carried tall rubber-edged overriders. New interior features were a padded vinyl shelf added below the dashboard, and wind deflectors fixed to the front side windows. Thanks to a twin-choke carburettor and a higher 7.85:1 compression ratio the Lusso’s 1.1-litre engine developed 50 PS, rather than the 43 PS of the model 1958 1100. Top speed was 130 km/h (81 mph). Another change from the regular saloons was the two-piece propshaft, inherited from the TV saloons. Late in 1960 the 1958 1100/103 D and the 1110/103 H Lusso were replaced by three models, first shown at the November 1960 Turin Motor Show: the 1100 Export, the pricier 1100 Special, and the 1100 Familiare station wagon. The Special changed its name depending on the market—e.g. it was named Speciale in Italy and Spezial in Germany. The main difference between Special and Export saloons was the sheetmetal: the Export used a 103 H Lusso bodyshell, while the Special became the first 1100 with four front-hinged doors, as it adopted the more modern 1200 Granluce bodyshell. Otherwise the two saloons had nearly identical interior trim and equipment. Both had been stripped of the Granluce and Lusso’s glitzy trim and their complex paint schemes—though a contrast colour roof remained optional on the Special. Sole concessions to ornamentation were a chrome spear down the side and factory-fitted whitewall tyres, with a thicker band on the Special. Export, Special and Familiare all used the same front end, as fitted to the Lusso and the 1959 restyled Granluce; front and rear the bumpers had less bulky over-riders, without rubber inserts. The engine was the twin-carburettor type 103 H (50 PS) carried over from the outgoing Lusso, for a 130 km/h top speed. Thanks to new flexible rubber mounts it was possible to replace the two-piece propshaft with a simpler one-piece one, even with the more powerful engine. A Saxomat automatic clutch was available as on option on the Special only. At some point during the Special’s production run the tooling was modified, eliminating the decorative ridges extending from the front wheel opening to the front door, present since 1953. 1100 Export and Special remained on sale until 1962, when they were both replaced by the Fiat 1100 D. Indian production by PAL. The Fiat 1100/103 was imported to India and sold by Premier Automobiles Limited (PAL). The older model was known as the Millecento and the one with the centre light on the front grille (1100/103 E) as the Elegant. In 1958, the 1100/103 D tailfin model was introduced as the Select. It was followed by the Super Select in 1961. By 1964, the 1100 D was introduced and it was assembled in India by PAL. This model has most of the parts manufactured locally. In India it was considered a sportier alternative than the Hindustan Ambassador. Retaining the exterior changes of this model, in 1962 Fiat introduced the third generation 1100, called the 1100 D. It was a sober yet comfortable four-door sedan, very similar to the Granluce but with simpler sides and a new simpler rectangular front end. The 1100 D was a successful Italian Standard in the early sixties and along with its own Estate or Family car version and a Deluxe model that offered a higher performance of 50 PS, extra side mouldings, front bench seat with two reclining backs and carpet floor mats. These survived without any substantial alteration until 1966, when the introduction of the groundbreaking 124 model imposed a further change in styling. Power was 40 PS at the time of introduction, which was soon increased to 43 PS. The Fiat 1100 D was manufactured under licence in India by the Premier Automobiles Limited beginning in 1964. The vehicle was initially marketed as the Fiat 1100 D, as the Premier President for model year 1972, and as the Premier Padmini since 1974 until its discontinuation in 2000. By 1993, a diesel version with a 1366 cc diesel engine made in collaboration with FNM from Italy and was badged as the Premier Padmini 137D.The car manufacturing plant was closed down by 2000. The very last 1100 model, born in February 1966, was the 1100 R (“R” stood for Rinnovata). It had a longer, straighter and slimmer line, with a square back and a front-end look not very different from its bigger sister the Fiat 124. In terms of styling cues, the vestigial fins were further suppressed and the simple round rear light cluster from the Fiat 850 replaced the vertical form seen on the 1100 D. At the same time, the larger engine was withdrawn in order to avoid undue overlap with the 124. The 1100 R was offered only with the older 1,089 cc engine, now with a compression ratio of 8:1 and a claimed output of 48 bhp. This engine (with a somewhat narrower bore) had been first introduced in the 1937 508 C Balilla 1100. Clutch and gearbox were little changed, but the return of a floor mounted gear lever positioned between the front seats and connected to the gearbox with a rod linkage system was welcomed by the motoring press. The absence of synchromesh on the bottom forward speed nevertheless offered a reminder that under the surface this was becoming a somewhat aging design. Between the gearbox and the differential, the propeller shaft had now been separated into two parts with three couplings. The boot was usefully expanded, helped by a slight increase in the car’s overall length, and with more careful packaging of the spare wheel (under the floor) and the fuel tank (in the rear wing on the right). As configured for UK sales, reclining front seats were available as an optional extra for £8. The 1100 R finally gave way in 1969 to the new middle-class Fiat 128. It was also assembled by the Neckar-Automobilwerke in Heilbronn, Germany. Called the Neckar 1100 Millecento it only differed lightly in trim.
The Fiat 8V (or “Otto Vu”) is a V8-engined sports car produced from 1952 to 1954. The car was introduced at the 1952 Geneva Motor Show. The Fiat 8V got its name because at the time of its making Ford had a copyright on the term V8. With 114 made, the 8V wasn’t a commercial success, but did well in racing. Apart from the differential the car did not share any parts with the other Fiats (but many parts were made by Siata and they used them for their cars). The 8V was developed by Dante Giacosa and the stylist Luigi Rapi. The engine was a V8 originally designed for a luxury sedan, but that project was stopped. The Fiat V8 had a 70 degree V configuration, displaced 1,996 cc and was fitted with two twin-choke Weber 36 DCF 3 carburettors. In its first iteration (type 104.000) the engine had a compression ratio of 8.5:1 and produced 104 hp at 5,600 rpm, giving the car a top speed of 190 km/h (118 mph). Improved type 104.003 had different camshaft timing for 113 hp at 6,000 rpm; finally type 104.006 with a 8.75:1 compression ratio, revised camshaft timing and fuel system put out 125 hp at 6,600 rpm. The engine was connected to a four speed gearbox. The car had independent suspension all round and drum brakes on all four wheels. Top management were preoccupied with more run of the mill projects, however, and only 114 of the high-performance coupés had been produced by the time the cars were withdrawn from production in 1954. Nevertheless, they continued to win the Italian 2-litre GT championship every year until 1959. 34 of the cars had a factory produced bodywork by Fiat’s Reparto Carrozzerie Speciali (“Special Bodies Department”). Some cars had the bodywork done by other Italian coachbuilders. Carozzeria Zagato made 30 that they labelled “Elaborata Zagato”. Ghia and Vignale also made bodyworks. Most were coupés, but some spyders were made as well. Seen here were a couple of cars, one of them with a Touring body.
Introduced at the 1950 Geneva Motor Show, the 1400 was the first unibody Fiat and had a 1.4 litre engine which generated a heady 44 bhp, giving it a maximum speed of 75 mph. In 1953 the Fiat 1400 also became the SEAT 1400, the first model produced by SEAT, and the first passenger car produced by Crvena Zastava in FNRY, the Zastava 1400 BJ. Equipped with a 2.0 litre Steyr engine, it was produced as “Steyr 2000” by Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG in Austria from 1953. The Fiat 1900, introduced in 1952, was an upmarket model that used the same body as the 1400, but came with a 1.9 litre engine and more standard features. The petrol-engined Fiat 1900 A, introduced in 1954, offered a claimed 70 bhp. It also featured a hydraulically operated clutch and, unusually for that time, a five speed column shifted manual transmission, as well as a radio and a rudimentary “trip computer” that showed the average speed. In 1953 the introduction of a diesel version with a 1900 cc engine marked another Fiat first, although the diesel version was known as the 1400 Diesel. The Motor magazine tested one in 1954 and recorded a top speed of 63.8 mph (102.7 km/h), acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 45.2 seconds and a fuel consumption of 33.9 mpg. The car was not at the time available on the UK market but a price in Italy of 1,545,000 Lire was quoted which they worked out as equivalent to £909. About 179.000 1400s and 19.000 1900s were built. As well as a regular 1400 Berlina, there was a 1400 Touring with Abarth tuning.
Another of those unlikely competitors was this 600 Multipla. It aroused a huge cheer as it arrived on he circuit. This innovative design was based on the Fiat 600’s drivetrain, had independent front suspension for a good drive and accommodated six people in a footprint just 50 centimetres (19.7 in) longer than the original Mini Cooper. The driver’s compartment was moved forward over the front axle, effectively eliminating the boot but giving the body a very minivan-like “one-box” look. Two rows of rear bench seats were reconfigurable, allowing for a large, nearly flat cargo area. Until the 1970s, the Multipla was widely used as a taxi in many parts of Italy, and one of the cars here was in the livery as used in Rome in period. These days a good Multipla will command prices in excess of the £20,000 mark.
Perhaps one of the less likely competitors was this 1931 Model A. First produced on October 20, 1927, but not introduced until December 2, it replaced the venerable Model T, which had been produced for 18 years. This new Model A (a previous model had used the name in 1903–04) was designated a 1928 model and was available in four standard colours. By February 4, 1929, one million Model As had been sold, and by July 24, two million. The range of body styles ran from the Tudor at US$500 (in grey, green, or black) to the Town Car with a dual cowl at US$1200. In March 1930, Model A sales hit three million, and there were nine body styles available. Prices for the Model A ranged from US$385 for a roadster to US$1400 for the top-of-the-line Town Car. The engine was a water-cooled L-head inline four with a displacement of 3.3 litre. This engine provided 40 bhp. Top speed was around 65 mph (105 km/h). The Model A had a 103.5 in (2,630 mm) wheelbase with a final drive ratio of 3.77:1. The transmission was a conventional unsynchronized three-speed sliding gear manual with a single speed reverse. The Model A had four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. The 1930 and 1931 models were available with stainless steel radiator cowling and headlamp housings. The Model A came in a wide variety of styles including a Coupe (Standard and Deluxe), Business Coupe, Sport Coupe, Roadster Coupe (Standard and Deluxe), Convertible Cabriolet, Convertible Sedan, Phaeton (Standard and Deluxe), Tudor Sedan (Standard and Deluxe), Town Car, Fordor (five-window standard, three-window deluxe), Victoria, Town Sedan, Station Wagon, Taxicab, Truck, and Commercial. The very rare Special Coupe started production around March 1928 and ended mid-1929. The Model A was the first Ford to use the standard set of driver controls with conventional clutch and brake pedals, throttle, and gearshift. Previous Fords used controls that had become uncommon to drivers of other makes. The Model A’s fuel tank was situated in the cowl, between the engine compartment’s fire wall and the dash panel. It had a visual fuel gauge, and the fuel flowed to the carburettor by gravity. A rear-view mirror was optional. In cooler climates, owners could purchase an aftermarket cast iron unit to place over the exhaust manifold to provide heat to the cab. A small door provided adjustment of the amount of hot air entering the cab. The Model A was the first car to have safety glass in the windshield. Model A production ended in March 1932, after 4,858,644 had been made in all body styles. Its successor was the Model B, which featured an updated inline four-cylinder engine, as well as the Model 18, which introduced Ford’s new flathead (sidevalve) V8 engine.
34 of these Le Mans replica cars were produced between 1948 and 1953. They were powered by the Bristol 2 litre engine.
Fiat 1100 Sport
The business was founded in 1945 by Donald Healey, a successful car designer and rally driver. Healey discussed sports car design with Achille Sampietro, a chassis specialist for high performance cars and Ben Bowden, a body engineer, when all three worked at Humber during World War II. Healey’s new enterprise focused on producing expensive, high-quality, high-performance cars. It was based in an old aircraft components factory off Miller Road in Warwick. There he was joined by Roger Menadue from Armstrong Whitworth to run the experimental workshop. In later years they also had a now-demolished showroom (formerly a cinema) on Emscote Road, Warwick, commemorated by a new block of flats called Healey Court. The cars mainly used a tuned version of the proven Riley twin-cam 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine in a light steel box-section chassis of their own design using independent front suspension by coil springs and alloy trailing arms with Girling dampers. The rear suspension used a Riley live axle with coil springs again. Advanced design allowed soft springing to be combined with excellent road holding. Lockheed hydraulic brakes were used. When it was introduced in 1948, the Elliott saloon was claimed to be the fastest production closed car in the world, timed at 104.7 mph over a mile. The aerodynamic body design was the work of Benjamin Bowden and unusually for the time it was tested in a wind tunnel to refine its efficiency. This was the start of aerodynamic styling for reduced drag, that culminated in Bowden’s last UK offering, the Zethrin Rennsport. In 1949 the most sporting of all the Healeys, the Silverstone, was announced. It had a shorter chassis and stiffer springing and was capable of 107 mph. It is now a highly sought after car and many of the other Healeys have been converted into Silverstone replicas. These cars had numerous competition successes including class wins in the 1947 and 1948 Alpine rallies and the 1949 Mille Miglia and there were a number here.
Also competing were an Elliott and a Westland. For a time the Elliott was the world’s fastest closed four-seater production car, clocking 110mph at Jabbeke, Belgium in 1947. In 1950 the duo were superseded by the Tickford saloon and Abbott drophead coupe, both of which enjoyed an improved chassis incorporating Girling brakes. They were more refined and better equipped than their predecessors too and, although heavier, still good for the ‘ton’. Only 222 had been built before production ceased in 1954.
And then there was this, the Healey Duncan Done. Duncan Industries was a short-lived motor body manufacturer in North Walsham, Norfolk, England. It is believed to have made about 30 bodies for Alvis chassis and a lesser number for Healey chassis. Duncan Motor Industries (Engineers) Limited was formed soon after the Second World War by engineer Ian Gair Duncan who had wartime experience as chief technical assistant to Roy Fedden, chief engineer of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. Duncan set up his new business in his home town of North Walsham and, assisted by local boatbuilders, began building wood-framed bodies covered with alloy sheet metal to fit on Alvis chassis. Steel supplies were rationed and the demand for new cars very high and it made commercial sense for Alvis to sell its chassis to coachbuilders. He also developed a car he called Dragonfly using an air-cooled 2-cylinder engine mounted above its gearbox and final drive unit in a front-wheel-drive configuration. He managed to sell this design to Austin for what was then a large sum of money. Duncan also developed a body of the same overall design and shape to fit a chassis made by Donald Healey Motor Company. The chassis were delivered from Warwick to North Walsham by drivers protected by a special temporary body now known as a Duncan Drone. The Healey body differed from the Alvis body. Duncan disposed of the traditional Alvis grille and put a long low nose out with the Healey grille at its tip. It is thought as many as 39 of these bodies may have been made. It became clear the venture was unsustainable and Duncan went back into management in the automotive components industry.
Nothing like as well-known as the Austin-Healey were cars like this one, a Nash-Healey, of which 507 were made over a 4 year period, between 1951 and 1954. Marketed by Nash-Kelvinator Corporation with the Nash Ambassador drivetrain and a European chassis and body, it served as a halo (or image) vehicle, or flagship car, for the automaker to promote the sales of the other Nash models. It was “America’s first post-war sports car”, and the first introduced in the U.S. by a major automaker since the Great Depression. The Nash-Healey was the product of the partnership between Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and British automaker Donald Healey. Later on, the car was restyled by Pinin Farina and subassembly began in Italy. Donald Healey and Nash-Kelvinator CEO George W. Mason had met on the Queen Elizabeth, going from the United States to Great Britain. Healey was returning to England after his attempt to purchase engines from Cadillac, but General Motors declined his idea. His idea was to expand production of the Healey Silverstone that race car driver Briggs Cunningham had customised with Cadillac’s new 1949 overhead-valve V8 engine. Mason and Healey met over dinner and a production plan ensued during the remainder of the voyage. The two became friends because they were both interested in photography. Nash Motors supplied the Donald Healey Motor Company with the powertrain components: the Ambassador’s inline six-cylinder OHV 3.85 litre engine and three-speed manual transmission with Borg-Warner overdrive, plus torque tube and differential. Healey fitted a lighter, higher-compression aluminium cylinder head (in place of the cast-iron stock item) with twin SU carburettors that were popular on British sports cars at the time. This increased power from the stock 112 hp version to 125 hp. Compared to other contemporary British sports cars, the Nash-Healey’s engine was long, heavy, and bulky. However, Donald Healey’s original plan was to use an even heavier 5.4 litre Cadillac V8 engine and the car was designed with an engine bay that allowed a few later owners to convert their cars to V8 power. The chassis was a widened and reinforced Healey Silverstone box-section ladder-type steel frame. Independent front suspension, also Healey Silverstone, was by coil springs, trailing link, and a sway bar. The rear suspension featured Nash’s rear end and coil springs replaced the Silverstone’s leaf springs, while the beam axle was located by Panhard rod. Healey designed the aluminium body, but it was outsourced. Panelcraft Sheet Metal of Birmingham fabricated the body. It incorporated a Nash grille, bumpers, and other trim. Healey was responsible for the car’s final assembly. The car had drum brakes all round. Wheels were steel, dressed up with full-diameter chrome hubcaps and 4-ply 6.40×15-inch whitewall tires. The interior featured luxurious leather upholstery, foam rubber cushions, adjustable steering wheel, and a cigarette lighter. Completed vehicles were shipped to the United States for sale through the Nash dealership network. A prototype was exhibited at the Paris Motor Show in September 1950. The production model debuted at the February 1951 Chicago Auto Show and Donald Healey gave the first example to Petula Clark. The car had the registration number PET 1. The only colours available were “Champagne Ivory” and “Sunset Maroon”, and the suggested retail price of US$3,767 proved uncompetitive. For 1952, Nash commissioned Italian designer Pinin Farina to revise Healey’s original body design. One objective was to make the sports car more similar to the rest of Nash’s models. The front received a new grille incorporating inboard headlights. The sides now featured a distinct fender character lines ending with small tailfins in the rear. A curved windshield replaced the previous two-piece flat windshield. The restyled car appeared at that year’s Chicago Auto Show. Carrozzeria Pininfarina in Turin built the bodies which, save for aluminium bonnet, boot lid and dashboard, were now all steel, which with careful engineering, reduced curb weight. The Nash engine was now 4.1 litres with American-made twin Carters producing 140 hp. Shipping costs were considerable: From Kenosha, Wisconsin the Nash engines and drivelines went to England for installation in the Healey-fabricated frames. Healey then sent the rolling chassis to Italy, where Pininfarina’s craftsmen fashioned the bodywork and assembled the finished product. Finally Farina exported the cars to America. The result was a $5,908 sticker price in 1953, while the new Chevrolet Corvette was $3,513. The 1953 model year saw the introduction of a new closed coupé alongside the roadster (now termed a “convertible”). Capitalising on the 3rd-place finish at Le Mans by a lightweight racing Nash-Healey purpose-built for the race, the new model was called the “Le Mans” coupé. Nash had already named the powerplant the “Le-Mans Dual Jetfire Ambassador Six” in 1952, in reference to the previous racing exploits of the lightweight competition cars. Some describe the new design as “magnificent”. Some “people didn’t take to the inboard headlights”.This headlight mounting was described as “Safety-Vu” concentrating illumination, and their low position increased safety under foggy situations. The 1953 “Le Mans” model was awarded first prize in March of that year in the Italian International Concours d’Elegance held at Tresa, Italy.In 1954, Nash Motors became a division of American Motors Corporation (AMC) that was formed as a result of a merger with Hudson Motor Car Company. Nash was faced with limited resources for marketing, promotion, and further development of this niche market car in comparison to its volume models. By this time AMC knew that a similar luxurious two-seat Ford Thunderbird with V8 power was being planned. In light of the low sales for the preceding years, Nash delayed introduction of the 1954 models until 3 June and discontinued the convertible, leaving just a slightly reworked “Le Mans” coupé, distinguished by a three-piece rear window instead of the previous one-piece glass. Healey was focusing on its new Austin-Healey 100, “and the Nash-Healey had to be abandoned.” Although the international shipping charges were a significant cost factor, Nash cut the POE (port of entry) price by more than $1,200 to $5,128. Production ceased in August. A few leftover 1954s were sold as 1955 models.
le Mans Lightweight
This is a Low Chassis S Type Invicta. Invicta was founded by Noel Macklin with Oliver Lyle of the sugar family providing finance. Assembly took place in Macklin’s garage at his home at Fairmile Cottage on the main London to Portsmouth road in Cobham, Surrey. Macklin had previously tried car making with Eric-Campbell & Co Limited and his own Silver Hawk Motor Company Limited. The Invicta cars were designed to combine flexibility, the ability to accelerate from virtual standstill in top gear, with sporting performance. With the assistance of William (Willie) Watson, his mechanic from pre-World War I racing days, a prototype was built on a Bayliss-Thomas frame with Coventry Simplex engine in the stables of Macklin’s house on the western side of Cobham. The first production car, the 1925 2½ litre used a Meadows straight six, overhead-valve engine and four-speed gearbox in a chassis with semi elliptical springs all round cost from £595. Two different chassis lengths were available, 9 feet 4 inches (2.84 m) SC and 10 feet (3.0 m) LC to cater for the customer’s choice of bodywork. As demand grew a lot of the construction work went to Lenaerts and Dolphens in Barnes, London but final assembly and test remained at Fairmile. The engine grew to 3 litres in 1926 and 4½ litres in late 1928. The larger engine was used in the William Watson designed 1929 4½ litre NLC chassis available in short 9 feet 10 inches or long 10 feet 6 inches versions, but the less expensive A Type replaced the NLC in 1930. In 1930 the S-type, the best known of the company’s models, was launched at the London Motor Show. Still using the 4½ litre Meadows engine but in a low chassis slung under the rear axle. About 75 were made.
One of the most numerous cars in the event was the Jaguar XK120. Jaguar stunned the world with this car which was the star of the Earls Court Motor Show in 1948. Seen in open two seater form, the car was a testbed and show car for the new Jaguar XK engine. The display car was the first prototype, chassis number 670001. It looked almost identical to the production cars except that the straight outer pillars of its windscreen would be curved on the production version. The roadster caused a sensation, which persuaded Jaguar founder and design boss William Lyons to put it into production. Beginning in 1948, the first 242 cars wore wood-framed open 2-seater bodies with aluminium panels. Production switched to the 112 lb heavier all-steel in early 1950. The “120” in the name referred to the aluminium car’s 120 mph top speed, which was faster with the windscreen removed. This made it the world’s fastest production car at the time of its launch. Indeed, on 30 May 1949, on the empty Ostend-Jabbeke motorway in Belgium, a prototype XK120 timed by the officials of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium achieved an average of runs in opposing directions of 132.6 mph with the windscreen replaced by just one small aeroscreen and a catalogued alternative top gear ratio, and 135 mph with a passenger-side tonneau cover in place. In 1950 and 1951, at a banked oval track in France, XK120 roadsters averaged over 100 mph for 24 hours and over 130 mph for an hour, and in 1952 a fixed-head coupé took numerous world records for speed and distance when it averaged 100 mph for a week. Roadsters were also successful in racing and rallying. The first production roadster, chassis number 670003, was delivered to Clark Gable in 1949. The XK120 was ultimately available in two open versions, first as an open 2-seater described in the US market as the roadster (and designated OTS, for open two-seater, in America), and from 1953 as a drophead coupé (DHC); as well as a closed, or fixed head coupé (FHC) from 1951. A smaller-engined version with 2-litres and 4 cylinders, intended for the UK market, was cancelled prior to production.
The C-Type was built specifically for the race track . It used the running gear of the contemporary road-proven XK120 clothed in a lightweight tubular frame, devised by William Heynes, and clothed in an aerodynamic aluminium body designed by Malcolm Sayer. The road-going XK120’s 3.4-litre twin-cam, straight-6 engine produced between 160 and 180 bhp, but when installed in the C-Type, it was originally tuned to around 205 bhp. Early C-Types were fitted with SU carburettors and drum brakes. Later C-Types, from mid 1953, were more powerful, using triple twin-choke Weber carburettors and high-lift camshafts. They were also lighter, and braking performance was improved with disc brakes on all four wheels, which were something of a novelty at the time, though their adoption started to spread quite quickly after Jaguar had used them. The lightweight, multi-tubular, triangulated frame was designed by William Heynes. Malcolm Sayer designed the aerodynamic body. Made of aluminium in the barchetta style, it is devoid of road-going items such as carpets, weather equipment and exterior door handles. The C-Type was successful in racing, most notably at the Le Mans 24 hours race, which it won twice. In 1951 the car won at its first attempt. The factory entered three, whose driver pairings were Stirling Moss and Jack Fairman, Leslie Johnson and triple Mille Miglia winner Clemente Biondetti, and the eventual winners, Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead. The Walker-Whitehead car was the only factory entry to finish, the other two retiring with lack of oil pressure. A privately entered XK120, owned by Robert Lawrie, co-driven by Ivan Waller, also completed the race, finishing 11th. In 1952 Jaguar, worried by a report about the speed of the Mercedes-Benz 300SLs that would run at Le Mans, modified the C-Type’s aerodynamics to increase the top speed. However, the consequent rearrangement of the cooling system made the cars vulnerable to overheating, and all three retired from the race. The Peter Whitehead-Ian Stewart and Tony Rolt/Duncan Hamilton cars blew head gaskets, and the Stirling Moss-Peter Walker car, the only one not overheating having had a full-sized radiator hurriedly fitted, lost oil pressure after a mechanical breakage. Testing by Norman Dewis at MIRA after the race proved that the overheating was caused more by the revisions to the cooling system than by the altered aerodynamics: the water pump pulley was undersized, so it was spinning too fast and causing cavitation; also the header tank was in front of the passenger-side bulkhead, far from the radiator, and the tubing diameter was too small at 7/8 inch. With the pump pulley enlarged, and the tubing increased to 1 1/4 inch, the problem was eliminated. The main drawback of the new body shape was that it reduced downforce on the tail to the extent that it caused lift and directional instability at speeds over 120 mph on the Mulsanne Straight. These cars had chassis numbers XKC 001, 002 and 011. The first two were dismantled at the factory, and the third survives in normal C-type form. In 1953 C-Types won again, and also placed second and fourth. This time the body was in thinner, lighter aluminium and the original twin H8 sand cast SU carburettors were replaced by three DCO3 40mm Webers, which helped boost power to 220 bhp. Further weight was saved by using a rubber bag fuel tank, lighter electrical equipment and thinner gauge steel for some of the chassis tubes . Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt won the race at 105.85 mph (170.35 km/h) – the first time Le Mans had been won at an average of over 100 miles per hour (161 km/h). 1954, the C-Type’s final year at Le Mans, saw a fourth place by the Ecurie Francorchamps entry driven by Roger Laurent and Jacques Swaters. Between 19951 and 1953, a total of 53 C-Types were built, 43 of which were sold to private owners mainly in the US. When new, the car sold for about $6,000, approximately twice the price of an XK120. Genuine cars have increased in value massively in recent years, however buyers do need to be aware that replicas have been produced by a number of companies, though even these are far from cheap to buy thesedays. Cars with true racing provenance are well into the millions now. A C-Type once owned and raced by Phil Hill sold at an American adding stainless steel headers. Dual 1.75-inch SU carbs feed the intake manifold. With forged pistons, Iskenderian racing cam and a competition valve grind, Millstein estimates output at 275 hp for the 2100-pound car. The car is still used competitively.
The Jaguar Mark VII was launched at the 1950 British International Motor Show as the successor to the Jaguar Mark V, it was called the Mark VII because there was already a Bentley Mark VI on the market. A version of the Jaguar Mark V with the XK engine had been designated as the Mark VI, but it is thought that only two were built. In its original 1950 form the Mark VII could exceed 100 mph, and in 1952 it became the first Jaguar to be made available with an optional automatic transmission. The Mark VII chassis came from the Jaguar Mark V and the wheelbase remained the same at 10 feet (3,048.0 mm). The new model’s body looked more streamlined, with integrated headlights and mudguards, a two-piece windscreen, and longer rear overhang. As on the Mark V, the rear wheels were partially covered by removable spats. Whereas the Mark V had a prewar pushrod engine originally developed by the Standard Motor Company, the Mark VII was powered by the newly developed XK engine. First seen in production form in the 1948 XK120, the 3442 cc DOHC straight-six provided 160 bhp, the same as in the XK120, and the saloon’s claimed top speed was over 100 mph (160 km/h) When the car was being developed Jaguar thought it would find most of its customers overseas, mainly because UK car tax at that time penalised buyers of larger-engined cars. However it went into production just as Britain’s postwar economic austerity began to ease, and in 1951 the car’s enthusiastic reception in both the British and American markets prompted Jaguar to relocate production to larger premises, at the Browns Lane plant, which had been built for wartime production as a shadow factory and was now available for immediate use. In 1952 the Mark VII became the first Jaguar to be offered with automatic transmission. By the time the model was upgraded to M specification in 1954, 20,908 had been produced. The Mark VII M was launched at the British International Motor Show in October 1954. Although the engine continued with the same capacity and 8:1 compression ratio, the introduction of new high-lift cams increased the amount of power to 190 bhp, giving the car a claimed top speed of 104 mph (167 km/h). The four-speed manual gearbox remained the standard fitting but was now constant mesh and fitted with closer ratios, while the Borg Warner automatic, hitherto available only on exported Mark VIIs, now became optional for British buyers. Larger torsion bars were fitted to the front suspension. Flasher-type traffic indicators replaced semaphore arms. Distinguishing the Mark VII M from its predecessor, circular grilles over the horns were installed below the headlights in place of the former integrated auxiliary lamps, which were moved slightly further apart up-rated and mounted on the bumper. Both bumpers now wrapped further around the sides of the car. New large tail lamps with built-in reflectors now incorporated direction indicators. New headlamps were given Le Mans type diffuser glasses. Seats were now full length and incorporated Dunlopillo. In 1956, with the advent of the Suez Crisis Britain anticipated fuel rationing, and bubble cars appeared on the streets. Jaguar switched focus to their smaller saloons (the Mark I 2.4 had been introduced in 1955), and neither the Mark VII M nor any of its increasingly powerful but fuel-thirsty successors would match the production volumes of the original Jaguar Mark VII. Nevertheless, before it was superseded by the Mark VIII, the Mark VII M achieved 10,061 sales during its two-year production run. Both variants of the Mark VII won race victories, and an M version won a Monte Carlo Rally. In 1954 Jaguar built a lightweight Mark VII M which, although intended for racing, never participated in contemporary events. Road-registered KRW 621, it had magnesium body panels, D-type engine, Dunlop disc brakes and modified suspension. Factory-entered Mark VIIs won the Daily Express International Trophy Production Touring Car race at Silverstone five years running, and twice took the top three places. Stirling Moss won in 1952 and 1953; Ian Appleyard in 1954, with Tony Rolt and Stirling Moss 2nd and 3rd; Mike Hawthorn in 1955, from his teammates Jimmy Stewart and Desmond Titterington in 2nd and 3rd; and Ivor Bueb in 1956, with Belgian journalist and racing driver Paul Frère taking 4th. In January 1956 a Mark VII M driven by Ronnie Adams, Frank Biggar, and Derek Johnstone won the Monte Carlo Rally. In August 1956, at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Paul Goldsmith’s Mark VII averaged 59.2 mph to win a 100-mile NASCAR Grand National race for cars up to 3500 cc.
There were a couple of examples of the 2 Litre model as well as an M45 Rapide.
Lagonda’s dramatic victory at Le Mans in 1935, under WO Bentley’s energetic leadership, inspired the LG45 model, closely based on the Le Mans Team cars, and introduced the following year. The new LG45 was enthusiastically received amid favorable reviews. “The 4½-Liter has always given a fine performance; in its latest form it provides all the performance that anyone can reasonably require, and at the same time has been silenced, smoothed out and made a much more comfortable car, so that in comparison with the earlier versions it is hardly recognizable on first driving it. It can only be said that the appeal of the car has been considerably widened, for the people who today set great store by noise and a harsh suspension are greatly outnumbered by those to whom refinement in a fast car is far more desirable.” – The Autocar, 10th April 1936. Introduced at the 1933 Olympia Show and based on the preceding ZM 3-Litre model, the M45 deployed Meadows’ 4.5-litre, twin-plug six to good effect, saloons being capable of reaching 90mph and tourers the ‘ton’ under favourable conditions. A team of three specially prepared short-chassis cars (effectively the soon-to-be-announced M45 Rapide) prepared by Lagonda main agents Fox & Nicholls performed creditably at the 1934 RAC Tourist Trophy at Ards, and the following year one of these TT cars driven by John Hindmarsh and Luis Fontes won the Le Mans 24-Hour endurance classic outright. Under W.O. Bentley’s technical direction, the big Lagonda became more refined, the M45’s successor – the LG45 – gaining synchromesh gears, flexible engine mounts and centralized chassis lubrication among many other improvements. It was these refinements that encouraged The Autocar to comment so favorably about the new model, and these sentiments were echoed by Motor Sport, who in May 1936, reported that they had recently taken a Sports Tourer identical to the one offered for sale today. Their test involved driving the car from the Works straight to Brooklands and out onto the track, with windshield folded 95mph had been recorded. Their summary being “Anyone who handles and examines the new Lagonda cannot fail to be impressed with the fine workmanship and the many points of practical value which have been embodied in the chassis design and the lay-out of the body. The car is one of the fastest, safest and most robust on the British market to-day and one which will delight the most inveterate road-burner, and yet contrives to cover the miles with a quietness and smoothness which spell freedom from fatigue at the end of a long journey”. The Sports Tourer tested by Motor Sport and as presented here was the latest creation of Lagonda’s talented inhouse designer Frank Feeley, who, at the young age of 25, penned remarkably stylish and individual designs which set Lagonda apart from its peers. This design for the tourer is a brilliant combination body which echoes the racy open tourers of the 1920s, with their sporting carefree looks, but incorporates 1930s practicality offered by a convertible sedan. On a summer’s day, the windshield could be folded flat, and the wind-wings turned over as ‘aero’ screens, yet if the weather should turn, a full-length top could be raised and stowed inside the door panels are windows to fully enclose the passenger area from the elements. Feeley would also create the iconic LG45 Rapide, and after the war is credited with the lines of Aston’s DB3S, designs which were rarely bested in their day by even the most celebrated French or Italian carrossiers. Endowed with such an impeccable pedigree, the 4.5-Litre Lagonda quickly established itself as a favorite among the wealthy sporting motorists of its day. A mere 278 LG45s were produced between 1936 and 1937 and the model remains a much sought-after classic.
More than a dozen of Lancia’s Lambda were entered. Built in 9 series over a 10 year period, the Lambda pioneered a number of technologies that soon became commonplace in our cars. For example, it was the first car to feature a load-bearing monocoque-type body, (but without a stressed roof) and it also pioneered the use of an independent suspension (the front sliding pillar with coil springs).Vincenzo Lancia even invented a shock absorber for the car and it had excellent four wheel brakes. The narrow angle V4 engine which powered is not something which was widely copied. Approximately 11,200 Lambdas were produced. Most of them had the open Torpedo style body, but some of the last Series 8 and 9 cars had Weyman saloon bodies.
Next oldest Lancia here was this splendid Augusta, as produced by Lancia between 1933 and 1936. It made its première at the 1932 Paris Motor Show. The car was powered by a 1,196 cc Lancia V4 engine. During the 1920s, Lancia had been known as producers of sports cars and middle sized sedans: the smaller Augusta represented a departure from that tradition, and contributed to a significant growth in Lancia’s unit sales during the 1930s. Nevertheless, in terms of volumes sold, the Augusta was overwhelmed by Fiat’s much more aggressively priced 508 Ballila.
Launched in 1937, the Aprilia was one of the first cars to be designed using a wind tunnel. This was in collaboration with Battista Farina and Politecnico di Torino and allowed the car to achieve a record low drag coefficient of 0.47. This was the last of Vincenzo Lancia’s designs, with the car entering production in the very month in which he died. The first series (model. 238) of which 10,354 units were built between 1937–39 featured a 1,352 cc V4 motor providing 47 bhp. The second series (model. 438) of which 9,728 were made, was first seen in 1939 and production of which continued after the war, had its engine capacity increased to 1,486 cc which provided 48 bhp. A Lusso model of this second series was also offered as well as a lungo (lengthened) version. 706 of these were made between 1946 and 1949, making a grand total of 20,082 cars, with 7,554 additional chassis for coach built bodies, produced in Turin along with about 700 in France. With the Aprilia, Lancia followed their tradition of offering cars with the steering wheel on the right even in markets seen by other manufacturers as left hand drive markets. Outside the UK and Sweden customers increasingly picked the optional left hand drive versions, however. The regular Berlina is the best known version, though the car was available with a number of coachbuilt bodies and these are just as often seen these days.
Designed by Vittorio Jano, the Lancia Aurelia was launched in 1950 and production lasted until the summer of 1958. The very first Aurelias were the B10 Berlinas. They used the first production V6 engine, a 60° design developed by Francesco de Virgilio who was, between 1943 and 1948 a Lancia engineer, and who worked under Jano. The first cars had a capacity of 1754 cc, and generated 56 hp. During production, capacity grew from 1.8 litres to 2.5 litres across six distinct Series. Prototype engines used a bore and stroke of 68 mm x 72 mm for 1569 cc; these were tested between 1946 and 1948. It was an all-alloy pushrod design with a single camshaft between the cylinder banks. A hemispherical combustion chamber and in-line valves were used. A single Solex or Weber carburettor completed the engine. Some uprated 1991 cc models were fitted with twin carburettors. At the rear was an innovative combination transaxle with the gearbox, clutch, differential, and inboard-mounted drum brakes. The front suspension was a sliding pillar design, with rear semi-trailing arms replaced by a de Dion tube in the Fourth series. The Aurelia was also first car to be fitted with radial tyres as standard equipment. Aurelia was named after Via Aurelia, a Roman road leading from Rome to France. The B21 version was released in 1951 with a larger 1991 cc 70 hp engine and a 2-door B20 GT coupé appeared that same year. It had a shorter wheelbase and a Ghia-designed, Pininfarina-built body. The same 1991 cc engine produced 75 hp in the B20. In all, 500 first series Aurelias were produced. This is generally believed to the first car to use the name GT, or Gran Turismo. The B20 GT Aurelia had a successful career in motorsport, too. In the 1951 Mille Miglia the 2-litre Aurelia, driven by Giovanni Bracco and Umberto Maglioli, finished 2nd beaten only by the Ferrari America. The same year it took first in class and 12th overall at LeMans. Modified Aurelias took the first three places on 1952’s Targa Florio with Felice Bonetto as the winner and another win on Lièges-Rome-Lièges of 1953.
The Lincoln Capri is an automobile that was sold by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company from 1952 to 1959. A full-size luxury car, the Lincoln Capri derives its name from an Italian island in the Gulf of Naples. Introduced as a premium trim variant of the two-door Lincoln Cosmopolitan, the Capri was introduced in 1952 as a stand-alone model line serving as the premium Lincoln. With the introduction of the Lincoln Premiere (and Continental), the Capri replaced the Cosmopolitan as the standard Lincoln product line. The Lincoln Capri was produced across three generations; following its withdrawal, Lincoln rebranded the Capri using only its division name (following a practice used from 1946 to 1951). Along with the Lincoln Premiere and the Continental model lines, the Lincoln Capri was replaced by the 1961 Lincoln Continental. Competing against the Cadillac Series 62, Chrysler New Yorker, and Packard 200, 14,342 Capris were sold in its debut year, and nearly double that, 26,640, in 1953. It readily outsold its stablemate, the Cosmopolitan, each year until the Cosmopolitan’s demise. The Capri had a new Lincoln 90 degree V8 engine. In the October, 1952 issue of Popular Mechanics, a Lincoln Capri with the new 160 hp 5.2 L overhead valve Lincoln Y-block V8 was tested. 0-60 mph time was 14.8 seconds, while the quarter-mile was 21.3 seconds.In 1955, the Capri featured a new 225 hp 5.6 L Lincoln Y-Block V8 (with greater displacement and, at 8.5:1, higher compression than before featuring a four-barrel carburettor, mated to a standard (Ford-built) 3-speed Turbo-Drive automatic transmission. Riding on a 123.0 in (3,120 mm) wheelbase and measuring 215.6 in (5,480 mm) overall, the 1955 Capri was offered as a two-door hardtop coupé (4,305 lb (1,953 kg) shipping weight), two-door convertible (4,415 lb (2,003 kg) shipping weight), or a four-door sedan (4,275 lb (1,939 kg) shipping weight). The Capri was also one of the first vehicles to offer an automatic headlight dimmer as optional equipment. It sold 23,673 copies, amounting to 87% of Lincoln’s total output that year, actually down from 29,552 in 1954.
First of only a trio of Maserati models I saw was this, an A6 1500, Maserati’s first production road car. Development was started in 1941 by the Maserati brothers, but it was halted as priority shifted to wartime production, and was completed after the war. The first chassis, bodied by Pininfarina, debuted at the Geneva Salon International de l’Auto in March 1947. This first prototype was a two-door, two-seat, three window berlinetta with triple square portholes on its fully integrated front wings, a tapered cabin and futuristic hidden headlamps. The car was put into low volume production, and most received Pininfarina coachwork. For production Pininfarina toned down the prototype’s design, switching to conventional headlamps; soon after a second side window was added. Later cars received a different 2+2 fastback body style. A Pininfarina Convertibile was shown at the 1948 Salone dell’automobile di Torino, and two were made; one car was also given a distinctive coupé Panoramica body by Zagato in 1949, featuring an extended greenhouse. Sixty-one A6 1500s were built between 1947 and 1950, when it began to be gradually replaced by the A6G 2000. The A6 1500 was powered by a 1,488cc inline six, with a single overhead camshaft and a single Weber carburettor, producing 65 hp. Starting from 1949 some cars were fitted with triple carburettors. Top speed varied from 146 to 154 km/h (91 to 96 mph). The chassis was built out of tubular and sheet steel sections. Suspension was by double wishbones at the front and solid axle at the rear, with Houdaille hydraulic dampers and coil springs on all four corners. Sixty-one A6 1500s were built between 1947 and 1950, when it began to be gradually replaced by the A6G 2000.
This splendid machine is an A6GCS/53. To compete in the World Sportscar Championship, the A6GCS/53 (1953–55) was developed (170 bhp), spiders initially designed by Colombo and refined by Medardo Fantuzzi and Celestino Fiandri. Fifty-two were made. An additional four berlinettas and one spider were designed by Aldo Brovarone at Pinin Farina, their final design of a Maserati for the next five decades, on a commission by Rome dealer Guglielmo Dei who had acquired six chassis. Vignale also made one spider.
There were two examples of the thunderous 710 SSK model entered.
From the post war era there were a considerable number of the 300SL “Gullwing” taking part. Known under development as the W198, this was the first iteration of the SL-Class grand tourer and the fastest production car of its day. Introduced in 1954 as a two-seat coupé with distinctive gull-wing doors, it was later offered as an open roadster. Built by Daimler-Benz AG, the direct fuel injected production model was based on the company’s highly successful yet somewhat less powerful carburettor overhead cam straight 6 1952 racer, the W194. The idea of a toned-down Grand Prix car tailored to affluent performance enthusiasts in the booming post-war American market was suggested by Max Hoffman. Mercedes accepted the gamble and the new 300 SL – 300 for its 3.0 litre engine displacement and SL for Sport Leicht (Sport Light) – was introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show rather than the Frankfurt or Geneva gatherings company models made their usual debuts. Immediately successful and today iconic, the 300 SL stood alone with its distinctive doors, first-ever production fuel injection, and world’s fastest top speed. Even with the upward opening doors, the 300 SL had an unusually high sill, making entry and exit from the car’s cockpit problematic. A steering wheel with a tilt-away column was added to improve driver access. The 300 SL’s main body was steel, with aluminium bonnet, doors and boot lid. It could also be ordered with an 80 kg (180 lb) saving all-aluminium outer skin at tremendous added cost; just 29 were made. Like the W194, the 300 SL borrowed its 3.0 litre overhead cam straight-6 from the regular four-door 300 (W186 “Adenauer”) luxury tourer introduced in 1951. Featuring an innovative diagonal aluminium head that allowed for larger intake and exhaust valves, it was canted to the right at forty-five-degrees to fit under the SL’s considerably lower bonnet line. In place of the W194’s triple two-barrel Solex carburettors, a groundbreaking Bosch mechanical direct fuel injection was installed, boosting power almost 25% over the Grand Prix car’s. Derived from the DB 601 V12 used on the Messerschmitt Bf 109E fighter of World War II, it raised output from 175 hp to 215 hp, almost double that of the original Type 300 sedan’s 115 hp. An optional, even more powerful version, with radical camshaft developed 240 hp @ 6100 rpm and a maximum torque of 217 lb⋅ft @ 4800 rpm, but was rough for city use. The result was a top speed of up to 260 km/h (160 mph) depending on gear ratio and drag, making the 300 SL the fastest production car of its time. However, unlike today’s electrically powered fuel injection systems, the 300 SL’s mechanical fuel pump would continue to inject gasoline into the engine during the interval between shutting off the ignition and the engine’s coming to a stop; this unburned gasoline washed lubricating oil from the cylinder walls, which not only left them unprotected in affected areas during start-up but would dilute the engine’s entire oil supply if the car was not driven hard or long enough to reach a sufficient temperature to evaporate the fuel out of the oil. Exacerbating the problem was the engine’s large racing-oriented oil cooler and enormous 10 litre oil capacity, which virtually guaranteed the oil would not get hot enough. In practice, many owners would block off airflow through the oil cooler and stick rigidly to the appropriately low 1,000 mile recommended oil change interval. An auxiliary fuel pump provided additional fuel for extended high speed operation or cold starts; overuse would also lead to dilution of the oil., Clutch operation was initially very heavy, remedied by an improved clutch arm helper spring which reduced pedal force. From March 1963 to the end of production later that year, a light alloy crankcase was used on a total of 209 vehicles. Aerodynamics played an important role in the car’s speed, with Mercedes-Benz engineers placing horizontal “eyebrows” over the wheel openings to reduce drag. Unlike many cars of the 1950s, steering was relatively precise and the four-wheel independent suspension allowed for a reasonably comfortable ride and markedly better overall handling. However, the rear swing axle, jointed only at the differential, not at the wheels themselves, could be treacherous at high speeds or on imperfect roads due to extreme changes in camber. The enormous fuel tank capacity also caused a considerable difference in handling depending on the quantity of fuel on board. More than 80% of the vehicle’s total production of approximately 1400 units were sold in the US, making the Gullwing the first Mercedes-Benz widely successful outside its home market and thoroughly validating Hoffman’s prediction. The 300 SL is credited with changing the company’s image in America from a manufacturer of solid but staid luxury automobiles to one capable of rendering high-performance sports cars. It should be noted initial sales were sluggish due to many things, of which the price was one. Initial prices were about $6,400, a new Chevrolet Bel-Air could be purchased for $1,700 in the same year. Then there were few mechanics, even at the dealers, who understood the fuel injection system enough to do repairs. Nonetheless, 1400 were built by 1957, at which point Mercedes introduced a roadster version which was broadly similar, but with conventional doors. It was produced until 1963, and achieved sales of 1858 units.
The MG C-type is a sports car that was produced by MG from 1931 to 1932. It was designed for competition use and based on the M-Type Midget. A special car, EX120 had been developed from the M-Type for George Eyston to make an attempt on the 750 cc class 24-hour record at Autodrome de Montlhéry in France. The attempt was successful and a series of replica cars were made which became the C-Type. The car used a tuned short-stroke (73 mm) version of the bevel gear driven overhead camshaft engine from the 1928 Morris Minor and Wolseley 10 with a single SU carburettor and a new crankshaft producing 44 bhp at 6400 rpm. It could from 1932 be had with the crossflow head to be seen later on the MG J-type and a Powerplus supercharger version was also available with 52.4 bhp at 6500 rpm. Drive was to the rear wheels through a four-speed non-synchromesh gearbox. The chassis was new and took the form of a ladder frame with tubular cross members and passed under the rear axle. The suspension used half-elliptic springs and Hartford friction shock absorbers with rigid front and rear axles and centre lock wire wheels. The car had a wheelbase of 81 inches (2057 mm) and a track of 42 inches (1067 mm). The body, which had no doors, was metal over an ash frame and had a pointed tail which held the spare wheel and cycle type front wings. Later cars had a more conventional rear with a slab-type fuel tank. The exhaust pipe was routed outside the car and finished with a spectacular fishtail. The record-breaking cars had a streamlined cowl over the radiator, but this was not usually fitted to later cars as it could cause overheating unless high speeds were maintained. The standard car initially cost £295 or £345 for the supercharged version, rising to £490 and £575 by the end of production. As well as the Montlhéry record, C-Types were used in many other competition events including a works team of fourteen cars entered
The PA and later PB replaced the J Type Midget. These 2-door sports cars used an updated version of the overhead camshaft, crossflow engine that was also used in the 1928 Morris Minor and Wolseley 10 as well as the J-type Midget of 1932 to 1934. It drove the rear wheels through a four-speed non-synchromesh gearbox. The chassis was a strengthened and slightly longer version of that used in the J-type with suspension by half-elliptic springs all round with rigid front and rear axles. Steering was initially by a Marles Weller and later a Bishop Cam system. The two-seat car had a wheelbase of 87″ and a track of 42″. Most cars were open two seaters, but streamlined Airline coupé bodies were also made. The P-type was also available as a four-seater, a car that suffered from a lack of power and poor rear ground clearance. Whereas J, K and L-type MGs differentiated between versions with the use of numbers, with 1 indicating a four-seater (the J1) and 2 a two-seater (the J2), this was not the case with the P-type (or its six-cylinder sister, the N-type Magnette), and there is no clue to the type in the name. The first version, the PA used an 847 cc engine similar to the one on the J-Type, but now with a 3-bearing crankshaft, larger camshaft and twin SU carburettors. It produced 36 bhp at 5,500 rpm. In 1935, a PA open two-seater cost £222. Around 2,000 PAs were made. In late 1936 the PA was replaced by the PB, which had a larger 939cc 43bhp engine and which is distinguished by a grille of vertical slats as opposed to the honeycomb pattern of the PA. 526 examples of the PB were made.
Rarest of the T Type range of MG sports cars is this 1939 MG TB, which replaced the TA in May 1939. It had a smaller but more modern XPAG engine as fitted to the Morris Ten Series M, but in a more highly tuned state and like the TA with twin SU carburettors. This 1250 cc I4 unit featured a slightly less undersquare 66.6 mm bore and 90 mm stroke and had a maximum power output of 54 hp at 5200 rpm. The oil-immersed clutch was also replaced by a dry-plate type and gear ratios revised. Available as an open two-seater or more luxurious Tickford drophead coupé, this is the rarest of the T-type cars, as production began just prior to Britain’s entry into World War II; only 379 TBs were made before the MG factory moved into production of needed wartime assets. The post-war TC looked and indeed was very similar.
The MGA replaced the long running T Series sports cars and presented a complete styling break from MG’s earlier sports cars. Announced on 26 September 1955, the car was officially launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show. A total of 101,081 units were sold through the end of production in July 1962, the vast majority of the 58.750 cars made were exported. Only 5869 cars were sold on the home market, the lowest percentage of any British car. It was replaced by the MGB. The MGA design dates back to 1951, when MG designer Syd Enever created a streamlined body for George Philips’ TD Le Mans car. The problem with this car was the high seating position of the driver because of the limitations of using the TD chassis. A new chassis was designed with the side members further apart and the floor attached to the bottom rather than the top of the frame sections. A prototype was built and shown to the BMC chairman Leonard Lord. He turned down the idea of producing the new car as he had just signed a deal with Donald Healey to produce Austin-Healey cars two weeks before. Falling sales of the traditional MG models caused a change of heart, and the car, initially to be called the UA-series, was brought back. As it was so different from the older MG models it was called the MGA, the “first of a new line” to quote the contemporary advertising. There was also a new engine available, therefore the car did not have the originally intended XPAG unit but was fitted with the BMC corporate B-Series type allowing a lower bonnet line. The MGA convertible had no exterior door handles, however the coupe did. It was a body-on-frame design and used the straight-4 1489cc “B series” engine from the MG Magnette saloon driving the rear wheels through a 4-speed gearbox. Suspension was independent with coil springs and wishbones at the front and a rigid axle with semi-elliptic springs at the rear. Steering was by rack and pinion. The car was available with either wire-spoked or steel-disc road wheels. The 1489 cc engine fitted with twin H4 type SU Carburettors produced 68 hp at first, but was soon uprated to 72 hp. Lockheed hydraulic drum brakes were used on all wheels. A high-performance Twin-Cam model was added for 1958. It used a high-compression (9.9:1 later 8.3:1) DOHC aluminium cylinder head version of the B-Series engine producing 108 hp. Due to detonation problems, a 100 bhp low-compression version was introduced later. Four-wheel disc brakes by Dunlop were fitted, along with Dunlop peg drive knock-off steel wheels similar to wheels used on racing Jaguars, unique to the Twin-Cam and “DeLuxe” MGA 1600 and 1600 MkII roadsters. These wheels and chassis upgrades were used on a small number of the “DeLuxe” models built after Twin-Cam production came to a halt. Aside from the wheels, the only outside identifier was a “Twin-Cam” logo near the vent aside the bonnet. A careful look at the rear wheel vents would also reveal another feature unique to Twin-Cam and DeLuxe: those 4 wheel Dunlop disc brakes . The temperamental engine was notorious for warranty problems during the course of production, and sales dropped quickly. The engine suffered from detonation and burnt oil. Most of the problems with the Twin-Cam engine were rectified with the low-compression version, but by then the damage had been done. Many restored Twin-Cams are running more reliably today than they ever did during production. The Twin-Cam was dropped in 1960 after 2,111 had been produced. Production ended in April 1960, but had slowed to a trickle long before. In May 1959 the standard cars also received an updated engine, now at 1588 cc producing 79.5 bhp . At the front disc brakes were fitted, but drums remained in the rear. Externally the car was very similar to the 1500 with differences including: amber or white (depending on market) front turn indicators shared with white parking lamps, separate stop/tail and turn lamps in the rear, and 1600 badging on the boot and the cowl. 31,501 of these were produced in less than three years. A number of 1600 De Luxe versions were produced with leftover special wheels and four-wheel disc brakes of the departed Twin-Cam, or using complete modified Twincam chassis left redundant by the discontinuance of that model. Seventy roadsters and 12 coupés were built. The engine size was increased again to 1622 cc by increasing the bore from 75.4 mm to 76.2 mm for the 1961 Mark II MGA. The cylinder head was also revised with larger valves and re-engineered combustion chambers. Horsepower increased to 90 bhp. It also had a higher ratio 4:1 rear axle, which made for more relaxed high-speed driving. An inset grille and Morris Mini tail lamps appearing horizontally below the deck lid were the most obvious visual changes. 8,198 Mark II roadsters and 521 coupés were built. As with the 1600 De Luxe, there were also some Mark II De Luxe versions; 290 roadsters and 23 coupés were produced.
1954 Super 88
Little known these days, OM is an important marque as it was their cars which won the first three races before the Alfa domination of the 1930s. There were no fewer than 11 OM Superba cars entered here. Officine Meccaniche or OM was an Italian car and truck manufacturing company. It was founded in 1899 in Milan as Società Anonima Officine Meccaniche to manufacture railway rolling stock and car production began in 1918. It disappeared as such in 1975, subsumed into Iveco, but still exists as a forklift builder. The inception of the company resulted from the merger of two companies, Grondona Comi & C and Miani Silvestri & C in 1899. Originally, OM manufactured railway stock. Car production started in 1918, using the plant of the former Brixia-Zust (Brixia-Züst), just after OM took over Zust car company of Brescia, Northern Italy. The first OM car, Tipo S305, primarily an old Zust model, appeared in 1918 with a 4712 cc four-cylinder side-valve in-line engine. Further models were Tipo 465 (with a 1327 cc four) in 1919, Tipo 467 (1410cc) and Tipo 469 (1496cc) in 1921. 1923 saw an all new model, Tipo 665 ‘Superba’ with a 2-litre six-cylinder engine. This model was extremely successful in racing, winning top five positions in the 2-litre class in 1925 and 1926 at the Le Mans but its greatest achievement was the victory in the first Mille Miglia race in 1927 where Ferdinando Minoia and Giuseppe Morandi led home an O.M. ‘123’ at an average speed of 48.27 mph for 21 hours 4 minutes 48 seconds. Some cars were equipped with Roots superchargers. In 1925 OM began to build trucks and buses, using licensed Swiss Saurer engines and other mechanical components. Ties with Saurer persisted through all of OM’s history. OM was taken over by the Fiat Group in 1938 and in the following year passenger car production ceased, and OM became a commercial vehicle and train part manufacturer.
The Maserati brothers started manufacturing sports racing cars in 1926. In 1937, financial assistance was brought to the Maserati Company by industrialist Adolfo Orsi. Under the new management agreement, the Maserati brothers were expected to continue working for the Maserati Company as consultants for another ten years. At the termination of this agreement, in 1947, Bindo, Ettore and Ernesto Maserati moved to Bologna where they started a new company named OSCA (Officine Specializatta Construzione Automobili or Workshop Specialized in the Production of Automobile). The first car was the OSCA MT4 1100 propelled by a single overhead camshaft four cylinder 1.092 cc. The car had a simple body with cycle fenders in order to be able to compete in single-seater or sports racing cars events. In 1950, the four cylinder engine was equipped with twin overhead camshaft and power output was 92 hp. The chassis was a tubular space frame with cross-members. The front suspension was independent with coil spring and unequal length wishbones while there was a live axle at the rear with part-elliptic springs. Faglioli finished seventh overall and class winner at the 1950 Mille Miglia. The OSCA MT4 will participate with some success to seven successive Mille Miglia events. The twin overhead camshaft four cylinders engine was gradually upgraded to 1.342 cc., then 1.453 cc. and finally 1.491 cc. The 1.491 cc. engine produced 120 hp and the claimed top speed for the OSCA MT4 1500 was 120 mph (194 kph). The body of the OSCA MT4 was a full-width spyder with a vertical bar oval front grille. The OSCA MT4 had a successful career both in Europe and North America. Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd won the 1954 Sebring 12 Hours while driving Briggs Cunningham OSCA MT4 sports racing car.
This is a Dyna X. Mindful of the precarious economic situation in France in the aftermath of war, and aware of government enthusiasm for expanding the strategically important aluminium industry, the Panhard company, which had been known in the 1930s as a manufacturer of expensive six- and eight-cylinder sedans, purchased the rights to build a lightweight compact saloon car designed by the visionary engineer Jean Albert Grégoire and first exhibited as the AFG (Aluminium Français Grégoire) Dyna at the Paris Motor Show in 1946. They called it the Dyna X. The dramatic change of direction was not well received by everyone at Panhard, but it did usher in a period during which Panhard was one of the most loyal followers of the Pons Plan. In view of the fates of France’s luxury auto-makers in the next ten years, and the huge development potential that Panhard extracted from the Dyna X, this adherence to the Pons Plan was probably good for Panhard, at least until the early 1960s. The Dyna was made production ready and was emerging in commercial quantities from Panhard’s Ivry plant by 1948: it set the pattern for Panhard passenger cars until the firm abandoned automobile production in 1967. Grégoire had during the 1920s and 1930s become known for his expertise in two particular areas of automobile construction, these being lightweight bodies and front wheel drive. The AFG Dyna, planned under difficult circumstances in occupied France, had an all-steel tubular frame chassis, to which was attached a lightweight aluminium four-door superstructure. The style of the saloon was modern and aerodynamic. The compact engine and the lack of a radiator permitted a wind-cheating front design on which the headlights perched like frogs’ eyes, between the wings and bonnet line. The shape of the car changed little during its model life. The Dyna X’s low profile engine was characteristically idiosyncratic. The two cylinder front mounted boxer unit was air-cooled. At launch in 1946 the 610 cc unit delivered a claimed maximum output of 24 hp at 4000 rpm, which by 1949 had increased to 28 hp at 5000 rpm. The car’s aluminium body gave it an excellent power-to-weight ratio and in this form a maximum speed of 110 km/h (68 mph). The Dyna X made a considerable impression in the touring car championships of the late 1940s. The car was also noted for its frugal fuel consumption. Engine displacement was increased in 1950 to 745 cc, and to 851 cc in 1952, by which time claimed output had increased to 40 hp in the Dyna 130. The gearbox was a four speed manual unit controlled using a column mounted lever, featuring synchromesh on the top three ratios. Power was transmitted to the front wheels, front wheel drive having been a specialty and an enthusiasm of Grégoire for many years. As well as the four door saloon, alternative bodies included the two-door cabriolet and a 3-door estate version. A ‘Fourgonette’ light van version was also offered. The chassis and engine of the Dyna turned up in the Panhard Dyna Junior sports car of 1951 and were also a popular basis for low-volume lightweight sports cars produced by specialist manufacturers.
Another car in some quantity was Porsche’s 356, the model created by Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche (son of Dr. Ing. Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the German company), who founded the Austrian company with his sister, Louise. Like its cousin, the Volkswagen Beetle (which Ferdinand Porsche Senior had designed), the 356 was a four-cylinder, air-cooled, rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive car utilising unitised pan and body construction. The chassis was a completely new design as was the 356’s body which was designed by Porsche employee Erwin Komenda, while certain mechanical components including the engine case and some suspension components were based on and initially sourced from Volkswagen. Ferry Porsche described the thinking behind the development of the 356 in an interview with the editor of Panorama, the PCA magazine, in September 1972. “….I had always driven very speedy cars. I had an Alfa Romeo, also a BMW and others. ….By the end of the war I had a Volkswagen Cabriolet with a supercharged engine and that was the basic idea. I saw that if you had enough power in a small car it is nicer to drive than if you have a big car which is also overpowered. And it is more fun. On this basic idea we started the first Porsche prototype. To make the car lighter, to have an engine with more horsepower…that was the first two seater that we built in Carinthia (Gmünd)”. The first 356 was road certified in Austria on June 8, 1948, and was entered in a race in Innsbruck where it won its class. Porsche re-engineered and refined the car with a focus on performance. Fewer and fewer parts were shared between Volkswagen and Porsche as the ’50’s progressed. The early 356 automobile bodies produced at Gmünd were handcrafted in aluminium, but when production moved to Zuffenhausen, Germany in 1950, models produced there were steel-bodied. Looking back, the aluminium bodied cars from that very small company are what we now would refer to as prototypes. Porsche contracted with Reutter to build the steel bodies and eventually bought the Reutter company in 1963. The Reutter company retained the seat manufacturing part of the business and changed its name to Recaro. Little noticed at its inception, mostly by a small number of auto racing enthusiasts, the first 356s sold primarily in Austria and Germany. It took Porsche two years, starting with the first prototype in 1948, to manufacture the first 50 automobiles. By the early 1950s the 356 had gained some renown among enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic for its aerodynamics, handling, and excellent build quality. The class win at Le Mans in 1951 was clearly a factor. It was always common for owners to race the car as well as drive them on the streets. They introduced the four-cam racing “Carrera” engine, a totally new design and unique to Porsche sports cars, in late 1954. Increasing success with its racing and road cars brought Porsche orders for over 10,000 units in 1964, and by the time 356 production ended in 1965 approximately 76,000 had been produced. The 356 was built in four distinct series, the original (“pre-A”), followed by the 356 A, 356 B, and then finally the 356 C. To distinguish among the major revisions of the model, 356’s are generally classified into a few major groups. 356 coupés and “cabriolets” (soft-top) built through 1955 are readily identifiable by their split (1948 to 1952) or bent (centre-creased, 1953 to 1955) windscreens. In late 1955 the 356 A appeared, with a curved windshield. The A was the first road going Porsche to offer the Carrera 4 cam engine as an option. In late 1959 the T5 356 B appeared; followed by the redesigned T6 series 356 B in 1962. The final version was the 356 C, little changed from the late T6 B cars but with disc brakes to replace the drums.
Brooklands Nine Sports
Also with a Riley badge were this pair of Sprite models. This open two-seater was produced from 1935 to 1938. It followed on from the company’s Imp and MPH sports cars. The Sprite was mostly built with 4 cylinder engines, although alternatively a 6 cylinder engine was available. The chassis was based on that of the preceding ‘MPH’ model. Its racing success (especially in the form of the Riley T.T. Sprite model) led to the adoption of ‘Sprite’ as a designation for the top-end sportier model in the Riley Kestrel saloon car range of the time.
Established in 1890, the Salmson company played a pioneering role in the development of innovative vehicles and engines, specialising in the construction, operations and maintenance of steam-powered machines and pumps. The firm soon became a supplier of Ponts et Chaussées, railway and military engineering companies and the French artillery.The first compressors and centrifugal pumps were launched on the market with the Salmson brand name. In 1928, Salmson adapted its automobile production to the mass-market automobile sector with the launch of the S6, the brand’s first vehicle with a camshaft positioned behind the engine. The first Salmson car proper used a four-cylinder engine designed by Emile Petit with unusual valve gear: a single pushrod actuated both inlet and exhaust valves pushing to open the exhaust and pulling to open the inlet. This was used in the AL models from 1921. Later the same year the company built its first twin-overhead-cam engine, which was fitted to the 1922 D-type, although most production at first used the pushrod engine. Between 1921 and 1928, Salmson cars won 550 automobile races throughout the world and beat 10 world records before the racing department closed in 1929. Seen here is a 1928 Val GS 8 GD Sport.
Oldest car in the 2018 event was this one, dating from 1925, an SAM C25F Gran Sport
750 Sport Fennocchio
There were a number of examples of the Daina Gran Sport. Like all Siata cars, the Daina was based on heavily modified Fiat mechanics. In this case it was the Fiat 1400; the frame was reinforced and shortened while the engine was developed with new head valves, new manifolds, carburettors, and on some models, Abarth exhaust systems. The Daina could be had with a 1.4 litre, 1.5 litre or 1,817 cc overhead valve I4 engine, all of which were sourced from Fiat. It featured independent front suspension and a live rear axle with coil springs all around, as well as 4-wheel drum brakes. It could be had with either a 4-speed or 5-speed manual gearbox. From 1950 to 1958 there were approximately 50 Daina Series cars produced. However, only a few of the Series were produced after 1953. About 20 Daina Sport (coupes) are thought to have been built, only six are known to exist today. A cabriolet version called the Gran Sport comprised most of the Daina Series cars. The Gran Sport had a steel body with an aluminium bonnet designed by Stabilimenti Farina (3 all aluminium bodied Gran Sports were made as well) but when they closed in 1953, Bertone took over production with a coupe model of their own design called the “Sport”. The most well known Dainas were the Gran Sport (convertible) versions used in racing, with many calling it the “little Ferrari”. The car was built to take part in the International Grand Prix and the Mille Miglia. The Daina’s most notable finish was at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1952 when Dick Irish and Bob Fergus piloted a 1,500 cc Daina Gran Sport to first in class and third overall.
Two very different looking Stanguellini models were entered: an 1100 Hardtop Ala d’Oro and an 1100 Sport Bialbero
The Talbot 105 was a high powered sports car developed by Talbot designer Georges Roesch. It was famously fast, described by one authority as the fastest four-seater ever to race at Brooklands. The first of the 6 cylinder Talbot cars made its debut at the London Motor Show in 1926, and at this stage it was formally named according to its fiscal and actual horsepower as the Talbot 14-45. The six-cylinder engine displaced a volume of 1,665 cc and was the basis for all Talbot engines until the Rootes takeover in 1935. The engine was repeatedly bored out further, giving rise to a succession of performance improvements. Throughout these developments, the exterior dimensions of the original 14-45 engine block remained unchanged. The 1930 London Motor Show saw the debut of the 20-70 model, bore and stroke both being increased to give an engine capacity increased to 2,276 cc. In this form the car was later called simply the Talbot 70 or 75. Higher compression ratios and power increases followed. An increase in the engine capacity, still without any change to the exterior dimensions of the engine block, yielded a cylinder displacement of 2,969 cc for the iconic Talbot 105 model. In 1931 four 105s were tuned to provide a reported 119 bhp, at 4,800 rpm. In “Brooklands trim” further tuning and in increased compression ratio of 10:1 gave rise to a claimed 125 bhp. The Talbot acquired its fame on the racing circuits, featuring prominently at Brooklands as well as gaining 3rd and 4th places at the 1930 Le Mans 24hour race. For 1931 Roesch further developed the engine enlarging it to 2,969cc and creating the Talbot 105. The 1931 Le Mans 24hour race saw a Talbot 105 in 3rd place, with prizes on the Alpine Trial in 1931 and 1932. In 1932 Talbot pulled out of racing, but a major Talbot dealer named Warwick Wright successfully ran a team of three 105s that year, and other teams operated by dealers and enthusiasts continued to race the cars at least till 1938. In 1935 Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq fell on hard times inspite of the good sales provided by the Roesch-designed cars, and was acquired by the Rootes brothers.
From the last years of Talbot production was this 1950 T26 GS Berlinette. The T26 Grand Sport (GS) was first displayed in public in October 1947 as a shortened chassis, and only 12 were made during 1948 which was the models’s first full year of production. The car was noted for its speed. The engine which produced 170 hp in the Lago Record was adapted to provide 190 bhp or, later, 195 bhp in the GS, and a top speed of around 200 km/h (124 mph) was claimed, depending on the body that was fitted. The car was built for either racing or luxury and benefited directly from Talbot’s successful T26C Grand Prix car. As such it was expensive, rare and helped Louis Rosier with his son to win the LeMans 24 Hour race in 1950. The GS replaced the Lago-Record chassis which was named for its remarkable top speed. The GS was one of the world’s most powerful production cars at the time. It had several special features from the T26 Grand Prix cars, such as a 4.5-litre inline-6 aluminum cylinder head, a hollowed camshaft, multiport exhaust system and triple carburetors. Chassis details were similar to the Grand Prix cars, but it was longer and wider. It came it two wheelbase lengths -104 and 110 inches (2,800 mm). Almost all the Talbots sold during the late 1940s came with Talbot bodies, constructed in the manufacturer’s extensive workshops. The T26 Grand Sport (GS) was the exception, however, and cars were delivered only as bare chassis, requiring customers to choose bespoke bodywork from a specialist coachbuilder. The GS was a star turn in a dull world and coachbuilders such as Saoutchik, Franay, Oblin, and Figoni et Falaschi competed to trump Talbot’s own designers with elaborately elegant bodies.
By the start of the 1950s, Standard’s Triumph Roadster was out-dated and under-powered. Company boss Sir John Black tried to acquire the Morgan Motor Company but failed. He still wanted an affordable sports car, so a prototype two-seater was built on a shortened version of the Standard Eight’s chassis and powered by the Standard Vanguard’s 2-litre straight-4. The resulting Triumph 20TS prototype was revealed at the 1952 London Motor Show. Black asked BRM development engineer and test driver Ken Richardson to assess the 20TS. After he declared it to be a “death trap” a project was undertaken to improve on the design; a year later the TR2 was revealed. It had better looks; a simple ladder-type chassis; a longer body; and a bigger boot. The car had a 2 litre four-cylinder Standard wet liner inline-four engine from the Vanguard, fitted with twin H4 type SU Carburettors and tuned to increase its output to 90 bhp. The body was mounted on a substantial separate chassis with coil-sprung independent suspension at the front and a leaf spring live axle at the rear. Either wire or disc wheels could be supplied. The transmission was a four-speed manual unit, with optional top gear overdrive. Lockheed drum brakes were fitted all round. It was loved by American buyers, and became the best earner for Triumph. In 1955 the TR3 came out with more power; a re-designed grille; and a GT package that included a factory hard-top. A total of 8,636 TR2s were produced before it was replaced by the TR3 in 1955. A surprising number have survived with over 400 believed to be in the UK and a further 1800 in the United States.
Veritas was a West German post World War II sports and race car company, located in the village of Hausen am Andelsbach, near Sigmaringen, Baden-Württemberg. It later moved to Meßkirch and Muggensturm and finally to the Nürburgring. The company was founded by Ernst Loof, Georg Meier and Lorenz Dietrich who initially re-built and tuned pre-war BMW 328 cars using components supplied by the customer, turning them into BMW-Veritas cars. The first car was used in 1947 Karl Kling to win at Hockenheim and subsequently become the 1947 German 2-litre champion. After only a few cars were made, following an objection from BMW, the cars became simply known as Veritas. The first Veritas to be made for normal road use were made in 1949 with the launch of the Komet coupé which was little more than a Veritas RS made street legal. It was followed by the more civilised 2+2 Saturn coupé and Scorpion cabriolet, both being styled by Ben Bowden. The company moved to larger premises in Muggensturm in 1949 but they were badly undercapitalised. New cars were designed using a 1998 cc engine designed Eric Zipprich and built by Heinkel. Over 200 orders were received for the new car but there was not enough money to buy the components and production came to a halt in 1950. The company continued in operation until 1952 by making new bodies for Panhard cars. Ernst Loof moved to the Nürburgring in 1950 where he rented the old Auto Union workshops and set up a new company Automobilwerke Ernst Loof GmbH and started a new range of Veritas cars with the Heinkel manufactured engine and saloon or cabriolet coachwork by Spohn. Money quickly ran out however and the final bodies were fitted with Ford or Opel engines. The number of cars made at the Nürburgring is estimated to be between 6 and 20.
And finally, there was a Type 2 Bus, clearly not a period competitor, as this was a 1960 model from the second generation, first seen in late 1967. It was built in Germany until 1979. In Mexico, the Volkswagen Kombi and Panel were produced from 1970 to 1994. Models before 1971 are often called the T2a (or “Early Bay”), while models after 1972 are called the T2b (or “Late Bay”). This second-generation Type 2 lost its distinctive split front windshield, and was slightly larger and considerably heavier than its predecessor. Its common nicknames are Breadloaf and Bay-window, or Loaf and Bay for short. At 1.6 litres and 47 bhp DIN, the engine was also slightly larger. The battery and electrical system was upgraded to 12 volts, making it incompatible with electric accessories from the previous generation. The new model also did away with the swing axle rear suspension and transfer boxes previously used to raise ride height. Instead, half-shaft axles fitted with constant velocity joints raised ride height without the wild changes in camber of the Beetle-based swing axle suspension. The updated Bus transaxle is usually sought after by off-road racers using air-cooled Volkswagen components. The T2b was introduced by way of gradual change over three years. The first models featured rounded bumpers incorporating a step for use when the door was open (replaced by indented bumpers without steps on later models), front doors that opened to 90° from the body, no lip on the front guards, unique engine hatches, and crescent air intakes in the D-pillars (later models after the Type 4 engine option was offered, have squared off intakes). The 1971 Type 2 featured a new, 1.6 litre engine with dual intake ports on each cylinder head and was DIN-rated at 50 bhp. An important change came with the introduction of front disc brakes and new roadwheels with brake ventilation holes and flatter hubcaps. Up until 1972, front indicators are set low on the nose rather than high on either side of the fresh air grille – giving rise to their being nicknamed “Low Lights”. 1972’s most prominent change was a bigger engine compartment to fit the larger 1.7- to 2.0-litre engines from the Volkswagen Type 4, and a redesigned rear end which eliminated the removable rear apron and introduced the larger late tail lights. The air inlets were also enlarged to accommodate the increased cooling air needs of the larger engines. In 1971 the 1600cc Type 1 engine as used in the Beetle, was supplemented with the 1700cc Type 4 engine – as it was originally designed for the Type 4 (411 and 412) models. European vans kept the option of upright fan Type 1 1600 engine but the 1700 Type 4 became standard for US spec models. In the Type 2, the Type 4 engine, or “pancake engine”, was an option for the 1972 model year onward. This engine was standard in models destined for the US and Canada. Only with the Type 4 engine did an automatic transmission become available for the first time in the 1973 model year. Both engines were 1.7 litre, DIN-rated at 66 bhp with the manual transmission and 62 bhp with the automatic. The Type 4 engine was enlarged to 1.8 litre and 67 bhp DIN for the 1974 model year and again to 2.0 litre and 70 bhp DIN for the 1976 model year. The two-litre option appeared in South African manufactured models during 1976, originally only in a comparably well-equipped “Executive” model. The 1978 2.0 litre now featured hydraulic valve lifters, eliminating the need to periodically adjust the valve clearances as on earlier models. The 1975 and later U.S. model years received Bosch L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection as standard equipment; 1978 was the first year for electronic ignition, utilising a hall effect sensor and digital controller, eliminating maintenance-requiring contact-breaker points. As with all Transporter engines, the focus in development was not on power, but on low-end torque. The Type 4 engines were considerably more robust and durable than the Type 1 engines, particularly in Transporter service. In 1972, exterior revisions included relocated front turn indicators, squared off and set higher in the valance, above the headlights. Also, square-profiled bumpers, which became standard until the end of the T2 in 1979, were introduced in 1973. Crash safety improved with this change because of a compressible structure behind the front bumper. This meant that the T2b was capable of meeting US safety standards for passenger cars of the time, though not required of vans. The “VW” emblem on the front valance became slightly smaller. Later model changes were primarily mechanical. By 1974, the T2 had gained its final shape. Very late in the T2’s design life, during the late 1970s, the first prototypes of Type 2 vans with four-wheel drive (4WD) were built and tested.
This really was an excellent day. I’ve long been intrigued by the Mille Miglia and wanted to see it live. That, of course is quite hard, as to do so you would need to get ahead of the cars, then watch them all pass, with the challenge of how to get well ahead of them again. Seeing them out on the open road would be awesome, but even this was a very special spectacle with incredible cars and quite an atmosphere in the crowd. And then there was the Museum itself. What a transformation that has undergone, so whilst many of the cars are the same as they were on that 2008 visit, the way they are displayed is so much better. Truly this is one of the world’s great auto museums. For sure I will be making return visits.
Further details of the Museum can be found here: https://www.museoalfaromeo.com/en-us/Pages/MuseoStoricoAlfaRomeo.aspx