1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Berlinetta Aerodinamica


Details

The Alfa Romeo story began in June 1910 when A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili) was founded in Milan, Italy. Their first car, the 24hp, was a great success and the Alfa name became synonymous with motor racing in the early years. In 1915 Nicola Romeo took over the company and during war time its focus was on military equipment, however, it wanted to build cars. Soon after the very first Alfa Romeo motor vehicle, the Torpedo 20-30hp, was built.

On February 3, 1918, with World War I slowly drawing to a close, the new company called Alfa Romeo was officially registered.

In the early 1920’s Alfa Romeo quickly made a name for itself in motor racing. Drivers like Ugo Sivocci, Antonio Ascari and Enzo Ferrari won several races driving various Alfa Romeo race cars.

Some of the cars produced by Alfa Romeo in the 1920’s and 1930’s could be purchased as either a road car or a race car.

The Alfa Romeo 6C is one of those cars. Introduced at the 1925 Milan Motor Show, the Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 was the first model to carry the 6C name. The nomenclature of the model designation 6C 1500 refers to the engine, where 6C = the number of cylinders, in this case six and 1500 refers to the engine capacity, in this case 1500cc. As was quite common in those days, the bodies were provided by various coach builders such as James Young, Zagato, Touring Superleggera, Castagna, and Pinin Farina.

In 1928 the 6C Sport model was released featuring a double overhead cam six cylinder engine. It quickly made a name for itself winning various races including the 1928 Mille Miglia. The 6C 1500 was superseded by the 6C 1750 in 1929. It was even more successful than its predecessor, winning every major racing event in which it was entered in 1929.

1933 saw the introduction of the 6C 1900 which was superseded by the 6C 2300 in 1934 and the 6C 2500 in 1939. The 6C 2500 was one of the most expensive cars available at the time and was sold to many wealthy customers. A number of coachbuilders used the 6C 2500 as the platform to showcase their cars, but the majority of the cars were built by Touring Superleggera of Milan.

In 1939 and 1940 Alfa Romeo built a special racing version of the 6C 2500, the Tipo 256. These cars were specifically built to race at events such as Le Mans and the Mille Miglia. These cars were powered by a high performance version of Alfa Romeo’s 2,443cc six cylinder engine with triple carburettors. It is understood that only eight of these cars were built.

Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Berlinetta Aerodinamica.

In 1939, Alfa Corse, the official Alfa Romeo racing team, decided to enter a 6C 2500 into the Le Mans 24 Hour race.  Anderloni at Carrozzeria Touring was given the task to built a coupe version of the 6C 2500 specifically for this event. It was quite an unusual decision by Alfa Corse as they also had access to the much faster 6C and 8C supercharged models. The 6C was to be driven by Raymond Sommer and Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh, better known as Prince Bira of Siam (now Thailand).

The car was entered and on race day was actually the first car to start moving at the classic Le Mans ‘run and jump in’ start. After the first lap the car found itself in 11th position before having to return to the pits with a blown head gasket. After some frantic work by both the driver and the mechanics the car returned to the race track and it ran reliably all through the night and into Sunday before it blew a rear tyre. The engine then started to overheat and eventually the car was withdrawn at 11.30am. At that time the car was running in 10th position.

In 1940 the car was entered into the Mille Miglia, to be driven by Mussolini’s chauffeur, Boratto. There was a photo of Boratto with the car in the race program with race number 78. It is understood that Boratto was not able to race the car on that day and instead the car was raced with number 76 by Count Trossi. Trossi finished 8th in the race. After the race, the car disappeared never to be seen again.

The car we are offering for sale is a faithful reproduction of the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500SS Berlinetta Aerodinamica  that competed at  Le Mans in 1939 and the  Mille Miglia in 1940.

It is understood this car started its life as an Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 five seat tourer built in 1940 that was delivered new to Poland. The car was found in Poland in circa 1994 by a Dutch  Alfa Romeo enthusiast in a poor condition and with the original engine missing. He imported the car into the Netherlands and managed to locate a genuine dry sump engine from either an Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport or a 6C 2500 Super Sport. He subsequently sold the car together with lots of other spare parts to its next owner who imported the car into Australia.

The current owner acquired the car some 20 years ago and went on a journey to recreate the legendary Alfa Romeo which raced at Le Mans in 1939 and participated in the 1940 Mille Miglia. He engaged well respected classic car restoration specialists Historic and Vintage Restoration in Blackburn, Victoria, Australia and the journey began.

With so little information available on the original car this was not an easy project. A lot of time was spend going through period documentation, photos and drawings to gather as much information as possible on the original car. All that information was used to create a wooden body buck. Staying true to the Superleggera construction technique a cage was formed of small bore steel tubes. The wooden buck was then used to shape the all aluminium body.

The engine was completely rebuilt using the original crankshaft, new steel rods and new pistons which were specifically forged for this project. As with the original ‘competizione’ cars the engine was fitted with three Weber 40DC03 carburettors.

Needless to say, an obscene amount of hours have gone into this project. Every single piece had to be fabricated which required countless hours of research and once manufactured, test fitting to make sure each part was as close as possible to the original.

Not surprisingly with a project of this magnitude, it took a long time to complete. In total, the build of this car took around seven years, with an additional year or so for ‘final fettling’, but the end result is simply magnificent.

Make no mistake, this is quite a big car and it has an incredible presence.

When you walk up to the car it’s hard to believe that a car like this existed in 1939! The car looks stunning and more like a design from the 1960’s then a car from the late 1930’s. The quality of the workmanship from the team at Historic and Vintage Restoration is immediately obvious and a credit to all involved. Every time you walk around this car you notice more and more detail. For example, features like the recess for the bonnet straps, which were designed that way to improve aerodynamics and the four small louvers in the bonnet to help with the cooling of the engine. You also have the contrast of the massive sloping grill with the Alfa Romeo badge with the delicate Superleggera and Touring badges on the bonnet.

The car has been used sparingly since it was completed in 2009. As a result it still presents ‘as new’ today.  The paintwork is fresh and it still has a strong depth of colour with a high gloss finish. All of the brushed aluminium and external trim is similarly well presented. All the panel gaps are very good and probably a lot better then they were on the original car. The painted wire wheels are shod with 5.50 6.00 – 18 Dunlop racing tyres all around.

The big aluminium doors are incredibly light and provide good access to the equally impressive interior. As to be expected the interior is minimalistic, like it should be in a race car. That said, like the exterior of the car the more time you spend looking at the car the more detail you will see. One of the first interesting details you notice is that the side of the seat folds down to allow easier access. Once you’re in behind the wheel you feel comfortable. The car is surprisingly spacious inside. The period correct Bakelite steering wheel is exactly what you expect in a car like this, simple yet functional and it feels just right. The classic Veglia instruments, which are a work of art, are positioned in the centre of the dashboard and are in really good condition. The most important one in a race car, the tacho, is positioned nearest to the driver. The speedo is located on the left side of the tacho. The leather upholstered seats are both in excellent condition, with just the slightest wear evident. The simple tubular steel frame and exposed aluminium panels, all finished in stain grey, are exposed inside the cabin. This along with the exposed gear linkage is further proof that this is a serious motor car.

Now that we’ve familiarised ourselves with the car and made ourselves comfortable, it’s time to take this amazing piece of machinery out on the road. The starting procedure is simple. Firstly, you insert the key into the ignition. You then immediately hear the fuel pumps priming the three massive Weber carburettors. Then, with great anticipation, we press the starter button. The 6 cylinder engine bursts to life pretty much at first crank. The initial bark as the engine fires put a massive smile on your face  . . . it sounds absolutely fabulous! Just for a brief moment you time warp back to the 17th June 1939 and the start of Le Mans . . . if only!

You expect the car to be difficult to drive, perhaps even a handful on the road. It is just not. From the moment you engage first gear and release the clutch for the first time you appreciate that this car is surprisingly refined for what it is  and easy to drive. After a few short miles you feel totally comfortable behind the wheel. The gear changes are smooth, both up and down the box, the engine pulls strongly through the rev range and the car steers, handles and stops with aplomb.

Given what the car is you initially treat it with kid gloves, but the temptation is there and you quickly start to drive it a bit harder. As you do that its race car pedigree emerges. Revved more willingly the engine note rises exponentially and you know this car means business. Surely there is a race track nearby that we can really test this car and drive it the way its makers intended? Unfortunately, no such luck.

The car was exhibited at Motorclassica in 2019 and has been regularly seen and demonstrated at various events, including the Australian Grand Prix.

This world market car was featured in a five page article in the December 2009 issue of the well respected classic car magazine, The Automobile.

The car is fitted with a rev limiter, dry sump oil heater, battery charger and a battery isolator.

Accompanying the car is the original body buck, which itself is a masterpiece. There is also an extensive history file with a thick file invoices from the build, various magazines articles and research about the original car, a spare wheel, tool kit and a custom car cover.

In our suite of photos of the car we have included three period black and white photos of the original car. The first shows the car racing at Le Mans in 1939, the second is prior to the 1940 Mille Miglia and third is at the 1940 Mille Miglia.

Highlights:

  • Built on a genuine 1940 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 chassis.
  • Fitted with a genuine Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS dry sump engine.
  • Extremely well built and highly accurate recreation of a unique Alfa Romeo.
  • Spectacular car that is ready to use and enjoy.

Price $829,950


Specification

  • $829,950
  • Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Berlinetta Aerodinamica
  • 1939
  • Berlinetta
  • Manual
  • 4,844 km
  • 2443cc

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