1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Supercharged Super Sport Spider For Sale by Auction
From the estate of the late Michael Hirst
1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Supercharged Super Sport Spider
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Zagato
Registration no. JYH 98
Chassis no. 0312931 Frame no. 0332931
* Iconic between-the-wars sports car
* Original Zagato body
* Present ownership since 1961
* Enthusiastically campaigned for the last 50-plus years
£800,000 - 1,200,000
€940,000 - 1,400,000
"The 1750, and for that matter the 1500... must be among the finest ever made both from the point of view of engineering and driver satisfaction." - Michael Frostick, Alfa-Romeo-Milano.
It was Enzo Ferrari, no less, who persuaded Vittorio Jano to leave FIAT's racing department and join him at Alfa Romeo. One of the most gifted and influential automobile engineers of all time, Jano would not only supervise Alfa Romeo's Grand Prix racing programme but also design its road cars. This happy state of affairs resulted in the latter emerging as some of the most exciting of their day, establishing the Milanese marque's reputation for producing sporting driver's cars second to none.
Jano arrived at Alfa in 1923 and by the following year had produced one of the most fabulous racing automobiles of all time - the legendary P2. As well as bringing Alfa much valuable publicity by virtue of its outstanding Grand Prix successes, the P2 provided the basis for Jano's first production model.
Announced in 1925 but not produced for another two years, the 6C 1500 was designed as a fast touring car combining light weight with sparkling performance. The latter was achieved courtesy of a 1,487cc inline six-cylinder engine based on the P2's straight eight and producing 44bhp in single-overhead-camshaft Normale form. Twin-overhead-camshaft Sport and supercharged Super Sport models followed, the latter being the first of its type to feature the classic open two-seater coachwork by Zagato forever associated with sporting Vintage-era Alfas.
Production of the 6C 1500 ceased in 1929 on the arrival of the 6C 1750. Logical derivative of the Tipo 6C 1500, itself directly descended from Jano's all-conquering P2 that had won the World Championship in 1925, the Tipo 6C 1750 arrived in 1929 boasting a derivative of the 1500's six-cylinder engine enlarged to 1,752cc. Built in single-cam Turismo and twin-cam Sport (later renamed Gran Turismo) variants, the 6C 1750 was an exciting fast touring car combining light weight with sparkling performance, more than 120km/h (75mph) being attainable, depending on coachwork. Aimed at gentleman racing drivers, there was also a limited edition Super Sport, or SS, version, which later evolved into the Gran Sport. Most of these cars carried coachwork by Carrozzeria Zagato or Carrozzeria Touring, with James Young being responsible for bodying the majority imported into the UK.
One of the oldest and most respected of automotive design firms, Zagato was founded in Milan in 1919 by Ugo Zagato, who used techniques learned in the wartime aeronautics industry to create a series of lightweight competition cars. Alfa Romeo immediately realised the potential of Zagato's designs and thus commenced a fruitful collaboration that lasts to this day. Legendary racing models such as Alfa's 1500, 1750 Gran Sport and 2300 8C were followed by luxurious coupés and roadsters on FIAT and Lancia chassis.
In supercharged SS form the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 was one of the most popular and successful sports-racing cars of its day, as demonstrated by the fact that no fewer than 26 competed in the 1929 Mille Miglia, of which 25 finished, six among the first ten. The race was won, for the second consecutive year, by Giuseppe Campari and Giulio Ramponi driving, of course, a 6C 1750 SS. Other high profile victories for this model include the 24 Hours of Spa Francorchamps, Grand Prix of Ireland, and the 12 Hours of San Sebastian - all in 1929 - plus the 24 Hours of Spa Francorchamps and RAC Tourist Trophy in 1930. The 1750's sporting career, aided by its mechanical longevity, extended far beyond its production, which ceased in 1933.
The car comes with an old-style continuation logbook recording the date of first registration as 16th June 1948 and listing eight owners in total between 1951 and 1957. In a letter on file, the first owner listed – John Pitcher of Wrangle, Lincolnshire – states that he had purchased car from Reg Parnell of Derby.
Michael Hirst acquired the Alfa in May 1961, by which time its original engine had been replaced with a Ford V8. Correspondence on file between Michael and previous owners reveals that the car was still fitted with a supercharged Alfa Romeo 1750 engine when sold by Chiltern Cars in May 1951 to Mr R J Hedges of Spaxton, Somerset. In 1953, S A Hurrell of SAH Accessories Ltd purchased Alfa, minus engine and gearbox, from Chiltern Cars of Leighton Buzzard; the original engine had blown up and was beyond repair. Hurrell fitted the 32hp Ford V8 and made other modifications before selling the car to Delta Garages of Leighton Buzzard in 1955.
The car's early history is not known, but there is related correspondence on file from the Alfa Romeo factory dating from the early 1960s. By then Michael Hirst had removed the Ford V8 and fitted the engine from a 6th series 1750 SS of 1933 (engine number '121215071') that had been rebuilt in the UK, while a suitable gearbox was sourced from Norway (see file). He drove the rebuilt car to Italy and visited the Alfa Romeo factory in Milan where it was identified as chassis number '0312931': a 3rd series 1750 SS of 1929. In their letter dated 17th September 1964, Alfa stated that the body is Zagato original and congratulated Michael for the care with which he was maintaining the car.
In his letter dated 25th September 1964 to Ing. Fusi of Alfa Romeo, Michael Hirst questions the factory's attribution of '0312931', pointing out that '0332931' was stamped on the front dumb-iron. In their reply dated 3rd October 1964, Alfa states that the car's identity had been confirmed by Fusi at the time of Michael's visit to Milan, and that the chassis number should be '0312931'. In fact, with Alfa Romeos of this sort, the frame number (on the dumb-iron) never corresponds with the chassis number.
It had also been suggested that the car had been raced at Brooklands by Giulio Ramponi. Alfa replied: "We got in contact with Mr Perfetti, Ramponi's engineer at Brooklands in 1929, who confirmed that very probably he tested your car in 1929, being his task at that time; it is not sure however that it was your car the one that Ramponi raced at Brooklands."
In another letter to Ing. Fusi at Alfa Romeo, Michael states that the car had overheated on the way back from the factory in September 1964, cracking the cylinder block. He asks about making one in steel with cast-iron liners. Alfa responded by sending him a drawing of the cylinder block to assist with the construction of a replacement.
Michael Hirst joined the VSCC's Alfa Romeo Section, as it then was, in the early 1960s. He and his wife Jo - and the 6C 1750 SS - were regular and faithful supporters of the Club and were frequent attendees at Section/Register events both at home and abroad - including at least one early running of the Mille Miglia Storica - until ill health kept them closer to home in recent years. Michael was well known to many members of the Register, not only as a member, but as a true friend and Alfa supporter through his businesses: Vintage Frictions and Frenchay Garage.
Little used in recent years, this wonderful car had been the pride and joy of the current owner, taking pride of place in the garage in Bristol. Only it's owner's passing necessitates the sale of this Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS, which has not been offered on the open market in almost 60 years.
This advert has now been removed through sale or otherwise, please see the list below for similar live adverts