1953 Alfa Romeo 1900C Sprint Coupé Coachwork by Pinin Farina Registration no. Not UK registered Chassis no. AR 1900 C 01630 Engine no. AR 1308 00518
Alfa Romeo's first all-new offering of the post-war period arrived in 1950. Designed by Dr Orazio Satta Puliga and intended for volume production, the 1900 was the first Alfa to employ unitary construction and - in keeping with the company's sporting heritage - was powered by a twin-overhead-camshaft engine. A four-cylinder unit, the latter displaced 1,884cc and produced 90bhp, an output sufficient to propel the four-door saloon to 93mph.
Although ostensibly a humble family conveyance, the 1900 was endowed with sporting credentials which extended beyond its type of power unit, owners enjoying the benefits of wishbone and coil spring independent front suspension and an exceptionally well located live rear axle. It should have surprised nobody therefore, when the 1900's potential was realised in the form of two high performance derivatives. Launched in 1951, the 1900 Sprint featured bodywork by Pinin Farina (cabriolet) and Touring (coupé), both models utilising the 100bhp engine of the 1900TI sports saloon.
An immensely influential design, Touring's Sprint was designed to offer family-sized accommodation in a two-door sports coupé format and its heart-shaped vertical grille with flanking horizontal intakes would become an Alfa trademark on later models. Shortly after the Series 2 arrived in early 1954, the model was mildly restyled and upgraded as the Super Sprint, gaining a 1,975cc, 115bhp engine and five-speed gearbox.
Although commissioned to produce the factory's official cabriolet model, Pinin Farina also built coupés on the 1900 Sprint chassis. According to the seminal book 'Millenove' by H-J Döhren, only 100 examples of the stunningly beautiful Pinin Farina coupé were built on the short 1900 Sprint chassis between 1952 and 1953. Although its coupé featured a steel body, as opposed to the Touring Superleggera design with its aluminium panels over a tubular steel supporting structure, Pinin Farina used weight saving methods in its design, employing steel panels with a thickness of just 0.7 mm, while the bonnet, boot lid and dashboard were all aluminium. As a result, the much rarer Pinin Farina 1900 coupé weighs just 50kg more than the Touring variant, enough for a very lively performance from the 100bhp engine, the top speed claimed being a very respectable 180km/h (111mph).
This delightful example left the factory on 25th June 1953 painted in grigio chiaro and was sold to its first owner in Rome. The car then passed via various owners in Tuscany to the private collection belonging to a pharmacist and well-known Alfa Romeo enthusiast in Florence, who purchased it in April 1979. Its stable mates there were, among others, a Giulietta Sprint Speciale, a Montreal and a GTA. In the mid-1980s, the owner commissioned well-known restorers Faralli of Pisa to undertake a comprehensive restoration. It is believed that at this point the original engine was replaced with another correct Tipo 1308 unit. Once finished, the car remained laid up in the private collection and was not used again until the end of 2014 when the current owner purchased it.
The original restoration was of such quality that the body and paintwork did not require any work and are pleasingly patinated. Nevertheless, the new owner had the interior re-trimmed in the correct light grey woollen cloth and at the same time the mechanicals and electrics were refreshed to make the car useable once more.
Described by the vendor as in generally very good condition and offered with Italian registration documents, this very rare and most attractive Alfa Romeo is equally useable for Grand Touring as well as for the world's most exclusive events including the Mille Miglia retrospective.