The “AR” in AR 51 stands for “Autovettura da Ricognizione” or reconnaissance car, and the Italian government commissioned both Alfa and Fiat to submit vehicles for consideration. The Alfas were nicknamed “Matta,” a variation of the Italian word for “crazy,” due to their extraordinary off-road capabilities. Powered by a dry sump version of the Alfa 1900 engine, the AR 51 was approved by the Italian army and was built through 1954.
Chassis AR AR51*00408 was built early in the production run. Of approximately 2,000 constructed, 1,281 were delivered to the Italian Ministry of Defense, including this one. The military kept its AR 51s in service for about two decades before selling them to the public in the 1970s.
Acquiring its first registration in July 1978, the Matta has had only five civilian owners since, and was treated to a comprehensive restoration to correct military standards in 2015. That work was further refined in 2016 by TDA di Daniele Turrisi of Bergamo, Italy, a noted restorer of fine Italian cars.
This California-titled Matta comes with a jack, partial tool roll, pick axe, shovel, dual spare tires, 20-liter gas can, copy of the original Italian registration libretto, ASI Certificate of Identity, and a copy of the AR 52 (civilian version) specification listing in English. Rarely seen in the US, this Matta will accent any collection with a capable flair.