1957 Alfa Romeo 1900
Year of manufacture1957
Engine numberAR1308 10464
1957 Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint Coupé
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Touring
Chassis no. AR1900C10464
Engine no. AR1308 10464
Its factory devastated by wartime bombing, Alfa Romeo did not resume car production until 1947, the pre-war 2500C standing the Milan marque in good stead until 1952. The firm'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 1900C Sprint featured bodywork by Pinin Farina (cabriolet) and Touring (coupé), both models utilising the 100bhp engine of the 1900TI sports saloon. The Touring-bodied Sprint Coupé attracted such public acclaim that it was subsequently adopted as the basis for all future 'aerodynamic' Alfa Romeo coupés.
The Sprint Coupé was designed to offer sporting performance together with '2+2' accommodation - guaranteed to appeal to the sports car enthusiast with a family - while the heart-shaped vertical grille with matched horizontal side intakes became an Alfa trademark on later models. In June 1954 the engine was enlarged to 1,975cc and the model re-designated as the 'Super Sprint'. With 115bhp on tap and possessing an excellent power-to-weight ratio courtesy of the aluminium-alloy body, these cars could top 190km/h (118mph). 'The Family Car That Wins Races', they shone in competitions of all kinds including the Targa Florio, Stella Alpina and Coupe des Alpes. A total of 949 Sprints and 854 Super Sprints had been made by the time production ceased.
Touring's three-window coupé is acknowledged as the most elegant and attractive of the 1900 series, with restrained, perfectly balanced lines, devoid of any unnecessary decoration. The brightwork is notable for its simplicity while the dashboard is plain and functional.
Chassis number '10464' is one of 584 Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprints produced between 1955 and 1958, of which some 200 are believed to survive today. The Italian Car Registry and the Centro Documentazione Alfa Romeo confirm that chassis '10464', fitted with engine number '1308.10464' (matching the current engine number) was delivered new in April 1957 to City Motors in Italy and was originally black. Subsequently exported to the USA, the car returned to Europe recently and is offered with EU taxes paid.
This example of a landmark model from one of motoring's most charismatic marques was the subject of a high quality restoration by a previous owner some years ago. Recent mechanical work includes rebuilding the brakes, master cylinder and wheel cylinders; an oil change including gearbox and differential oils; and adjusting the valve clearances and the twin Solex carburettors.
The black paint contrasts vividly with the delicate chrome and polished trim, while the window glass, light lenses, and the windscreen are clear and show only mild signs of ageing. The Borrani wire wheels with their chrome-plated dual-ear knock-offs are a perfect match for the large brake drums. As if celebrating the two companies' shared design and engineering heritage, the 'Superleggera' emblems, 'Alfa Romeo' badges, and exterior trim are all in very good condition
The two-tone grey leather/cloth interior was restored some time ago. The textured black instrument panel blends smoothly with the gloss black dashboard, while the array of beautifully contrasting instruments and detailed controls are elegance itself. The sculpted gloss black steering wheel is complemented by the column shifter, a common enough feature of contemporary Italian road cars, and somewhat atypical in being a five-speeder.
The engine compartment was restored to a high level with originality a priority, and still retains handsome detailing, correct hardware, and proper fasteners. The textured black castings are finished with great attention to detail and authenticity. The twin Solex carburettors, engine castings, and various correct details reflect a capable car that can be enjoyed as is or further detailed for participation in concours events. The boot is trimmed with tailored and piped black carpeting, and houses a Borrani spare wheel.
According to the vendor, the car starts quickly warm or cold with a nice snappy throttle response. Alfa Romeo 1900s are known to respond well when properly and spiritedly driven, and this car is no exception. In the case of this 1900C SS, the experience is like one of a perfectly fitting glove, with everything immediately and pleasantly at hand, gears engaging easily, control pedals responding quickly. It is hard to think of another 1950s touring car that combines so many of these attributes as the 1900C SS, and this particular car is said to have that 'just right' feel either when driven or on display. Service records for recent work plus photographs documenting the engine rebuild accompany the car together with a US title (EU-taxes paid), books and documents relating to the car's history including the Alfa Romeo Museo Storico certificate confirming matching chassis/engine numbers and the Nero exterior colour.