1930 Alfa Romeo 6C1750 Gran Sport Series 4 by Zagato
Year of manufacture1930
Car typeConvertible / Roadster
Chassis number6C 8513064
Number of doors2
Number of seats2
Formerly owned by the late ‘Father of Silicon Valley’ and supercharged classic car collector Thomas J. Perkins
Raced by the 1961 Formula 1 World Champion Phil Hill in the 1985 Monterey Historic Automobile Races
Highly eligible for the Mille Miglia Storico, which it has contested on multiple occasions
Retaining its matching-numbers chassis and engine
Fresh from a comprehensive service carried out by the eminent British pre-War Alfa Romeo specialist Jim Stokes Workshops Ltd.
One of only 213 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Series 4s and Series 5s built between 1930 and 1932
EU Taxes Paid
The Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport by Zagato
Facts and figures do an adequate job of extolling the virtues of the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport. Highlights such as ingegnere Vittorio Jano’s immortal 1,752cc straight-six engine, paired with two overhead cams and a volumetric supercharger. Zagato’s stunning coachwork which balanced on the fine line between elegant and sporty. Or the fact that, in 1929, the model won every major motor race it entered including the Mille Miglia and the Spa 24 Hours.
The true undistilled essence of these special Alfa Romeos, however, can be appreciated after hearing the story of the 1930 Mille Miglia, an event in which the new Alfa 6C 1750 Gran Sports dominated, finishing first, second, third and fourth overall. The 1,000-mile race spanning the length of Italy saw all-out War raged between the leading Works Alfa drivers and pre-War racing gladiators Tazio Nuvolari and Achille Varzi, alongside their respective co-drivers Giovanni Battista Guidotto and Carlo Canavesi.
Under the cover of nightfall and on the final stretch towards the finish, Nuvolari, who was several minutes behind Varzi in the lead, mounted a charge that would go down in Mille Miglia history, averaging well over 100kph. Legend has it that the Italian switched off his headlights and snuck up on an unsuspecting Varzi at the last moment. Fact or fiction, the tale captured the imagination of the country and put Alfa Romeo on the front page of every national newspaper.
Chassis number 6C 8513064
The magnificent Series 4-generation Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport by Zagato presented here is chassis number 8513064, which was born in Milan in 1930 – the same year in which motorsport gladiators Tazio Nuvolari and Achille Varzi engaged in that extraordinary tussle in their Works Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sports as they dominated the Mille Miglia.
While its early history remains unknown, the Alfa Romeo emerged in the United States in the 1970s. This 6C was acquired by the Colorado-based classic car restoration expert Jackson Brooks in 1974. An Aston Martin DB6 Volante was used as part-payment – not that Brooks was especially bothered about waving goodbye to it. The prospect of the Alfa and its subsequent restoration was an extremely exciting one, as Brooks recounted in his 2007 memoir Cars I Could’ve, Should’ve Kept.
“This was the first unmodified supercharged Alfa I had found that I was able to buy,” he explains, “and I resolved to do our very best to make it as perfect a restoration as possible.” Suffice to say, Brooks left no stone unturned on his quest to return chassis number 8513064 to its former glory. “Every component of the car was done as perfectly as we could make it, and the finished car was beautiful!”
After listing this Alfa for sale in the January 1981 issue of Hemmings Motor News, Brooks sold the car to the Californian investment banker Tom Perkins, who’d sought to build a stunning collection of supercharged classic cars including a Mercedes-Benz 500 K. Later in his life, Perkins’ venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins funded such household tech companies as Google and Amazon, earning him the nickname the ‘Father of Silicon Valley’.
Around this time, Perkins published a book about his collection titled Classic Supercharged Sports Cars. And this Alfa Romeo features prominently, Perkins waxing lyrical about the technological wonder of Vittorio Jano’s legendary 1750 blown engine. Perkins only parted with chassis number 8513064 in 1984 when its former owner Jackson Brooks contacted him about an Alfa Romeo 8C 2.3 he had just restored.
A deal was negotiated and this 6C was returned to Brooks’ ownership, in part exchange for the 8C 2.3. Rather than return the car straight to Colorado, Brooks entrusted the American master engine builder (and Perkins’ trusted mechanic) Phil Reilly with rebuilding the supercharged straight-six. Over the course of the 18-month process, Brooks visited Reilly on a number of occasions.
The completion of the engine rather fortuitously coincided with the 1985 Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca, to which Brooks and the 6C 1750 had been invited. Alfa Romeo was celebrating its 75th birthday and had been chosen as the event’s featured marque – an occasion which saw the factory fly over a 158 Alfetta for none other than Juan Manuel Fangio to pedal.
When Brooks eyed another Formula 1 World Champion on the guestlist, one Phil Hill, he spied an opportunity. After a little bit of back and forth, Hill – America’s first and only Formula 1 World Champion – agreed to race chassis number 8513064. Brooks’ memories from that day are wonderful to read.
When the Monterey Historic Automobile Races was founded as a precursor to the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, it became a tradition that one car from Laguna Seca would be invited to be exhibited at Pebble Beach the following day. And in 1985, chassis number 8513064 was bestowed with the honour. Incidentally, Brooks was due to serve as a judge in the world-famous concours, so taking the Alfa Romeo along proved to be something of a happy coincidence.
The Phil Reilly engine overhaul coupled with the tremendous exposure in Monterey filled Brooks with confidence when he decided to part with this 6C 1750 for the second – and final – time in 1985. Sure enough, a real-estate developer in Los Angeles by the name of Art Valdez acquired chassis number 8513064, paying the then-princely sum of 125,000 US dollars. Valdez’s 11-year ownership of this Alfa Romeo is punctuated by the three editions of the Mille Miglia Storica he completed with the car: 1986, 1988 and 1990. It was a testament to the quality of Phil Reilly’s engine rebuild that the car was able to cross the finish line in Brescia on each occasion.
Over the course of the next 14 years, chassis number 8513064 passed through the hands of three further custodians in North America, before it was acquired by its current European owner in 2011 and subsequently registered in Portugal. And it’s been carefully stored since in an exquisite collection featuring, among others, a Ferrari 250 GT ‘SWB’ Berlinetta Competizione, a Ferrari 250 GT ‘SWB’ California Spyder, a Ferrari 166 MM and a Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’.
Since receiving chassis number 8513064 here at Belchers Farm in June of 2023, we promptly sent the car to Jim Stokes Workshops Ltd. in Hampshire, the United Kingdom’s leading pre-War Alfa Romeo specialist, for a comprehensive inspection and service. We also consulted with a number of eminent pre-War Alfa Romeo experts including Simon Moore and John de Boer in order to confirm the provenance of this 6C 1750 Zagato.
Alfa Romeo’s long and storied history is studded with great cars which truly embody everything that’s great about the marque. The 6C 1750 Gran Sport by Zagato is absolutely one of those cars. And chassis number 8513064, with its matching-numbers chassis and engine, gorgeous Zagato body and well-documented provenance, is a tantalising proposition - whether you’re after a car with which to contest the Mille Miglia, steal the show at Villa d’Este or simply enjoy on sunny Sunday afternoons.
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