From a distinguished private collection

1932 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GTC Cabriolet Royal

Coachwork by Touring

The 6C series of the early thirties are the cars upon which the Alfa Romeo mystique was originally built. High powered two seater supercharged versions, inspired by the 1924 Grand Prix P2, won all the classic events and the 6C 1750 marked the beginning of Alfa’s relationship with the great coachbuilders like Zagato and Touring. For those customers who wanted to Grand Tour rather than take part in motor sport this longer chassis, supercharged 1750 GTC version offered a superb compromise. With chassis lessons learned from the new 8C 2300, the 1931-32 1750 GTC was able to take a variety of open and closed bodywork and with 85bhp from its Jano designed twin-cam straight six – surely one of the most aesthetically pleasing engines ever made – 80mph was possible without sacrificing comfort.

Castagna, James Young and Stabilimenti Farina clothed this exotic yet mechanically rugged design but this ‘Cabriolet Royal’ by Touring of Milan is one of the most handsome. Equally attractive in open or closed mode it offers brisk and luxurious motoring for four and features refinements like internally adjustable dampers and headlamp dipping.

Being a late 6C variant it enjoys the larger brakes and improved front axle and gearbox of the 8C 2300. With light direct steering, a delightful close ratio gearbox and strong, smooth and potent short stroke engine this is not an intimidating thoroughbred to drive and has sensible features like a thermostatically actuated engine fan; useful on a pre-war Alfa that is well suited to use in tours and rallies, as attested by the numerous events it has completed without difficulty.

Acquired in 1980 by the present owner, one of Italy’s pioneering collectors now in his ninth decade, chassis ‘14832’ had previously spent many years in England where it was known to 6C 1750 historian Angela Cherrett. After 15 years of ownership and enjoyment the decision was taken to entrust the car to Italy’s most celebrated restorer, Dino Cognolato near Padova, to be returned to its original splendour. The factory paintwork finish was found under generations of later coats and the roof was put back to convertible configuration having been welded in place years earlier: this was only discovered thanks to the consultancy of the late Ingegnere Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni, one-time Touring of Milan director and designer, who pointed it out during restoration. All mechanical components were rebuilt by Gianni Torelli, well-known as the engineer chosen by VW to restore the engine of their Bugatti Royale.

The end result is a magnificent Vittorio Jano-designed, supercharged Alfa Romeo which has retained its major original components, has been restored by the finest names in their field and is offered from the best possible home after three decades of careful and loving ownership. Not surprisingly it won the ‘Grandes Classiques des années 20 & 30’ class during a rare concours appearance at the Louis Vuitton Parc de Bagatelle event in 1996. ‘Finds’ like this do not appear often.