In immediate post-war Italy, two names stood at the pinnacle of the luxury motoring scene: Alfa Romeo and Touring. The former marque had earned its reputation in competition between the wars, winning Europe’s toughest races including the Mille Miglia a record ten times. Milanese coachbuilder Touring, at the forefront of automotive styling and construction techniques, was a natural partner and the designs created by this talent pool remain some of the most enduring and sought-after in motoring history. Think of the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Touring spyder, the 8C 2.9 Touring spyder and the 2.9 coupe which nearly won the 1938 Le Mans 24 Hours…all fruits of this marriage.
For the world’s most prestigious concours d’elegance of 1949, to be held at Italy’s famed Villa d’Este hotel that spring, Alfa Romeo and Touring unveiled something special. There had already been 6C 2500 chassis clothed by Touring; the Tipo 256 racer had achieved success at Le Mans, the Milla Miglia and the Tripoli-Tobruk as far back as 1939-1940. But this new car, clearly destined for road use though endowed with 200km/h performance thanks to its shorter chassis, three carburettor ‘Super Sport’ engine and Touring’s patented lightweight ‘Superleggera’ construction, also stood out for its clean lines and avant garde styling. Not surprisingly it won the show, and Alfa Romeo struck a deal with Touring to sanction the building of 25 examples for sale to their wealthy clientele (36 were eventually sold). Thus was born the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500SS Villa d’Este which to this day remains the pinnacle of post-war Alfa Romeo luxury sports car production and the last ever hand-made Alfa Romeo.
Chassis ‘915891’ was laid down on 3rd February 1950 fitted with engine 928211 and body 3433 but, such was the work and craftsmanship involved in its construction, it was not delivered to the Alfa Romeo importer in nearby Lugano, Switzerland, until 13th December that year. Exported to the UK in 1958, it changed hands again in 1977 and was sold to Pentus Brown, from whom John Thorne of Texas acquired it. British Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 historian Peter Marshall recalls the car: “Yes - I have been driven across a ploughed field in it, about 30 years ago,” having been asked by Mr Thorne to accompany him to inspect it. Its previous long term Italian owner, founder and chairman of a major fashion house, returned the car to its homeland some 20 years ago, a long-time employee reminiscing that it was “painted red with a paint brush” and in tired condition when acquired.
Restoration was entrusted to well-known firm Cappa of Milan, who carried out a comprehensive rebuild of the car. Lovely details include the correct wire wheel covers and beautifully formed bumpers, fitted luggage and handsome grigio metalizzato livery to complement the natural beige leather trim. Final signing-off was carried out by respected collector/ restorer Gabriele Artom, since when just a few hundred kilometres have been covered. Acquired by the present American collector last year, but offered now due to a change in focus, the car remains beautiful in appearance and the perfect entry for the pick of the worlds classic car concours, tours and gatherings.