Here’s An Alfa Romeo That Proves No Car Is Too Pretty To Race
Photography Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
I know, right? It’s quite the sight, this 1953 Alfa Romeo 1900C Sprint Supergioiello by Ghia. Styled by Italian masters, painted the color of a prosthetic leg, and with a Nascar-sized “400” on its flanks, this special must turn heads wherever it goes.
What is it, exactly? It’s an Alfa Romeo 1900 that was given a complete makeover by Ghia in period, and is one of only 18 believed to have been built. Now, there are just two other survivors. This example found itself in enthusiastic hands, with its first owner almost immediately entering the car into regional competition in Spain.
Alfa Romeo’s 1900 was no slouch: a 4-cylinder engine with twin chain-driven dual overhead camshafts and around 100 horsepower meant it was a popular choice among enthusiasts looking to dip their toe into motorsport. With a lighter body and (presumably) a more wind-cheating shape, a 1900 upgraded by Ghia was just the ticket for a gentleman driver looking to snag a few trophies on the weekend.
This car picked up a few first-in-class finishes before being entered in the 1955 Rallye Monte Carlo, where it started and completed the world-renowned event, albeit in 211th overall and outside of receiving an official finishing time. The first owner kept using the car for spirited drives and in competition, until a crash saw the car sidelined while its damaged nose could be repaired.
More recently, the car’s history and period competition prowess was verified by owner Pablo Gemini in the early ’90s, with its next steward taking care to restore the car back to its original specification—now, again, with its distinctive Ghia-styled nose.
Take the numbers off the side, and you’ve got a concours entry. Leave them, paint it red, and your Alfa Romeo race car will be ready for its next event. I’d leave it as-is. It’s clear the car’s original steward didn’t pussyfoot around when the green flag dropped—nor should its next owner.
– Verified, extensive period competition history
~100 horsepower, 1,884 cc DOHC inline four-cylinder engine with Weber carburettors, four-speed column-shift manual transmission, independent front suspension with double A-arms, coil springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers, live-axle rear suspension with trailing links, coil springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,630 mm
Chassis no. AR 1900C 01549
Engine no. AR 1308 00542