Market Finds: Here’s An Alfa Romeo That Proves No Car Is Too Pretty To Race

Here’s An Alfa Romeo That Proves No Car Is Too Pretty To Race

Michael Banovsky By Michael Banovsky
April 29, 2016
7 comments

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.

Vehicle History
– Verified, extensive period competition history

Specifications
~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

Vehicle information
Chassis no. AR 1900C 01549
Engine no. AR 1308 00542

Auction information
Auction house: RM Sotheby’s
Estimate: €490,000–€580,000
Price realized: TBD; Auction on May 14

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Clayton Merchant
Clayton Merchant

Lot of harsh criticism here for a car that exudes total Ghia styling cues for the time period in which it was created. One look screamed Ghia before even reading that it was an Alfa, it’s a dead ringer for many of the Chrysler concept vehicles of the early 50’s including the Dodge Fire Arrow, Chrysler d’ Elegance concept as well as the Ghia Cadillac bought for Rita Hayworth, all of which predated the Edsel by 5 years or more. As Chrysler chose not to pursue these designs into production, Ghia chose to use those same design lines and themes… Read more »

Linda N Brian Schick
Linda N Brian Schick

The Alfa Edsel in titty nipple pink; how pathetic!

Jaime Baker
Jaime Baker

A bit more cashmere than pink don’t you think? Titty nipple pink happens to be one of my favorite colors.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

Too beautiful to race ? More like too ( cuss )ing ugly to even look at . Bloated , ugly with a Lemon sucking grill . Alfa Romeo’s attempt at out Edseling the Edsel and proof positive even Alfa in the good ole days could get it horribly horribly wrong .

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

PSBanovsky ; Without a hint of sarcasm intended … Two thumbs up on the watch page . An honest advertisement promoting an honest product in an honest and tasteful manner … versus the subliminal and distasteful AdverArticles of late . More of the same please

Amir Kakhsaz
Amir Kakhsaz

That isn’t a car, that’s art.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

… that depends on whether or not one subscribes to the Bard’s ‘ Weird Sisters ‘ definition of the word ‘ art ‘ . That being ; ” All thats fair is foul and all thats foul is fair “