Rare And Award-Winning Alfa Racer-Turned-Berlinetta Heads To Auction At Pebble Beach
There are many things a collector may look for when choosing a car to invest in at auction: whether it’s rare; has a racing background; is an elegant road-going coupé; represents an important point in racing or motoring history; has a close association with highly notable figures; or is good today for historic motorsport events or exclusive concours d’elegance. This 1939 Alfa Romeo Tipo 256 Coupé racer turned Berlinetta, going under the hammer at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach auctions on August 16 and 17, in a single car is able to tick every one of these boxes. It’s expected to sell for $2,750,000 to $3,500,000.
This Alfa 256’s past is noteworthy as well as varied. It was originally built as the last of five racing Alfa Romeo 6Cs, fitted with Alfa’s most powerful 120bhp Tipo 256 racing engine, which were put together in 1939 under the conspicuous guidance of none other than Enzo Ferrari. And given it was the eve of World War Two, the car also was one of the final collaborations between Enzo Ferrari and Alfa, before Ferrari went his own way after the conflict.
This car was first built for driver Giovanna Maria Cornaggia Medici as a Tipo 256 Spider Siluro, and its current owner has traced the Alfa as taking part in eight races in 1939 as well as the Mille Miglia in 1940. In that latter event, the last Mille Miglia before World War Two, it placed 36th overall and seventh in its class, with Cornaggia Medici sharing the driving duties. In 1941, the car was sold to its second owner, who commissioned a new one-off lightweight body from Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, which had the car rebodied into a Berlinetta. The racing car therefore was converted into a closed road-going coupé, though it retained its powerful Tipo 256 racing engine.
This car has had 10 documented owners, including noted Alfa Romeo historian and author Tito Anselmi. Its current owner comprehensively restored the 256 to the specification in which it left Touring in 1941. The owner is a renowned expert in the field of pre-war Alfa Romeos and managed the restoration himself; his restorations are done to the highest level possible. The more recent past of this Alfa also has its share of glory. At the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, it won the Touring class, Mille Miglia Trophy, and Bulgari Award, and it was also voted Best of Show at the 2018 Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance. This 256 is eligible for the Mille Miglia retrospective as well as just about any exclusive concours d’elegance worldwide, such as Villa d’Este. The opportunity to own such a car surely does not come along often.
All images courtesy of by Brian Henniker and copyright of Gooding & Company