Tempted to join Alfa Romeo from Fiat in 1923 by the opportunity to head his own department and a three-times salary increase, the brilliant Vittorio Jano became part of the racing department in Milan in the autumn of that year. His first major project was the six-cylinder P2 racing car, winner of the 1924 European Grand Prix at Lyon and AIACR championship Grand Prix car of 1925. Jano had been brought on by Niccola Romeo with the understanding that he would develop a passenger car based on his race car. By the time of the Milan Salon in 1925, the new NR, or 6C 1500, was displayed in chassis form.
Deliveries commenced in early 1927 and the car was enthusiastically received. In the following year, the original single-cam engine was joined by a twin-cam version which could be had normally aspirated or supercharged. In 1929, a 1752cc version of the engine appeared in single-cam, twin-cam and twin-cam supercharged stages of tune. This model, the 6C 1750, was a truly great car that was to dominate its class in competition from 1929 to 1931, and yet was also a most desirable road car. For 1929, the 6C 1750 was offered in various forms, including the long-wheelbase (10 ft. 2 in.) SOHC Turismo, a short-chassis (9 ft.) DOHC Sport and the short-chassis DOHC supercharged Super Sport.
The chassis number of this car makes it a 1929 Turismo, of which 327 were produced. However, its engine comes from a 1930 Turismo. Finally, a DOHC head has been fitted: not a casual conversion, since the Turismo cast-in cam-drive tower has a different spacing from the DOHC unit's alloy tower.
This car is well known in British Alfa circles, having been in the David Black family since 1972. It carries drophead coupé coachwork by James Young of Bromley, Kent and offers 2+2 seating, wind-up windows, external pram hood irons and rear-mounted spare wheel. The car retains a delightful patina to the interior with original leather upholstery that reflects careful ownership, and wooden dash and door cappings representing the skills of the finest British craftsmen.
Presented in silver-gray livery with black hood, this snug vintage Alfa is described as being in good order throughout.

{analysis} This car sold for $106,650, including buyer's premium, at the Books Auction in England, on April 27, 2000.
The pedigree of this car, as outlined in the auctioneer's description, is one of the finest possible. However, the road-going versions of Jano's championship P2 had little more than overall specification in common with the P2. The 1750 series included single-cam engines powering sedans and even limousines.
This car is a collection of the less-sporting components in the line. Initially a long-wheelbase, single-cam model developing 46 hp, it is burdened with a heavy drophead body. At some point in its life, it has gained a twin-cam head that raised its output by about 4 hp. The top speed of this car in its original configuration was barely 65 mph, and the twin-cam head probably allows it to attain 70 on a good day.
These pedestrian 1750s are profoundly shadowed by their superstar siblings, and have been largely ignored by collectors. In the 1960s, Castagna and James Young dropheads were regarded as cheap sources of spares for the supercharged Super Sport or Gran Sport models. The fact that any of these donor cars has survived intact is truly remarkable. Now, because they were never highly valued, these models are very rare indeed, and they can draw larger crowds than the supercharged Zagatos when they appear at shows.
This car's worth-its survival, actually-is due entirely to its ownership by David Black, who appreciated and conserved it for decades. If the auctioneer's description of original leather interior is correct, then this car is a veritable time capsule. That alone qualifies it as a collectible.
What did David see in this car, to have cherished it so? Jano's hand. A finely crafted design that was decades ahead of its time. The 6C 1750 set standards for comfort, performance and handling that were not bettered until well after the War. The trade-off for the Zagato's wind-in-the-hair sportiness was roll-up windows and a degree of elegance shared with the likes of Hispano Suiza, some Isotta Fraschinis and a few Bugattis.
This car embodies both the best and the worst of its breed. Its pedestrian performance is counterbalanced by pedigree. The price paid, well above SCM's guide, indicates that pedigree and provenance prevailed.
(Photo and description courtesy of auction company.)

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