The 6C series was founded in 1924 when Alfa Romeo engineer, Vittorio Jano, was instructed to develop a medium capacity lightweight car with brilliant performance. The great engineer chose the balance and pick-up characteristics of an in-line six-cylinder engine and combined them with a lightweight and nimble-handling chassis design.
The prototype, initially known as the "NR," renamed 6C 1500 was unveiled at the Salone dell' Automobile Milano in April 1925 and then reappeared at both the major Paris Salon and the London Motor Show. Deliveries to customers of the original single-camshaft version commenced in 1927 and the general reception was so enthusiastic that a second series of twin-cam variants followed.
This Alfa Romeo dates from 1930 and is designated as a 4th-series chassis. While the car carries no coachbuilder's plate, it is almost undoubtedly the work of Carrozzeria C. Castagna & C. of Milan. It displays classic Castagna coachlines and features, such as the spears on the bonnet and intricate keys for the glove compartments. When catalogued for a European auction in Monaco on May 22, 1990, the car was similarly described as a Castagna-bodied example, although there isn't any documentary evidence to support the car's early history. Reputedly, this vehicle spent a long period of time in South America before returning to Europe.
In the early 1990s, Jack Dietz carried out a major engine overhaul, including fitting new roller bearings, grinding the crank, reprofiling the camshafts, installing new gears and drive bearings (supplied from a UK specialist) and rebuilding the oil pump and gears. Cosmetically, new leather was fitted throughout, new carpets were fitted and all of the woodwork was revarnished. Dietz also made a new windshield frame, glass and posts, to enable the windshield to fold flat. The car is equipped with twin-mounted rear tires. Since the engine rebuild, this beautiful 1750 Alfa Romeo has had very limited use and may require careful exercising.
The car pictured sold earlier this year for $85K at the Christie's auction of the Bill Lassiter Collection in Florida. This price is a far cry from the $300K-$425K that a Zagato-bodied, supercharged 1750cc can bring. This 4th-series 1750 had a couple of strikes against it. Strike one was its lack of performance (this is a heavy car with a top speed of 55 mph) and the fact that it was unsupercharged. While the 1750 engine is in and of itself one of the benchmark motors of all time, the enhancement of a blower combined with the ruggedness of the Jano-designed power plant, gives it a desirability among collectors which the unblown version can't match. Strike two was the coachwork. Handsome enough in traditional spider style with dual spares out back and the typical Alfa crowned fenders, the body is thought to have been crafted by Castagna but nothing conclusive on the car, such as a maker's plate, could confirm this. In 1990, when the car was auctioned by its then-owner, a Swiss citizen, at Monaco, it was described unqualifiedly as a Castagna-bodied car. The Lassiter auction catalog didn't go that far. The experts from Christie's would only say that they believed it was a Castagna but had no documentary evidence to support this assertion.
This is a situation where it would be nice if the major auction houses like Christie's would invoke the descriptions they use for unattributed artwork. After all, what's wrong with saying that the body was "In the style of Castagna" or "From the school of Castagna?" Prior to its Swiss ownership, the car came from South America and who is to say that the coachwork wasn't originally or secondarily by "Castagna" of Buenos Aires?
Mechanically, the car should be as new in view of all of the work carried out on it during Bill Lassiter's ownership. That, and the minuscule mileage after its restoration positions this 6C in the category of a relative bargain for a thoroughbred Alfa-one of only 372 ever produced in this series and marketed over a three year span. The restoration work done on this Alfa so far could easily exceed the purchase price. If the new owner can be content to get along without a supercharger and a coachbuilder's badge, this car could be considered a shrewd buy for those among us who prefer driving these cars rather than using them to collect tin pots and other hardware. This purchase is sort of like paying for the restoration and getting the car for free. If you love classic cars and looking to buy one, you may visit sites like https://www.listedbuy.com/cars/classics/texas
to see more options.