The steerinThe steering is precise, the brakes are excellent for the era, and the handling as good as it gets for an early '30s car

The 1750 Gran Sport is regarded as one of the finest sports racing cars of its time and its race record is nothing short of legendary, with numerous wins in the Mille Miglia, Tourist Trophy and other races coming at the hands of such famed drivers as Nuvolari, Campari and Varzi.

This sixth series supercharged model of 1933 was the most powerful 1750 of the series with some 85 hp at 4,400 rpm. It was capable of reaching 145 kph. Modifications common to all sixth-series cars were boxed chassis frames of all-welded construction, synchromesh gearbox with freewheel device, telecontrol shock absorbers and three-spoke steering wheels.

Based upon the chassis sequence, this is the 18th of 44 built. Early history for this car is currently not confirmed, although it is believed that Major Ayers of England purchased the car new. The next known owner was Henry Harrison, brother of renowned car collector Bob Harrison, who kept the car for some twenty years. On his passing in 1987, the Alfa was acquired from his estate by Mr. Charles Mallory, himself a well-respected collector from Connecticut. The car was then sold to a collector by the name of David Van Schaick, of Pennsylvania, from whom the current owner purchased it about six or seven years ago.

The Tipo 6C 1750 was subject to a superbly detailed restoration to the very highest concours standard. The Alfa Romeo is said to run and drive extremely well, as it was mechanically rebuilt with a view to participating in long distance events such as the Mille Miglia. The engine was rebuilt with new Carillo rods, as original ones are known to be weak in design. The crankshaft and camshafts were re-ground, new-old-stock tappets were sourced, and new pistons were fitted. The supercharger was rebuilt with new bearings. The original Memini carburetor was overhauled and an electric fan was fitted as a consent to modern driving conditions. The original coachwork has been fully restored, but retains the "Monza cowl" which is thought to have been fitted in the 1950s. The coachwork also has a fin over the twin spare wheels to give the car an 8C look.

The Alfa has been driven only 50 miles since the rebuild and has been shown just three times: at Pebble Beach in 1999, where it took a third in its class; at the Greenwich Concours, where it won Best In Class and was voted most exotic Italian car; and at a recent Hershey event where it won a Junior First Place award from the Antique Automobile Club of America.

With matching numbers, uncomplicated history, much sought-after Touring coachwork, sixth series refinements, and the aforementioned restoration, this example has all of the best ingredients. These supercharged Alfa Romeos are highly eligible for vintage events around the world and justifiably rank very high among pre-war sports cars.

{analysis} This Supercharged Gran Sport Spyder sold for $436,500, including buyer's commission, at the Christie's New York sale on June 5, 2003. Though this car found a new home for less than the auction company's optimistic estimate of $450,000-$550,000, the price was consistent with current market values.

The sixth-series Gran Sport cars could really be considered the "last gasp" of the small capacity supercharged sports cars from Alfa Romeo. As the Depression started to bite hard in Europe, the firm was trying to move towards more economic production methods. This resulted in changes like the chassis being fully welded, rather than the traditional and more expensive flanged and bolted construction of the preceding series. The front and rear track were both widened a bit-again, probably to save money by making components more common to other production models. Even so, these cars were expensive to build and fewer than 50 were constructed.

By this time, Alfa had embraced Touring as the body manufacturer of choice-only some four chassis in this sixth series carried the more traditional Zagato configuration. Another new departure was the use of a synchromesh gearbox and the introduction of a freewheel on the output shaft, a system soon to be found on more mundane Alfas. The engine, however, was essentially the same as for the fourth and fifth series 6Cs, a direct descendent of the 1500-cc engine that powered the first 6Cs in 1927.

To drive one of these cars is a pleasurable surprise. The steering is precise, the brakes are excellent for the era, and the handling as good as it gets for an early '30s car. Alfa has always had a reputation for making cars that are fun to drive, and we can see from this car just how ingrained that is in their manufacturing culture.

The early history of this Tipo 6C 1750 is uncertain, which is unfortunate. What we're looking for here is the answer to a simple question: Did it race? This has become crucial to the value of such cars, because so many Alfas did well in the Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, and other races of the era. With a documented racing provenance, this Alfa might be worth $100,000 more.

However, this Gran Sport Spyder is a fine numbers-matching example of its type, even if the "Alfa Red" chosen in the restoration was a bit on the bright side for my taste. Though 1750 prices have been a little soft recently, I'd call this one well bought and well sold. -Keith Duly{/analysis}

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