Any time a dolled-up 6C 2300 with a short chassis sells for less then 200 grand, something stinks-and it's usually the car

Carrozzeria Touring of Milan developed and patented Superleggera body construction, working with light alloys and sparingly dimensioned components to lay up aluminum panels over a cage-like steel frame. The earliest of these bodies ever made included those for Alfa Romeo's 6C 2300B chassis in 1937.
The 6C 2500 was introduced as a follow up in 1939, with this beautiful Torpedino Brescia-style bodywork appearing in summer of that year. Touring originally gave this name to the identical type of bodywork found on an Auto-Avio-Construzioni type 815 chassis. Indeed, two cars of this type took part in the Targa Abruzzo race of that year, with one example winning the competition.
Using the 1938 6C 2300B Mille Miglia 2nd series in shorter form, the car on offer here has recently had its engine completely rebuilt by Chris Leydon of Lahaska, PA, at a cost of $36,803. With full photo and written documentation, it was completed with three-port 6C 2500 cylinder head with correct triple-Weber 36 DCO 2 carburetors and air cleaners, together with a new set of Carillo rods. Engine output is understood to be 110 hp from a 2nd series 1935 6C 2300B short-chassis example.
FIA papers have now been applied for, anticipating enjoyment of this car to the fullest in continental events. It is described as good in all respects and ready to use.

{analysis} This 1938 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B sold for $179,904 at Bonhams' London sale, held Dec. 6, 2004.
Let us get right to the point. Just as a Pontiac Tempest rebadged as a GTO is a fake, and a 383-ci 'Cuda with a Hemi stuffed in it is a clone, this car is a complete fakey-doo.
We've watched it cross the block at three auctions now, and each auction company has danced neatly around the central issue. The basic engine from this car originated in a sedan, the chassis probably the same, subsequently shortened by someone who is never named, and the coachwork is a fairly recent creation of by someone who spent too much time staring at real cars in the Alfa Romeo Museum.
Result? At best, a recently-built speciale. At worst, a fraud.
As collectors become more sophisticated, if auction companies wish to retain their trust, it is recumbent upon them to simply tell it like it is when it comes to the merchandise they are offering. Oddly enough, American auction companies are taking the lead here, with clear statements of "non-numbers matching," "recreation" and "clone" becoming ever more prevalent in the lead line of auction company descriptions.
As a demonstration of the pitfalls of non-disclosure, our Editor Martin recalls his experiences with S/N 815022: "Back in my buying and selling days, I got offered this car when it had just been finished and was part of a Swedish collection. What stuck in my mind was the Model T taillight treatment, jarring compared to the voluptuousness of the rest of its lines.
"At that time, it was described to me as a total fabrication using a modified Alfa sedan chassis and engine, and clothed in freshly-made coachwork. I don't recall what the asking price was.
"It later reappeared at a World Classic Auction at Blackhawk, sitting in their Expo tent, Model T taillights glaring balefully at potential buyers.
"A couple of years later, I was at a private reception in Florida, and lo and behold, there was 815022. The proud owner asked me what I thought of the car, and I told him it was very shiny. The next day, he asked for more information, and I used the data in the back of the Fusi book to show him the pedestrian origins of the chassis and engine. He was not happy to know that instead of a fabled 6C 2300MM, that instead he had a fakey-doo, and immediately consigned it to the 2002 RM Biltmore sale.
"To RM's credit, its catalog clearly stated that 815022 is 'bodied in the Torpedino Brescia style,' and that the engine is fitted with a three-port cylinder head from a 6C 2500. The car sold for $151,800.
"Later, it was offered at the February 2004 Christie's Retromobile sale, where it was carefully described as 'a stylish and evocative restoration,' but remained unsold at $165,474.
"Then we come to the December 2004 Bonhams London sale. Nowhere in the catalog description is there any reference to the coachwork being non-authentic. I only hope that the new owner knew exactly what he was bidding on, and doesn't discover by reading this."
What should make any astute buyer most suspicious of this car is its body. It is likely that in the period any short chassis would have had a beautiful, aquiline body built by one of dozens of coachbuilders. If this car started its life as a short chassis, it must have had a unique and sporting body. Yet it is clear that the metal it wears now is a rebody.
Though the work is very good, the form misses by a country mile. Imagine the cheerleader whose looks drove you wild in high school. Now you see her 20 years later-with an extra 20 pounds in the wrong places.
It is also strange that there is nothing mentioned in the catalog description of past history, no name of the first owner, absolutely nothing but the name of the recent engine builder-who we are sure did an excellent job. Add to this the fact that the car has a 6C 2500 head, a much easier item to find then a real one from a 2300, and the case is as good as closed.
Or maybe we are wrong, and may the Lord and the new owner forgive us if we are. But our accusations aside, the market has spoken, loud and clear. Any time a dolled-up 6C 2300 with a short chassis sells for less then 200 grand, something stinks-and it's usually the car.
But let us take a look at the 1938 6C 2300B itself, not as an example in authenticity but as its sits, a nice and shiny speciale with 110-plus ponies under the hood. Could this buyer be a smart guy who knows that for a relatively modest amount of money, he bought a nice Franken-Alfa that he can enjoy in many events? If that's the case, I wish him happy motoring.
(Historical and descriptive information courtesy of the auction company.){/analysis}

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