The U.S. distributor of Millenove: Alfa Romeo 1900 has made arrangements with the author H.-J. Döhren and is now offering the book at a discount price. Readers can order the book for $120, which includes shipping inside the U.S. (The book retails for $169.) Supply is very limited. Place your order by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read our review of Millenove from the July issue of SCM below.
Millenove: Alfa Romeo 1900 by H.-J. Döhren, Alfapoint, 320 pages, $169.00
I’ve come to the conclusion that Alfa Romeo people are a little like gun owners. They appreciate the beauty and mechanical wonders — but have a hard time accepting the flaws in the program as well. Their love for the object is fierce, passionate and unrelenting. That passion guarantees a market for books about Alfas. I’m sure the Alfisti have awaited the release of H.-J. Döhren’s Millenove with the anticipation of a 6-year-old on Christmas morning.
The 1900 was the car that saved Alfa, transforming the company from a hand-built specialty and racing shop into a full-fledged factory that built mass-market cars after World War II. That first factory was designed by American engineers to bring production-line techniques to the small company, and the 1900 sedan was the first car built on the line.
The 1900 was arguably one of the first mass-produced sport sedans, with Alfa’s racing heritage in evidence in the new car, which sported the signature Alfa double overhead cam, 4-cylinder engine, good handling and peppy 100-horsepower performance.
But let’s be honest, it was homely. Production began in 1950, and for the first several years the factory churned out slight variations, won fans and saloon races. Alfa refined the car over time and introduced coupe versions.
But the 1900 took off in 1953 when Alfa gave redesign opportunities to a long list of coachbuilders and designers.
Bertone, B.A.T., Ghia, Pininfarina and Zagato took the 1900 from bland to beautiful, creating a rich legacy of really elegant sports sedans, coupes and Spiders.
It’s those designs, those cars, that fill the bulk of Millenove. The book highlights page after page of elegant 1950s Alfas from the finest designers of the generation. It’s a nice trip, from bland to beautiful, and Millenove is a great roadmap.
H.-J. Dohren is an Alfa Romeo fan, first and foremost, and his exhaustive, thorough research is in evidence throughout Millenove.
Fit and finish: ***
Split text (the original German and English) creates some challenging design choices and it isn’t always successful. That said, the images are lovely and the print quality is high.
Two things to keep in mind: the original text was written in German, and the prose came from a fan, not a writer. So reading at times devolves to deciphering the text. But you aren’t going to put Millenove on your bookshelf for the deathless prose. You are going to put it on your lap and devour the images. Many of the photos are from the great coachbuilders, who transformed an ugly duckling into a whole flock of beautiful swans.
Reviewer: Mark Wigginton