1952 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Villa d’Este Cabriolet

Hand-built and extremely rare, it’s the last example of the kind of cars that made the company’s reputation between the wars

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In 1935, Alfa Romeo introduced a new model, the 6C 2300B. Once again, the work of the great Vittorio Jano was to take Alfa Romeo in a new direction by offering one of the first cars available with fully independent suspension-pure racing technology from the current Grand Prix car.

The influence of this engineer cannot be over-estimated, and his superb work was still being used on Alfa production cars into the early 1950s, long after his departure from the company. Felice Bianchi Anderloni was head of the testing department at Isotta Fraschini. Through a temporary stake from Cesare Isotta and the brothers Fraschini, in 1927 he was able to buy a coachbuilding company, Carrozzeria Falco, which became Carrozzeria Touring of Milan.

He knew the enemy of performance was weight and was determined to deal with the legacy of weight that stemmed from the wood-framed horse carriages of the past. Felice had an idea he had developed from his interest in aircraft construction, a semi-rigid system of stretching aluminum panels over light steel tubes. By 1937, Anderloni’s perfected system required a patent, which was secured in the name of Superleggera by Touring of Milan.

At the end of the war, Alfa Romeo’s factories had largely been reduced to rubble and they had lost over two-thirds of their production equipment. By 1947, car construction slowly restarted with the prewar 1939 6C 2500 series. Still hand-built on an order for order basis, the factory offered the Freccia d’Oro coupe, and as usual, customers could order their coachwork from a host of Italian and European firms.

The model range included Turismo, Gran Turismo, and Sport on the long chassis and Super Sport and Corsa on the short chassis. The final development of the 2500 Super Sport engine for the road offered 110 hp.

The magnificent Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como dates from 1568. By 1925, the ownership passed into the hands of the Municipality of Como, which turned it into a magnificent hotel. In 1929, the first major concours d’elegance for automobiles was held in the surrounds of the hotel. Touring showed a new coupe there in 1949, executed on the 6C 2500 Super Sport, and received the Gran Premio Referendum (People’s Choice). Since that day, this design has been designated “Villa d’Este.” Just 36 cars in total were made, all coupes except for four cabriolets on the long wheelbase and one short-wheelbase cabriolet.

This 1952 6C 2500 Villa d’Este is one of the last of the series, a long-wheelbase cabriolet from 1952 and has a documented provenance from new, with five U.S. owners, the first of which took delivery in Europe. The present keeper purchased the car in 1997, and that same year a lengthy and detailed restoration was undertaken by Eric Rosenall of Ramona, California.