1953 Alfa Romeo 1900 Corto Gara Stradale Coupe by Touring

Courtesy of Bonhams

The example offered here is one of 11 Corto Gara (Short, Competition) models built, of which only three were Stradale (road-going) versions like this car. Only two of the Stradale models survive (this car and chassis 01361), with chassis 01047 being the sole surviving Corto Gara. All were supplied with an up-rated engine.

Built exclusively for racing, the lightweight Corto Gara models boasted a split windscreen, Plexiglas rear windows, a special dashboard and a fixed boot lid. The bumpers were deleted. There were, of course, numerous more minor differences in addition. The better-equipped Corto Gara Stradale featured tubular bumpers, lightweight door panels, Plexiglas windows, an abbreviated boot lid, and a cockpit air extractor.

According to the Centro Documentazione Alfa Romeo, chassis 01420 was completed on July 22, 1953, and originally finished in Grigio/Azzuro (Gray/Blue). The car was delivered new to Tessiture Italiane Seriche SpA of Milan, and subsequently was sold to a Mr. Detwiller in Switzerland, who in turn sold it on to Sweden. Chassis 01420 was still in Sweden when it was discovered — in barn-find condition and minus its original engine — by the well-known German racing driver Hans-Joachim Rössing. Mr. Rossing continued to race his other 1900 coupe but left chassis 01420 unrestored.

While racing, he met fellow competitor Elviro Mario Govoni, who bought chassis 01420 from him in 1989, although the car’s restoration did not begin until 1993. Officina Gamberini of Bologna, Italy, tuned the engine, which is of period-correct type, while the bodywork was entrusted to Mario Galbiati. It was at Galbiati’s workshop that the previous owner first saw the Alfa Romeo and fell in love with it, purchasing the car from Mr. Govoni a few months later.

Chassis 01420 remained in France, unfinished, until 2007, when it was sent to Italy for completion by some of the country’s foremost specialists, a process that would take the next three years.