1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sport
1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sport
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Few road cars have a racing pedigree to match the incomparable Alfa Romeo 6C. After being lured away from Fiat by Alfa Romeo racing team member Enzo Ferrari, brilliant engineer Vittorio Jano conceived of the 6C 1500’s lightweight, high-performance 1,487-cubic-centimeter, in-line, six-cylinder engine in 1925, deriving it from the legendary 1,987-cubic-centimeter eight-cylinder in the Alfa Romeo P2 racer. Production of the 6C 1500 started in 1927, even as Jano continued refining the engine, incorporating double-overhead camshafts the following year—a first for an Alfa Romeo production car. Constant development and improvements continued, leading to the release of the larger displacement 6C 1750 in 1929. With a top speed of 95 mph, these 6Cs won every major racing event they entered, including the Mille Miglia and Brooklands Double Twelve.
A small-production 1900 transitional model was released in 1933—with some examples featuring all-new aluminum cylinder heads, some aluminum blocks—and the 2300 came out just a year later as an alternative to its big brother the 8C 2300. In 1935, Alfa Romeo unveiled a 6C 2300B model with a redesigned chassis, independent front suspension, hydraulic brakes, and a rear swing-axle. The final version of the 6C, the 2500, debuted in 1938 and continued in production until 1952.
THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA
The post-war Alfa Romeo bodies are decidedly more modern in design than their celebrated predecessors of the 1920s and ‘30s. Gone are the romantic running boards, side-mounted spares, and swoopy fenders that so defined that era. Jano helped design Alfa Romeo’s Aerodinamica Spider prototype in 1935 on a 6C 2300 chassis; it incorporated a more streamlined envelope or “ponton” body that became popular by the 1940s. Pinin Farina’s 1946 Cisitalia 202 coupe had a huge impact on post-war automobile design, where the grille, headlights, hood, fenders, and body seamlessly incorporate into one elegant, unbroken form, each element flowing into the other naturally.
Pinin Farina’s design for the 1949 6C 2500 offered here follows those styling ideals, producing a graceful, elegant, sporty, and somewhat masculine body, finished with restrained use of chrome and other ornamentation. The one generational holdover—now a classic symbol of both production and racing Alfa Romeos of the period and still used by the marque today—is the distinctive vertical grille. Its implementation on the 6C 2500 has a more modern feel, with stylish horizontal vents on either side. The 6Cs of this period were expensive and much sought after by an international group of celebrated sportsmen, playboys, Hollywood stars, counts, kings, princes, heads of state, and discerning individuals who admired its intoxicating blend of style and performance.
This right-hand-drive example rides on the desirable, shorter “SS,” or Super Sport, chassis with a 106.3-inch wheelbase—the most powerful and sought-after configuration offered at the time.
Delivered new to its first owner in Rome, Italy on 30 December 1949, it is understood to have remained in its home country until the 2000s. Fully restored prior to entering the Gene Ponder Collection in 2019, the car features a vivid red paint job, an elegant tobacco brown leather interior, wood-rimmed steering wheel, refinished Veglia gauges, sporty Borrani wire wheels, and a period-correct spare. Following Mr. Ponder’s acquisition, bumpers—absent at the time of his purchase—were painstakingly and accurately replicated, chromed, and fitted to the car.
Beneath its hood is the excellent, Jano-designed, dual-overhead-cam inline-six confirmed to be numbers-matching, as per accompanying Alfa Romeo historical documentation. Mated to a four-speed synchromesh gearbox and producing a claimed 110 horsepower, it is capable of propelling the car to a top speed of just under 100 mph. In 2019, the car benefitted from an overhaul of its triple Weber carburetors.
The 6C 2500 was the end of an era for Alfa Romeo, and this 1949 Super Sport Cabriolet by Pinin Farina is an excellent example of one of the most distinctive cars of the period. This rare classic will show beautifully at any concours d’elegance and has great potential for vintage tours and rallies. Whatever the setting, it will immediately transport your imagination to the Amalfi Coast or perhaps the French Riviera.