1,752cc DOHC Supercharged Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Single Dual-Throat Memini Carburetor
85bhp at 4,500rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*A very fine example of the legendary 6C 1750 Zagato Spider
*Excellent authenticity with original body, engine and driveline
*Known ownership history from new
*Early Swiss Racing History
*Mille Miglia Eligible
THE ALFA ROMEO 6C 1750
'The 1750, and for that matter the 1500... must be among the finest ever made both from the point of view of engineering and driver satisfaction' - Michael Frostick, Alfa Romeo-Milano.
It was in 1923 that Enzo Ferrari, persuaded Vittorio Jano to leave FIAT's racing department and join him at Alfa Romeo. One of the most gifted and influential automobile engineers of all time, Jano would not only supervise Alfa Romeo's Grand Prix racing program but also design its road cars. This happy state of affairs resulted in the latter emerging as some of the most exciting of their day, establishing the Milanese marque's reputation for producing sporting driver's cars second to none. A logical derivative of the Tipo 6C 1500, itself directly descended from Jano's all-conquering P2 that had won the World Championship in 1925, the Tipo 6C 1750 arrived in 1929 boasting a derivative of the 1500's six-cylinder engine, enlarged to 1,752cc. Built in single-cam Turismo and twin-cam Sport (later renamed Gran Turismo) variants, the 6C 1750 was an exciting fast sports car combining lightweight with sparkling performance. The chassis, also a product of Jano's thoughts applied to a clean sheet of paper, was low and lightweight, featuring semi-elliptical springs that passed through the front axle. The 6C 1750 would go on to be victorious over much larger and more powerful machinery, the triumph of balance, quickness and almost thought-control responsiveness over ponderous leviathans.
The 1750's sporting career, aided by its mechanical longevity, extended far beyond its production, amassing countless wins, including 1-2-3 finishes in the Mille Miglia, and top results at Targa Florio, the Tourist Trophy and Spa 24 Hours in 1930. Nuvolari, Marinoni, Campari and Varzi all recorded successes in Vittorio Jano's "light car" and the model is, quite simply, a legend.
ZAGATO AND ALFA ROMEO
Now in its 98th year, Zagato has rightfully earned its existence as one of very few surviving coachbuilding houses. That it has persisted where others did not can almost certainly be attributed to the fact that its designs have always been fresh, different and of the very finest quality. And in what may be the ultimate expression of life imitating art, even today, founder Ugo Zagato's name sounds exciting, edgy and modern. Pioneering designs such as the solution to increasing localized head room by creating twin roof bulges brought the expression 'Double Bubble' into existence, a rare example of the coachbuilder creating a hallmark that extends beyond the car brand.
While other houses also created incredible designs for various car manufacturers, frequently in today's collector car market it is the combination of Zagato with the brand that is most prized. It is never more so than when one considers pre-war Alfa Romeos and particularly the 1750.
Amazingly, the company was in its relative incubation when these coveted cars were built, and similarly to Gabriel Voisin, Zagato's skills had been acquired while building fighter aircraft for the Italian Air Force. In transferring these principles to road going machinery, he created automobile bodies that were as light as they were beautiful.
His attention to detail was legendary, his bodies were costly, and when a wealthy Milanese family took Zagato to court on the grounds that their son had been "mad" to order a "shockingly expensive" Zagato-bodied 8C2300 Alfa, the judge rejected their claim on the grounds that "the search for beauty is a most normal thing in a man".
Zagato's painstaking approach was highly appreciated by the top drivers of the 1920s, and his circle of friends included Giuseppe Campari, Baconin Borzacchini, Giulio Ramponi... and most notably Enzo Ferrari, who would very clearly link his Alfa successes to Zagato. He recalled in later years: "think of how much motoring history was made in those Zagato spiders, first on the RL, then on the 1500 and 1750. It was a glorious series, the fruit of an avant-garde mechanism and a brilliant improvisation that lasted for years and brought so many victories."
As Alfa Romeo refined their 6C 1750 with systematic improvements in new series, similarly Zagato raised his game with refinements in the details and design. Today, it is generally accepted that the zenith for both was the 5th Series, before the chassis became a little more substantial.
Close inspection of a pure unfettered Zagato body, such as on this car, shows just how beautifully crafted they were, with lightness and aerodynamic fluidity incorporated into every aspect from headlight mounts to the intricate windshield, to the sleek way in which the top mechanism rests - they are truly exquisite and this is rarely better evidenced than on this immaculately presented example.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
This beautiful Alfa Romeo is one of very few that can claim a known ownership chain and highly coveted degree of authenticity throughout. A sister car to the Baron Philippe de Gunzbourg car sold here at Bonhams Scottsdale auction in 2014 this is just two chassis numbers along from that car.
The car is well known in American Alfa circles, being owned for more than 4 decades by enthusiast Grant White of Salt Lake City, Utah, who acquired it in 1962. Its history prior to arrival in this country is also unusually succinct.
When new, the 6C is understood to have been sold to Gustav Eisenmann of Biberist. As late as the 1950s it still wore his own Automobile Club of Switzerland plaque under its hood, as well as an additional Swiss Registration plaque for the jurisdiction he was domiciled in – Kanton-Solothurn, the latter which lists both chassis and engine numbers remains with the car to this day. Eisenmann was a successful paper manufacturer in his local town, and to this day a street carries his name in Biberist.
Its next owner was Paul D. Leuch, who acquired her in 1956. Writing to Grant White in 2003, Leuch fondly recalled owning the 1750 and seeing it in use at a sprint in Dubendorf in Switzerland in 1954 when owned by Aldo Minoretti. It is quite possible that this was the selfsame car that Mr. Minoretti campaigned at the Elren Grand Prix in August 1948, coming 3rd.
Mr. Leuch recalled purchasing the Alfa, and painting it from its former pale blue to the red color it has remained in ever since, and supplied a photo of it with his Alfa '2.3' in Zurich in 1955. By then it already sported 'wind wings' on the side of its windshield another distinctive feature which it retains to this day. From Leuch it passed to Robert Hamil, who brought the car to California in 1959.
Summarizing, its early known history is:
1931 Gustav Eisenmann of Biberist, Switzerland
1947 Aldo Minoretti, Dubendorf, Switzerland
1955 Paul D. Leuch, Zurich
1959 Robert Hamil, California
1962 Grant White
Over the course of Mr. White's ownership it became clear that it would need a restoration and this work was carried out in the mid-1980s. The car was a source of great pride for Mr. White for its originality and he was frequently consulted by people during the restoration of their similar cars.
This exceptional 1750 retains its full set of mechanical component numbers which are in sequence with the accepted brackets for the production of these cars and their close proximity suggests little doubt that they have been together from new. More importantly, its bodywork is also known to be original and correct, with a number of its trim pieces stamped. A particularly nice feature are the original door panel trims which were removed during the White refurbishment, but come with it.
Passing into British ownership in 2003, it was acquired 2 years later by the current owner, a knowledgeable and passionate collector. In their decade or more of ownership it has been regularly rallied and toured. In the last few years it was serviced by the well-known British preparers SPB Historics. In the present ownership a FIVA Passport was applied for and granted.
One of the definitive sporting cars of all time, the Alfa Romeo Grand Sport Zagato owns its crown for its nimble spritely chassis which makes for its hugely enjoyable road going performance. Naturally, these cars are eligible for the Mille Miglia Storica retrospective, and every other event conducted on those parameters, such as the California Mille, Colorado Grand etc.
Commonly regarded as one of the best of the best of these cars, this beautiful Alfa Romeo is highly recommended.