In the mid-1920s, the Vittorio Jano began work on the high-performance 6C (sei cilindri); the car that would become arguably the most significant model in Alfa Romeo’s history. With respect to the earlier RL and RM models, it was the 6C that dramatically sharpened Alfa Romeo’s focus on light weight, excellent handling and high power output. The spirit of Jano’s brilliant 6C is found in nearly every production Alfa Romeo through today. Production of the 6C began in early 1927, as the single overhead cam-equipped 1500 Normale. Jano quickly followed that up with the Sport model, featuring a new twin-cam cylinder head. The new model, known as the 6C 1500 Sport was an instant success. The 1500 Mille Miglia Speciale of 1928, saw the first application of a Roots-type supercharger on the twin-cam engine. By 1929 Alfa Romeo refined the formula even further for the 3rd series with a bump in displacement to 1750c.c. Along with the larger engine; the car was also thoroughly refined to improve build quality, handling and braking. As before, clients could opt for the single cam Touring model, Twin Cam Sport or the supercharged Super Sport. The Grand Sport and Grand Turismo models would follow later in the 1930s. But for 1929, it was the potent 6C Super Sport that became the tool of choice for privateer racers. The shortened chassis, supercharger and lightweight coachwork made for an extremely capable machine that proved itself in grueling events such as the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio. It was Giuseppe Campari with his 6C 1750 Super Sport that gave Alfa Romeo an overall win in the 1929 Mille Miglia. The balance of outright speed, reliability and ease of service made the 6C 1750 SS the perfect choice for serious competitors, and its racing exploits along earned it the legendary status it enjoys today.
We are very pleased to offer this stunning 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS, chassis number 0312901. Built during the 3rd series of 6C production, this is one of just 121 series 3 cars produced, and one of just a handful of known survivors. While details of the earliest history have been lost to time, various records and expert opinions compiled by the likes of noted author and Alfa Romeo historian Simon Moore help us paint a picture of its story. Historical archives in Milan show no record of the car registered in the city, so it was likely delivered elsewhere in Italy, most likely fitted with sparse torpedo roadster coachwork. We know that by the early 1930s the car would appear in England where it was believed to have been updated with the coachwork it wears today, though Angela Cherrett, a highly respected marque historian, shows no records of the car in England prior to that, so it likely changed hands early in its life and came to England in the early part of the 1930s.
John de Boer, also a highly respected marque historian believes S/N 0312901 was likely delivered with sporting “torpedo” coachwork as several examples close to this serial number were similarly bodied. It is understood by both Moore and de Boer that the car’s sparse original coachwork was updated in about 1935 when its then-owner saw Alfa’s magnificent new 8C 2900 on the stand at the London Motor Show. He commissioned a body inspired by the big 8C, but one that retained its own unique character. Constructed in steel and without doors, the sleek and stylish coachwork was built for fast road use rather than outright competition, as doors were generally required for full competition use at the time.
Ultimately, this unique Alfa Romeo would spend nearly six decades in South Africa in the hands of the late Dr. Hugh Gearing, a passionate Alfa Romeo collector and enthusiast. As Dr. Gearing was able to discern, in 1936, shortly after receiving its striking new coachwork, the 6C was exported to South Africa with then-owner Lex Williamson. Williamson sold the car to Paul Fatti of Fatti Engineering in Johannesburg. As Dr. Gearing’s son recalls, “Dad bought the car from Paul Fatti in Johannesburg in 1950. It was stripped down to a bare chassis, but very complete. He (Hugh Gearing) rebuilt it and used it extensively when his 8C2600 was not in use…” Dr. Gearing would continue to cherish and enjoy the Alfa 6C regularly throughout South Africa for the next sixty years. As a founding member of the Historic Racing Car Register, Gearing and his 6C were a regular sight at picnics, hillclimbs and classic car events throughout South Africa. The Alfa remained very original throughout Gearing’s time with it, with the only real mishap occurring when the original supercharger sustained some damage during an event in the 1960s. A Marshall Cabin Blower was fitted in its place, but thankfully, Gearing was wise enough to save the original. In the 1980s, the Alfa was refreshed and continued to be enjoyed regularly by the Gearing family; even performing a few laps of Kyalami Circuit for a Pirelli promotional event with Juan Manuel Fangio at the wheel.
Following Dr. Gearing’s passing, the Alfa Romeo 6C made its way to the United States where it would soon join a diverse collection of important automobiles in 2012. A comprehensive restoration was commissioned, with the body and chassis carefully stripped and resprayed in a deep gloss black, along with matching black wire wheels. The comprehensive mechanical restoration which included rebuilding the original, numbers matching engine, was handled by Charlie Webb of Automotive Restorations in Connecticut in 2013. At the same time, the cockpit was restored in the beautiful brick-colored heavy-grained leather it wears today. The original supercharger was rebuilt by D.L. George of Philadelphia and refitted using the 1931-dated Mimini carburetor that has been with the car for many years. During the restoration, the Alfa was personally inspected by John de Boer who noted the engine, supercharger, front & rear axles, and steering box were all within the expected number range for this chassis. He also noted that while the gearbox was from a slightly different series, it is the unit that was with the car when Hugh Gearing purchased it, meaning it was likely fitted prior to World War II.
This striking and thoroughly unique Alfa Romeo presents in gorgeous, concours quality condition today. Sitting low and lean, the rich black paintwork suits the character of the car beautifully. The quality is first rate and the driving experience an absolute joy, with electrifying performance courtesy of the jewel-like supercharged inline-six and fully sorted chassis. Following its restoration, S/N 0312901 has been shown at prestigious events such as the Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach, and The Elegance at Hershey in Pennsylvania and the Boston Cup Concours in 2017 where it was awarded first in class. It remains absolutely crisp and well suited for duty on the concours lawn, yet is equally fit for events such as the Colorado Grand or Copperstate 1000. It is also FIVA certified (#047398), making it eligible for numerous driving events worldwide. Beautifully presented, it benefits from a fascinating history, compiled and vetted by respected historians. This truly unique Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Super Sport is certain to turn heads today just as it did for all those years in the care of Dr. Gearing.