The 'modello esclusivo' 6C-2500 Alfa Romeo Sport Cabriolet was designed by Mario Felice Boano in 1947. This is the last of four unique Art Deco convertibles, only two of which survive.
This stylish Cabriolet is fully restored and duly won the Gentleman's Sports Car class at the Villa d'Este Concours d'Elegance in 2012. Perhaps it was fate because 65 years prior a sister car won the Coppa d'Oro e l'Artistica Cerbiatta as a brand new design in 1947. With such credentials it is little wonder, this cabriolet was featured in the January 2013 issue of Ruoteclassiche magazine, in an extensive layout entitled "Un ballo in Maschera"- A Masked Ball.
The six-cylinder Alfa Romeo 6C model had a heritage spanning 25 years, evolving from the Vintage era 6C-1500 of 1927 to the 6C-2500 Freccia d'Oro, which finally ceased production in 1952. The Alfa Romeo marque can justifiably boast legendary status and a seat on the high table of automotive manufacturers. The company survived the war, even if though bombing in 1944 destroyed the Portello factory. Thankfully, the tooling and moulds had been preserved, and production resumed in 1946, after the 8,000 workers had rebuilt the plant. At that time the 6C-2500 was the most expensive car you could buy in Italy, and while most were bodied by Touring of Milan, other coachbuilders were employed to create individual statements.
This car is one of the exceptional, and exceptionally rare, models which fall into this exclusive category. Mario Felice Boano had taken over Carrozzeria Ghia after Giacinto Ghia died in 1944. The Ghia factory had also been bombed in 1943, and later rebuilt. All four Boano cabriolets differ in detail, but are notable for the superior quality of their construction. This is the last of the four to be built and the only one in Europe. One was destroyed, one was unrecognizably remodeled, and the other resides in Japan.
This 'matching numbers' Ghia cabriolet is fitted with a 2,443cc, double-overhead cam, six-cylinder engine, designed by the legendary Vittorio Jano. With an aluminium head and cast iron block, the engine generates a torquey 95 bhp, and powers the car to almost 100 mph (160 kph). The four-speed manual transmission is operated by a column shift.
Boano's design remains arresting, 65 years later. The aluminium body is precisely fitted over a frame of small steel tubes, drilled to save weight. The whole structure is extremely stiff to prevent flexing and the door latches are especially designed to close securely. The swooping front wings follow a long trailing line from above the faired-in headlights, down to the three-piece rear bumper. The six-piece stainless steel front bumper forms part of the grille, and small intakes are grouped above it in a design that would not look out of place six or seven years later. The car can readily be identified by its Alfa Romeo badge, but the company's signature shield-shaped grille is nowhere to be seen in the smooth aerodynamic nose.
All four cars were apparently delivered to Rome, where this one was sold in 1949. The original license plate was 'ROMA 118253'. The car disappeared, possibly in long-term ownership, for 21 years. Then, in 1970, it was spotted at a dealership by the name of Barberini. Renowned experts Quality Cars of Padova restored the cabriolet in its original pearl grey colour, with dark red leather interior, ten years ago. The dash is painted dark red to compliment the leather trim and the large gauges are also colour matched to the interior.
The interior is simply spectacular, finished with perfectly fitting panels and trim and superb plated brass accents. The beautifully ribbed steering wheel would not look out of place on a 1950s Motorama concept – a reminder of the strong ties between Ghia and Chrysler and the 17 dream cars that still draw admirers at Concours d'Elegance everywhere. Externally, the car is elegantly understated to emphasize the curves of the bodywork, with unobtrusive faired-in tail lights and semaphore turn signals on the sides. The glass headlight covers are hand-made and curved into the fender lines.
Still in immaculate condition, and in a mechanical state to match, this Italian registered, FIVA certified Art Deco Alfa Romeo cabriolet is guaranteed to draw a crowd wherever it is shown, to say nothing of the pleasure in driving it to the most exclusive automotive venues in the world, at which it will be welcome.