Alfa Romeo's racing heritage and competition success date back to the early 20th century and predate many of Europe's greatest sports car builders. After the First World War, Alfa was building good, reliable production cars but lacked the expertise to design successful racing machinery, so a scheme was hatched to hire the engineer responsible for Fiat's Grand Prix racing cars, Vittorio Jano. With the 6C 1500 as base engineer Vittorio Jano set out to design a new car for 1929. At the 1929 Rome motorshow, the new car was launched. After its 1752 cc 'six' engine, it was dubbed 6C 1750.
Adept on both road and racing circuits, the powerplant proved reliable and powerful, offering impressive output from its relatively small displacement. Further benefiting from excellent handling, the car, in top factory racing engine trim, could comfortably exceed 161 km/h.
The 6C 1750 is significant for introducing in-house manufactured saloon bodies along with those produced by firms such as Touring, Castagna and Zagato, among others. Three models were available: the single overhead cam Turismo with 122-inch wheelbase and a maximum speed of about 110 km/h, the twin overhead cam Gran Turismo with 108-inch or 114-inch wheelbase and a top speed of about 130 km/h, and the Gran Sport, a supercharged Gran Turismo producing 85 hp and a top speed of 150 km/h. The Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 was produced in six series and evolved step by step from 1929 to 1933. A total of 2,579 1750s were built, of which only about 360 were supercharged "GS" examples. Many had unique specification to cope with a variety of motor sport events. Most cars were sold as rolling chassis and bodied by coachbuilders. Zagato was the master of the Superleggera principle of building aluminum body panels over a small-gauge steel framework. The 6C 1750 provided launch points for several coachbuilding firms, including Zagato who bodied most of them, and Scuderia Ferrari, who bought and raced them.
Just three months after its introduction, a 1750 driven by Giuseppe Campari and Giulio Ramponi would win the 1929 Mille Miglia. Later that year, Marinoni and Benoist won the Belgian 24 Hour Race at Spa. Alfa would take the Targa Florio too, and one year later, the company won its second Mille Miglia in addition to a host of other events. The company went on to take the chequered flag in eight Mille Miglias during the 1930s as well as the German Grand Prix in 1935 against the formidable Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union entries. Alfa Romeo began the 1930s as it ended the 1920s - dominating Italy's sports car and competition scene.
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