Chapter 4

1947? 6C2500 Cabriolet by Touring

1950 Tipo 159 same car Cockpit

The design of the Tipo 158, later developed into the Tipo 159, began in 1938 when Alfa assigned Gioaccino Colombo to handle its development at Scuderia Ferrari. The car was built to the 1500cc "voiturette" class which Alfa was trying to become competitive in as they were getting very strong competition in the Gran Prix three litre class from Mercedes. Interestingly, the block used for this 1500 cc straight eight was that of its three litre brother while using a much shorter stroke. The chassis was , also, a lightened GP design. The Tipo 158, in the prewar years was secondary to its bigger Gran Prix bretheren and, so, was christened the "Alfetta". It was by no means a little brother of a performer, however, having a very favorable power to weight ratio. Such was its potential that Alfa was putting more effort into its development than originally planned, eventually raising power from 195hp to 225 by 1939. As these cars were developing and getting a good string of wins, the world was going to war and racing outside of Italy came to a complete halt. Development of a series of promising GP cars was halted and the cars were locked in the racing garages at Monza. When Germany invaded Northern Italy after the fall of Mussolini and they were about to encamp at Monza, the secretay of the Milan Auto club towed them in the dead of night to the safety of an abandoned cheese factory. Effectively, it was these cars that put Alfa back into racing at war's end, because all the developmental cars had been destroyed. Though Alfa's immediate post war budget was limited in the extremeand their stock of racing cars was seven aging 158 Alfettas and two 512 GP cars, they won races and continued to win races in those just postwar years and became the winningest racing team of all time. By mid 1946, however their age began to show and it became evident that an upgrade was in order. Supercharging and suspension changes were the order of the day, giving an increase in horsepower to 275 and in top spead to 167 from 145 previously. Ultimately, the winning 158 Alfettas were producing 350 to 380 hp out of their 1500 ccs! The advent of the final iteration to this car, the 159, came in 1951. The 159 was both a refreshment and , to some extent, a redesign of the 158, with heavy attention to all details including installing needle roller bearings on the cranks and greatly improved breathing and suspensions. By the end of production, the 1500cc straight eight was putting out 450-plus horsepower. The 159s saw an impressive string of wins,including J.M. Fangio taking his first world's championship, but competition from other makes, especially that of it's former team manager, the man who supervised Colombo at its birth, also saw the end of the 158 / 159 story at the end of 1951, ending an unparalleled five year winning spree.

(information gathered from "Viva Alfa Romeo" by David Owen)

In 1950 Alfa Romeo introduced the 1900. The 1900 was a revolutionary car for the automaker. Not only was the 1900 smaller than previous models, but it also featured a 4-cylinder engine. Although AR considered the car to be for the mass market, they did not crimp on technology and brought all their world-beating racing experience to bear on the design of the design and chassis. The concept of bringing front line performance to all their models was to become an Alfa trademark. The 1900 engine had a cast-iron block topped with an aluminium-alloy head, combined with hemispherical combustion chambers, and twin chain-driven, overhead cams. The engine was offered in two states of tune, the standard set-up used a single down draft carburetor, while the "veloce" version used higher comperssion, more agressive cam timing, and twin 2-barrel side draft Weber carburetors. This concept too, was to be an indicator of things to come.
Needless to say, the 1900 was a sucess. It was offered in Sedan and Coupé form, and proved to be a favorite of the coachbuilders.
Quoted from the Summer 1994 issue of Auto Phlye.
If You want to see an extraordinary bodywork on the 1900, check out the Bertone B.A.T. series!
1954 1900 Sprint
The first factory-generated special cars came in 1954... The engine had grown to 1975 cc with 115 bhp, there was a five-speed gearbox and suspension was by coil springs, with double wishbones at the front and a live rear axle located by trailing arms and a triangulated link.
1900 SSZ by Zagato same car, different place
Zagato version of the 1900. The "twin bubble roof" design was employed from around this time.
Aprrox. 40 1900 Super Sprint chassis received special lightweight Zagato coupe bodies that looked strikingly like the Zagato-bodied [Fiat] 8V from the windshield back. But the 1900 was more upright than the 8V and had a tall four-cylinder engine with DOHC which prevented the use of a low hoodline. Zagato devised a brilliant and functional solution: a large rounded blister for the engine, with low, tapering panels leading to the fender. Text from A-Z of Sportscars
1900 Touring Sprint

The 1900 proved to be not enough "down-market" so AR decided to buld a new car. It was the Giulietta.
But before I introduce You the type, here are some racers, from the '50s:
1952 Disco Volante
The Disco Volante has generated far more interest and attention that its production run (if one could call it that) warrants and that shows just how succesful it was in its own way.
It was primarily a show car, a car to get Alfa noticed and talked about, but secodnly it was built as a test-bed for a new 3-litre six-cylinder power unit. It was also meant to earn its keep in sports car racing, where it was intended that the model would gain even more useful publicity for Alfa. It took its name (which translates as "flying saucer") from its voluptuous two-seat coachwork, built by Touring in association with Alfa engineers Colombo and Satta.
Six were built and tested during 1952, two of 'em short-wheelbase models with the 1900 four-cylinder engine. As a result of this development programme, the car was extensively modified for 1952 when a team of four coupes was entereds in the Mille Miglia, one a 2-litre four the others powered by 3.6 litre six-cylinder engines. The 2-litre retired early in the race, but the other three cars all held the lead at some time during the event. However, engine failure eliminated one car, a transmission oil leak another, while the third car, driven by Fangio, suffered a partial steering failure, only the righ-hand wheel responding. As a result, the car could only be driven slowly round bends, was overtaken by a Ferrari, and finished second...
One of the 1953 works cars was then sold to Jo Bonnier and fitted with an open two-seater Zagato body, in which form it was raced during 1955. It should be remembered that the copmetition models did not have the same rather outrageous bodywork of Touring's original, the car that everyone thinks of as the Disco Volante.
Quoted from A-Z of the car

France Scaglione (of Bertone fame) designed an open Sportive Spider sports racer and a similar -but closed- Sportiva Coupe on the Disco Volante space-frame chassis in addition to the Giulietta Spider featured on the next page.
Sportiva coupe Sportiva Spider
These models were intended as "customer-racers" but Alfa terminated the project. Years later, Corvette and Ferrari were to discover that intakes beneath the nose were more effective.
Scaglione really enjoyed this project, rising at 5: am to start work and working until 10:00 at night for weeks on end.
However, he and Bertone had to negotiate a tricky moment with one of Alfa Romeo's senior engineers. Scaglione felt that the chassis was too heavy, news which the engineer took baldy enough for Bertone and Scaglione to turn pale. As they returned by train from Turin, Scaglione said: Give me a clean sheet, and I will build you a very light car, but it will cost a lot of money. Bertone agreed. From these beginnings the Sportiva Coupe grew.
.. Its 136 mph was surpassed only by the Mercedes-Benz 300SL's 140 and the Ferrari America 138 mph. Scaglione later addmitted that this was his favorite work. Taken from a 1994 Automobile Quarterly article

1952 6C 3000 CM
Six were built.
This car was prepared to enter Sport Category races, using various engine parts of the 3000 cc experimental prototype. In 1953 it took overall 2nd in the Mille Miglia and overall 1st place in the Supercortemaggiore GP.
6 cyl. 87-x98 cc. 246 bhp at 6500 rpm (in 1953, 275 hp at 6500 rpm for the MM). Weight: 930 kg(spider) -2046 lbs, 960 kg (coupe) - 2112 lbs
Next stop: Giulietta


Copyright and Copy, December, 1995:

Paul Negyesi and the Okapi Publishing Ltd

This page or its parts can not be used for commercial purposes. I'm no way related to the company, therefore I'm not responsible for the info.