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For the Love of the Alfa

For the Love of the Alfa

I myself have never purchased a vehicle at auction but I’m often found wandering around in these settings, minding my own business, amongst numerous potential car buyers. I’m likely to be spotted in a corner, flicking through the generously illustrated pages of a car sales catalogue, so freshly printed I can detect the familiar inky scent rising up from the specification details and vehicular histories. Failing that I may be spotted with a far-off look in my eyes as I sit behind the steering wheel of one of the day’s offerings or most likely, I’ll be photographing some obscure detail I’ve noticed in the lines or a manufacturer’s badge assumed to be confined to the history books. For me, a car auction is a pure celebration of motoring with one marque after another available to the spectator to view and enjoy.

At times, a particular vehicle can be so beautiful, possess such an interesting story or be so unique that it’s mere presence in an auction feels like a gift. As I write this, how I wish I had an aeroplane ticket bound for California next week for there is a car going up for sale there that meets all of the above criteria – a 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport Berlinetta. Click on read more for the whole story!

Featured as Lot 26 in the up-coming Pacific Grove Auction, hosted by Worldwide Auctioneers on Thursday 17th August at the Monterey Peninsula in California, I can’t help but keep looking at this achingly lovely automobile in the online catalogue. I’ve become like a man who has fallen head over heels in love with a gorgeous yet unavailable woman! Even the auction house appears a little smitten, describing the 6C 2500 as possessing a ?timeless beauty’. I couldn’t agree more for this Alfa has sensual curves to behold from every angle, pinpricked with flashes of chrome that emphasise the key lines on the bodywork and a wonderfully classic interior with leather upholstery in a dusky shade of terracotta orange, an elegantly slim wooden steering wheel and instrument gauges that are functional yet exceedingly classy. This Alfa is simultaneously refined and overwhelmingly beautiful.

Debuted in 1938, the 6C 2500 served as Alfa’s response to the shift in 1930’s motorsport towards naturally aspirated engines and production-based sports cars rather than the previous fashion for super-charged race cars. To maintain their strong reputation within motor racing, Alfa opted for a lightweight and aerodynamic body constructed of aluminium paired with a 2443cc, DOHC engine. In their top-of-the-line ?Super Sport’ models of the 6C 2500, identified by a ?SS’ plate within the engine compartment, the in-line 6-cylinder engine was fitted with three Weber carburettors. This particular Alfa possesses touring-bodied coachwork by Carrozzeria Touring and is ultra-rare in being one of only five produced with triple-carburettors. This particular combination in body design and specification resulted in this 6C 2500 being listed as one of the fastest production cars produced by Alfa at the time.

And what of this Alfa’s story? This unusual and highly desirable vehicle has already travelled significantly around the world, beginning with an export from Italy to Canada with its first owner Elmer Leigh who was a Canadian serviceman during World War Two. Keeping the Alfa with him afterwards, the 6C 2500 was taken to Colorado where it was stored in a garage before being removed a decade or two later, presumably after Leigh’s passing. When uncovered the Alfa was worn and down to bare metal, clearly in need of a restoration after having recorded 44,000 miles on its odometer. It seems that the Alfa may have then been sold by Leigh’s grandson before later being offered for sale on consignment in a 1987 edition of UK magazine Classic & Sports Car, resulting in the 6C 2500 being relocated to Holland. By this point it was recorded to have received a respectable restoration before being sold again by the Deventer Car Museum in Holland to a new owner who submitted it for total restoration back to its original condition. This was carried out courtesy of Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, successor to the original Carrozzeria Touring coach building firm, before being displayed at the Retromobile show, Paris in February 2013.

Considered “one of the most desirable of its period”, this 1939 Alfa 6C Sport Berlinetta is sure to wow all who lay eyes upon her. Like all Alfas before, and all Alfas since, this 1939 model has an undeniable magic that sums up the very romance of motoring itself.

For the whole catelogue: >click here<

Text and photos by Gillian Carmoodie



#3 2017-08-15 12:32
I wish there was a way to hear it running. Those Alfa's make beautiful sounds!
#2 2017-08-14 08:43
A truly beautiful and spectacular car. The sad thing is that, at the expected auction price, the Alfa will be bought by a private collector who will keep it from public view; or only bring it out for very exclusive shows such as Pebble Beach. The car was built to be used and driven; not hidden away.
#1 2017-08-13 04:55
I share your description of love for the Alfa 6C 2500. I fell in love with an Alfa 6C 2500SS when I bought one in about 1959. I drove it to school. Those memories have inspired me to buy another one in the early 1990s. It is now under restoration to finally let me have the joy of driving a car of my dreams. I am working carefully on the engine while a fine shop restores the rest of the car.

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