1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Villa d'Este
- While the Alfa Romeo six and eight-cylinder cars of the late twenties and early thirties evolved from traditional designs, in 1934 Alfa engineer Vittorio Jano came up with a completely new 2.3 liter six that was to set the pattern for all post-war Alfas. Familiar in layout with dual overhead camshafts it was a robust engine with seven main bearings and placed upon a stiffly boxed chassis frame. It was designed and built with cost in mind yet carried on the sporting traditions of the Milanese marque.
In 1939 the factory increased the cylinder bore thereby creating the 6C 2500 (with 2,443cc). Now with an improved cylinder head for better breathing and an increase in compression ratio from 6.75:1 to 7:1 the power output was increased from 87bhp to 95bhp in the 'Sport' version with a single 2-throat Weber carburetor and up to 110bhp in the 'Super Sport' version, which sported three Weber carburetors. Following the war Alfa Romeo continued building luxurious and sporty 6C 2500 models before shortly ending the famous six-cylinder lineage and instead turning to smaller four-cylinder powerplants.
One of the most famous and rare examples of the 6C 2500 SS models was the Villa d’Este. The magic ingredient was in its design and construction of the subliminal coachwork by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan utilizing their Superleggera construction technique.
The debut of this coachwork design came at the 1949 Concorso d’Eleganza held at the famed Villa d’Este hotel on Lake Como and where it ran away with the top award of Public Referendum Grand Prix and from that day onwards this design became unofficially known as the Villa d’Este Coupe. The design of this first one-off was down to the genius of Carlos Felice Bianchi Anderloni who was both the owner of, and designer at, Carrozzeria Touring. Incorporating many innovative design features and with flowing crisp lines in an avant-garde style he created a true masterpiece that still marvels from all angles. In total only around 32 examples were ever produced.
This is an early Villa d’Este and which retains its original engine. The excellent three volume set of books for the Registro Internazionale Alfa Romeo 6C2300 – 6C2500 by Morlacchi & Salvetti records this car as having been sold new to a prominent family in Cairo, Egypt named Mr. J. Cohenca.
The next owner of record was Rick Bucklew from San Diego, California who acquired the car from a local Buick dealership where he worked after the Alfa had been traded in against a new Buick. Following many years in storage the Alfa was then acquired in 1988 by Robin Otto of London, England who sent it to Milan, Italy for restoration. While there the Alfa was spotted by Mr Roberto Squillario from Monte Carlo, Monaco and who managed to purchase the car in 1994 and have the restoration completed. Two years later in 1996 the car returned again to the USA having been bought by renowned Seattle collector Charles Morse in partnership with equally well-respected Alfa Romeo authority Malcolm Harris. In the early 2000s the car participated in the 1,000 mile Colorado Grand rally before changing hands in 2003 and joining the stable of Southern California Italian car collector and Alfisti Mr. Tim Walker. Over the next 18 years of ownership the car was lovingly enhanced and brought up to full Concours standards and often shown and enjoyed on short journeys.
Additional features include a very nice tool roll, Touring-supplied wheel covers and some period brochures/literature. Last year the car moved to the East Coast USA and has since been treated to a major tune up; following a recent 50 miles test drive we can confirm it is running and driving extremely well.
Only around 20 examples of the Villa d’Este models are thought to have survived from the original build numbers, the majority of which are now in Europe. Since 2012 (excepting for the pandemic) there has been an annual reunion held at the famed Villa d’Este hotel in Como named the ‘Villa d’Este Style – One Lake One Car’ and where, naturally enough, this car would be welcomed. It would also be accepted at many other worldwide concours events and in addition is eligible for many road touring events including the 1,000 Miglia.
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