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Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Spyder by Zagato, #10814368, 1931

  • This all black 1931 Gran Sport Spyder was owned by L. Scott Bailey, founder and editor of Automobile Quarterly, making it the property of the man responsible for the seminal classic automotive publication.
  • Chassis #10814368 wears its original coachwork. It is a Series V car, slightly more poised in its stance compared to earlier versions, yet still diminutive in stature.
  • The greater family of the 6C Alfa Romeo became the archetype for volume production sports cars. Although each one benefited from the considerable engineering prowess of Vittorio Jano, Alfa Romeo produced many thousands of 6C Spyders, demonstrating that a fast, reliable platform could be improved over numerous iterations to yield world-beating results. This strategy would be the formula for Porsche in the pos-War era. In any case, the 6C cars took from Alfa's antique era sporting roots a sense of mounting excitement in the automobile as a competitive instrument, and imbued the simple steel chassis with more athleticism than most any driver had previosuly experienced. From 1500 cc to 1750 cc, the early 6-cylinder cars of Jano's devising built the foundation for an Italian love story filled with euphoric victory and tragic death, as well as the arrival of one Enzo Ferrari, then a young driver and Alfa Romeo team manager.
  • For the Gran Sport, forced induction raised power from around 64 brake horsepower up to 85 bhp, but more practically provided a wealth of mid-range grunt that the period's naturally aspirated cars did not possess. In the classic era, Italy constructed a broad network of autostrada, and Alfa Romeo cars were on course to make full use of it. Whereas the typical flow of traffic would amble along anywhere between 40 and 50 miles per hour, the 6C 1750 Grand Sport could easily double that. Later 8-cylinder Alfa Romeo cars would do better than triple that figure, but being more exotic represented a sophisticated hammer pounding the already delicate boundaries of speed on public roads. The 6C was nothing quite so drastic, but still bore the seed of those incredible sports cars.

 

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2017