22 May 1997
1953 ALFA ROMEO 1900/C R SPRINT COUPE
Chassis No. 1900C01617
Engine No. 130800630
Grey metallic with dark leather interior.
Engine: Four cylinders in-line, 1884cc, chain driven twin overhead camshafts, twin choke Weber carburettor, 100bhp at 5500rpm; clutch: single-plate; gearbox: fourspeed synchromesh; suspension: front independent by double wishbones and coil springs, rear coil springs and positive location to light live rear axle; brakes: hydraulic drum; Borrani lightweight wire wheels. Left-hand drive.
The early 1950's were a period of enormous vitality in the Italian motor industry. Of the still fiercely independent specialist marques, Alfa Romeo in 1950 introduced the 1900, with its brilliantly conceived four-cylinder twin-overhead camshaft powerplant installed in an up-to date all steel four-door berline monocoque body shell. In the following year the 105mph 1900/C appeared on a short-wheelbase version of the saloon's platform chassis. It was powered by a 100bhp engine in which the compression ratio was raised from 7.5 to 7.75:1, and given larger inlet and exhaust valves served by a Weber DGA3 downdraught carburettor. The 1900/C chassis was seized on by the blossoming Italian stylists, who clad it with a great variety of glamorous coupe bodies.
Perhaps the greatest of these was Pininfarina, who in 1952 first showed his 1900/C Sprint, a coupe in which perfectly proportioned simplicity was combined with sparse decoration to produce a design which defined a whole generation of gran turismo automobiles. Notably innovative, and much-copied, were the panoramic rear windscreen and the rearward slope of both door pillars. Although most of these coupes were supplied for road use, a small number were intended for competition.
This particular Pininfarina 1900/C was from the first series and may have been one of the competition cars. It is known that shortly after it was built it was shipped out to Caracas, Venezuela, and that from 1963 it was raced by Madison Smith in the USA. There were subsequent North American owners, before it was shipped back in 1990 to its present owner in Switzerland for what is described as a total 'ground-up' restoration by Italian specialists with the help of Alfa Romeo Centro Documentazione. Since then the car has been driven only rarely and represents an exceptionally successful restoration.
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
Specialist Joy McCall answers key questions for collectors of the glassmaker’s exquisite pieces. Illustrated with lots offered in the Lalique sale on 15 May
Offered in May, a 1916 canvas that was included in every major survey of Malevich’s Suprematist works during his lifetime, and which revolutionised modern art