Lot 164

Amelia Island 2023

1955 Alfa Romeo 1900 C SS Berlinetta by Zagato


$775,000 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida



Chassis No.
AR1900C 01955
Engine No.
AR1308 00891
US Title
  • Offered from long-term ownership
  • Driven in the 1955 Mille Miglia and other period races
  • Formerly owned and raced by well-known enthusiast Jim Cesari
  • Ideal for freshening and further vintage rallying enjoyment

Elio Zagato, scion to the famed Italian coachbuilding family, was a devout motorsport enthusiast and co-founder of the Sant Ambroeus racing team. When one of his friends joined the team with a Touring-bodied Alfa Romeo 1900, Zagato, for obvious reasons, advised him to change his mount posthaste—but not before noting that the 1900 C, with its short-wheelbase chassis, alloy-head dual-cam engine, and advanced suspension, would have excellent performance potential with bodywork by a different coachbuilder...namely, his. Soon he had created a delicately beautiful coupe, with featherweight aluminum-alloy bodywork with Plexiglas windows.

About 39 berlinettas were built by Zagato to this design on the 1900 C SS chassis, and they were widely raced with considerable success all over Europe during the late 1950s. Today they are admired for both their beauty and their surefooted skill, and are among the most collectible Italian sports cars of their generation.

The car offered here is that which was originally delivered to Dr. Vincenzo Fornasari, a favored Zagato customer who had also acquired a Maserati A6G/54 bodied by the firm. The Alfa was driven by his son, Luigi Fornasari, a well-known Italian sportsman of the period, in several Italian races, including completing the 1955 Mille Miglia, 11th in class and 38th overall. It finished 3rd in class and 11th overall in Bolzano-Mendola, 1st in class and 11th overall in Aosta-Gran San Bernardo, and 2nd in class and 5th overall in the Stella Alpina all in that same year.

By 1959 the Alfa had moved to the United States, and that year was advertised in a West Coast sports car magazine by Ernie Mendicki of Oakland, California, a well-known performance dealer, enthusiast, racer, and collector of the time. Subsequent owners reportedly included Jim Keown of Monterey. Later, in the 1970s, the car was vintage-raced by then-owner Jim Cesari of Palo Alto quite extensively, most prominently in events at Sears Point where it competed against other well-known California enthusiasts. It was subsequently sold in the 1980s, moving through owners in Texas and Switzerland, and competing in the Targa Florio in 1986 and the Mille Miglia Storica in 1987 with owner Ugo Piccagli. It was acquired some time ago by the consignor’s collection, and it is now offered out of long-term ownership.

The car wears an older restoration with much evidence of use on the track since its completion, but is still charming and attractive throughout. At some point in the early 1970s, the classic and iconic Zagato “double bubble” roof, not originally used on first-series models such as this one, was added to the roofline. Accompanying the car is a small history file including an original 1900 brochure, several reference articles, and a handful of maintenance receipts from the last 25 years.

Ideal for freshening and returning to any number of road rallies the world over, this Mille Miglia veteran would be a thrilling mount, allowing its new owner to savor the nimble handling and swift performance of one of Zagato and Alfa Romeo’s finest collaborations.