Monterey | Lot 265
1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Super Sport
$800,000 - $900,000 USD
| Monterey, California
13 August 2021
- 12% of the hammer price up to and including $250,000
- 10% of the hammer price in excess of $250,000
- One of just 121 Super Sport examples produced; a unique and desirable survivor with known history since new
- Retained by Dr. Hugh Gearing of Johannesburg, South Africa for nearly 60 years
- Powered by its numbers-matching 1.75-liter, straight six-cylinder supercharged engine
- Benefits from a complete mechanical restoration by Automotive Restorations, Inc. of Stratford, Connecticut
- Documented by marque historians John de Boer and Simon Moore, with recent important discoveries thanks to assistance from Patrick Gearing and Corrado Bellabarba
In 1929, Alfa Romeo introduced the 6C 1750 Super Sport (SS) and it featured an improved 1.75-liter straight-six cylinder engine, finned intake manifold, twin-camshafts, and an optional supercharger mounted upon a shortened 108-inch wheelbase. Only 121 Super Sport examples were produced in 1929. The model quickly proved to be one of Alfa’s most popular, expensive, and successful creations.
CHASSIS NUMBER 0312901
The Genoese industrialists Alfredo and Tito Nasturzio were early “VIP” customers for Alfa Romeo. Apart from various six-cylinder cars, the Nasturzio brothers owned a pair of very early 8C 2300 Zagato spiders, followed by a pair of road-equipped Monzas, and even single-seater Tipo Bs fitted with wings and lights and used as road cars.
Chassis number 0312901 was sold new on 13 May 1929 to Alfredo Nasturzio via Genoese dealer Eraldo Diana for the princely sum of 75,000 lire. Seventeen months later, Alfredo sold 0312901 to Tito, and by June 1931 the Nasturzio brothers had moved onto a pair of 5th series Gran Sports. At this time, Tito Nasturzio sold the car to Gio Batta Barilaro. By December, the car passed to Rosalino Arzani of Diano Marina on the Ligurian Coast, who registered it under the Imperia provincial plate IM 2483.
On 15 September 1932, the Alfa Romeo was sold to Gio Batta Cavallino in Savona (registered SV 2550), but within a month had passed to Genoese resident Attilio Patroni. It was then sold in August 1933 to Giovanni Caviglia who had the car for three years. By July 1938, the Alfa Romeo returned to Savona with Ercole Bonfiglio and was registered as SV 5122. Ownership then passed to Gianni Vallero of Durban, South Africa on 30 January 1939. Italian registration records end with a declaration of export on 30 May 1942, long after the car had sailed to the Southern Hemisphere.
FROM ITALY TO SOUTH AFRICA
A previously unseen 1939 photograph of the car wearing its Savona registration plate was recently discovered in a publication from the Italian Consulate in Durban, South Africa. This important finding allowed this Alfa’s early history to be properly traced back to its original sale record. The newly discovered Italian ownership records were secured by Simon Moore and Corrado Bellabarba and are available on file.
The present coachwork is presumed to be a period replacement furnished by an Italian coachbuilder circa 1938, quite possibly Carrozzeria Aprile of Savona. Marque historian John de Boer wisely notes that this unique, doorless design and steel construction indicate it was purpose-built for spirited driving on public roads, not sanctioned racing. In the 1930s, the rules of most sports car competitions stipulated the presence of at least one door. At any rate, the first South African owner acquired this 6C 1750 SS fitted with its current body, supercharger, and a dark red exterior. In 1950, the Alfa Romeo was acquired by Dr. Hugh Gearing of Johannesburg—with whom it would remain for the next 60 years.
Gearing regularly entered this 6C 1750 SS in local hill climbs and rallies, where it proved a supremely capable competitor on the demanding landscape surrounding Johannesburg. On one occasion in 1992, it was loaned to the great Juan Manual Fangio to drive at an event hosted by Pirelli on the Kyalami Circuit. Hugh’s son Patrick recalls the event fondly, remarking “Good thing dad was racing the car at that time and it was fully prepared, because – albeit a demonstration – Fangio didn’t hang about. One of the car’s intrinsic memories for me is the smile on Fangio’s face when he clambered out and simply said to my dad: ‘Bella macchina.’”
Having just recently left the Gearing estate, chassis 0312901 was then acquired by the consignor in November 2012 and submitted to Automotive Restorations, Inc. of Stratford, Connecticut for a complete and accurate mechanical restoration. This restoration is documented by a compendium of invoices on file which illustrate a thorough sorting of the car’s needs. The staff of Automotive Restorations, Inc. provided a complete rebuild the car’s numbers-matching 1.75-liter engine. Meanwhile, specialists from David L. George Historic Motorcars of Cochranville, Pennsylvania, were commissioned to execute the rebuild of the supercharger.
Previous inspection by de Boer in 2012 notes that 0312901’s engine features a later-series Memini carburetor, and is paired to a four-speed manual gearbox of the period—though also of a later series; these components are believed to have been common, early improvements which were already present on the car when Gearing acquired it.
When submitted to the 2015 Elegance at Hershey Concours, the consignor’s effort immediately proved a worthwhile expenditure as this 6C 1750 SS was crowned the “Most Elegant Sports and Racing Car” in attendance. In September 2017, this stunning 6C 1750 was awarded “Best in Class” in the “Pre-World War II Coachbuilt” category at the Lime Rock Park Historic Concours. Later that same month, the Alfa again proved an award-winning entrant when it was anointed with “Best in Italian Class” honors at the Boston Cup.
With its black exterior over a cognac leather interior and perched upon matching black wire wheels—this car presents a stunning countenance worthy of display at the world’s finest concours and historic motorsport events. Its interesting specification, unique bodywork, long-term ownership, and complete, award-winning restoration are all equally desirous facets of this Alfa Romeo’s continuing appeal.