2022 | Pebble Beach Auctions
1950 Gilco-Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Supergioiello Coupe
Coachwork by Ghia
$1,400,000 - $1,800,000
A One-of-a-Kind Italian Special with Styling by Giovanni Michelotti
Combines Gilco Tubular Chassis, Alfa Romeo Mechanicals, and Ghia Coachwork
Well-Documented Provenance Includes Single Family Ownership from 1971 to 1995
Show-Quality Restoration by the Renowned RX Autoworks
Awarded First in Class and Most Elegant Closed Car at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®
Offered with Tool Kit, Manuals, and Ownership and Restoration Records
2,443 CC DOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Three Weber 36 DO3 Carburetors
Estimated 110 BHP at 4,800 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Front Independent Suspension with Coil Springs
Rear Independent Suspension with Swing Axles and Torsion Bars
Nunney Ltd., Somerset, UK (acquired in 1968)
Michael William Dash, Bristol, UK (acquired from the above in 1968)
Alan John Cutler, Bristol, UK (acquired from the above circa 1970)
Douglas John Cartledge, Bristol, UK (acquired in 1971)
Egon Zweimüller, Austria (acquired from the above in 1995)
Horst Bronzler, Austria (acquired from the above by 2001)
Craig Davis, Pebble Beach, California (acquired in 2004)
Private Collection, The Netherlands (acquired from the above in 2007)
Craig Davis, Pebble Beach, California (reacquired from the above circa 2010)
Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Italy, 1997
Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Italy, 2001 (Best in Class)
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 2019 (First in Class, Most Elegant Closed Car)
Concours on the Avenue, California, August 2021 (Best of Show)
The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering, California, August 2021 (Best in Class)
Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace, UK, September 2021 (Chairman’s Award)
Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Italy, September 2021
AROC National Convention, California, 2022 (Certificato d’Oro)
La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, California, 2022 (Best in Class, Peoples Choice)
In 1944, following the death of Giacinto Ghia, Felice Mario Boano and Giorgio Alberti stepped in to save the historic Torinese coachbuilder.
A veteran of the Italian coachbuilding industry, Sig. Boano had worked for both Stabilimenti Farina and Pinin Farina prior to WWII and knew what was required to run a successful carrozzeria. By early 1946, Motor Italia reported that the revived Ghia firm was “ready to resume its battle station in that peaceful contest where the habitability and good sense of Torinese coachwork will quickly be triumphant once again.”
In the years that followed, Carrozzeria Ghia built elegant custom bodies for a remarkable variety of manufacturers: Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Ferrari, and even French marques like Talbot-Lago and Delahaye. While prestigious, one-off orders certainly earned the company a fine reputation, Ghia relied on limitedproduction- series bodies for more modest chassis to keep the doors open. Like many Italian coachbuilders, Fiat’s 1100 and 1400 offered an ideal platform on which to work from.
As automotive historian David Burgess-Wise wrote in his book Ghia, Ford’s Carrozzeria, “The close collaboration between Boano and Fiat bore particularly happy results in a series of sporting cabriolets called the Gioiello and Supergioiello which were the forerunners of what has become regarded as the typical Italian line of the 1950s; it appears that the Gioiello was based on the Fiat 1100, while the slightly more square cut Supergioiello was built on the Fiat 1400 chassis.”
In fact, Ghia’s Supergioiello – meaning “Super Jewel” – was credited to the great Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti and its distinctive style was not strictly limited to Fiat 1400 chassis.
In 1950, Ghia built a series of four Supergioiello Coupe bodies with Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 underpinnings. All featured similar characteristics – a clean modern profile, steeply raked windscreen, compact greenhouse, and wheel discs – but no two were exactly alike. The first produced was bought by Prince Igor Troubetzkoy as a gift for his wife Barbara Hutton, the millionaire Woolworth’s heiress. The second car, updated to feature a traditional Alfa Romeo grille, made its debut at the Torino Auto Show in May 1950 and won first prize at the Concorso d’Eleganza della Carrozzeria at the Pincio Terrace in Italy. The third car, distinguished by its striking two-tone color scheme, was unveiled at the Concorso d’Eleganza del Lido di Venezia in August 1950.
The car presented here is the fourth and final Supergioiello Coupe in this series, which is easily identifiable by its two-tone color scheme, redesigned frontal treatment, flush door handles, and subtle tail fins. Further distinguishing this fourth car is its unique chassis. Whereas the three earlier cars were built on the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500’s prewar-style ladder frame, this car features a state-of-the-art tubular steel chassis manufactured by Gilberto Colombo, or Gilco, the Milan-based specialist that designed and built custom chassis for many of the leading Italian sports car manufacturers including Ferrari and Maserati.
It is believed that this Supergioiello Coupe was built to special order for Societa Italiana Rappresentanze Commercio Automobili or S.I.R.C.A., the official agent for Carrozzeria Ghia in Milan. Like the three Coupes that preceded it, it too features Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 mechanical components, including engine, gearbox, rear end, suspension, brakes, and radiator. All Gilco chassis were approved and numbered by the Ministry of Transportation in Milan and this car is no exception. On March 13, 1951, the ministry issued official approval no. 0064251 for “one tubular chassis for engine Alfa Romeo 2500 S.”
While little is known of its earliest Italian history, images of this one-off Supergioiello Coupe appeared in the February 1952 issue of Road & Track magazine with the accompanying caption:
“A glance at the top three photographs makes it quite clear why Chrysler chose Ghia for the job. This Italian house (one of the most radical when the mood is right) is nevertheless able to create all that is best in clean, straight-foreward, beautiful, modern Italian coachwork. The model under discussion, based on the Alfa Romeo 6C-2500 SS chassis, is completely Continental in concept.”
The car next appeared in England, where it was offered for sale by Bunny Garage in Nottinghamshire. The advertisement published in January 1961 quoted an asking price of £895 and described the custom-bodied Italian special as a “1954 Alfa Romeo 2.5 Litre. Special Ghia body in blue/white. Reputed to be the only one of its kind in the world. Right-hand drive.”
Throughout the 1960s, the Supergioiello Coupe passed through the hands of several English owners including Alan John “Adge” Cutler, frontman of the comic folk band The Wurzels. In 1971, it was acquired by Douglas John Cartledge and remained in his family’s ownership until October 1995, when it was sold at Brooks Earls Court auction to Italian car specialist Egon Zweimüller. With guidance from Italian car historian Angelo Tito Anselmi, Zweimüller’s team carried out a 5,000-hour restoration and debuted the car at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 1997 to great acclaim. The Supergioiello Coupe was shown there again in 2001, garnering Best in Class.
In 2004, the car was sold to Craig Davis of Pebble Beach, California, a connoisseur with a passion for unique, custom-bodied Italian sports and racing cars. He sold the car to a collector in the Netherlands in 2007, but regretted having sold it and reacquired it a few years later.
The current owner acquired the car from Mr. Davis in 2016, and commissioned RX Autoworks of North Vancouver, BC, to perform a complete, concours-quality restoration. Over the next two years, this renowned firm, which has restored several significant prewar Alfa Romeos including the Pebble Beach Best of Show-winning 2.9 Berlinetta, returned this unique car to its former splendor, refinishing it in the elegant color scheme of Bronze with a chocolate brown roof and matching interior. The only aspect of the restoration not overseen by RX Autoworks was rebuilding the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 engine, which was carried out by the highly respected California firm Phil Reilly & Company.
Following its restoration, the Supergioiello Coupe debuted at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, where it was awarded First in Class and Most Elegant Closed Car. Since that time, the car has earned a string of awards at the most prestigious concours d’elegance, including the Chairman’s Award at Concours of Elegance Hampton Court Palace, Best in Class at The Quail, Best of Show at the Concours on the Avenue in Carmel, and Certificato d’Oro at the AROC National Convention. In March 2022, it was also profiled in Octane magazine, in an article titled “The devil you don’t know” by James Elliott.
A brilliant expression of the coachbuilder’s art, this one-of-a-kind Supergioiello Coupe was born from a collaboration between some of the most famous names in the history of the Italian automotive industry: Alfa Romeo, Ghia, Gilco, and Michelotti. Exquisitely detailed, technically sophisticated, and undeniably attractive, this car was certainly among the most exclusive and expensive cars of its day, making even the finest contemporary models – such as Alfa Romeo’s 6C 2500 Villa d’Este – seem old-fashioned and commonplace by comparison. Seventy years later, this jewel of a car continues to sparkle, as its recent concours accolades attest.
A one-off Italian special without rival, this splendid Supergioiello Coupe is the rare car that rewards the driver, aesthete, and intellectual in equal measure.