Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Zagato
Formerly the Property of Oscar Davis, Brian Brunkhorst, and Tom Price
The magnificent Alfa Romeo presented here is undoubtedly among the most desirable of all 6C variants, being a Series V 1750 Gran Sport with beautiful open coachwork by Zagato.
The last chassis allocated for the Series V Gran Sports was numbered 10814406, thereby indicating that 10814400 was among the very last examples produced. In keeping with its late build date, the Zagato coachwork fitted to this chassis was constructed during a period in which the famed carrozzeria was transitioning to a cleaner, more modern appearance in its design concepts.
The increasing sophistication is immediately apparent on this 6C 1750, as this body bears an uncanny resemblance to the famed 8C 2300 Zagato Spiders that were being produced at the same time.
Without a doubt, 10814400 carries one of the most attractive bodies ever placed on a 6C 1750 chassis, with a top that neatly disappears beneath the bodywork, a more resolved rear deck treatment, and a sharply raked windscreen – a feature seen on only the last 10 cars from 1932. This marvelous Gran Sport also features the exquisite 8C-style radiator grille shell and wider trim bands around the headlights that give it a distinctly impressive appearance.
As is common with many pre-war Alfa Romeo sports cars, the earliest ownership history of this car has not been recorded. As far back as can be traced, 10814400 first appeared in the Netherlands some time prior to the 1950s. A photograph of the car, likely taken during the late 1940s, shows it wearing Dutch registration “VT-34-53.”
In the late 1950s, after a brief period with an unknown Swiss owner, the Alfa Romeo made its way across the Atlantic when Bill White of Illinois imported it to the US. After keeping the thoroughbred Alfa Romeo for a number of years, he sold it to Texas resident Don Dixon.
Although the car was in remarkably wellpreserved original condition when he acquired it, Mr. Dixon eventually commissioned noted Chicago restorer Fran Roxas to revive the aging Gran Sport. It has been reported that the car was so well kept that, due to the condition of the aluminum, only the bonnet required replacing during restoration.
When the work was completed in 1985, Mr. Dixon was invited to show the 6C 1750 at that year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in which Alfa Romeo was among the featured marques. The freshly restored Gran Sport was awarded a Third in Class, a strong testament to its many fine qualities.
Years later, the Zagato-bodied sports car caught the attention of Oscar Davis, a collector with a passion for the finest pre-war Alfa Romeos.
In 1989, he applied for and received FIA papers for the 6C 1750, thereby allowing it to participate in a wide variety of events. Over the next few years, the Alfa Romeo was driven in a number of rallies and, in 1996, was invited to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance where it earned a Best in Class award.
During Mr. Davis’ ownership, the Gran Sport was regularly maintained and treated to a supercharger overhaul, performed by the renowned engine builder Chris Leydon.
Eventually, the 6C 1750 was sold to fellow Alfa Romeo enthusiast Brian Brunkhorst, a resident of Wisconsin. In 2003, Mr. Brunkhorst decided to perform a cosmetic restoration, changing the color of the paint from the bright red used in the initial restoration to the elegant deep red shade seen today. At the same time, the interior was reupholstered in natural brown hides, giving the car a more restrained appearance.
In its new livery, the Gran Sport was again invited to Pebble Beach in 2005, where it was displayed as an exhibit-only entrant in Class E-3: Alfa Romeo Six-Cylinder to 1933.
Shortly thereafter, the Alfa Romeo was sold to Tom Price, organizer of the prestigious 8C tours. Throughout his ownership, the Gran Sport was used sparingly and kept in outstanding cosmetic order.
Most recently, this Alfa Romeo has been in the care of an enthusiast who has enjoyed the sports car on the open road, as was originally intended.
As a frequent participant in organized driving events, the current caretaker was keenly aware of the need for an authentic, well-sorted car and ensured that the 6C 1750 would be prepared to the highest possible standard. With this aim in mind, he enlisted marque specialist Jim Stokes to perform a comprehensive mechanical restoration that would make the car better suited for grueling long-distance rallies.
During the process, the engine, supercharger, cooling, suspension, and brake systems were thoroughly inspected and analyzed before being meticulously rebuilt and road tested to ensure proper operation.
With regards to the supercharged engine, improved performance and reliability were of the utmost importance. Dyno sheets clearly illustrate the noteworthy gain in performance, as the engine now produces 100 hp at 4,500 rpm, a figure that greatly exceeds the factory’s claim of 85 hp.
In addition, the original racing Memini carburetor has been substituted with a user-friendly SU carburetor, although the restored and tuned Memini carburetor can be easily reinstalled to fully extract the superb performance of the rebuilt engine.
Finally, in an effort to make the car more civilized during extended road events, a second battery was installed to power Digitech rally instruments and the trunk has been reorganized to better accommodate spares and equipment.
In total, nearly £120,000 and 1,500 hours were spent on this exhaustive process and a complete file of invoices from Jim Stokes attests to the thorough nature of the work performed.
Thanks to this lavish care, the Gran Sport successfully completed the Mille Miglia Storica in 2009 and 2010, finishing the second edition in the top 30. Beyond its European outings, in 2009 the Alfa Romeo participated in the challenging 1000 Millas Sport, an official FIVA event and arguably the best driving event in South America.
Throughout this period, the Gran Sport has been maintained as needed and no expense has been spared in making this car one of the best performing 6C 1750s in existence.
All in all, 10814400 is a genuine 6C 1750 Gran Sport that possesses a remarkable combination of desirable qualities: sensational Zagato coachwork, a distinguished chain of ownership, a concours- and event-proven pedigree, and an unrivaled mechanical preparation, the quality of which would be difficult to better.
Beautifully presented and entirely eligible for the world’s best events, this exceptional example of one of Alfa Romeo’s finest sports cars warrants serious consideration.