Lot 120

2019   |   Pebble Beach 2019

1939 Alfa Romeo Tipo 256 Coupe

Coachwork by Touring

SOLD $2,755,000


$2,750,000 - $3,500,000





Car Highlights

Rare Prewar Competition Alfa Romeo Developed by Scuderia Ferrari
Competed in Eight Races During 1939 and in the 1940 Mille Miglia
Fitted in 1941 with Elegant One-Off Coupe Coachwork by Carrozzeria Touring
Formerly Owned by Acclaimed Automotive Historian Angelo Tito Anselmi
Exquisite Restoration; First in Class, Mille Miglia Trophy, and Bulgari Award Winner at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®
Presented with Exhaustive History File, Owner’s Manual, Literature, and Tool Kit

Technical Specs

2,443 CC DOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Three Weber 36 DO2 Carburetors
125 HP at 4,800 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox (Original)
4-Wheel Hydraulic Finned Aluminum Drum Brakes
Front Independent Racing Suspension with Coil Springs and Hydraulic Shock Absorbers
Rear Swing-Arm Racing Suspension with Longitudinal Torsion Bars and Dampers
Register to Bid

Multiple Award Winner at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® | Raced in the 1940 Mille Miglia as a Tipo 256 Spider SiluroMarchese Giovanni Maria Cornaggia Medici, Milan, Italy (acquired new in 1939)Giuseppe Giudici di Pietro Giorgio, Pavia, Italy (acquired in 1941)Luigi Piotti, Milan, Italy (acquired from the above in 1942)Mario Mariani, Alessandria, Italy (acquired from the above in 1943)Giuseppe Giudici di Pietro Giorgio, Pavia, Italy (reacquired from the above in 1943)Luigi Verdiani Bandi, Siena, Italy (acquired from the above in 1946)Ernesto Nieri, Livorno, Italy (acquired from the above in 1948)Massimo Nieri, Livorno, Italy (acquired from the above in 1972)Angelo Tito Anselmi, Milan, Italy (acquired from the above in 1975)Giorgio Marzolla, Rome, Italy (acquired from the above in 1982)Current Owner (acquired in 2012)

Parma-Poggio di Berceto, 1939, Cornaggia Medici, No. 14 (7th Overall)Circuito del Imperio, Ostia, 1939, Cornaggia Medici, No. 14 (8th Overall, 7th in Class)Corsa dei Colli Torinesi, 1939, Cornaggia Medici, No. 88 (7th Overall)Trento-Bondone Hill Climb, 1939, Cornaggia Medici (3rd Overall)Corsa dello Stelvio, 1939, Cornaggia Medici, No. 130 (6th Overall)Trofeo Val d’Intelini, 1939, Cornaggia Medici (4th Overall)Targa Abruzzo (Pescara), 1939, Cornaggia Medici, No. 18 (4th Overall)Mille Miglia, 1940, Cornaggia Medici/Gavazzoni, No. 85 (36th Overall, 7th in Class)

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 2015 (First in Class, Mille Miglia Pre-War Trophy, Bulgari Award)Alfa Romeo Owners Club Sempreverde, 2018 (Certificato d’Oro)Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance, 2018 (Best of Show)

In 1939, following Alfa Romeo’s decade-long dominance in motor sports with its series of supercharged models, new regulations for sports car racing were introduced in Italy. While the new Sport Nazionale category shifted focus to normally aspirated, production-based sports cars, the change certainly did not stifle innovation and success at Alfa Romeo.

In reaction to this new formula, Alfa Romeo developed a special competition variant of its 6C 2500, dubbed the Super Sport, or Tipo 256 – a reference to the model’s 2.5-liter, six-cylinder engine. The process of developing this new model was overseen by Alfa Romeo’s works racing teams – Alfa Corse in Milan and Scuderia Ferrari in Modena.

The first Alfa Romeo document to mention the new competition 6C 2500 was issued in October 1938, approximately four months before the Tipo 256 was unveiled at the 1939 Berlin motor show. In this memorandum, Alfa Romeo describes two types of cars: the 6C S Sport built on the Alfa Corse premises in Milan, and the Tipo 256 prepared by Ferrari in Modena.

Although both the Alfa Corse and the Ferrari-prepared chassis featured a shortened frame, lowered radiator, large-capacity fuel tank, and stiffer suspension springs, the Tipo 256 built in Modena was an altogether more ambitious model. In fact, the cars built by Ferrari had a highly tuned engine with increased compression, three Weber carburetors with ram air horns, a special ignition, and a tubular exhaust manifold – features that combined to produce 125 hp.

Additionally, the Ferrari-prepared Tipo 256 was equipped with special gear ratios, aluminum-rim Borrani wire wheels, thicker torsion bars, adjustable shock absorbers, vented brake backing plates, a steeply raked steering column, 90-liter aluminum fuel tank, and a lightweight sistema 8C 2900 scuttle.

In total, approximately 20 Tipo 256s were built with chassis numbers in the following ranges: 915006-015 and 915020-029. Most were campaigned under the Alfa Corse banner, although a number were reserved for Alfa Romeo’s most important clients – including Benito Mussolini and Count Franco Mazzotti. Throughout 1939 and 1940, the Tipo 256 raced with great success at all the important European venues including the Mille Miglia and Le Mans.

Though very few were ever built, the Tipo 256 is an important model in that it represents the final collaboration between Alfa Romeo and Scuderia Ferrari – the two titans of sports car racing in the pre-WWII era.

The Alfa Romeo Tipo 256 presented here, chassis 915014, was built in Modena under the direction of Scuderia Ferrari for the 1939 season. As documented in Angelo Tito Anselmi’s tome on the model, Alfa Romeo 6C 2500, this car was originally equipped with engine no. 923810 and fitted with Spider Siluro coachwork, designed and built by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan.

Completed in May 1939, the Tipo 256 was immediately delivered to its first owner, Marchese Giovanni Maria Cornaggia Medici. Born in Milan in 1899, Cornaggia Medici was a prominent Italian lawyer and politician, who served four terms as a senator for the Italian Republic. He was also a passionate car enthusiast, who acted as a councilor for the Automobile Club of Milan and was a consistent entrant in the Mille Miglia, driving an Alfa Romeo in the famous race 17 times between 1931 and 1957.

Between May and August 1939, Cornaggia Medici successfully campaigned 915014 in eight Italian sports car races. He finished and placed well in each event, with notable results including 3rd Overall at the Trento-Bondone Hill Climb, 6th Overall at the Corsa dello Stelvio, and 4th Overall at the Targa Abruzzo in Pescara. The car’s final competitive outing took place in April 1940 at the Mille Miglia, where Cornaggia Medici and his co-driver B. Gavazzoni placed 36th Overall and 7th in Class. All of these outings are documented in period literature, including several appearances in the factory’s own newsletter, Alfa Corse which reported the latest racing activities.

As is well documented, nearly all of the Tipo 256 racing cars were re-bodied between 1939 and 1942, following the outbreak of WWII and the cancellation of Alfa Romeo’s factory racing program. This is certainly the case with 915014, which was returned to Carrozzeria Touring in 1941 at the request of its second owner, Giuseppe Giudici di Pietro Giorgio.

Under his ownership, Touring removed the Tipo 256’s original Spider Siluro body and fashioned the handsome coupe body that now sits on chassis 915014. It is understood that this elegant two-passenger coupe was the sole example built, although it is nearly identical to a cabriolet produced at the same time for another Tipo 256, chassis 915008, owned by Fascist Party Secretary Ettore Muti.

In 1942, the newly transformed Tipo 256 was sold to its third owner, racing driver Luigi Piotti, and then passed among a series of owners in Northern Italy over the next six years. In 1948, the Alfa Romeo was sold to Ernesto Nieri of Livorno, Italy, and it remained in his family’s ownership for nearly three decades. During Sig. Nieri’s ownership, Carrozzini Morazzi restored the Tipo 256; during this process, the driving lights were removed, the rear window was enlarged, and the bodywork was refinished in bright red.

In 1975, Massimo Nieri sold 915014 to Angelo Tito Anselmi, the preeminent automotive historian and author of definitive books on Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Isotta Fraschini, and Carrozzeria Touring. Mr. Anselmi owned the Tipo 256 for seven years, during which time it was photographed for his famous book on the 6C 2500 model. The Alfa Romeo was then sold in 1982 to Giorgio Marzolla of Rome, who eventually wrote and published his own book about the car titled Alfa Romeo 256 Touring: l’unica.

Since 2012, the Tipo 256 Coupe has been part of an exclusive private collection in Washington state. The current owner, a collector, long-standing Pebble Beach judge, and renowned restorer, maintains a deep appreciation for the finest Italian sports cars and has become a recognized expert on the Alfa Romeo marque. Over the past two decades, he has restored many important cars and his exceptional work has been rewarded with numerous accolades at the leading concours d’elegance, including multiple First in Class and Best of Show awards at Pebble Beach.

In his ownership, the Tipo 256 has been painstakingly restored to the highest standards, and now appears as it did when it left Carrozzeria Touring in 1941. No detail of the car’s presentation has been overlooked, and the only notable deviation from the original specification is the fitment of a much-improved, later-type Alfa Romeo five-speed gearbox. Otherwise, the car retains its important original Tipo 256 components, including its matching-numbers engine. Its unrestored four-speed gearbox is included with the sale.

Upon completion of this work, the Alfa Romeo Coupe was invited to make its post-restoration debut at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® and take part in a comprehensive display of Touring-bodied automobiles. After completing the Tour d’Elegance, 915014 was displayed in Class N (Designs by Carrozzeria Touring) and earned First in Class, the Mille Miglia Pre-War Trophy, and the Bulgari Award. Since its successful outing at Pebble Beach, the Tipo 256 has been displayed selectively. In 2018, it received the Alfa Romeo Owners Club Sempreverde Certificato d’Oro (for excellence in restoration and preservation) and also captured Best of Show at the annual Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance.

Today, the Touring Coupe remains in pristine, concours-quality condition and is accompanied by a period-correct tool kit and 6C 2500 owner’s manual. In addition to these important accessories, this Alfa Romeo is offered with a beautifully prepared research binder that includes copies of Alfa Corse records relating to the Tipo 256 model, Automobile Club d’Italia road registration documents, a detailed ownership history and race record, archival photographs, and magazine articles. Most importantly, there is also a wealth of original documentation including the Italian libretto issued in 1948, two issues of the Alfa Corse magazine (March and August 1939), and correspondence among Angelo Tito Anselmi, Luigi Fusi, and Ernesto Nieri.

A superb, well-documented example of Alfa Romeo’s final prewar competition car, 915014 is an integral part of the Milanese firm’s legendary racing history. Constructed by Scuderia Ferrari in Modena and campaigned by a well-established gentleman driver at major Italian events through 1940, this Tipo 256 represents the ultimate expression of the famed 6C 2500 line. It is certainly among the most desirable and sophisticated sports cars of its era, offering outstanding performance thanks to its highly tuned twin-cam engine and race-bred chassis. Not only does this Alfa Romeo possess the very best sporting credentials, it is a magnificent and unique example of Touring coachwork, possessing both an aesthetic and technical brilliance.

Never before offered for public sale, this Tipo 256 Coupe represents a unique opportunity to acquire a singular prewar Alfa Romeo with significant period racing history, gorgeous Touring coachwork, notable provenance, and a restoration by one of the world’s foremost authorities on the marque. Whether this car is viewed as a perfect complement to an otherwise complete collection of six- and eight-cylinder Alfa Romeos, or an ideal entry into this glamorous world, it is a truly exceptional automobile, one worthy of the most sincere consideration.