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Lot 114

2013   |   Pebble Beach Auctions 2013

1948 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Competizione

Coachwork by Carrozzeria Alfa

SOLD $4,840,000

Estimate

$2,800,000 - $3,500,000

Chassis

920.002

Engine

921.002

Car Highlights

The First Post-war Alfa Romeo Competition Model
One of Only Two Built and the Only Example Extant
Illustrious Four-Year Racing History at Premier Venues
Entered in Four Consecutive Editions of the Mille Miglia
Genuine Matching-Numbers Example with Ironclad Provenance
A Fixture in the “Sleeping Beauties” Collection for 40 Years
Exacting Restoration Performed by Noted Marque Authority
2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Class Award Winner
Perfect 100-Point Score in CCCA Judged Competition
Offered with Exceptional File of Original Documentation

Technical Specs

2,443 CC DOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Three Weber 35 DCO Carburetors
Estimated 160 HP at 5,500 RPM
5-Speed Manual Gearbox (Original 4-Speed Gearbox Included)
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Independent Wishbone Tipo 308 Front Suspension
Transverse Leaf-Spring Rear Suspension with Trailing Arms

Saleroom Addendum

*Please note that given this car’s extensive period-racing history and four decades in the Dovaz collection, the initial restoration performed in the late 1990s included the replacement of exterior panels with a conscientious effort to retain the car’s inner body structure. The car retains its original aluminum body structure, several inner panels, as well as its original doors and rear lid, as described in the catalogue.

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Formerly the Property of Franco Rol and Michel DovazA World Record for a Post-War Alfa Romeo

The 6C 2500 Competizione

Internally designated Tipo C46, the 6C 2500 Competizione was the first automobile designed and built by Alfa Corse – Alfa Romeo’s racing and technical staff – at the end of WWII to compete in the new sports racing category.

For those with experience in Alfa Romeo’s racing department before the war, the familiar notions of racing had been all but erased: Scuderia Ferrari was no longer a collaborator and would soon become an archrival, superchargers were banned, closed Berlinettas were faster than open Spiders, and engineering department budgets were run on a shoestring.

It was clear that a new approach to high performance was needed. For this to be realistically achieved in Alfa Romeo’s somewhat dire conditions, Alfa Corse turned to the development of smaller, more maneuverable cars that could be evolved from production chassis and finished with lightweight, aerodynamic coachwork.

With this idea in mind, the engineers at Alfa Corse looked to the firm’s successful pre-war models in the design of the experimental 6C 2500 Competizione. As a result, ties with the legendary 8C 2900 automobiles are numerous.

At its foundation, the 6C 2500 Competizione featured a pre-war 8C 2900B frame that had been shortened with a “V” cut in front of the rear wheels to create a wheelbase of just 2.5 meters. This hybrid frame retained the original suspension pick-up points, engine mounts, and cross members of the standard 2900B, but was drilled throughout as a weight-saving measure.

The independent front wishbone suspension was adapted from the Tipo 308 Monoposto, with the front forks, trailing arms, and kingpins sourced from the 2900. The rear suspension was integrated into the frame in a unique fashion, using the 2900 transverse rear spring and adjustment pots.

The hydraulic drum brakes were developed from pre-war 6C 2500 components, modified to accommodate Borrani racing wheels, and the steering was an amalgam of pre-war components – essentially a 2900 steering box with 2500 control arms.

The fuel-delivery system was the same as the 2900, with two electric Autoflux pumps running in parallel and a manual shutoff valve. As the new car was intended for endurance racing, a bespoke 115-liter fuel tank was fabricated from riveted aluminum and placed behind the differential to improve weight distribution.

Whereas the 6C 2500 Competizione chassis was developed from the finest, competitiontested pre-war components, the driveline was remarkably modern.

The special 6C 2500 engine was purposebuilt for racing with a high-compression head, magneto ignition, and an aluminum cold-air box. For the first time ever, Alfa Romeo implemented dry-sump lubrication and three Weber twin-choke carburetors, giving one choke per cylinder. The efficient twin-cam engine generated approximately 160 bhp and transmitted its power through a special four-speed racing gearbox.

With the details of the chassis and driveline finalized, Alfa Romeo began to develop a suitable body for their new sports car. Although Carrozzeria Touring in Milan had worked closely with Alfa Romeo before the war, the engineers at Alfa Corse did not want a competitor to discover their new project, and elected to have the coachwork developed in-house.

Initially an open two-seat body was built and aerodynamically tested; however, the results revealed that a closed car would be far more effective than an open one. When the second 6C 2500 Competizione (920.002) was built, it received Berlinetta coachwork; and the first chassis (920.001) was subsequently reconfigured in this style. The 6C 2500 Competizione Berlinetta featured a small, enclosed cockpit for two passengers and used many of the same aerospace-influenced design principles as the 8C 2900 Le Mans streamlined Berlinetta, including a V’d windshield, sliding Plexiglas side windows, and two independent windshield wipers. The aerodynamic profile was enhanced through the use of full aluminum belly pans and the design of the front grille echoed the all-conquering Tipo 158.

The cockpit’s lightweight tube-framed bucket seats, aluminum 2900 pedal assembly, and unfinished interior panels were modern, straightforward, and effective. Even the instruments reflected the car’s purposeful nature; the 240 km/hr speedometer was sourced from the pre-war 2900 MM Spiders, and the 8,000 rpm Jaeger tachometer was the same as those used on the P3 Monopostos.

In its final form, the 6C 2500 Competizione weighed just 1,870 lbs. and, due to its finely honed aerodynamic form, was capable of a top speed in excess of 120 mph.

With the 6C 2500 Competizione, the engineers at Alfa Corse accomplished a lofty goal. They had successfully transformed a production-based, normally aspirated six-cylinder chassis into a true sports car that offered the performance and reliability of the famed supercharged eightcylinder cars.

In total, just two examples of the 6C 2500 Competizione were ever built. Today, only one example remains: 920.002.

This Car

Built in the Alfa Corse workshops between 1946 and 1948, this 6C 2500 Competizione, chassis no. 920.002, was originally sold to Franco Rol of Torino, Italy.

An Italian aristocrat turned successful chemical manufacturer, Rol was an avid sportsman who successfully raced a variety of automobiles during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Although he raced Maseratis and OSCAs in several Grand Prix events, Rol primarily campaigned sports cars in national road races and hill climbs.

On May 2, 1948, 920.002 made its competition debut at Italy’s most famous road race, the grueling Mille Miglia. With Franco Rol and Alessandro Gaboardi at the helm, the state-of-the-art 6C 2500 Competizione was considered a serious contender for outright victory.

But the new Alfa Romeo’s first appearance at the Mille Miglia proved to be a disappointment. Rol’s 6C 2500 Competizione failed to finish its maiden race and Ferrari captured its first Mille Miglia victory with an Allemano-bodied 166.

Following its initial outing at the Mille Miglia, 920.002 was entered in the Coppa delle Dolomiti on July 11th. Here, Rol would find his first major success with the Alfa Romeo, as he and Vincenzo Richiero drove 920.002 to an impressive 5th overall and 1st in Class result.

For 920.002, the 1949 racing season began on March 19th at the Targa Florio held in Sicily. For the classic road race, Rol once again paired with Richiero and the Alfa Romeo maintained a commanding lead until a broken fuel line took them out of contention for the win. Nevertheless, the Alfa Romeo was quickly repaired and went on to finish 2nd overall, crossing the finish line less than three minutes after Biondetti’s victorious Ferrari 166 Spider Corsa.

On April 24, 1949, the 6C 2500 Competizione returned to Brescia to take part in the XVI Mille Miglia. Competing against over 300 other cars, Rol and Richiero drove the Alfa Romeo to a class win and finished 3rd overall behind the two Scuderia Ferrari 166 MM Barchettas.

Following its remarkable performance at the Mille Miglia, the 6C 2500 Competizione continued to race with success through July, capturing a 3rd place at the Coppa delle Dolomiti and a 2nd place finish in the large-displacement sport category at Susa-Moncenisio.

On August 15, 1949, Rol entered the Alfa Romeo in the XVIII Circuito di Pescara, an important Italian race that attracted entries from across Europe. In a spectacular display, Rol held off Vallone’s Ferrari 166 Spider Corsa, Louveau’s three-liter Delage, and several OSCA MT4s to take the overall win.

Rol’s final outing in 1949 took place at the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo hill climb, where the Alfa Romeo placed 3rd in the Sport 1100+ category.

The 1950 season kicked off at the Targa Florio on April 2nd and Rol and Richiero entered the Alfa Romeo with the hope of repeating the previous year’s success. In the end, 920.002 managed a 2nd in Class and 6th overall – a strong result for a car in its third season of active racing.

Later that month, Rol and Richiero entered the Mille Miglia for the third consecutive time. In a race that saw the two Scuderia Ferrari 195 S Berlinettas defeat Fangio’s 6C 2500 Competizione, 920.002 was forced to retire early after going off the road at Sella di Corno.

For the remainder of the 1950 racing season, the Alfa Romeo was entrusted to Alesi, who achieved a 3rd place finish at Vittorio Veneto-Cansiglio, a 2nd place finish at Treponti-Castelnuovo, and a 5th place at Trieste-Opicina. Before the end of the year, 920.002 also raced at Coppa della Toscana and Vermicino-Rocca di Papa, but the results cannot be documented.

Despite serious opposition from a host of new sports cars, the 6C 2500 Competizione remained competitive well into the 1951 season. For the first two races of 1951 – the Coppa della Dolomiti and the Targa Florio – Rol entrusted the aging Alfa Romeo to Bornigia who proved himself with back-to-back 3rd place finishes.

Franco Rol’s last outing at the wheel of 920.002 took place at the 1951 Mille Miglia, which he entered with Munaron. In a valiant effort, Rol and Munaron took off from Brescia at 4:19 am, but the 6C 2500 Competizione failed to finish the punishing 1,000-mile road race.

In July 1951, Rol sold 920.002 to Denis Spagnol and shipped it to Switzerland through Lausanne. During his ownership, M. Spagnol entered the Alfa Romeo in local sporting events and modified the grille by fitting wide vertical bars and auxiliary driving lights.

In October 1953, Jean Charles Munger of Thônex, Switzerland, purchased the Alfa Romeo and, like Rol and Spagnol before him, continued to race it. During Munger’s time with 920.002, the 6C 2500 Competizione was treated to a general refurbishment and the front grille was further modified in the style of the classic Ferrari eggcrate.

In November 1954, the 6C 2500 Competizione was sold to Swiss car collector Michel Dovaz, the proprietor of a successful printing business. In addition to his automotive and business interests, M. Dovaz was a well-respected wine aficionado; he taught at the Academie du Vin, served as a judge at the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, and wrote several books on French wine.

For nearly three decades, 920.002 remained hidden away in M. Dovaz’s chateau outside of Paris; and, over the years, the Alfa Romeo was joined by an astonishing number of rare and important cars, including several Bugattis, Ferraris, Rolls-Royce, and Bentleys.

In the 1980s, M. Dovaz’s collection gained fame following the publication of Hesselmann and Schrader’s spectacular photo essay, Sleeping Beauties, which depicted the elegant decay of his motorcar collection.

In 1984, just as the M. Dovaz collection was being relocated to a more discreet setting, the 6C 2500 Competizione was pulled from storage and Club Alfa Romeo de France was given the opportunity to prepare the historic car to run the Mille Miglia Retrospective. Though technically the first of the Sleeping Beauties to be restored, 920.002 was hastily refinished for its return to Brescia and retained much of its “as discovered” appearance.

Following this singular outing, the 6C 2500 Competizione was returned to M. Dovaz and settled in a private museum that contained 25 of his most prized automobiles.

In 1995, Belgian Alfa Romeo specialist Raoul San Giorgi managed to negotiate a purchase of 920.002, marking the first ownership transfer in over 40 years. From there, the 6C 2500 Competizione was sold to Nicholas Springer but eventually returned to Mr. San Giorgi.

Since 2005, 920.002 has been a part of an exclusive private collection in Washington state. The current owner, who is both a knowledgeable collector and a world-renowned restorer, maintains a deep appreciation for the finest Italian sports cars and has developed a particular affinity for the Alfa Romeo marque. Over the past two decades, he has restored many important sports cars, from pre-war Alfa Romeos to 250 Ferraris, and his exceptional work has been awarded with countless accolades at the leading concours d’elegances. Significantly, he executes all the mechanical work on his cars and goes to great lengths to ensure that each car runs and drives as its original manufacturer intended.

Although 920.002 had been restored years earlier, many aspects of the Alfa Romeo were not properly addressed and the quality of the presentation was not to the owner’s famously high standards.

Only after conducting extensive research into the history of this rare 6C 2500 did he begin to restore the car to its original appearance and specification. With painstaking attention to authentic detail, every aspect of the 6C 2500 Competizione was restored with the same methods used by Alfa Romeo’s craftsmen in 1948.

During this process, the original bodywork was carefully returned to its as-delivered appearance and finished in elegant Alfa Romeo racing red. No detail of the outward presentation has been overlooked, from the hand painted race numbers to the original Torino, Italy, registration. Inside, the cockpit is outfitted with all of the proper instruments, finishes, and fittings – even the exceedingly rare Carrozzeria Alfa coachbuilders plate is in place.

The engine bay and chassis have been prepared to the same exacting standard and a great effort was undertaken to ensure that this competition-bred sports car offers performance that is commensurate with its advanced specification and impressive racing record. In a thoughtful concession to usability, a later five-speed full-synchromesh gearbox and larger periodappropriate seats were fitted; however, the original gearbox and aircraft-style tube-frame seats accompany the sale of the car.

In 2005, the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Competizione was invited to make its post-restoration debut at the world-famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and take part in a comprehensive display of significant Alfa Romeo automobiles. After completing the Tour d’Elegance, 920.002 was displayed in Class E-8 (Alfa Romeo Postwar Sports Racing) and earned a 2nd in Class award.

Since its debut at Pebble Beach, the 6C 2500 Competizione has been displayed at the Quail Motorsports Gathering and the CCCA Grand Classic in Bellevue, Washington, where it received a perfect 100-point score. In August 2010, 920.002 returned to Pebble Beach for the most recent celebration of the Alfa Romeo marque.

Today, the 6C 2500 Competizione remains in exceptional, show-ready condition and is complete with its original tube-frame seats, four-speed gearbox (number 944842), a period-correct tool kit, and a proper 6C 2500 Sport e Supersport owner’s manual. Significantly, the Alfa Romeo is offered with a FIVA Passport, a document required by many high-profile international events.

In addition to these important items, this Alfa Romeo is offered with a beautifully prepared show folder that includes copies of Alfa Romeo factory records; Automobile Club d’Italia road registration documents; numerous archival photographs; magazine articles; and a wealth of original documents, including the Swiss logbook issued in 1952, a handwritten letter from second owner Denis Spagnol, and the 1949 Mille Miglia control sheets. A second folder details 920.002’s impressive racing history and is replete with original race programs, newspaper clippings, entry forms, and copies of period magazine articles.

The time, effort, and expense that went into the research and documentation of this important Alfa Romeo is truly staggering and speaks volumes to the dedicated stewardship that this car has benefited from over the past eight years.

As the sole surviving example of the firm’s first post-war sports car, 920.002 will always represent an important turning point in the rich history of the Alfa Romeo marque.

During its illustrious racing career, this car competed in at least 17 races, captured three outright wins, five 2nd place finishes, and seven 3rd place finishes. This exceptional racing record places 920.002 among the most successful sports cars of its era, and no other car can claim to have raced in four consecutive editions of the legendary Mille Miglia.

Furthermore, with its lightweight aerodynamic coachwork, highly tuned twin-cam engine, and race-bred chassis, the 6C 2500 Competizione established a successful template that served as the foundation for every great sporting Alfa Romeo that followed – from the 1900 CSS to the TZ2.

With its singular status, proud race record, peerless restoration, and uncommon authenticity, 920.002 must be considered one of the great Alfa Romeo competition cars; and, thus, one of the most significant sports cars of the post-war era.

For those with a deep appreciation of this great Italian marque, the opportunity to acquire this historic Alfa Romeo represents the chance of a lifetime.