Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Zagato
Mario Binda, Milan, Italy (acquired new in 1955)J.C. Edwards, Riverside, California (acquired circa 1961)Jay Jacobs, San Francisco, California (acquired circa 1963)Phillip Musser, Point Richmond, California (acquired circa 1964)S. Marrott, California (acquired circa 1965)Said Marouf, La Jolla, California (acquired circa the late 1980s)John J. D’Alessandro, Southampton, New York (acquired from the above circa 2006)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2009)
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 1990 (Third in Class)Paleis Het Loo Concours, Netherlands, 2003 (First in Class)Schwetzingen European Concours, Heidelberg, Germany, 2003 (First in Class)Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, 2005Mille Miglia, Brescia, Italy, 2007
Alfa Romeo’s first all-new postwar model introduced innovation that would influence the Italian automaker’s next half-century of sports cars. The 1900 series paired unit-body construction to a double-overhead cam, inline four-cylinder engine using an aluminum head with hemispherical combustion chambers. Variants were constructed by Italy’s leading coachbuilders: Pinin Farina, Touring, Vignale, Bertone, and, notably, Zagato. Their aircraft-inspired design and construction used aluminum body panels with Plexiglas side and rear windows, shaving hundreds of pounds from traditional steel and glass coachwork.
Assembled using the 1900 “Corto” (short) wheelbase and paired with the downdraft, twin Solex-carbureted motor and five-speed transmission “Super Sprint” specification, the Alfa Romeo CSS was an immediate success as both a stylish, modern road car, and a competitive racer. Zagato would reportedly build only 39 of these striking Super Sprint Zagatos, and it is believed by the International Alfa Romeo 1900 Register that only 29 original cars survive today.
The car offered here, chassis 02056, is a recognized survivor of these exotic Zagato-bodied Alfa Romeos, and surely one of the finest extant. Delivered new on August 5, 1955, to Italian racing cyclist Mario Binda in Milan, the car would soon be exported and was with J.C. Edwards of California by 1961. It is believed that Mr. Edwards fitted the car with its 102-series engine, which features a more robust and evolved Giulia-style valve train than earlier motors. By the late 1980s, the car joined the collection of well-known Alfa Romeo connoisseur Said Marouf, who entrusted it to award-winning restorers Paolo and Nino Epifani in Berkeley, California. The results of their labor were shown at the 1990 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, where 02056 achieved a Third Place award in its esteemed class.
By 2001, the car had returned to Europe with a new Dutch owner, who had the car’s exterior stripped and repainted in deep burgundy red by Fabio Calligaris in Milan. The car’s original 1900 Super Sprint Abarth exhaust system was also restored. Fitted with a rare Abarth twin-Weber carburetor and intake package, the car gamely participated in various driving events throughout Europe including the Alfa Romeo Belgium Jubilee Rally, the National Red Cross Rally, the Rallye des Frontières, and the Spettacolo a Zandvoort.
Still in stunning cosmetic condition, the car appeared at top-tier exhibitions on the continent, including class wins at Paleis Het Loo Concours and Schwetzingen European Concours in July 2003, as well as participation in the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy in May 2005.
Under the ownership of enthusiast John J. D’Alessandro, 02056 returned to the US in 2006, when the car was promptly accepted for that year’s Mille Miglia, but regrettably did not compete until the following year’s edition of the legendary 1,000-mile Italian road rally. Under Mr. D’Alessandro’s ownership, the car was fastidiously maintained by Cedar Classics in Hampshire, England, while in Europe, and Northumberland Engineering in Southampton, New York, while in America. In preparation for the event, the engine, braking, and cooling systems were rebuilt, and the Weber carburetors tuned for crisp performance. Mr. D’Alessandro was issued a FIVA Identity Card for 02056 in Brescia, Italy, on May 14, 2008.
In 2009, the car changed hands again, this time joining one of the premier collections in the US, where it has enjoyed regular use and loving care ever since.
Aptly suited for historic driving events, 02056 wears a handsomely restored Nardi wood-rimmed steering wheel, a Nardi floor-shift kit, Marchal driving lights, and Borrani wire wheels with correct Michelin 165 x 400 tires. The car also comes equipped with a spare tire and jack in its original bag. A completely separate, period-correct spare 1900C SS engine (AR1308*10022) is also included with the car.
Widely hailed as one of Zagato’s most beautiful creations, the 1900C SS Coupe commands the admiration of connoisseurs of fine Italian design, appropriately recognized as one of the most daring and dynamic automotive designs of the 20th century. With past participation in premier concours and driving events worldwide, this pedigreed Alfa Romeo SSZ is one of the world’s most exciting postwar coachbuilt sports cars and an important addition to any serious collection.