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Unique Alfa top seller at auction

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A TRULY dazzling classic Alfa Romeo was the top seller in the season-ending Historics at Brooklands auction.

The star car was a 1928 Alfa Romeo 6C 3rd Series 1750T Turismo long-chassis topped with four-light coupe coachwork.

The 24th 1750 built and the oldest known survivor, with 59,750 miles on the clock, cost the eighth owner £165,000. It had actually been estimated at £180 to £220,000.

The Alfa Romeo 1750 chassis, designed by the great engineer Vittorio Jano, was the logical development of his very successful 6C, 1500 types.

1750 production continued until 1933 with a total production of around 2,580 units. Engine options allowed for single cam, twin cam and twin cam with a supercharger.

The very fine example at the sale was a single-cam, six-cylinder 1750 Alfa Romeo. During 1929, the chassis was delivered to the coachworks of James Young in Bromley, who were established in 1863 making horse-drawn carriages. Their first car body was made in 1908 and they continued until 1967, during which time, apart from Alfa Romeo, they produced bodywork for Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Daimler, Talbot, Hispano-Suiza, Isotta-Fraschini and others.

In total, James Young bodied 57 Alfa Romeo chassis with various types of coachwork. A few were built on the long chassis, so having rear side windows was known as a four-light coupé. This configuration made it possible to produce a very elegant full four-seat body.

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During restoration, the production number 309 was found to be marked on various parts of the frame and panels, plus some of the exterior fittings. The chassis of this car is a third series 1750T with a single cam engine carrying the same number. It is the oldest known 1750 in existence, being the 24th built.

This 1750 was first registered on March 5, 1930, to a George Couper, an Inverness trawler owner, and it remained in the family ownership until 1950 when it was given to a relative.

Its whereabouts up to March 1956 is unclear but it may still have been in the family ownership. A continuation log book, dated March 1956, records six owners up to 1968. It was then purchased by the current owner in 1984 from a Dan Margulies and it is thought to have been off the road since the last book entry. The car was laid up during World War Two and not accounted for from the last book entry to 1984 and not driven again until 2011, almost 50 years.

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The decision was made to carry out a full restoration and a detailed rebuild of the chassis and all the mechanical components was commenced in 1992 by the then owner, an automobile engineer of considerable skill and who was Rob Walker’s mechanic with over 50 years’ experience with the Alfa Romeo marque, having also owned many, including two Zagato variants.

A number of improvements were carried out during the work to make the car more reliable and comfortable for long-distance touring. The result is that the car has better performance than the twin-cam variant of the pre-war 1750 engine.

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The interior is trimmed with the finest leather from the Bridge of Weir factory in Scotland. The wood trim veneer is North American black walnut, book matched on the instrument panel, door facings and rear side trims. The hood is finest quality mohair and the head lining, wool cloth. The colour is Midnight Blue with a grey line on the exterior waist moulding to match the interior trim.

Only the very best materials were used throughout the rebuild which was completed in 2011.  Since that time, the car has covered about 2,000 miles. There is an extensive file of the bills and photographs of the work carried out, plus the genuine original handbook and period photographs of the car.

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