Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint

Alfa Romeo was one of the very few manufacturers to continue building passenger cars during World War II, but the numbers were tiny and up to 1950 this venerable company (established in 1910 as Anonima Lombardo Fabbrica Automobili) functioned almost as a cottage industry, with production rarely exceeding 800 hand-built automobiles.

But 1950 saw major changes at Alfa headquarters in Milano, where a new design by Orazio Satta, the 1900, and a modern new assembly line put the company’s production into high gear, at least compared to its previous standards. The 1900 made its debut as a unit-body sedan – a first for Alfa – with a new 1.9-litre dual overhead cam engine that provided respectable power by the standards of the day: 80 horsepower with a single carburettor, 93 horsepower with two. Displayed at the 1950 Paris and London auto shows, it was also the first Alfa produced with its steering wheel on the left side.

Eager to sustain its pre-war sporting image and rich competition tradition, Alfa entered the 1900 sedan in a number of motorsports events, where it performed well. This in turn allowed the company to call its new offering “the family sedan that wins races.” In 1951, Alfa announced a 100-horsepower version of the 1900, which went into the new 1900C Sprint coupé, as well as a cabriolet version. Both of the new body styles were developed on the sedan chassis with a shortened wheelbase. The convertible was created by Pinin Farina, while most of the beautiful coupés came from Carrozzeria Touring.

However, Alfa was careful to make sure that other Italian carrozzeria had opportunities to create styling variations of their own. Thus there were Alfa 1900 coupés bodied by Boano, Bertone, Farina, Ghia, and Zagato, as well as Touring. Designed at Touring’s Milan studios by Federico Formenti, the Super Sprint version of the coupé was introduced at the 1955 Paris show and represented the development pinnacle for the series. Its key distinguishing feature was a revised version of the engine, with increased displacement from 1,884 cc to 1,975, a higher compression ratio, twin Weber carburettors and four valves per cylinder.

Called the 1900 IT Super, it was rated for 115 horsepower. Mated with a five-speed transmission (earlier versions employed a four-speed), the new engine was capable of propelling this sleek coupé to a top speed of 112 mph.

Compared to its sophisticated engine, chassis elements of the Super Sprint coupé were rather ordinary. The front suspension was independent, with upper and lower wishbones, coil springs, and hydraulic shocks, but Alfa continued to employ a live axle at the rear with a pair of locating links. And in an era where disc brakes had established their superiority, Alfa retained drum brakes fore and aft. Nevertheless, the car’s dynamics were regarded as respectable in the context of the times.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2009 at the Battersea Evolution, London.

100 bhp, 1,975 cc dual overhead cam inline-four, Weber carburettors, five-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with double A-arms, coil springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers, live axle rear suspension with trailing links, coil springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 95"

Source: RM Auctions

Gallery: Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint