The 6C family
In 1926, Vittorio Jano had taken charge of all Alfa Romeo product planning, tasked with inventing ‘a brilliantly performing lightweight car’ that would win races and admirers, but also conquer new markets. The result was the 6C.
It combined structural simplicity with sophisticated engineering, but also extremely high specific power. Jano had an astonishing ability to conjure horsepower from small engines, something that today we would call downsizing. As a result, Alfa Romeo boasted the best weight/power ratio and was the fastest around.
6C 1750: a peak of motoring innovation
The 6C 1750, presented in January 1929 at the Rome Motor Show, probably expressed the 6C formula’s full maturity. The engine was an evolution of the previous 1500 six-cylinder in-line engine. It was produced in various versions, and its power ranged from the 46 HP of the Turismo version to the 102 HP of the Gran Sport "Fixed Head".
The 6C used a mechanical braking system with large drums actuated by a transmission system, a pressed steel frame, and a lower center of gravity that greatly boosted cornering grip. Its fuel tank was set further back, to obtain greater weight on the rear wheels and improve axle balance. It was a peak of motoring innovation.
The more races it won, the more its awesome technical reputation grew, in Italy and abroad; especially in Great Britain and the Commonwealth.
The bodybuilding era
The 6C was ultra-fast, but also stunningly beautiful. Its success owed a great deal to the coachbuilders who created its bodies: Touring, Castagna, Zagato, Pininfarina.
In fact, until the 1930s, it was normal for bare frames to leave production plants, equipped only with the engine, gearbox and suspension. The customer purchased the car, then commissioned a coachbuilder to create a practically unique bespoke body - and the 6C 1750 offered exceptional opportunities for exceptional coachbuilder trims. Alfa Romeo’s extraordinary mechanical and engineering base lent itself to the creation of some of the most elegant bodies ever built, designed by the finest stylists and bought by the most famous VIPs.