by Peter Marshall

Finding an unknown Alfa Romeo that still exists was Carlo’s dream (and that is hardly a surprise given that his “pope” is known as “Jano”).

The Alfa Romeo 1900 perhaps would not have made history if it had not initially been just a sedan rather than a charming coupé. In fact, the term “coupé” has never been used by Alfa Romeo…the terms “Sprint” or “Gran Turismo” have always been the preferred wording. The Milanese house has, since its inception, always had in mind the concept of sportiness, which was also maintained in the quattroporte. (Perhaps an owner of Alfa Romeo sedans could even say that they are the best, compared to Giulietta first series, Giulia and even the Alfetta!!!)

I met the author of this book, Carlo Di Bella, over a 1900C Super Sprint Zagato (chassis *01908*) but the thing that really excited him was the discovery of his 1900TI. Carlo possessed a photo of a 1900TI which had raced in the 1950s, with the license number CT33881 but, of course, without specifying the chassis number. We discovered, together, the latest information on that “targa” and the address to which it was registered.

After two weeks Carlo went to the address and, to everyone’s surprise (his and mine), it was the previous owner’s home. After 50 years, the four-door steel sedan still existed! Carlo asked the woman at the door “Excuse me, do you know what happened to the 1900 which was here in the 1960s?”, hoping the car still existed. It did and, while there was some rust, it was almost complete. I think that at that moment Carlo broke into a huge smile…and, obviously, Carlo bought it! It was Baron Musmeci’s Alfa Romeo 19000TI. Incredible!

What would be next? We all hopoed that, sooner or later, Carlo would write a book on Pinin Farina’s 1900C and the 1900C of Touring Superleggera. There were only two books on the subject in Italian: Alfa Romeo 1900 Sprint, printed in 1983, compiled by Gonzalo Alvarez Garcia and containing all types of 1900 Sprint, and the book Alfa Romeo AR51-AR52 Matta, from 2007, by Enrico Checcinato & Franco Melotti. But none specific to 1900 “four-doors”.

The best book on Alfa Romeos was Alfa Romeo Cars from 1910, printed in 1965, by Luigi Fusi. The book contained very few pages on the 1900, with only general details. The words “always” and “impossible” should be avoided when talking about Alfa Romeos since, in the Golden Age of Alfa Romeo (when it was at Portello), everything was possible (especially speaking of 6C, 1900 and Giulietta ).

There are many books on Alfa Romeos and they usually only have hints of the Millenove. But there are only three noteworthy publications on the subject, two important publications in Italian (listed first) and one in German (very beautiful but not perfect) but, unfortunately, the author was not able to make an Italian translation and, of course, it is not very complete, but the most important 1900 coupé types that fascinate—namely those of Touring and Pinin Farina—are listed. The other types of 1900C listed are neither easily researched or listed, nor easily “understandable” by ordinary enthusiasts.

In the end, our Carlo courageously swallowed the toad, drank the bitter cup and wrote this new book. The substantial difference that this book presents, compared to other publications on these cars, is that it has not been written by copying old books or other publications but it was written through the use of magazines of the past 50 years, his own extensive knowledge and his experience in the field, the latter perhaps thanks to his father.

Yes, certainly there are more important elements to know for the correct examination of this book, which attempts to make up for a few basic errors. In fact, some data in the manuals and in use & maintenance booklets printed by Alfa are often not correct and therefore it is almost impossible, at times, to discern what is right from what is wrong. This volume attempts to make up for just that.

A tangible example is the rear suspension: up to a certain number of frames built, you can find a different type of suspension altogether! In this book you will find all of these quirky details, which many times were previously unknown.

Every Alfa Romeo 1900 enthusiast and owner will find in this volume all the details they need frequent reference to, some of which are not even available in the Centro Documentazione archive!

--Peter Marshall


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