6C COMPETIZIONE PHOTO CHRONOLOGY

The 6C2500 Competizione berlinetta is a fascinating, early post-war Alfa Romeo. The history of this model has very cloudy and many people, most notably Ben Hendriks of SCARB, have tried to clarify the picture over the years with various degrees of success. Some say there were three cars, other evidence suggested there might have been four cars. And was the first chassis, wrecked in 1948, really re-used in 1950 for the 6C3000 C50, or was there a fresh chassis under 6C3000 C50?

A small group of us--Peter, Giuseppe, Joost and Bob--confused by the conflicting stories, continued to pursue this topic with the hope of eventually presenting a comprehensive and accurate chronology of these competition berlinettas, using resources from the internet and from physical collections, including "the factory". And registration records at Italy's PRA office, along with photos found online, were useful in helping us unravel the ownership history and chronology of these three cars. 

Finally, we compared our work with that of the latest book on the subject, Alfa Romeo 6C 2300, 6C 2500 by Fabio Morlacchi & Stefano Salvetti (Fucina, Italy, 2014), and found that there was much agreement between their work and ours.

The true chronology, as best we can determine it, is that a) there were four bodies on three chassis, b) the first chassis was reused but with a new Competizione body, and c) the  Touring-bodied 6C3000 C50 was built on an existing but unused Competizione chassis. And chassis #920002, the Franco Rol car with its known history, was not a factor in this research but served somewhat as a reference point. 

The evidence that we found looks like this...


Chassis #920001, original owner Franco Venturi, original configuration and colors...the "stepped" ending to the front fender halfway across the door identifies this as 920001… bicolore before its minor accident while road testing a few days before the 1948 Mille Miglia and then repainted dark red for the race; Venturi, though already entered for the 1948 Mille Miglia as car #31, was unable to compete and the car was then loaned to or turned over to the factory and their test driver, Consalvo Sanesi, for the race itself...that would help explain the high race number "1047" of Sanesi's late entry...oddly, it still carried private targa (license plate) rather than factory "Prova" plates...note that it has has five grill bars, like 920002 when it was new...

Chassis #920001, below, was consequently badly crashed by Sanesi during the 1948 Mille Miglia and did not finish (DNF)…

 

Replacement Chassis #"920001", below, owner still Franco Venturi, was now a complete replacement car for the original 920001 that Sanesi crashed in the Mille Miglia. Since Alfa's factory driver had destroyed a customer car, the factory needed to make restitution with a new car. This "new" 920001 is shown below at the start of the 1948 Coppa del Mare on 12 September of that year as car #100…this body has a deeper grill opening than the original, or even 920002, and six grill bars...that is possibly Franco Venturi, in dark sweater, standing beside the car just before the start of the race...this car, in this configuration, is sold shortly after the race to the Bornigia brothers, Mario and Franco but, for reasons unknown, it then disappears from the competition record until its reappearance in the 1950 Targa Florio...

Replacement Chassis #920001, below, was delivered in 1948 between the late-April Mille Miglia and the Coppa del Mare on 12 September...note "fatter" lower grill shape plus six crossbars in grille opening, so this cannot be 920002 as others have suggested...it also suggests that the grill was enlarged to mimic 920002's total opening size after that car's "chin scoop" was added, and rightly so since it was constructed after 920002 began its racing career...these three photos are often described as being of the original 920001, or 920002 or even 920003, but they are none of those; they are of the replacement car for Franco Venturi's 920001 that was wrecked by Sanesi in the 1948MM...

...below are two photo comparisons; in each case the upper bicolore is the original 920001, while the lower car is the replacement 920001 given to Franco Venturi...in both cases, the bottom photo is flipped horizontally to make this comparison...careful inspection will show a number of differences...

...and after being out of service in 1949 for some unknown reason, the "replacement" 920001 first appears in the records in 1950, being driven by one of the Bornigia brothers as Car #500 at the 1950 Targa Florio...note that there are six crossbars in the grille opening and no "chin scoop", and what looks like a quadrifoglio triangle near base of windscreen...

 

Replacement Chassis #920001...below, is Bornigia's car at its appearance as Car #730 in the 1950MM, loaned to the Alfa factory for Fangio to drive in that race. Note six crossbars in grille and no "chin scoop", as well as quadrifoglio triangle decal...unlike in 1948, this year the car wore factory "Prova" targa MI-65 because the car was again temporarily out of private ownership...

Replacement Chassis #920001 at 1951MM as Car #422, Bornigia driving (below). Note missing grille bar (5 bars instead of 6) and no "chin scoop"...looks like car (or photo) may have been damaged...car has quadrifoglio triangle on driver side...here is YouTube video of 920003 at the 1951 Mille Miglia...

Replacement Chassis #920001 at 1952 Targa Florio as Car #56, Bornigia driving once again...nose now modified in Tipo1 style (somewhat)...


Chassis #920002...here it is as Car #20 at its first outing, the 1948 Mille Miglia. Five grill bars, no "chin scoop" (left photo, below), but by July of 1948, at the Coppa d'Oro delle Dolomiti as car #177, the car had already acquired the sixth grill bar (right photo, below) but still no "chin scoop". The car was owned and campaigned by Franco Rol and eventually ended up in the famous Dovaz collection in Switzerland as one of its "Sleeping Beauties"...

Chassis #920002 at 1949MM as Car #648…and in 2014. Note a “chin scoop" below grille has been added sometime prior to this race, and while it appears to have five grill bars here, careful examination suggests that bar #6 is missing...post-restoration it has six grill bars but the grill shape of the replacement 920001…

 

At the 1949 12 Hours di Pescara race, Franco Rol was the winner in 920002...car #16...

...and here we clearly have Rol in 920002, crossing a Finish Line at an unknown (to me) venue...car now has six grill bars but not the enlarged grill opening of the replacement 920001...

Chassis #920002 at 1950MM, as Car #720...and Franco Rol, c.1949...

 

...but here, in the video clips below, we can see that 920002 clearly has six grill bars, plus the "chin scoop", in the 1950MM, the same number of grill bars as the replacement 920001 but not replacement 001's enlarged grill shape...

Chassis #920002 at 1951MM, as Car #419, 920002 is back to five grill bars, missing--for some reason--bar #4 that crossed just over the top of the engine crank hole...it seems unlikely that the car had actually reverted back to its original five-bar configuration...but you never know!

 

Chassis #920002 (left and below)
...
two of the last configurations before the car disappeared into the Dovaz collection...

...and sometime after it reappeared circa 1982...


Chassis #920002 as seen in YouTube video of 1984MM Storica, ex-Dovaz...looks like five grill bars…


Chassis #920003, designated 6C3000 C50...was a new chassis, not the damaged original 920001 chassis bits that were lying around Portello after Sanesi's 1948MM crash...it is entered in the 1950MM as a 6C3000 C50 and raced as car #740...hurriedly bodied by Touring in a newer, more streamlined style…also, there was an unphotographed “Sperimentale” listed for the preceding 1950 Coppa Inter-Europa, just 30 days before the 1950MM and also driven by Sanesi. Possibly that was a shake-down run of this car in preparation for 1950MM.

Chassis #920003, designated 6C3000 C50...as crashed by Sanesi at the 1950MM. The car was said to have been scrapped and the engine put on display at Museo Alfa Romeo in Arese. Was this the permanent end of this chassis? Maybe not...

Chassis #920003, designated 6C3000 C50...in 1952 or so, the chassis wrecked in the 1950MM was repaired and then re-bodied by Carrozzeria Colli in a style similar to original 1950 "Touring" berlinetta (except front facia) and sold to a privateer, Eugenio Nosenzo, but it never raced again.


COMPETITION PHOTO SUMMARY 
OF 6C2500 COMPETIZIONE BERLINETTAS:

Year Event  Entry# Telaio Car Piloto   Photos
1948 MM 20 920002 6C2500 Comp. Rol
1948 MM 31 920001 6C2500 Comp. Venturi
Car entered but "did not arrive"
1948 MM car #31 re-entered as 
#1047
920001 6C2500 Comp. Sanesi
920001 raced as #1047 but had an "accident"; DNF
1948 CM 100 920001 6C2500 Comp. Venturi
1948 CD 177 920002 6C2500 Comp. Rol
 
1949 TF 335 920002 6C2500 Comp. Rol
1949 MM 648 920002 6C2500 Comp. Rol
1949 PESC 16 920002 6C2500 Comp. Rol
1949 CD 133 920002 6C2500 Comp. Rol
 
1950 CIE 4 920003 "Sperimentale" Sanesi
1950 TF 452 920002 6C2500 Comp. Rol
1950 TF 500 920001 6C2500 Comp. Bornigia
1950 MM 720 920002 6C2500 Comp. Rol
1950 MM 730 920001 6C2500 Comp. Fangio
1950 MM 740 920003 6C3000 C50 Sanesi
 
1951 TF/GS 436 920001 6C2500 Comp. Bornigia
1951 MM 419 920002 6C2500 Comp. Rol
1951 MM 422 920001 6C2500 Comp. Bornigia
1951 CD 101 920001 6C2500 Comp. Bornigia
 
1952 CT ? 920001 6C2500 Comp. Bornigia
1952 TF 56 920001 6C2500 Comp. Bornigia
1952 PESC 3 920001 6C2500 Comp. Bornigia

TF = Targa Florio or Giro di Sicilia / MM = Mille Miglia / CM = Coppa del Mare

CD = Coppa d'Oro delle Dolomiti / CIE = Coppa Inter-Europa 

GS = Giro de Sicilia / CT = Coppa delle Toscana / PESC = 12hrs di Pescara


As long as I'm on the subject, here's a comparison of two 6C Competiziones and a Freccia d'Oro. I think this shows that the 6C Competizione was clearly designed in-house at Portello and intended to have a strong visual relationship to Alfa's bread-and-butter model of the day (at least in profile; not so much for the front end).

 

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