The nut-and-bolt restoration of Mussolini’s 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS
Between 1929 and 1933, Alfa Romeo built a total of 2635 6Cs with the bigger, Vittorio Jano-designed 1752-cc inline-six engines. As custom in the period, most were sold as rolling chassis, only to get bodied by coachbuilders such as Zagato, Touring Superleggera, Carrozzeria Garavini, or even British companies like James Young Limited and the Hoyal Bodybuilding Corporation.
However, this particular 6C 1750 SS was bodied by Stabilimenti Farina. The coachbuilder was run by the brother of Battista “Pinin” Farina, and in January, 1930, the car was sold to none other than Benito Mussolini. The fascist dictator known as “II Duce” paid 60,000 lira for his brand new sports tourer and was photographed driving it on the 29th of April, 1931.
Back then the 6C was still in its original state, but in 1937 the prime minister sold it to a man called Renato Tigillo, who shipped his Alfa to Eritrea, which was an Italian colony at the time. In northeast Africa, the 6C was adopted for the local hill climbs and street races, and it’s that stripped-out body that it wears to this day.
After inspecting the car in the United States, British specialist Thornley Kelham found that Mussolini’s Alfa Romeo features its period Stabilimenti Farina carrozzeria badge and, in addition, its original chassis, rear axle, and gearbox. However, the rest of the surviving pieces include a different grille, and only a few cut-up body panels. Now, as the car’s new owner commissioned a nut-and-bolt restoration of the Alfa’s 1930 appearance in concours condition, the British team is looking at several thousand hours of fabrication, engineering, and assembly work. A great tribute to Stabilimenti Farina, a coachbuilder that closed its doors in 1953.