1955 Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS
|Model History||Auction sales research||Specifications||Body styles and Chassis Data|
Engine/Mechanical Component Photos
The 1900 was Alfa Romeo's first production car without a separate chassis as well as the first Alfa offered with left-hand drive steering configuration. It was also the company's first series built on a standardized production line.
The 1900 was available as a 2-door coupe and 4-door sedan and initially powered by a new 1884cc, 90 horsepower, 4-cylinder twin cam engine. They had independent front suspension (double wishbones, coil springs and hydraulic telescopic shock absorbers) and one of the very best live rear axle designs seen up to that point.
In 1951 the short wheelbase 1900C ('C' for corto (Italian for short)) version was introduced. They rested on a wheelbase of 2500mm rather than the standard 2530mm standard coupe and sedan. The 1900TI was also introduced that same year, with a more powerful 100BHP engine. The 1900TI had bigger valves, higher compression ratio and equipped with twin-carburetors. Two years later the 1900 Super and 1900TI Super (also 1900SS or Super Sprint) with enlarged 1975cc engine were introduced. The TI Super with twin carburetors produced 115 horsepower and featured a 4-speed gearbox with revised ratios but still using the standard final drive ratio.
The ultimate specification of the 1900 line-up was the 'CSS' variant that featured both the shorter chassis as well as the most developed and best performing engine, gearbox and revised final drive ratios. Brakes were 'Alfin' double-leading shoe, self-adjusting at all four corners and the fronts featured ducting and scoops for added cooling.
Alfa Romoe's 1900CSS models were well designed and thoroughly sorted 5-speed gearbox with full synchronization on 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th gear. The ratios were carefully selected to match the torque and RPM curve of the high specification, twin-cam 'Tipo 1308' series engine. As a result of the performance increase and use of a five rather than a four-speed gearbox, the standard 4.1:1 final drive ratio was unnecessary. A taller 3.75:1 unit was instead fitted which allowed for far better top-speed as well as far less RPM at speed in any gear.
The 1900CSS was clothed by such legendary coachbuilders such as Touring, Pinin Farina, Zagato and Ghia. While those from Touring and Pinin Farina utilized mostly steel bodies with some alloy opening panels, Zagato and Ghia's examples featured all alloy body construction. The standard production 1900s weighed around 2400lbs while the Zagato and Ghia versions of the 1900CSS were often less than 2,000 lbs. This reduction in weight added to better performance on the track and in the tours and rallies.
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